Having seen and heard several shows along SH's recent MTM tour (attended Capital Ballroom, Wash DC & listened to Red Rocks show on the album network), it seems his stop at the HOB in N. Myrtle Beach SC by far reflects Sammy at his best. The band was on. Sammy looked and sounded great, the crowd was into the show and the overall vibe was beyond just a great rock and roll show. Appearing in an intimate venue such as the HOB put Sammy in his element and suited the interaction between artist and crowd. Sammy was by far generous, entertaining and willing to take a chance or two. The stage is Sammy's forte, more so than on CD. Like anything, there are good nights such as his stop in Denver where he performed despite a cold and sore throat and unbelievable nights such as the HOB where the energy between crowd and performer was superior to either the DC or the Red Rocks show. AT the HOB, Sammy delivered and then some.
Our first exposure to the tour was on July 20 at the Capital Ballroom in DC where we traveled 2 hours up I-95 from Richmond VA to see the Red Rocker. Sammy was two months into the tour and while the crowd was appreciative, the feel was that Sammy was still getting used to his band and the set. Over a month later, Sammy appeared at Red Rocks in Denver CO broadcast over the Album network. While hampered with Sammy's head cold and sore throat which resulted in the network going to a tape of another show for two songs, the crowd more than made up for it and helped SH carry the show. Three weeks later at the HOB, SH and the crowd were locked in rock and roll sync and made for an incredible show. For the HOB show, we traveled 6 hours from Richmond VA to see the Red Rocker one last time. We were not disappointed.
Sammys song list has been a stew of cuts from MTM, Montrose, VH and his solo work. The difference between DC and HOB is immense. Band interplay (longtime drummer David Lauser, Jesse Harns, keyboards, Victor Johnson, lead guitar and Mona, bass) was tight and Sammy had fun without worrying about getting across to the crowd. Sammy and Mona had their talk during Bad Motor Scooter. Sammy said that after listening to 25 guys play the bass, Mickey Hart told him about Mona. Mona came to Sammy's house on a chopper with the bass strapped on her back. As Sammy said "Girl, you got the job." Most of all, Sammy was loose enough to play with the set list which was different from DC and RR.
On this tour, Sammy opened with the title cut from MTM before kicking into "There's Only One Way To Rock." From there, it is a run through the highlights of his VH, Montrose, and solo career.
AT HOB, he featured an impromptu version of Both Sides Now whch he just added to the tour. He also added "Eagles Fly" and a burning rendition of "Wild Thing." This was a good example of how Sammy can throw some caution into the wind, a side that was hidden during VH.
The crowd sang along with old favorites like "Finish What You Started" and "Can't Drive 55" with Sammy and the crowd feeding off each other. There are very few singers left with the showmanship and audience relationship, he may very well be the last of his type. The HOB show is evidence of the magic of live music and the vibe that bonds band and audience that lasts long after the music stops.
Thanks to Tom Barnes and Rohn Brown for the review and set list.