LIVE REVIEW: The Winery Dogs Take St. Charles

We have all had life changing moments in our lives. How many times have those moments been at a concert? I waited a week and a half to write this review of The Winery Dog’s performance at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles, IL, because I wanted to make sure that feeling didn’t fade. How many times have you left a concert saying that was the best concert I’ve ever seen? I have had that feeling a lot, but generally it always fades. A week and a half later that feeling towards The Winery Dogs still exists.

What makes a great live performance? First and foremost its showmanship. Both Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan have always demanded attention on stage, but Richie Kotzen my God. About a month ago I got the chance to chat with Richie Kotzen and he referred to himself as a guy that just plays and sings, but he is full of it, that guy owned the stage. His performance was Prince level good…rock fans before you roll your eyes at my Prince comparison check this out: ( I’ve seen Kotzen in concert before and he’s always been good, but something special was going on that night.

Secondly musicianship. You could make a legitimate argument that each one of those guys is the best player at their instrument of all time. I took a friend of mine who was a fan of The Winery Dogs, but he was a little underwhelmed with the new album “Hot Streak.” But guess who fell in love with that album after watching this live show? Hearing these amazing musicians play those songs live changes those albums for the better. Now every time we hear a Winery Dog song on the radio or on our phones, we’re going to be brought back to this show and hear it the way it’s meant to be played. I truly believe that it is impossible to see The Winery Dogs and not be in awe.

Third you need a great live crowd. I’ve seen some amazing crowds in my life. The crowd in St. Charles that night was one of the top crowds I have ever seen. The Winery Dogs where giving off so much energy, the crowd was absorbing that energy and giving it back to them and then some. It just kept going back and forth. The energy kept building to the point where I was on such a high that I may as well have been watching Led Zeppelin in their prime. It was special and I mean that.

The highlights of the show for me were the solos. For most bands when it’s time for the solo it’s time to go to the restroom or go get a beer. Not when it’s The Winery Dogs. Mike Portnoy busted out a Hello Kitty drum set for his solo. If you don’t have an appreciation for the bass guitar then you’ve probably never seen Billy Sheehan play bass. He does things to that instrument that I didn’t even know were possible. But at the end of the day this is Richie Kotzen’s band. This is my third time seeing The Winery Dogs in concert and this was the best show. Not only that, this was the best show I’ve ever seen. I’ve let enough time pass where I can comfortably say it does not get better than this. I dare any band to take The Winery Dogs out on tour. That’s right Foo Fighter I’m talking to you.

Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at
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