Making the walk from the parking garage to City Walk makes concerts held at Hard Rock Live Orlando in Universal Studios located in Orlando, Florida always an adventure. On this night Theme Park attendance was light as the temperatures were in the 50’s and it was a Tuesday night which made the walk through the park easier than in most instances.
Once inside the venue which has a 3,000-person capacity, the lower bowl was laid out with chairs for seating making the capacity of the venue at about 1,600. I was told just over 800 tickets were sold, which fills the lower section, leaving the upper balcony nearly empty. Asking about the demographics, I was instructed that 34% of the crowd would be 25-35 years old. This seemed positive, being that the show is a blues show, and that usually isn’t the case. There will be no mash pits or crowd surfing tonight! There would just be great music with two of the greatest blues guitarists of our generation. The show started at 8:00 pm with Eric Gales opening for Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
Eric Gales was hailed as a child prodigy as he first picked up a guitar at age four. Giles learned to play from his left-handed brother which makes his handling of his guitar unusual. He plays a right-handed stung guitar (with the bass string at the bottom) upside down and left-handed extremely unconventional ala Jimi Hendrix who was left-handed and didn’t own a left-handed guitar, so he played a right-handed guitar upside down. Whatever the side note, Eric Gales is an accomplished blues player who has published 19 albums two going number one, and he appears on an additional 31 albums.
Eric Gales is an engaging and entertaining performer, and The Hard Rock Live crowd showed their appreciation with multiple standing ovations. Gile plays effortlessly transcending the audience into his joy of performing. Just when you were getting into the groove, the set concluded. It was satisfying, but I am sure everyone wanted more as it was an exceptional performance.
Eric Gales – Guitar
Nick Hayes – Drums
Other musician’s names were not available
Kenny Wayne Shepherd and his band came on stage at 9:00 pm and ran off three songs before catching their breath and addressing the crowd. KWS is touring on his latest album Dirt on My Diamonds Vol. 1 which was released on November 17, 2023. Songs two and three were off the newest release, the title track, “Dirt on My Diamonds” and “Sweet & Low.” KWS has released eleven studio albums and two live albums. with nine of his albums going to number one on the U.S. Blues Chart.
Having the premier blues guitarist and the premier blues vocalist, Noah Hunt in the same band makes a great lineup. Then throw in Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, drummer Chris Layton (Stevie Ray Vaughan), Joe Krown on keyboards, and Kevin McCormick on bass, and you have got one powerhouse blues band.
KWS plays guitar with the appearance of ease like he has been touched by the hand of God. It’s unbelievable how good he is, and it floors me every time I see him perform. Kenny Wayne Shepherd has become the yearly show that I have looked forward to for the past three years. I believe KWS is the finest guitar player alive, with only being surpassed in ability by the late greats, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. This is a must-see show if you love watching a phenomenally gifted guitar player.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd – Lead Guitar/Vocals
Noah Hunt – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Percussion
Chris Layton – Drums
Kevin McCormick – Bass
Joe Krown – Keyboards
The horn player’s names were not available
2. Dirt on My Diamonds
3. Sweet & Low
4. Deja Voodoo
5. Shame, Shame, Shame
6. Never Lookin’ Back
7. Heat of the Sun
8. You Can’t Love Me
9. Ease My Mind
11. I Want You
12. Diamonds & Gold
13. Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting (Elton John cover)
14. Blue on Black
15. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
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Photographer and Editor/Founder of AllMusicMagazine.com. My love of live music has taken me to incredible experiences with the top bands of all time in stadium shows to the smallest venues with equally inspiring musicians. Using the medium of photography and my publication, these memories will last forever.