George Thorogood roared thoroughly bad-ass to almost 8,000 fans at the final installment of the Party in the Park series last Thursday night. At 62, the Delaware Destroyer still has it, switching from lowdown, gutbucket bluesman a la Hound Dog Taylor to a flashy showman reminiscent of Little Richard. Thorogood offers nothing new, but his fans — myself included — aren't really looking for anything other than his savage guitar boogie and post-vaudeville, hep-cat shuck 'n' jive. He is typically a minimalist to the max, yet his stage set up, with all its computer-driven lights and video screen (it looked like a giant Lite Brite) seemed more U2 "Zoo TV" than Junior Kimbrough juke joint. No matter: close your eyes and Thorogood stands alone with that gruff and grizzled voice that suits his age now more than it did when I first saw him at the War Memorial more than 30 years ago.
The Veins opened the show. The band now features the father-son line-up of Jet DiProjetto on guitar and his son Zane on drums. Man, how time flies. First I realize that I've been going to rock shows for more than 30 years, next I see a little bastard who it seems like only yesterday was on his dad's shoulders at a KISS concert in Buffalo, and now he's beating the hell out of the drums. The Junior DiProjetto is mechanically similar to his uncle and former Veins drummer, Rob Filardo, but has his own sense of style and presence. It occurred to me as the band pounded out its powerful, heavy rock in the antithetical light of day that I don't think the group has any songs that aren't in a minor key.
Sandwiched between The Veins and Thorogood's guts was drummer and Grammy Award-winning producer Tom Hambridge. The balls on this guy. He took the stage with one snare drum and a ride cymbal, and that was it. He, along with a guitarist and bassist, proceeded to tear up the joint. Despite his abbreviated arsenal, Hambridge (who produced Thorogood's latest release) pounded out the boogie that was part blues, part Southern rock, and all right.