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POP MUSIC REVIEW : George Thorogood and 'Mr. Ed': They Deliver

July 30, 1988|DUNCAN STRAUSS

Attending a George Thorogood concert is not unlike watching "Mr. Ed" reruns.

They're both warming, amusing and pleasantly predictable experiences. You know Ed's going to wear his glasses or dial the phone the same way each time, and George is always going to crank out lots of rootsaboogie rockers topped with piercing slide-guitar bursts and foghorn vocals, and insert local references into the lyrics and work the stage with all manner of high-energy antics.

Thorogood and his band the Destroyers held true to form Thursday at the Long Beach Arena, presenting nothing much unexpected. But Thorogood is good at what he does, and he's carved out a growing niche over the years--though not large enough to fill the upper sections of the 14,000-seat arena.

But most of those who did attend were standing on their seats, dancing non-stop from the longtime opener "Long Gone" through such souped-up chestnuts as "Who Do You Love," "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" and "Move It On Over." There were even some new tunes in the set, including the title track of the recent "Born to Be Bad" LP.

If the show was thin on surprises, indeed a bit formulaic, a rollicking good time was had by all--and an award should probably go to Destroyer MVP Hank Carter, saxophonist extraordinaire, who achieved some of the wildest honking this side of Thorogood's voice.

Brian Setzer opened the show with some fairly blistering boogie of his own. Although he mixed Stray Cats songs and solo material, his 50-minute performance actually sounded more cohesive--and much better--than his new album. Of course, trading guitar licks with Dave Edmunds on two numbers didn't exactly hurt.

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