Supergroups have become a regular thing nowadays as musicians can work together from anywhere with technology. But once there was a time where they were far and few in between and the one still rockin, even after being away for three years, is The Winery Dogs. Though you’d never know it’s been three years since last they toured if you were in Sony Hall this past Friday here in New York City.
There was quite literally no room left in Sony Hall, a retro venue that you can walk by without notice, as the lights went out and “Who Let The Dogs Out?” came over the sound system. A perfect introduction for this trio that was faded out as you heard Mike Portnoy begin to pound on his kit ready to go. Then the lights hit and the room erupted as The Winery Dogs started the night off with “Elevate”. No question the right song selection to open the show because everyone was immediately elevated musically and getting into each moment.
You could see right away that three years meant nothing to the chemistry of this trio. Yes Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan have been together recently with Sons Of Apollo but these three have a chemistry all their own. Getting into each other’s performances and playing off each other. Which then in turn fueled the crowd even further.
The energy of the crowd and band showed no signs of slowing as The Winery Dogs clawed their way through the set with “Captain Love”, “Hot Streak”, and “Time Machine”. After all with just two albums out they could play any of their favorites which were also obvious fan favorites as each song got the same roar from the crowd.
Then they hit one of my personal favorites “The Other Side”, all I say is listen to it. The intensity of it only increases live and it lead right into Billy Sheehan’s solo which was without a doubt a clinic on what is possible on bass. He’s fingers flew, almost blurring, across the strings and fretboard.
After a return to The Winery Dogs library with “Ghost Town” it was Richie Kotzen’s time to shine. He took to a keyboard on the side of the stage to perform “The Road” from his solo material. A point where people would look for the bathrooms at any other show but not here. The crowd listening to every note and taking in a voice that more people should know.
After that Mike and Billy returned to roll through more of their tunes with “Regret” kicking off a final block ending with “Oblivion” which had the room singing along. Of course that wasn’t it as the encore included their version of “Fooled Around And Fell In Love”, which felt like we were just watching the trio jam and not performing. Then they kicked into “Desire” which gave everyone that last chance to get their energy out. Even Mike Portnoy got his full energy out as the set ended with him using his cymbal stand to beat on another set of cymbals before tossing it down to end the night.
Anyone who might’ve thought The Winery Dogs were done should think again. They still have plenty of barking still in them and I’ve got a gut feeling it won’t be three years before we get new music from them and see them on the prowl again.