Wicked Concert at Rodney Strong ….

I thought I hung up my rock n’ roll writing shoes many moons ago (check my bio on here for reasons why, haha). Although, the Insider always tries to bleed a little of that rock n’ roll spirit into my food and wine writing.  When I saw Rodney Strong Vineyard’s concert series was kicking off with a Chris Isaak show, I couldn’t wait to put on my blue suede shoes and go.

Like your first taste of an amazing wine, I remember exactly where I was when I heard Chris Isaak for the first time. I was at a Greek joint that served a tasty, meat full breakfast and Wicked Game came over the stereo.  At first I thought it was Roy Orbison, but it was darker, more haunting and that’s saying something. It’s no coincidence that director David Lynch, not exactly Mr. Light and Bright, used an instrumental version of Wicked Game in Wild At Heart, which gave it a boost into becoming a hit. Check out a hilarious Chris Isaak TV show where he tries to bluff a reporter about what great buddies he and Roy Orbison were.

But like Eric Clapton said when he first heard Stevie Ray Vaughan, I knew I had to find out who that was and get that Wicked Game song. Even if the rest of the album was awful, there’d still be that great song. Yes, we’ve all been there, the one good song album!! Ha ha! But thankfully the Heart Shaped World album was fine, with another terrific track, Blue Spanish Sky, a marvelous moody vocal and Spanish trumpet that I can’t decide if you need a Cava or Roja to drink while listening to it.

So after seeing Isaak twice, once at Toronto’s Massey Hall, was late and missed Wicked Game, and once when he opened for Bonnie Raitt, where he went into this LOL rap about checking into a sleazy motel and taking pictures before going into Baby Did A Bad Thing, I knew I was in for a good show at Rodney Strong.

I didn’t know how much fun it was going to be. Imagine a cloudless blue sky, a rocking, laid back crowd intent on digging the music. A tight, rockabilly band who’ve been playing together for over 25 years with some excellent songs and a singer with a huge voice and sense of humor equals a great show!!

I loved every minute of it, but if I could pick a moment that was really cool—it was when Chris brought up drummer Kenney Johnson to the front of the stage.  Kenney has been with Isaak 30 years and came through cancer last year.   They did a call and response song. I always loved Johnson’s droll delivery on Isaak’s TV show.

Isaak is touring behind his new album, First Comes The Night and while his new songs went over fine, I still loved Wicked Game and Baby Did a Bad Thing the best. Special thanks to Alisa at Rodney Strong and Debora at Mitchell & Company. Check out www.rodneystrong.com/events for upcoming concerts and events.  Kenny Loggins, Chris Botti and Kool & the Gang are coming.