Concert: The Winery Dogs
Venue: Culture Room, Ft. Lauderdale, FL – March 25th, 2023
Photos: Larry Marano Photography
The Winery Dogs have returned from a 7-year hiatus and are seemingly bigger then ever. Their new album ‘III’ has been a huge success, led by the singles “Xanadu” and “Mad World”, and now the band have been selling out venues all over the East coast. In fact, they probably need to talk with their booking agent because they easily outsold The Culture Room in Ft. Lauderdale, which seemed to jam 1000 people into a 600 capacity room. If you didn’t arrive on time, chances are you couldn’t squeeze through the door to get in. But, if you did get inside, you were treated to a killer 2-hour rock show.
The Winery Dogs bring a no-frills mentality to the stage. All they need is each other and their instruments and they can set the stage on fire simply with their musicianship. With Mike Portnoy on drums, Billy Sheehan on bass, and Richie Kotzen on guitar and vocals, you know you’re gonna get the absolute best performances and on this breezy South Florida night, the band did not disappoint.
They kicked off with a pair of tracks from III, opening with the fast-paced “Gaslight” before diving into the prog majesty of “Xanadu”. Two tracks from the band’s sophomore album followed in “Captain Love” and “Hot Streak”. These songs get new life on stage and are a reminder that the second album has it’s share of killers. The band’s first ever single “Desire” followed next and got the rowdy crowd singing along. From there, the band mixed in a few more new songs and tracks from their stellar debut album, which is now 10 years old. They closed the main set with “Oblivion”, the standout track from Hot Streak.
The highlight of the show was the encore featuring perhaps the band’s two best tracks. Richie sat at the keys to start the powerful “Regret” before switching back to guitar during the song. Of course, the band then closed on “Elevate” which once again had the whole place jumping and singing during the chorus. It was a great way to end the show.
Each of the these guys have tremendous resumes and yet never fail to bring it when playing live. This is why this band has succeeded where other supergroups fail. They have gotten out on the road and built a powerful and fun live band. There is no reason for them to let up now. If you get a chance to catch The Winery Dogs, don’t miss it. And get there early!