Kenny Wayne Shepherd: Revolution Hall Gig Review

After multiple delays over the past two years due to COVID, Kenny Wayne Shepherd was finally able to perform his 25 anniversary tour. Because of the delay he named the tour after his 1997 release Trouble Is rather than his 1995 debut album Ledbetter Heights. When he finally appeared at Revolution Hall in Portland, Oregon on Wednesday, March 23, 2022. Many of the ticket holders had been holding their tickets since early 2020.

I talked to three members of the audience about their familiarity with Kenny Wayne Shepherd and one of them had been holding his ticket for over two years and drove 70 miles to attend. A couple that I talked to traveled 250 miles from the California border to enjoy the show and all of them had been following him since he began performing. There was no opening act and it was a night totally dominated by Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The set began a few minutes after 8:00 PM with “Trouble Is,” the title song from Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s second album, and was followed by “Somehow, Somewhere, Someway,” also from the same album. In fact, nine of the 14 songs performed at the show were from the Trouble Is album, but then that was the title of the tour.

Bob Dylan’s “Everything Is Broken” was a crowd pleaser after which Kenny talked to the audience and told them how much he appreciated their support. Then he played a song from his most recent album 2019’s The Traveler called “I Want You.” Kenny played in tandem with keyboardist Joe Krown on the organ and then moved to the other side of the stage to do the same with both Joe Sublett on saxophone and then Mark Pender on trumpet until he fried the frets with a guitar solo conclusion.

Kenny sang lead on “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” which is from his band “The Rides” with 1960’s legends Stephen Stills and Barry Goldberg. Everyone in the band took a short solo from keyboards to horns with Layton beating out time with a throbbing rhythm as the guitar began to punctuate the vocals until the song concluded with another stellar solo.

Noah Hunt sang lead on “Kings Highway” as he caressed the mic stand and took center stage with Kenny joining him jamming on his guitar to the metronomic beat of Chris Layton’s drums. Hunt stayed center stage as they segued into “True Lies” whose lyrics he spat out while Shepherd accompanied him with the rest of the band. Once again the guitar came up front and center as its Shaman conjured up sounds bordering on spiritual emanations. By the end of the song, Hunt was performing military maneuvers with the microphone stand.

The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band performs at Revolution Hall in Portland, Oregon.

Kenny explained that he grew up in the era of the power ballad and he said that “I Found Love When I Found You” was his contribution. Over the years many people have contacted him to say how important the song was to them. Some even used it for their weddings. Noah sang lead and played an acoustic guitar while Kenny hit a short instrumental while Chris Layton kept a slow rhythmic beat.

“Diamonds and Gold” had both Noah and Kenny singing lead individually and in harmony with Kenny doing a couple of short solos before he went into a full long one. They sang the refrain “Diamonds and Gold” repeatedly as Kevin McCormick took over with a solo on his bass guitar. Layton played in tandem with his metronomic backbeat. Sublett’s saxophone came in next followed by Pender’s trumpet as the band performed an extended jam that segued into Joe Krown taking over on the organ. Chris Layton’s drums were infectious as the band changed tunes to “Slow Ride” with Kenny wailing on the wah wah pedal until he broke into another solo.

The band’s last song of the set was B. B. King’s “You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now” which appeared on Goin’ Home in 2014. It was Joe Krown’s opportunity to ravage the keys on his electric piano like an insane madman before he switched back over to his Hammond B3. Then Kenny began an extended solo that brought down the house. When the band concluded and left the stage the sold out auditorium burst into thunderous applause, screams and whistles.

After a minute the band returned for an encore as they dove into Shepherd’s #1 hit “Blue on Black” from Trouble Is. Noah sang lead as Kenny began playing an acoustic guitar on a stand while wearing his electric axe. After a minute Kenny began playing his electric guitar with electronic distortion as Kevin McCormick’s bass emanated a throbbing beat. Shepherd burst into an extended solo as the enraptured audience went nuts.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd on stage at Revolution Hall.

Slim Harpo’s “I’m a King Bee” followed with a driving beat as Kenny played a ethereal sounding guitar reminiscent of Duane Eddy. Once again Joe Krown outdid himself on keyboards until Kenny took over and ended the song with an extended solo. For the final song of the night Kenny donned a ruby red guitar and began playing the wah wah pedal for the intro to Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child Slight Return” which has been a staple in his shows since the first time that I saw him in 1996. Noah raised the microphone stand and pointed it towards the audience and then raised it over his head like he was presenting a religious relic for adoration until he lowered it and began singing into it.

“Well I stand up next to a mountain

And chop it down with the edge of my hand.”

Kenny stepped forward and mesmerized the audience with his guitar pyrotechnics for a few minutes until Noah came in with the next verse. After he finished the verse he walked off stage as Kenny came front and center brandishing his axe while he played posing in a half dozen classic stances. After five minutes of solo jamming on guitar, Layton and McCormick joined in on drums and bass to help bring the song to its conclusion with all the band members who then came forward and took a bow before the thunderously clapping audience a few minutes before 10:00 PM.

Bob Gersztyn

As a teenager in Detroit, Michigan during the early 1960’s Bob Gersztyn saw many Motown and other R&B artists including Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. After his discharge from the army in 1968 he attended school on the GI Bill and spent the next 3 years attending concerts and festivals weekly. It was the seminal period in Detroit rock & roll that Bob witnessed spawning the MC5 and Stooges along with shows featuring everyone from Jimi Hendrix and the “Doors” to B. B. King and John Lee Hooker. In 1971 He moved to Los Angeles, California to finish his schooling where he became an inner city pastor promoting and hosting gospel concerts. He moved to Oregon in 1982 and began photographing and reviewing concerts for music publications. Since that time he has published myriads of photographs, articles, interviews, and contributed to 2 encyclopedias and published 6 books on everything from music to the military. His rock & roll photo art is available for sale on Etsy @: Bob may be contacted personally at

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