Jonny Lang is one of the most revered guitarists in the music business today. Jonny and the Runaway Saints made a highly anticipated tour stop at the Rialto Theatre on October 28, 2015 and they rocked the house! Lang once again delivered one of the most soul stirring and self-revealing shows performed at the Rialto! It was a night to remember.
The night started with indie alternative rockers, Runaway Saints. They took the stage for an energetic, romp through a set of self-penned songs. This is not a new group. The New England band has been together for eleven years. They moved from their home turf to Nashville to learn more about their craft. Recently, they pulled up stakes to relocate in Los Angeles. The band members number three now. Johnny Gates plays lead guitar and sings. Jamie Jarbeau is the bass man. Matt Scanion is the drummer.
Time was not wasted in Nashville though. They have honed their skills in songwriting and that was very apparent with their set. Much of their set list contained songs from their newly released EP, Runaway Saints. “Brooklyn Nights” is the first single from the new album and was the most personal song of the set. A set list is printed on a paper plate in the photos section.
One could sum up the night’s performance in one sentence. Jonny Lang started his set like he was on fire and he was relentless for two hours! Of course, I won’t stop there. The first song of the set was “Blew Up (The House)” and Jonny seemed to be literally trying to do that with his guitar and raspy voice. He immediately went into the “zone” where only he can go. Jonny’s eyes were closed, his body was in rhythm, and his fingers gripped the guitar and picked. He may have been channeling some blues singer from a hundred years ago or maybe God. Wherever he goes when he performs, no one knows and no one could take his/her eyes off of Jonny Lang. It is a fact that every Jonny Lang fan knows and it is what brings everyone back when he comes to town!
The current band includes Barry Alexander on drums, James Anton on bass, Keith Roberts on Keys, and Paul Bateman on guitar. The set list looks short, but the songs were anthems where Lang must go and each band member is allowed to expound their own talents with him. “Turn Around” found Jonny scatting with his guitar midway into the song and it ended with a resounding hard rock crescendo on the high end of the scale. Stevie Wonder’s “Livin’ For the City” seemed to be written for Lang and it is a staple of Lang’s set list. This allowed the band to show off its talent to an appreciative crowd. For a complete set list, click here.
The Rialto ‘house’ is intimate. The crowd was comfortable. They seemed to treat Jonny like a visiting relative. They shouted quips of love and song requests in between dancing, clapping, and singing along. The encore started with Lang solo on stage with an acoustic “Breakin’ Me” and “Lie To Me.” The band returned to the stage to rock out on “Lie To Me” midway through the song. The set was over far too soon for the crowd. The fans will have wait patiently another two years for Jonny Lang to expose himself inside out.