- photo by Michael Sherer
Right wing politics and classic rock anthems come hand-in-hand at a Ted Nugent concert, and during his show in NYC, a much more diverse and liberal place than most any other, the Nuge needed to be careful and stayed clear of much talking about his politics. He stuck mainly to his meaty and very loud rock and roll for this nearly full club date in the heart of Times Square/tourist central location.
Supplying the volume were a stack of specialty made Kustom and Magnatone amplifiers. Nugent, bassist Greg Smith and drummer Jason Hartless could be heard from hundreds of feet away. Nugent, who in the ‘70’s wore a loin cloth on stage, opened with a energized rendition of America’s national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Nugent has always had blues and old time rock and roll in his music, and the blues classic “Baby, Please Don’t Go” – first made popular by Delta bluesman Big Joe Williams back in 1935, followed. Nugent’s ‘70’s era hits were expected and delivered such as “Stranglehold,” “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Free For All.” There were also lesser known songs from his most prolific ‘70’s glory, such as “Good Friends And A Bottle Of Wine,” Paralyzed” and “Fred Bear.” The vocalist and co guitraist of Nugent’s biggest songs in the ‘70’s was Derek St. Holmes. Holmes has been guesting at some shows in the past few years, but for a long time they had been estranged. Nugent sang himself here, but St. Holmes is a stronger singer for sure.
The Nuge, as he’s also called, is now 68 but still has much energy and looks younger than he is. Not known for being humble, Nugent said ” “I know why you’re all here, to hear some of the greatest guitar riffs in the history of rock and roll. I know, ‘cause I wrote ’em all.” He then ripped into the riff to “Gonzo.”
While it was nearly a full house of a few hundred people, but I couldn’t help but to think how Nugent filled stadiums in his late ‘70’s heyday. But alas, that’s the way it goes for much of Nugent’s baby boomer contemporaries. Nugent is happy to still be healthy and working, though. He showed much enthusiasm when closing out the show with “The Great White Buffalo/Spirit of the Wild.” Appropriate for this renegade who’s still louder, prouder and more untamed in many ways than any other performer I can think of.