WINGER – IV Tour ‘08
Friday Feb. 22nd – 2008
The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, New Jersey

The night’s trip took us up the Jersey Turnpike to the shore town of Asbury Park, NJ. On a night like this there would have to be a good reason to take the hour and a half excursion in the pouring rain. With that in mind I found my excuse in the melodic rock band - Winger. Since their debut in 1988 the band has delivered a steady flow of intense musicianship, supreme melodic hooks and, in my opinion, some of the most memorable AOR friendly songs written from that era.

The line-up at this time consists of: Kip Winger (lead vocals, bass, keyboards & guitar), Reb Beach (lead guitar), Rod Morgenstein (drums) and John Roth (guitar & keyboards). The band is, for the most part, original except for John Roth who replaced Paul Taylor on “The Pull” tour (1993). It was very cool to be able to see the band on this mini tour, before the members disband again for their other projects.

First of all let me give you a little insight of this nights venue. The Stone Pony is the bar made famous by such acts as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, John Cafferty and many other noteworthy Jersey sons. Just walking into the place and seeing all the photos and posters of past events at the club is a real cool trip back into the musical history of this area. I highly recommend, if anyone is in the area, to try and catch a show at The Stone Pony.

With barely a minute to spare we got to the club to setup and cover the show just as Winger hit the stage. As usual Kip & the boys were very precise, fine tuned and musically tight – with a very aggressive attack. Great guitar tones and excellent vocal harmonies included. They tore through an extra long set of songs including all the hits from their four releases and a few added surprises. One of the highlights of the set was a blue/grass-picking piece delivered by John Roth after “Blind Revolution Mad” as the second song of the night.

For those who are not familiar with John Roth, he joined the band quite some time ago as keyboard and rhythm guitarist when original member Paul Taylor had to leave to tour with Steve Perry. Since that time, John Roth has become a major part of the evolved Winger sound. He is a multi talented musician playing keyboard, guitar and bass with great vocal ability – and surprisingly to myself, superb lead guitar. I recommend checking out his solo CD’s to see what a great musician this guy is. Another great part of the show was the band showcasing a few of the songs from their latest CD, Winger IV.

After the song “Right Up Ahead” Reb Beach treated the crowd to an amazing guitar solo filled with all of the aggression and precise cemetery that you would expect from one of the busiest hired guns in the hard rock industry. The things that Reb does on the fretboard of the guitar sometime just seem impossible – but he makes it look and sound easy. A bit later in the set, the crowd was treated to a great Rod Morgenstein drum solo. Another very cool piece of music was presented in the encore with Kip Winger playing an acoustic 12-string guitar version of his song “Free.” He did so without vocals, with a great 12-string mix and killer tone. You can find this song on his solo CD, Songs From The Ocean Floor. To hear more of Kip and his acoustic mastery, be sure to check him out on some selected dates throughout the summer.

In all, the band played 16 songs with a little treat thrown in of the Kinks classic “You Really Got Me” with lead vocal by John Roth. The show was typically great from my standpoint. I have been lucky enough to see the band many times, and they always deliver on the highest level. Be sure to check out Reb Beach on the upcoming Whitesnake tour. I would like to thank the club and staff at The Stone Pony – and very special thanks and shout out to Nancy B. Sayle @ VQPR – thanks for all your help, YOU ROCK!!!



SET-LIST:

Blind Revolution Mad, Loosen Up, Easy Come Easy Go, Your Great Escape, Down Incognito, Rainbow In The Rose, Junk Yard Dog (Tears On Stone), Right Up Ahead, Reb Beach solo, You Are The Saint, I Am The Sinner, Rod Morgenstein solo, Headed For A Heartbreak, Can’t Get Enough, Seventeen, Who’s The One, Miles Away, Madalaine, You Really Got Me

Review and photos by Johnny Rodgers
Email: johnnyrocker12@excite.com