Friday, June 6, 2014

Next Best Thing Presents: Satisfaction Concert Review

Movin' and Groovin'

Nobody does a live show better than the Rolling Stones (with the possible exception of U2) but you can make a serious case for cover band extraordinaire Satisfaction, who brought the house down last night at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club. I've seen my fair share of tribute acts; but none come close to these guys. From Chris LeGrand's spot-on impersonation of Mick Jagger to the band's meticulous attention to detail, you'd swear you were back in 1960's Middlesbrough at The Outlook.

Normally, the actual Stones would play FedEx Field or (at the very least) Verizon Center; so you can imagine how cool it was to see Satisfaction in the cozy confines of Bethesda Blues & Jazz. Rick Brown has done a standout job transforming the former Bethesda Cinema 'N Drafthouse into one of the area's nicest music venues. Brown was on hand to introduce Satisfaction, a task he appeared to relish in. BB&J celebrated their 15th month anniversary last week, and have already played host to more than 45,000 customers to see the likes of Wynonna Judd, Branford Marsalis and The Flamingos. Earlier this week, they hosted legendary rockers Pablo Cruise: Grammy winner Rickie Lee Jones visits on June 22nd.

After a delicious meal (review to follow) I settled in for the show. Mick (LeGrand) came out in trademark skinny pants and a red scarf, just one of several outfits for the evening. By the time they got to Tumbling Dice, Mick had already ditched the scarf. Next up, Under My Thumb, which brought the first couple from the audience to the dance floor in front of the stage. Before you get too excited, keep in mind most of the dancers were on the other side of 60. Those dance moves may have looked sexy four decades ago, but now...

Jagger whipped out his tambourine for The Last Time, as more couples spilled out to the dance floor. By the time they broke into Let's Spend the Night Together, you couldn't help but notice how great a time everyone was having. When song #6 Time is on My Side began, I almost joined them (don't worry, I didn't.)

Eight songs in, Satisfaction paid tribute to The Temptations with Just My Imagination. A cover band covering another band? That takes guts, don't you think? It gave me time to appreciate Keith Richards (a near double from a distance, but quite a few years younger) and the magnetic Mick; but the other three members literally melted into the background. Mick took a breather, which allowed for a few guitar riffs/solos; before the lead singer returned to perform Sympathy for the Devil... complete with dark shades and a blood red & black jacket, fitted in typical Jagger fashion.

By now, the dance floor was almost full. It began to resemble a tai chi class out there, reinforcing the stereotype that "white people can't dance." Thankfully it didn't put a dent into the music. A rousing performance of It's Only Rock 'n Roll led the way into a 10-minute intermission, which gave the dancers a chance to take a well-deserved (and needed) break.

After intermission, Mick rejoined his bandmates, decked out in an eye-catching white jacket. The show slipped into "unplugged" mode with great songs like Wild Horses and Mother's Little Helper. In between, LeGrand rocked the house with an amazing rendition of Ruby Tuesday: The real Mick would have been proud.

At this point, they had performed 18 songs... a full concert for most; but just the beginning for Satisfaction. Sufficiently "warmed-up," they jumped into smash hits like Gimme Shelter and Paint It Black, two of my all-time favorites. Song #24 Honky Tonk Women wrapped up after 10:15, and these guys showed no signs of letting up. I wanted to stay; but evidently, I'm the one who's getting old.

Two things are for certain: The Rolling Stones have an incredible library of hits, and Satisfaction plays almost all of it brilliantly. I'd gladly come back to see them again. Perhaps I'll take a nap beforehand... There's nothing worse than "turning in" before a bunch of folks, 20+ years my senior.

Grade: B+