Jonny Lang brings Signs to NY
Jonny Lang (Adam Ezra) | The Paramount in Huntington, NY
There are not many people that can say they have had a robust career for over two decades at the remarkable age of only thirty-six, but Jonny Lang can. At the tender age of 12, Lang began to play guitar and became notably referred to as a ‘guitar prodigy.’ He released his first album Smokin’ in 1995 under the band name Kid Jonny Lang & The Big Band. He then released his first solo album in 1997 at the age of 15, Lie To Me, and soon it went Platinum. From there his career just soared and by 2007 he won his first Grammy Award.
With a brand new album, Signs, just being released in September, Lang has been on the road in support of it since early August. With the fall season now in full swing, on October 19th, the evening sky was dark but the brightly lit marquee showed the way for fans as they walked up Main Street in Huntington, NY to The Paramount for Lang’s stop here on the tour. Fans of all ages came to see Lang perform including the very young; about the same age that Lang started playing guitar.
Starting the night off was a solo act, Adam Ezra of the Adam Ezra Group. Standing alone on the stage, bare foot, with an acoustic guitar that was so seasoned it could tell a story all on it’s own, Ezra drew the audience right in and by the time he finished his third song, “Something To Break,” they were cheering for him as if they had been long time fans.
Ezra would talk between songs and share his life experiences, one such experience was about the long hours on the road and “The more I travel the country the more I realize we are more the same than different.” Ezra paid tribute to one of his hero’s, Gregg Allman, by playing “Melissa” and he shared a fun story about his girlfriend and her family by closing his set with “Steal Your Daughter.” As the audience was cheering and clapping for him, he invited them to join him at a table in the lobby before literally jumping off the stage.
During the intermission more and more people filled in the spaces on the venue’s floor and the mezzanine was tightening too. The anticipation grew as Lang’s fans knowing he is not only a force to be reckoned with his incredible blues style guitar playing but he also has a unique smooth yet raspy voice, with many ranges to his vocals. With that being said the time finally came when Lang and his band, Zane Carney (rhythm guitar), James Anton (bass), Tyrus Sass (keyboards) and Barry Alexander (drums) came out on stage.
Kicking right into high gear they started the night with “Blew Up (The House),” rolled right into “Freight Train” and played the title track off of his brand new album, “Signs.” Lang took a moment to ask, “How are you all tonight?” to which he got a full response of howling and cheering, people were already having a great time. After playing another new tune, “Snakes,” Lang took some time to introduce his touring band mates and he said to the fans, “Thank you guys for coming out, we love you!”
The next song was “Red Light – Everything Is Going to Be Alright” and the crowd turned it into a sing along. Once the song was over Lang raised his water bottle to the crowd and gave a heartfelt thank you to them for their participation. As they began the cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City,” Carney played a solo as an introduction to the song, then mid-song there were many solo liberties with Lang and the other band mates, including an extended solo by Sass, and even though it was a cover song Lang and the band made it their own.
Treating the crowd to another new song they played, “Last Man Standing” and then took his fans back in time with “Turn Around.” Then after “Angel of Mercy” they took a quick break, even though it may seem that they may not have played many songs it should not go without saying, with Lang playing guitar solo’s throughout each song the songs were more lengthy than their recorded versions. Returning to the stage for a three song encore they rocked the house with “Rack ‘Em Up” and “Bring Me Back Home” and finished the night by combining “Breakin’ Me” and “Lie to Me.”
Lang is truly a Guitar Prodigy and like a fine wine he improves with age. Watching him play it is hard not to take note of how deeply into his playing he gets and the audience enjoyed getting lost in those moments with him. Lang often looked to the sky as he played and his facial expressions told you everything you needed to know about how much he loves what he does. Lang and his extremely proficient band are currently touring overseas and will be returning to the United State for more shows late November and continuing till nearly spring 2018. Do not miss an opportunity to see him live, this is one guitarist like no other.