|On Wednesday, February 15, 2023, The Winery Dogs kicked off their 202III Tour in support of their appropriately named new album III at The Palace Theater in Greensburg, PA. Following a seven-year break from the studio, the album which was released earlier this month on the band’s Three Dog Music label (via Burnside Distribution/The Orchard) on CD and all digital formats will be out on vinyl as well in the coming few months.|
III is self-produced by the band (Richie Kotzen, Mike Portnoy, and Billy Sheehan) like their previous two releases, and was mixed by longtime band associate Jay Ruston.
The evening began with local opener, We Came From Space, who were formed as a small alternative rock collective for creating borderless music by a keyboardist Bill Hubauer (Neal Morse Band), a guitarist Dave Buzard, a drummer Tim Malone, and a bassist Dave Hawk.
The prog band describes themselves as four guys traveling the universe and saving rock and roll. You can learn more at https://www.wecamefromspace.net/about.
|Watching The Winery Dogs jam on new material and older favorites was a pleasure as always. It is hard to describe their show to someone who has never seen them before. I guess you could say, ‘you know how there is usually that moment with the members of the band show off with something really cool that totally draws you in and grabs your attention… Well, with the talents that are Richie Kotzen on lead vocals and guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass and vocals and Mike Portnoy on drums and vocals, the entire show is one of those moments’. From the falsetto pleas of frontman Kotzen to the two-handed fretwork of bassist Sheehan to the transitions from vocal support to the heavy grooves coming from Portnoy’s drum kit, the show was one big highlight.|
|Even without radio airplay, videos for the first two songs to be released from the new album—“Xanadu” and “Mad World,” both directed by Vicente Cordero–have already accumulated over 1.2 million views on YouTube. So it was no surprise to find both songs included in the set. Having been busy capturing the fun for the first three songs, I for one was very happy that they saved my favorite groove “Hot Streak” from their 2015 sophomore release of the same name for the fifth song in the set so that I could fully enjoy it after packing up my gear.|
And while I’m sure the prog audience will point out a missed cue or two and the microphone fail as the band returned to encore with Kotzen at the piano to tear at our hearts with “Regret,” but seriously, their worst night is better than the best night of most performers we’ve seen at this historic theater.
The band followed the ballad by taking us higher with “Elevate” before taking a bow and sincerely thanking their fans for being there on opening night. For fans of the previous and other current projects of the members of The Winery Dogs, who are unsure what to expect, I’d encourage you to read on, and while we captured some live video during the show on our Facebook feed @ThePureRockShop, I’d also encourage you to get out and experience the band for yourself.
“Our objective is to give people a truly pleasant listening experience,” outlines Kotzen. “Our music is created by real people playing real instruments, with all of us doing it in a room together. There’s nothing artificial about it.” Notes Sheehan, “I’d like our listeners to be transported in a way that they can experience what we are going through. Our records are snapshots of life, and how we’re living it. Our music reflects what’s important to us, and what isn’t.”
Concludes Portnoy, “The strength of this band is, first and foremost, it’s about the songs. Then comes the musicianship, which is obviously important. What makes The Winery Dogs so great is, every one of these songs is memorable, catchy, and singable, but at the same time, you have this great musicianship in all three departments. It’s like a three-ring circus. No matter who you’re watching or listening to, you will always be entertained.”
|Check out The Winery Dogs at any of the following tour stops, with more to be announced in the coming weeks and posted on the band’s website and social media pages. All ticket links and VIP packages are available at: www.thewinerydogs.com|
TONIGHT!! Feb 16th – Jim Thorpe, PA – Penn’s Peak
TOMORROW Feb 17th – Glenside, PA – Keswick Theater
Feb 18th – Patchogue, NY – Patchogue Theater
Feb 21st – New York City, NY – Sony Hall
Feb 22nd – Baltimore, MD – Ram Heads Live
Feb 23rd – Sayreville, NJ – Starland Ballroom
Feb 25th – Ridgefield, CT – Ridgefield Playhouse
Feb 26th – Derry, NH – Tupelo Music Hall
Feb 27th – Newton, NJ – The Newton Theater
March 1st – Columbus, OH – King Of Clubs
March 2nd – Cleveland, OH – Agora Theater
March 3rd – Wabash, IN – Eagles Theatre
March 5th – Green Bay, WI – Epic Event Center
March 6th – Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Cafe
March 9th – Milwaukee, WI – Pabst Theater
March 10th – St Charles, IL – Arcada Theater
March 11th – Westland, MI – Token Lounge
March 13th – Grand Rapids, MI – DeVos Hall
March 14th – Harrison, OH – Blue Note
March 17th – Dallas, TX – Amplified
March 18th – Cedar Park, TX – The Haute Spot
March 19th – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live Ballroom
March 21st – New Orleans, LA – House Of Blues
March 22nd – Birmingham AL – Iron City
March 24th – St Petersburg, FL – Jannus Live
March 25th – Ft Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
March 26th – Orlando, FL – The Plaza
March 28th – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
March 30th – Virginia Beach, VA – Elevation 27
March 31st – Hopewell VA – Hopewell Theater
April 1st – Leesburg, VA – Tally Ho Theater
April 2nd – Charlotte, NC – The Underground
April 4th – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel
April 5th – Knoxville, TN – The Mill & Mine
April 6th – Nashville, TN – Brooklyn Bowl
More tour dates are coming soon!
For more from the band, check our archives which include an interview with Richie Kotzen from his 2018 solo tour.
Follow us @ThePureRockShop for more local concerts including Kings of Thrash, Enuff Z’ Nuff, Queensryche, Ugly Kid Joe, Riki Rachtman, and That Arena Rock Show, as well as festival coverage in 2023 including more from the Rokisland Festival in Key West, Monsters of Rock Cruise, M3 Rock Festival and more.
Review and Photos by Editor and founder Kara Marie Uhrlen. Posted February 16, 2023.