Steve Winwood

How much better concert value can you get for 130 bucks? A true rock legend opens for a rock legend.

It was so nice for change to see the floor almost full and the upper and lower bowls pretty packed for the opening band.
Steve Winwood came out in his loose white un-tucked white dress shirt and with a jaunty wave promptly sits down at the keyboards and plows into some new material from his recent release Nine Lives. I hadn’t heard any of the new material but after hearing the first 2 songs I understand why the CD is doing so well in Europe. The songs had a blues / jazzy / rock sound. I can’t say for sure but I think 1 was a song called Dirty City, which had a gorgeous prolonged instrumental that took us out there for what seemed like 10 minutes. How many great Traffic tunes had instrumentals? Answer: all of them. Do you remember Rock & Roll Stew? Percussion throughout the set was outstanding. There seemed to that almost ethereal bongo sound happening / reverberating throughout. The band overall was excellent. There was a sax player and some point a flute was being played.

There were 2 drum kits up there aside from the Petty kit and the second got the workout in latter portion of the set. I felt that the volume in the first half of the set could have been higher. That would be my only complaint. I guess rock legend or no rock legend the opening band doesn’t get full sound system benefit.


Steve politely stated he would be playing songs from his past along with new material and mentioned the new album by name. He let everyone know they were in for a treat with Tom Petty and then he went into playing Blind Faith‘s Can’t Find My Way Home (most seats were full by this point – if a Blind Faith tune can’t get you to watch Steve Winwood – go the f**k home) and Traffic’s Dear Mr. Fantasy. This was easily the highlight for me. Both tunes featured Steve’s excellent work on his pale green fender stratocaster, especially on Dear Mr. Fantasy. This song also got the biggest crowd reaction with a nice standing ovation at its conclusion.


Steve fit in a Spencer Davis Group tune I’m A Man that received a kind and very respectful audience reaction. It came across as a ” yeah… you were amazing even when you were 15 years old”. Steve played a good hour and a bit finishing with Higher Love from Back in High Life and Higher Ground, a song he originally did with Stevie Wonder a while back. 2 excellent songs to finish out the set. Steve Winwood and his band take their bow while receiving another much -deserved standing ovation.

Steve Winwood Band

I heard all the Winwood stuff through the 80’s and 90’s Arc Of a Diver, Back In The Highlife, Roll with It. His music was always there you know on radio in the background somehow but not like Traffic was for me. Traffic was gift from my late older brother who turned me on to all kinds of great music. Music was a place we shared. Tim was very much present with me last night when Steve was playing.

See you in the front row….


A few more Photos from this opening band

Comments (7)
  1. The moment for me during this show was the Guitar work during Dear Mr. Fantasy. He went left, he went right, I felt the song, I felt the solo and then he raised the hair on the back of my neck…. as the rest of the audience started to chime in… this moment for me over took even last weeks Clapton Show. Yes. Thats what I said… I cannot even imagine this on full system volume. Listen to that last 20 secs with the drums/guitar medley and crank it…… That’s why we go to rock Concerts!

  2. I have to say this was the best concert ever for me with having two of my favorite bands playing and at the Hollywood Bowl. I hadn’t been to a concert in years and it was an awesome experience. The weather was great and boy did those boys ROCK! The guitar playing was JAMMING!
    The best song to me that Winwood played was “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.” A favorite of my older brother Bill who turned me on to Traffic. I called him when it was playing and let Stevie sing on the message machine. Bill will get his mojo rising when he hears it tomorrow.
    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were awesome with all their hits. Every time they ended a song the lights went out as if the concert was going to end. We all knew they were taking a water break. We gotta give these rockers a huge hand. I hope the new generation gets to know the talent in Steve Winwood and can appreciate him as much as they obviously love Tom Petty.
    Rock on, peace and love. Nikkipaige

  3. It sure was a treat seeing these guys in one show is for sure. I can only imagine how things would have sounded with the system on full setting as they do for the main band – Petty in this case. I see why people when nuts to see Winwood and Clapton together at MSG.

    Thanks for stopping in Nikkipaige


  4. I’m going to see this show tonight. Just for Steve, mind you. I could not care less about Petty (sorry, fans). Thanks for the reviews. I love the new album, but was wondering what classics I might expect to hear and now I have an idea of what to look forward to.

  5. Wow! What a show. Here’s the set list from the Raleigh show:

    1. I’m a Man
    2. Hungry Man
    3. I’m Not Drowning
    4. Can’t Find My Way Home
    5. Dirty City
    6. Fly
    7. Higher Love
    8. Dear Mr. Fantasy
    9. Gimme Some Lovin’

    I wouldn’t have minded more classic solo material, but what can you expect in 1:15? The man rocks harder at 60 than most people at 20.

  6. You are right. Todd…(who wrote the above review) was originally going to see Steve and Eric Clapton in New York but ended up not going. Wow what a show that must have been. He told me from the outset of buying these tix that hey “we’re getting in their early… we cannot miss Winwood” Glad I didn’t.

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