George Thorogood brought The Destroyers to Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios Orlando, Florida on March 10, 2020. It’s been three years since Orlando has seen George in his 45 year career. It was a chilly Tuesday night and the crowd was scarce, but that didn’t deter those who came to the venue to see this rock and roll icon. His fans loved every minute of the show and failed to leave even after the house lights came up hoping for one more encore. Mark Horan of MarkHoran.Pictures LLC was on hand to cover the show and put it into his own words.
I have seen George Thorogood and The Destroyers a total of nine times over five decades. From performing as an opening act on The Rolling Stones 1981 Tattoo You Tour in front of 70,000 fans at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California to playing in a cafeteria high rise just months later to just over 100 people, George Thorogood always plays his heart out and leaves no one feeling they haven’t gotten their money’s worth.
It was a treat to see Nick Schnebelen Band with his brand of blues funk as the opening act on this bill. Nick Schnebelen is not an unknown, having been a part of the band Trampled Under Foot with his brother and sister. Trampled Under Foot won the International Blues Challenge in 2008, and their 2013 release “Badlands” won “Contemporary Blues Album of the Year” in 2014. Trampled Under Foot disbanded in 2015, and Nick Schnebelen went out on his solo career. His debut album “Crazy All By Myself” was released in 2019 covering different genres ranging from blues, rock, funk, to soul.
Nick Schnebelen quickly got the crowd involved as he played a high tempo set and engaged the Hard Rock crowd between songs. His guitar abilities were exceptional. I couldn’t help but to compare him to the energy of George Thorogood when he wore a younger mans clothes. I would love to see Nick Schnebelen again, playing a longer set, as I have the sneaking suspicion there was a lot more he could give in a different setting. I was left wanting more and I’m sure I wasn’t alone.
- Nick Schnebelen – Guitar
- Cliff Moore – Bass Guitar
- Adam Hagerman – Drums
At about 10 minutes past 9:00 pm, the house light dimmed. The stage was mostly dark and a recording of “Eve Of Destruction” by Barry McGuire started playing through the P.A. system. This is George Thorogood and The Destroyers signature start to their show. The song ended and George came out from stage left with a headband, sunglasses, dressed in black. He slowly strolled to the open microphone at center stage as he strapped on a black Epiphone guitar and stared at the crowd as they cheered wildly. Then pausing and taking in the applause, he belted out, “How Sweet It Is!” This is another signature George Thorogood uses at the start of the show. Immediately, the band broke into “Rock Party”. The next song in the set was the Bo Diddly’s “Who Do You Love”, a favorite of mine over the years. I knew it was going to be a special night. At some point, the sunglasses came off and later the headband was discarded.
A Destroyers show isn’t complete without “Bad to The Bone” culminating a peak in the show. Then George went off stage as the band played on. He returned after changing in to a black Destroyers t-shirt. Without a guitar in hand he sang “Twenty Dollar Gig”, showcasing the talented saxophonist, Buddy Leach. Next, Thorogood strapped on a white Epiphone and completed the set with the Hank Williams cover, “Move it On Over.” George and the band then vacated the stage. After two or three minutes, they returned to play “Born To Be Bad” as an encore.
Reflecting on the show and my past experiences of attending George Thorogood and The Destroyers concerts, things on the surface didn’t seem right. You must understand, to this day if anyone has ever asked me in the 45 years of concerts going who was the best? “A George Thorogood show,” has always been my response. No artist has ever impressed me by genuinely putting it all out there in a performance as George. Incredible energy and stage presence unequaled.
Then reality made me a little ashamed that I was comparing the performances over the years. This man is 70 years old not 30 anymore. He is still going strong! Hell, he has more energy than I do, and he is 10 years older! I can see him still performing at 80 God willing. It’s a show you don’t want to miss. As long as he is performing nearby, neither will I.
- George Thorogood – lead vocals and lead guitar
- Jeff Simon – drums, percussion (1973–present)
- Billy Blough – bass guitar (1976–present)
- Jim Suhler – rhythm guitar (1999–present)
- Buddy Leach – saxophone, piano (2003–present)
- Intro: Eve of Destruction Recording (Barry McGuire)
- Rock Party
- Who Do You Love? (Bo Diddley cover)
- Shot Down (The Sonics cover)
- Night Time (The Strangeloves cover)
- I Drink Alone
- House Rent Blues / One Bourbon One Scotch One Beer (John Lee Hooker cover)
- Gear Jammer
- Get a Haircut
- Bad to the Bone
- Twenty Dollar Gig
- Move It on Over (Hank Williams cover)
- Born to Be Bad
Photographer and Editor/Founder of AllMusicMagazine.com. My love of live music has taken me to incredible experiences with the top bands of all time in stadium shows to the smallest venues with equally inspiring musicians. Using the medium of photography and my publication, these memories will last forever.