Foghat | November 17, 2023 | Coach House | San Juan Capistrano, CA – Concert Review & Photo Gallery

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Review by JoJo Anthony
Photos by Joe Schaeffer

First off, I must point out that I can be a bit wary of several classic rock acts who continue to tour in spite of having only one or two original members in the lineup. Sometimes it works and other times it can be disastrous.

Foghat are currently on tour in support of their 2023 album release Sonic Mojo. The current lineup consists of only one original member — drummer Roger Earl. Earl has assembled a group of musicians who not only do a great job of capturing the classic Foghat sound, but they also bring something new and exciting to the mix. The current lineup for the band consists of lead guitarist Bryan Bassett, lead vocalist and guitarist Scott Holt, bassist Rodney O’Quinn, percussionist Eddie LeFebvre and the aforementioned Earl on drums.

Foghat were formed in 1971 after original lead vocalist Dave Peverett, bassist Tony Stevens and Earl left Savoy Brown and with the addition of slide guitarist Rod Price they were signed to an American record deal. The album was produced by Dave Edmunds, and it featured rocking rendition of the Blues classic “I Just Wanna Make Love to You” by Willie Dixon. Bassist Craig MacGregor would eventually replace Stevens as the band would celebrate success throughout most of the decade with six gold albums, one platinum album, one double-platinum album, and numerous concert tours.

The Coach House was sold out as the band hit the stage opening their set with fan favorite “Fool For The City. The first thing I noticed was the fantastic slide guitar playing from Bassett who later confessed to being a major fan of the late Rod Price. All three men upfront proved to be fantastic vocalists nailing the choruses. I’ve always admired Foghat for their perfect vocals. If you recall their cover of the classic R&B song “My Babe” from the Fool For The City album, Foghat could definitely sing. The set carried on with “Road Fever” from their very first album. This song always brings back such great memories from the Foghat Live album released back in 1977.

Most of the set featured cover songs of standard blues and rock n’ roll like “She’s Dynamite” by B.B. King, which is featured on Sonic Mojo. One song that caught me by surprise was their cover of the R&B classic “Somebody’s Been Sleepin’ In my Bed” from their 1979 album, Boogie Motel. I’ve always been a fan of their rendition and the band certainly didn’t disappoint me.

A few other covers like “How Many More Years” by Howlin’ Wolf and “Song For Life” by Rodney Crowell, and a nice laid-back version of “Mean Woman Blues” recorded by Elvis Presley in 1957, satisfied the Coach House audience. “Drivin’ On,” another new song composed by the late Kim Simmonds, was also played.

The band kicked into the 70s classic “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry, a band Basset was with. The crowd and even the Coach House staff were on their feet “dancing, singing and moving to the grooving.”  Another major highlight of the set was their cover of “I Just Wanna Make Love To You” from their debut album. They started the song at a slower pace much like the original Muddy Waters version then they rocked it up in that traditional Foghat style.

It wouldn’t be a Foghat show without the performance of the band’s biggest hit “Slow Ride,” which featured some great guitar work from Bassett and Holt. It always goes to show that a great song will stand the test of time no matter who performs it.

As I said, attending classic rock shows can be a hit or miss issue. In the case of Foghat, I was pleasantly surprised. The band has maintained that classic mixture of rock n’ roll, blues, and boogie. Foghat members Dave Peverett, Rod Price and Craig MacGregor are sadly no longer with us, but the current lineup keeps the spirit of the original band alive. Catch Foghat live if you can. They will take you back to a happy place in your life.

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