The Rides featuring Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Barry Goldberg, Chris Layton- Wilbur Theater, Boston, MA 9/7/13

As the term super-group gets used more often to describe bands that are composed of already successful musicians, it has started to lose its meaning. However, in regards to The Rides, donning it with such a title wouldn’t do it justice. This band touts a muti-generational composition of extremely talented singers, songwriters and musicians.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Stephen Stills shares the driver’s seat with the hot-rodded blues sensation Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Stills and Shepherd are backed by Electric Flag’s songwriter and keyboardist extraordinaire, Barry Goldberg, former drummer of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s famed Double Trouble, Chris Layton and Crosby, Stills & Nash bassist Kevin McCormick. The cumulative talent and experience that The Rides share made for a jambalaya of a performance who were in town supporting the band’s first release Can’t Get Enough.

When the house music stopped and lights dimmed, an increased sense of anticipation was palpable as a hush blew over the audience. The band lined up behind the curtain, stage left, and waited for their cue. McCormick and Layton led the charge on stage followed by Shepherd, Stills and Goldberg. Stills, dressed in all black and smiling from ear to ear greeted the crowd. Shepherd, also completely clad in black waved and took his mark. As the crowd cheered, both took hold of twin sunburst Stratocasters and the Rides tore into the first song of the night, “Born In Chicago.”


 They followed with a low down, nasty original, “Roadhouse.” “That’s A Pretty Good Love” stayed quite true to the original with ample opportunity for Shepherd, Stills and Goldberg to solo on their respective instruments. Another new track, “Don’t Want Lies” slowed the tempo of the set down as Stills sang with complete sincerity.

Turning the set on its head, The Rides surprised the audience with the Stooges’ classic “Search and Destroy.  Shepherd ditched his Strat for a shiny white Les Paul Custom and took the wheel singing lead vocals while throttling his axe.

Stills greeted the audience once again and gave some insight into this new project. Then the band came together, played the title track “Can’t Get Enough” and then Stills then took another moment to introduce keyboardist Barry Goldberg and noted his musical contributions before playing “My Imagination” which Goldberg wrote with the famed Gerry Goffin. It was a number one hit for Gladys Knight and it went over exceptionally well at the Wilbur. Muddy Waters’ “Honey Bee” followed with Shepherd on lead vocals. This classic kept the engine purring with another tasty nugget for fans of early blues music.

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 Stills paused the show and spoke to the audience for a few minutes, reminiscing about his former band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. He joked about how the lyrics to the next song were misunderstood by many, including a former President of the United States of America. The Rides then played a loose version of Stills’ “Love The One You’re With”. It seemed that everyone in attendance was happy to sing along, but this live take hit a few speed bumps and became a bit discombobulated during the choruses.

Shepherd brought the tempo down again with his hit single, “Blue On Black”. He attached a capo to his Strat’s neck and sang lead vocals – which sounded fantastic. Stills followed with his “Only Teardrops Fall” before passing the keys back over to Shepherd who floored the attendees with a white-hot version of Elmore James’ “Talk To Me Baby.”

Stills answered back with the rip-roarin’ and terse “Word Game, a song that he had written back in the ‘60s during his time in Buffalo Springfield, but never recorded. It was apparent that he had fun turning what was only an acoustic gem into the steam rollin’ full electric version that was laid down on stage. Both Stills and the crowd were quite riled up after this one. This song was placed well at the end of the set list.

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  The Rides left the stage for no more than a minute and returned to a standing ovation. Stills thanked the audience for coming to the show and introduced the band before cueing up the Buffalo Springfield anthem “For What It’s Worth.”  Stills’ voice sounded eerily similar to the studio track. Shepherd’s echo and tremolo-laden fills came close to the original as well. This song brought the crowd, who mostly remained in their seats, to their feet. Several guests were pumping their fists in the air singing the choruses at peak volume. “For What It’s Worth” could have ended the night as a poignant single-song encore, but the crowd was in for another treat.

The Rides capped the night’s performance with Neil Young’s classic “Rockin’ In The Free World”. Though this song has been covered by everyone from garage bands to stadium headliners, like Pearl Jam – it never gets old and it did in fact rock. Both Stills and Shepherd took the opportunity to duel it out one last time on their Strats, much to the crowd’s pleasure.



Born In Chicago (Paul Butterfield)

Roadhouse (Stills/Shepherd/Goldberg)

That’s A Pretty Good Love (Lucas/Mendelsohn)

Don’t Want Lies (Stills/Shepherd/Goldberg)

Search And Destroy (Iggy Pop and the Stooges)

Can’t Get Enough (Stills/Shepherd/Goldberg)

(I’ve Got To Use) My Imagination (Barry Goldberg)

Honey Bee (Muddy Waters)

Love The One You’re With (Stills)

Blue On Black (Shepherd)

Only Teardrops Fall (Stills)

Talk To Me Baby (Elmore James)

Word Game (Stills)

For What It’s Worth (Stills)

Rockin’ In The Free World (Neil Young)


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