There’s not really any way to write about a show featuring Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford and Ted Nugent vocalist Derek St. Holmes without saying to yourself, “It’s Brad Whitford and Derek St. Holmes!” It’s easy to talk about the guitar virtuosos that get all the headlines because of their shredding style or big personalities, but when you watch two musicians who have truly mastered their craft, it’s a true experience.
Brad and Derek first got together in 1980 after they both left their respective bands, and in 1981 released their debut album Whitford/St. Holmes. Thirty-five years later they are back together for their second album, Reunion.
Brad and Derek finished their run of opening up for Whitesnake and kicked of their headlining tour in Annapolis, Maryland. While they had a lengthy set list made up of tracks from their debut and new album they didn’t stick to the order very well — but it’s rock and roll, it’s not supposed to be predictable. Opening up with “Shapes,” “Rock All Day” and “Hell On Fire” off of Reunion, they showed a very unique chemistry that you could tell is not a side they can show playing in bands with personalities as big as Steven Tyler and Ted Nugent. Derek also included some very interesting and funny stories about his relationship with Paul Reed Smith and PRS guitars, and time he spent with David Lee Roth. Brad mostly let his fingers do the talking.
The standout song from the set was “Sharpshooter” from the first Whitford/St. Holmes record, a heavy guitar punch mixed with a sleaze factor. The show closed out with the song that everyone had been calling out for all night, “Stranglehold.” The show was a seated, very intimate setting, one to really be able to enjoy the quality of the playing as I mentioned before. It’s an excellent show and worth it for anyone who wants to see what true guitar playing is all about.
On a nice closing note, Brad and Derek offered a free meet and greet after the show and anyone who had the new record was able to get it signed.
Photo credit: Jay Oakley