by Brian LeTendre
The last time I saw Winger in concert was fifteen years ago, when they toured in 2002 with Poison, Cinderella and Faster Pussycat. I distinctly remember that show, because even though Poison were the headliners, Winger blew all three other bands off the stage that night. They were amazing live, sounding every bit as good as their studio albums, and bringing an energy that was just infectious.
Fast forward to Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den in Uncasville, CT, where Winger proved they haven't lost a step in the past fifteen years. In fact, they might actually be better.
Winger opened with the uptempo "Midnight Driver of a Love Machine" off the Better Days Comin' album, and they never slowed down. They played a great mix of older and newer songs, as well as my all-time favorite, "Hungry."
Joining Kip Winger, Reb Beach and Rod Morgenstein for the Mohegan Sun show was guitarist Donnie Wayne Smith, who has been filling in for John Roth from time to time since 2014. Paul Taylor wasn't there, so Kip took keyboard duties for the few songs that featured them. I was super impressed with Donnie Wayne Smith, did he nail every song on rhythm and occasional lead, but his backing vocals were right there with Reb Beach's, which if you know Winger, is saying a lot. Kip himself sounded absolutely amazing, and I felt like his range might actually be better than the last time I saw them.
From start to finish, Winger put on a stellar show, and reaffirmed they are one of the best live acts out there today. If you get a chance to see them, take it.
Here's the full setlist from the show:
Midnight Driver of a Love Machine
Easy Come Easy Go
Pull Me Under
Deal With the Devil
Stone Cold Killer
Headed for a Heartbreak
Can't Get Enuff
So Long China
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love (Van Halen cover)
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.