At one point Friday night, Myles Kennedy said that when the idea of doing a show at the Fox Theater came up, it seemed like a big room to fill.
“But you guys all showed up,” he said to cheers – and a call out to Citizen Swing, one of his early bands.
Kennedy kicked off the night with a trio of songs from his solo album “Year of the Tiger.” He played a full two hours to a packed house, sometimes with company – bassist Tim Tournier and former Mayfield Four drummer Zia Uddin – and sometimes solo on acoustic guitar. “Year of the Tiger” dominated the setlist, which also included songs from Alter Bridge, Slash, a few covers and, of course, Mayfield Four.
Kennedy clearly enjoyed being in front of the hometown crowd, and each Spokane mention got a roar of approval, from calling himself the worst drum major in the history of Mead High School to talking about enjoying adult beverages at the Satellite with the members of Mayfield Four.
At times, if felt a little like we were all hanging out in an old school friend’s living room, if that living room seated more than 1,500 people and could put on a cool light show. That felt especially true when, in response to remarks most of us couldn’t hear, he said in a slightly exasperated voice, “Come on guys, my parents are here.”
There was also gentle teasing about how long Kennedy and Uddin had been friends (more than three decades) and the number of bands they’d been in together (including the Mead Junior High band).
The two did acoustic versions of a couple of Mayfield Four songs – “Eden” and “White Flag” – with Uddin out from behind the kit to play hand drums.
Kennedy dedicated one song to his mom. He told the crowd that “Year of the Tiger” deals with loss, but the album “is also a tribute to my mom and her strength.”
Kennedy ended the main set with lots of energy and the full band on “One Fine Day” and “Year of the Tiger.”
The encore brought the crowd to its feet and Kennedy and Uddin back on stage for “Love Can Only Heal,” with Tournier joining toward the end.
But that wasn’t enough for Kennedy. As he was leaving the stage, he seemed to have a change of heart. “Can I play one more song? I don’t do this too often, but you guys are magical,” he said, and asked for a stool.
That living room feel came back as Kennedy played Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with hundreds of his closest friends singing along.
Another round of goodbyes followed, with Kennedy hanging out on stage a bit to chat with people in the front rows. When it seemed like he was done for the night, he came back, saying “We’re going to play one more, if that’s all right.”
And with that, the band closed out the night with rip-roaring cover of Freddie King’s “Going Down.”
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