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Now Hear This: George Thorogood and The Destroyers | Live in Boston, 1982: The Complete Concert

The blues-rock iron man digs into the vault to resurrect this barnburning gig.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:George Thorogood and The Destroyers were hometown heroes when they played to a packed audience at Boston’s Bradford Ballroom (now the Royale Nightclub) on Nov. 23, 1982. Hailing from Wilmington, Delaware, Thorogood and his band had settled in Boston in the late ’70s, where they became mainstays in the scene — releasing their 1977 self-titled debut and their 1978 followup Move It on Over with the then-locally based Rounder Records.

By the fall of 1982, the blues rockers were fast-rising stars on a national level. Just one year prior, they scored a supporting slot on The Rolling Stones’ tour, while that October, they appeared on Saturday Night Live, promoting their fifth studio album Bad to the Bone. As the busy year came to a close, the album’s hard-driving title track — which would become one of Thorogood’s most iconic songs — was getting steady airplay on the radio and its video was a mainstay on the burgeoning MTV.

After a non-stop year, the triumphant band returned to Boston, where they were embraced by their longtime fans. Full of energy, power, and focus, Thorogood and The Destroyers played a blistering set that included original material (Kids from Philly, Bad to the Bone and Miss Luann) blues classics (John Lee Hooker’s One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer and Elmore JamesThe Sky Is Crying), early rock ’n’ roll and R&B covers (Chuck Berry’s No Particular Place to Go and Bo Diddley’s Who Do You Love?), and a few country tunes that The Destroyers had already made their own (Hank WilliamsMove It On Over and T.J. “Red” Arnall’s Cocaine Blues). In addition to Thorogood’s legendary guitar riffs, the songs are accentuated by the incendiary Hank Carter, who played saxophone with The Destroyers for 23 years. Luckily for fans, the incredible evening was captured in exquisite clarity by the award-winning engineer Guy Charbonneau, known for his Le Mobile remote recording truck.

Newly remastered by Grammy-winning engineer Paul Blakemore, George Thorogood and The Destroyers’ 27-track Live in Boston, 1982: The Complete Concert captures the band’s fiery set in its entirety, including spoken introductions. Plus, the release includes 12 previously unreleased tracks. Complementing the collection are new liner notes by longtime Boston Globe music critic and Berklee College of Music professor Steve Morse, who spoke with Thorogood about that incredible evening. Morse also interviewed Scott Billington, a longtime Rounder Records producer who oversaw the original 2010 edition of Live in Boston, 1982. “It was exciting to revisit the entire show,” Billington told Morse. “Listening back to these recordings also reminded me of how George had taken the original rock ’n’ roll blues aesthetic and brought it back into the mainstream at a time when that was not a particularly popular aspect of rock. Hearing a manifestation of that in the early ’80s was a breath of fresh air.”

Thorogood adds: “1982 was an absolute high-water mark for us. Everything was going our way and it shows in this recording from the Bradford Ballroom. This is George Thorogood and The Destroyers at our best!”

George’s peers also lauded the album. Legendary Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash declared, “George Thorogood has been a hero of mine since I first heard his music in the ’70s. One of the baddest rock ’n’ roll songwriters / electric slide guitar players ever and The Destroyers are a kick-ass, tight rhythm section. This recording proves it!” Blues rocker Jared James Nichols added, “Power, attitude, emotion! I feel the energy and spirit, as if I’m actually at the show. George and band are undeniably at the top of their game this rockin’ night in Boston. Above all, this recording further solidifies the legend that is George Thorogood. Crank it up and get ready to boogie!”

Since forming in 1974, Thorogood and his band — which currently consists of Jeff Simon (drums, percussion), Bill Blough (bass guitar), Jim Suhler (rhythm guitar) and Buddy Leach (saxophone) — have released 16 studio albums, played more than 8,000 ferocious live shows, and sold over 15 million records. For more than two generations, George Thorogood and The Destroyers have remained one of the most consistent — and consistently passionate — progenitors of blues-based rock in pop culture history.”