If there ever were a time that the number of tie dyed shirts in a crowd was an indicator of the night ahead, last night would be that instance.
The State Theatre hosted Kenny Wayne Shepherd with the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band for the classic rock and blues fans of the State College area.
The show, which began at 8 p.m., was a highly anticipated event.
When guitarist Shepherd took the spotlight and posed the question, “any blues fans in the house tonight?” the crowd erupted — showing the eagerness of the room.
Dr. Roy Love, the president of the State Theatre board, said that the show was close to being sold out and said that he was happy to see Shepherd and his band.
“Kenny Wayne Shepherd is a legendary blues guitar player,” Love said.
“To see him in an intimate audience is a fantastic thing that we can bring to the area,” he said.
The Shreveport, La. born guitarist has sold millions of albums and has had singles in the Top 10.
The band, made up of five members, opened the show with its song “Never Lookin’ Back,” and followed with “Somehow, Somewhere, Someway,” receiving equal levels of applause for each song of the night.
Shepherd started playing guitar at the young age of seven. The guitarist, now in his thirties, and his band released their newest album, “How I Go,” on August 2, 2011.
The band’s website describes Shepherd as a shining light on the rich blues of the past. He “forges ahead with his own modern twist on the classic sound he embodied since his teens,” according to the band’s website.
Tess Weigand saw the band when they were the opening act for Lynyrd Skynyrd and was at the show last night.
The first time she saw them she was not expecting them to be as good as they were, she said.
“They were surprisingly authentic for the covers they played,” Weigand (senior-agricultural sciences) said.
Weigand, who remains impressed with the group, which played their own original songs last night, called them “classic rock with a southern rock side.”
Last night, after the second song was played, the lead singer of the band, Noah Hunt, came out with a tambourine, joining a stage already adorned with drums, bass, guitar and keyboard.
About thirty minutes into the show, Hunt stepped back and let Shepherd take center stage, who played an over two minute long guitar solo, to much applause.
Dave Winklebleck , Penn State graduate and employee of the State Theatre, described the usual crowd at the theater as either young college students or older men and women. He called last night’s crowd in between those two extremes and said that shown drew in predominately State College residents.
Nonetheless, the enthusiasm of the crowd could be felt throughout the theater. An example of such can be seen when at the beginning of the show a signed guitar by Kenny Wayne Shepherd was auctioned for $1100. The bidding originally began at $100, and quickly rose.
For blues/rock lovers of the are, the night was a clear success.