Nils Lofgren, St Davids Hall, Cardiff 

June 11, 2018 by

Celebrating 50 years in the music business it was Cardiff’s turn to welcome one of rock’s most recognised ‘sidemen’ who has managed a very successful solo career despite his name being synonymous with the likes of such great recording artists as Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Ringo Starr, to name but a few.

From his earliest beginnings as a 17-year-old member of Grin and a solo career revived spectacularly following joining Springsteen’s legendary E Street Band in 1984, Lofgren‘s career as been one of quality, acknowledged by his much deserved induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Playing nearly solo with just the help of his very own sideman, multi-instrumentalist Gregg Varlotta, Lofgren, dressed in black and wearing his trademark Medicine Man top hat, it was a relaxed evening of sublime guitar playing and interesting insights into an amazing career.

Opening with Wonderland from the same titled 1983 album swiftly followed by the soulful Like Rain and Black Books, a song that featured on the brilliant Sopranos TV series.

It was a varied set featuring songs like Rusty Gun, an old song dating back to early Grin days plus Goffin and King’s Goin’ Back and a quite brilliant version of Too Many Miles, played on a harp, not the instrument you would expect from such a guitar god, though he did resort to his trusty Fender Stratocaster to bring the song to a climax.

Back in the day you might have expected Lofgren to bounce around the stage helped by some strategically placed trampoline trampettes but, as he explains, at 66 with a double hip replacement he’s pushed them aside, though he and Greg do tap dance through their version of I Came To Dance.

A stunning version of Keith Don’t Go (Ode to the Glimmer Twin) an homage to one of his heroes Keith Richard showed perfectly what a great guitarist Lofgren is with his choice of melody and virtuoso playing.

Ending the evening with a superb extended version of Because The Night and an encore of Shine Silently, there was a standing ovation and a promise from Lofgren to head back next year with a band and a new album, something to whet the appetite following such satisfying evening.

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