The Johnny Winter Story

Johnny Winter concerts, tours and performances during 2000


This page covers Johnny Winter performances, concerts and tours during the year 2000, quickly jump to the year: 2000 , 2001 , 2002 , 2003 , 2004 , 2005 , 2006 , 2007 , 2008 , 2009 , 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 .

This web-page includes many reviews of fans and visitors of Johnny Winter concerts of 1998, the opinions expressed are responsibility of the individual reviewers, the webmaster does not necessarily share these opinions,


13 January 2000 Jim Porter's Emporium 2345 Lexington Road Louisville, Ky 503-452-9531

14 January 2000 Val Air Ballroom 310 Ashworth Road Des Moines, Ia 515-223-6152

15 January 2000 Col Ballroom 1012 West 4Th Street Davenport, Ia 319-322-4431

17 January 2000 First Avenue 701 1St Avenue, North Minneapolis, Mn 612-338-8407

Review by Ray Stiles

32 years after the release of his debut, self titled album, Johnny Winter has gained almost icon status in the world of blues and blues-rock. There is a mystique surrounding Winter. He has a striking appearance-he (as well as his younger brother Edgar) was born an albino without pigmentation in his hair and eyes, has long, flowing, waxen white hair and is legally blind. Plagued with poor health throughout his childhood, his physical condition was marred even more from drug and alcohol abuse that has further taken its toll on his already frail body. He is thin as a rail, can barely see and needs assistance just strapping on his guitar. Watching him stand on stage you are struck with the impression that the slightest breeze would knock him over. His body is also covered with innumerable tattoos (surpassingly he didn't get his first tattoo until he was almost 40 years old). When asked about it he said, "It was right before I was forty. I was looking for something new to do that wasn't self-destructive. Tattoos turned out to be it." I don't know about the self-destructive part, but I guess its better than drugs. (He also said there was no truth to the rumor that he would get a new tattoo with each new album he released.) But in spite of what we see, it is, and always has been, his guitar playing that sets Johnny Winter apart.

Born John Dawson Winter III in Beaumont, Texas on February 23, 1944 Johnny and his brother Edgar grew up surrounded by the blues, country and Cajun music. Johnny began playing clarinet at age five and later switched to the ukulele and then guitar when his hands were big enough. The two brothers showed an inclination toward music at an early age singing as a harmony duet fashioned after the Everly Brothers, winning talent contests and appearing on local television shows. By 14 Johnny had his own band and a year later he recorded the singles "School Day Blues" and "You Know I Love You" on Houston-based Dart Records, gaining the Winter brothers some local notoriety. When he was 16 he would sneak into the local clubs like Beaumont's Black Raven Club, an all black club where artists like Muddy Waters, Bobby Bland, Junior Parker and B.B. King performed. Johnny actually sat in with B.B. King at one of those shows. Another place Johnny would go was the Pleasure Pura Ballroom in Port Arthur, Texas where he would see Louisiana blues-men like Lonnie Brooks and Lightnin' Slim play.

Throughout the early and mid-60s Johnny continued to play the more popular rock and roll but always came back to his one true love, the blues. His major break as a solo artists came about in 1967, after he had recorded an album with Red Turner (drums) and Tommy Shannon (bass) for an obscure regional label (Sonobeat). The Rolling Stone journalists Larry Sepulvado and John Burks heard the album and mentioned Johnny in an article they were writing about Texas music. They wrote, "Imagine a 130-pound cross-eyed albino bluesman with long fleecy hair playing some of the gutsiest blues guitar you have ever heard." That little piece catapulted Winter from local guitar hero to overnight international stardom and a major record label contract. In 1977 Winter was also instrumental in producing and playing on Muddy Waters' Grammy winning album Hard Again.

This show at First Avenue was another in a series of comeback shows for Winter over the past 3 years. He is slowly gaining more strength and showing the dynamic spark of his early blues guitar prowess. Hunched at the shoulders and with his eyes closed most of the time, Winter never stopped rocking back and forth from one foot to the other as he played to a near sell out crowd of adoring fans.

With his patented headless Lazer guitar strapped over his stooped shoulders Winter began his set, as he always does, paying homage to one of his biggest influences, Freddie King. The instrumentals "Hideaway" and "Sen-Sa-Shun" were followed by "She Likes To Boogie Real Low," "Just A Little Bit," and Ray Charles' smoldering ballad "Black Jack" as well as "Got My Mojo Working." With the help of his guitar tech, he then switched to his famed sunburst Gibson Firebird guitar to showcase his phenomenal slide chops with a smoldering rendition of "The Sun Is Shining." Influenced on the slide by Robert Johnson and Son House, Winter plays with the slide on his little finger and coaxes a sound out of that guitar that hearkens back to the heydays of delta blues. Interestingly Winter uses a piece of conduit pipe for his slide. "It's just a piece of pipe," he said in a Goldmine Magazine interview. "I used test tubes, pieces of test tubes, pieces of pipe...but nothing worked right until I played in Denver. And a guy from Denver named Morris Tiding turned me on to a piece of conduit pipe - a 12-foot piece we got from a plumbing supply place. And I'm still using that same piece of pipe now that I used back then, I just saw off another piece of it every time I need a new one."

Most of Winter's songs lasted at least 5 to 10 minutes with little break or comment between. Winter kept up a brisk pace and even though his guitar playing doesn't have some of the "pyrotechnics" of other blues-rockers, his playing shows his complete understanding and mastery of the nuances of blues guitar. His playing epitomizes the very best elements of the Texas blues guitar tradition. For his encore, Winter returned to the stage and delivered a crushing rendition of his adopted theme song, "Johnny Guitar" (the tune first made famous by Johnny "Guitar" Watson). He even threw in his trademark "twirl" performed almost in slow motion.

Johnny Winter, this soft spoken, frail, tattooed, Texas titan, and blues-rock's seminal illustrated (blues)man still has the ability to captivate an audience and mesmerize his fans. And you can feel his sincerity and sense his almost child-like quality when he sings, "they call me Johnny Guitar. I'm comin' to play in your town."

20 January Annie's 4343 Kellog Avenue Cincinnati, Oh 513-321-2572

21 January 7Th House 7 North Saginaw, 3Rd Floor Pontiac, Mi 810-355-8188

22 January House Of Blues 329 North Deerborn Chicago, Il 312-923-2029

25 January Juanita's 1300 South Main Street Little Rock, Ar 501-372-1228

26 January Hal & Mal's 200 South Commerce Jackson, Ms 601-355-7685

28 January House Of Blues 225 Decatur Street New Orleans, La 504-529-2624



29 January Variety Playhouse 1099 Euclid Atlanta, Ga 404-524-7354

Because of the awful shape I saw Johnny in a couple of years ago here, I was very reluctantly dragged to see him this past Jan. 29th by a good friend who'd never seen him. It knew it would just tear me up to see the greatest bluesrocker of all time like that again. But against all hope I thought maybe it had been a fluke, and he'd have some of his old stuff. I've seen Johnny maybe 15 times over the years. I was a little too young to have seen him in his heyday. Though I listened to all his early records (and Edgars) and loved 'em, the first time I ever saw him was in 1977 in Austin at that great (and no longer existing) rockin' palace, the Armadillo World Headquarters. Maybe he was just feeling good that night, or maybe it was because he was back home in Texas, but he tore the place down that night, and played for over 3 hrs. He mixed his hardest rock, blues, sat down on a tall stool and played his heart out. I was blown away, as I was many times to follow over the years... It was worse than I could have imagined. The crowd was surprisingly large considering we were on the tail of a bad ice storm weekend here in Atlanta. He tried to play the same show everyone's described for the last few years. He looked like death. He can't sing at all any more, like all his breathe is gone. That great old voice is just gone. He could barely play too. Seemed like his band kept trying to pull him along, but he could hardly do it. He just kept this weird off-beat tottering from leg to the other going the whole time. When he changed guitars, I noticed his hand shaking real bad as he unplugged. Something is bad wrong with the man, I wish he'd get the help he needs (if anything can be done). By his recent interview in the GuitarWorld mag.(MAR2000), he still seems to have his mind. How can he not know whats happened to himself? I'm reduced to praying for a miracle, like some others I've heard. Until then folks, I'm "Hurting So Bad".







March 2000 Guitar World

Guitar World publishes an in-depth guide to Johnny Winter's slide guitar playing style

May 2000 - Musik Express (Germany)

an article in the German Magazine "Musik Express" called the "Der Weisse Riese" that is "The White Giant"

Musik Express 2000 Germany


06 May 2000, Cleveland OH, Odeon Concert Club

08 May 2000, St. Louis MO, Mississippi Nights

09 May 2000, Fayetteville AR, Dave's On Dickson

11 May 2000, Wichita KS, Cotillion

12 May 2000, Denver CO, Fillmore Auditorium

13 May 2000, Grand Junction CO, Avalon Theatre

18 May 2000, House of Blues, Las Vegas

My review from Las Vegas. Only revision is that yes, he DID sing with the Firebird.

Fair warning : this won't be the review I had hoped to write.

The Johnny concert in Las Vegas was last night. I haven't slept.

Yesterday, I primed myself to see Johnny by listening to "Live in NYC," twice in my hotel room before the show. I wanted to do this, so I could compare his 1997 performance to the one he's now doing.

At around 6pm, I checked out of my hotel in Downtown Las Vegas, and took a taxi to the Mandalay Bay. That place is really nice. Aside from the architecture, one of the first things you notice is that all the cocktail waitresses have quite a bit of their ass sticking out of their costumes. That is convenient, because they all have great asses. I had dinner at the Mandalay Buffet, and had 3 piles of crab legs; among about 50 other things.

Entering the "House of Blues," a guy asked me for "any extra tickets." It must have been a sellout.

The "House of Blues" is quite elaborate. There were at least two restaurants, and at least 5 bars. The showroom is roughly a rectangle, with the stage on one side, and the three other sides being bars. I went to my seat on the Loge level to watch the first two warm up bands. The seats were very comfortable, with a good view of the stage down below. In front of the stage was a large open area where people were dancing and milling about.

I was seated next to a pretty darn good looking fourty-ish woman, and her even better looking 20 year old daughter. We didn't talk... until later...

Beers 5 bucks. I was sober for the first Johnny concert in my history.

The crowd was the typical Johnny audience, but for some reason, everybody looks older. Do I? Biker types were sprinkled in, as usual (nobody noticed me in disguise). Drunk guys, drunk chicks. But overall, the same people, only mellower now. Mixed in with that bunch was about a 5% allotment of people who definitely didn't belong there. WAY older than me, and well dressed. I suspect these were people who "wanted to see a Las Vegas show," and didn't necessarily know who Johnny was.

The first warm up band was "Grady Champion," a young harmonica guy. Fair. He had a "chick" guitar player; also "fair."

The second band was "Coco Montoya." Sorta fat guitarist from southern California. Pretty good. He played a right handed strat type guitar left handed, complete with the low strings on the bottom; Hendrix style.

At the precise moment that the second band was wrapping up, I made my tactical move down to the stage. It was far easier than I expected. Nobody was pushing and shoving. I walked right up to the stage, slightly to the left. The stage came up to my chin. When the curtain opened, I would be the only guy directly in front of Johnny.

The crowd in front of the stage was quite "Johnny oriented." Lots of people drinking. Sporadic "YA's," and yells of, "John-ny." I eventually ended up between a pretty cool (and Johnny knowledgeable) muscle guy, and some other guy from Baltimore. The guy from Baltimore boasted that he had seen Johnny "16 times." I couldn't help but mention to him that I have seen Johnny, "somewhere around 25 times."

Here we go.

House lights dim.

Sound of the Lazer.

Curtain opens.

There is Johnny, right in front of me, behind one of two monitor speakers. The mike stand is 18 inches to my right. Perfect.

The song was, "Hideaway."

White Lazer.

Black cowboy boots, Levi's, a sleeveless black "Blues Brothers" T-shirt, slightly longer than shoulder length hair, straw hat.

Wow, I thought, Johnny looks ... old ...


I totally dig seeing Johnny. I dig Johnny.

My mouth dropped open because I was standing there watching Johnny right in front of me. My mouth remained open for the rest of the show.

Music Man amp.

Lazer sounds OK; let's look Johnny over. Face looks pale. He's lost some weight, you can see it in his face. Tattoos are fading, and no new ones. A couple rings on his right hand, none on the left. He's wearing a watch. The white Lazer has rainbowish stars on it. I meant to count them for some reason, but never did.

Is it my position here by this monitor, or did Johnny just miss a lick?

Glance at the bass player. So that's Mark Epstein. Precision. Nice sound. Drummer ... new drummer ... sounds OK ... can't see the drummer ...

Wow. There's Johnny playing the Lazer. I DIG JOHNNY.

OK, take a couple pictures. I had my APS mini camera with 400 speed film. Flash off, in respect for Johnny. Here we go. The usual problems with the mike stand being in the way, and the annoying stage lighting which was always anything but white, which is what I want. Real bad row of lights just above Johnny's head. I ended up taking 20 or less pictures, and I don't expect much. I did (forgive me), switch on the flash for a couple of shots when Johnny had his eyes closed. Hey, this seemed ... important.

Later in the show.

OK, so He's stickin' like glue with the Live in NYC set. Fair enough.

Johnny looks old. I'm actually hearing mistakes. Mistakes? From Johnny? No. YES.

Johnny is rocking back and forth as he plays. He always did that, but it's not the same. He rocks at the same tempo, even if it doesn't match the song. Medication comes to mind.

Medication and mistakes, and he looks older...


Those ARE mistakes. Third song now, and I just saw the bass player actually cringe.

How could Johnny possibly make a mistake playing the guitar? He never did before. Well, if he did, he'd cover it up by playing the same wrong note again, as if he "meant to do it." Perhaps with a spontaneously invented riff to blend it in. But he's not doing that. Can he not hear it like I can? Standing in front of a wall of Marshall's was never good for ones hearing. or could it be that he hears the mistake too, but can't make the correction?

THERE'S JOHNNY. The crowd is diggin' Johnny. People love him. These people are INTO the show. Drunk people dancing. People are yelling. This is definitely a JOHNNY CONCERT.

Several times per song, Johnny lays down a trademark lick and the crowd goes wild. WILD!

Johnny's singing sounds OK. At least, not THAT bad. Maybe I've never even heard his singing in a concert because I'm always at the stage, and the speakers for the vocals are, "somewhere else."

Later I realized that in the whole show, there was not one growled, "YA!" from Johnny.

3rd song. Confirmed. Johnny is off tonight. He's up there, he's playing, but it's not like I remember him being up there and playing.

Wow. I can't believe I'm seeing this.

Now I remember walking out of one of the especially awesome shows at the Country Club in the valley 15 years ago, and remarking to Chris, "How long can he keep doing this?" "Someday, he'll slow down ... "

On the way to the show tonight, I thought that I'd yell out, "Broke and Lonely!" Because I'd really like to hear him play that one. I've been addicted to it lately. Now I'm thinkin' I better not. He's obviously sticking with the prescribed (sic) show, and I don't want to confuse him.

I did, however, give him a "Whip It Out, Johnny" between songs once, which preceded a smile on his face. I know he heard me.

It looks like he's having fun, but it's like he's struggling. There goes another wrong set of notes.

New song about to start. Bass player comes over to look Johnny in the eye. Says something. He did that before.

I smell pot from the audience behind me. Long live tradition.

He still has the fire. It's INSIDE him. The show is LOUD. I can feel my shirt vibrating to the bass. He still has the fire, because he still plays the licks that makes the crowd go nuts.

But where is the innovation? Johnny used to always shell a few, "new licks" at every concert that would make my hair stand up. It was something I always looked forward to.

I dig Johnny. I don't care what he does. I don't care if he makes mistakes. I'll go and see Johnny anytime, anywhere I can. I don't really care.

Well into the set now. I noticed that there is a "Firebird sized" guitar case stage left. And now that you mention it, that "Roadie" looks like the usual guy, doesn't he? He's watching Johnny "very" carefully...

Not sure, but here is what I think happened next. I think he played, "The Sun is Shining" (a Firebird/slide song on the album), with the Lazer, ended the song, stopped, switched guitars, and then played the solo of the same song with the Firebird/slide.

Now, for the first time since the show started, Johnny has to move about 15 feet to change guitars. Evidently, the same guitar case is cut to hold both the white Lazer, and the brown Firebird. Johnny is moving SO SLOW. My father is 81, and he moves more fluidly. How old is Johnny now?

Wow. There's Johnny. It's the year 2000.

Bass player is keeping the crowd revved up during the guitar change.

Roadie helps with the strap, but Johnny feeds the cord through the strap and plugs the cord into the guitar by himself. On his first try at plugging the cord into the Firebird, he misses the socket.

Now I'm certain about all my thoughts. That seemingly insignificant motion solidified my feelings. Johnny missed the plug on the Firebird.

Johnny starts playing slide, cuts into "The Sun is Shining" again, while the other two pieces of the band are just idling.



He's not doing the back and forth rocking motion with the Firebird on him.

He looks so much more natural now. He's comfortable. He's playing "at ease."

Nailin' it. OK, a couple notes off here and there, but much better.



Finally, back in sync with the Universe...

Take some pics, you idiot. Should have taken more. Should have done one with the flash.

Even with the rip-off Ticketmaster handling fees, admission has now been paid for.

Johnny on slide. There ya go.

Johnny with the brown Firebird.


Hmm. Johnny didn't sing and play slide at the same time, I don't think. Another difference from the album. Another difference from only 3 years ago.

I remarked to the muscle guy that I once saw Johnny play that same guitar ... behind his head ...

After the one slide song, the guitar switch was just as slow. Johnny ever so s-l-o-w-l-y placed the brown Firebird in it's case as if it were a immensely valuable icon, which of course, it is.

More Lazer numbers. A couple extra songs (or more accurately, parts of songs) rounded out the set. We're hearing the mistakes, sure, but we don't care. Because THERE'S JOHNNY. Entire crowd turned apologetic a long time ago.

And You Betcha it was BITCHEN standing there in front of Johnny as he played, "Johnny Guitar."

... and then he said good-bye....

Obviously only going to be just one encore, just like the album.

I moved back.

I left my place at the stage and found another one ... way back ... perspective time.

Encore was nice. After all, THERE WAS JOHNNY.

I left the show as soon as Johnny left my field of view. He played for 1 hour, 15 minutes.

My flight to Portland leaves in 67 minutes.

Got back to PDX around 3:30 am. I didn't know what to do at that time of day, so I went to the grocery store, and then went fishing. This is what I came up with:

If we say that the 1997 Live album represents Johnny at 70% of his mid-80's prime, and then subtract another 30% from there, it works out that Johnny is currently playing at 40% of what you may care to remember.


And even at 40% of his best, he's still better than alot of others. ALOT.

And there are alot of other Johnny fans who love him almost as much as me.

So what if he's not the "best" anymore. I already told ya 15 years ago it couldn't last. What "human" could keep it up?

His records speak for themselves. Just like Hank Aarons do.

And he's still Johnny. The only JOHNNY.

The only one.

There is only one JOHNNY.

Times change.

But I'll still go see JOHNNY whenever I can. That WON'T change.

I mentioned at the start about the fourty-ish woman and her pretty daughter that I initially sat next to at the concert.

As I was leaving the Mandalay Bay, both of them happened to come up behind me at the taxi stand. Late at night, we were the only ones there. I spoke briefly with the older of the two .

Right out of the blue, her words were ... "I felt like crying."

I know. And today I've learned it helps.

See you at the next Johnny concert. 



20 May 2000, Doheny Blues Festival, Doheny State Beach, Dana Point California.

September 2000 ' Houston Headline Magazine covers Johnny Winter

Johnny Winter Houston Headline September 2000

16 Sep 2000, Mississippi Delta Blues Festival Greenville, Mississippi



21 Sep 2000, Fitzgerald's in Houston, Texas

Johnny Winter Fitzgerals 21 Sep 2000


22 Sep 2000: Blue Cat, Dallas


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