40 years ago today: Elvin Bishop plays the Commodore, but not his one big hit

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      On June 3, 1982, Elvin Bishop played the Commodore Ballroom. 

      I realize that fact might not mean much to you--unless you were one of the few hundred EB fans in attendance--but it means something to me. 

      That was the first concert I ever reviewed for the Georgia Straight, and I followed it up with over 300 more reviews--all the way up until Iron Maiden played Rogers Arena in September of 2019, shortly before COVID became a household word.

      Anyway, I was just thrilled that I'd gotten to the point in my life where, as a so-called "rock critic", I could go to concerts for free. The stacks of free albums were a bonus, too.

      Here's the review, as it appeared in the June 11, 1982 issue of the Straight. 

      Thursday (June 3) was blues night at the Commodore Ballroom with Elvin Bishop and the Brian Butler Band from Seattle. Opening the show was another Seattle group, the Hitch Brothers Band, and their fast-paced set of blues-rock was lively but failed to draw much response from the 350 or so in attendance, most of whom had obviously come to see Elvin.

      But before Bishop came out, his concert group, the Brian Butler Band, did their thing, which was a more subdued and refined set of rhythm and blues-rock than the openers. Guitarist Butler fingerpicked a mean solo on the slow Jimmy Rogers tune “That’s Alright”, accompanied by bass-popping Mike Creary, drummer Mark Vulcano, and organist Bruce Macleod.

      In addition to Delbert McClinton’s “Love Rustler”, the band played a couple of original songs before being joined by Bishop and saxman Jerry McKinney. As expected, the dance floor was quickly the place to be as Bishop and the boys performed his best-known tunes–“Struttin’ My Stuff”, “Rock My Soul”, and “Travellin’ Shoes”.

      A lot of calls were heard for “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”, but since Elvin doesn’t sing on that popular hit it was not to be covered.

      On “Gone Fishin'”, it appeared as though Bishop had it on his mind to do just that. He climbed down off the stage and walked across the dance floor, still playing his guitar, and ordered a drink at the bar.

      Another of the show’s more memorable events was the performance of the old Elmore James classic “Dust My Broom”, which Bishop dedicated “to John Lee Hooker’s wife…and all the good-looking women and ugly men in the world.”