Mike PortnoyThe Winery Dogs at Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee, WI
By Dave Schwartz

The Winery Dogs recently made their stop at the Northern Lights Theater in the Potawantomi Casino, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy opened the show with “Elevate” followed quickly by “Criminal”.  “Elevate” was met enthusiastically by the noisy crowd, all on their feet anticipating a killer show. 

The band was clearly up for the show as well as they seemed almost electrified as they took the stage.  The opening song, “Elevate”, was one of a handful of songs that were released in video format prior to the album.  “Elevate” has also received airplay across the U.S.

After “Criminal”, Portnoy took a moment to greet the fans before moving on through their set.  All three members of the band were in good form and great spirits.  From the beginning of the show Portnoy amused himself and the audience by throwing his drumsticks skyward as he played, but ultimately failing to catch most of them upon their return.  Never one to give up, he kept on throwing throughout the show. 

The Winery DogsThere was a great deal of interaction between Sheehan and Portnoy and only slightly less interaction with Kotzen only due to him holding down singing duties.  Sheehan and Portnoy amused each other with their over-the-top playing and animated performance styles. 

Kotzen, Sheehan and Portnoy each took a moment to shine during the set.  Sheehan and Portnoy took solo’s that showcased their amazing talents.  Both have deservedly been voted “World’s Best” at their respective instruments by their fans multiple times.  Kotzen’s moment came late in the set when he took the stage alone to play “Doin’ What The Devil Says To Do” and “You can’t Save Me”.  Portnoy and Sheehan rejoined Kotzen to play the Mr. Big song, “Shine” and finish out their set.  They played a single encore that included the old Elvin Bishop tune, “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”.  This was a great show by the very exciting live band.  Go out and see The Winery Dogs when they come to your town. 

Billy SheehanWinery Dogs Setlist

Elevate, Criminal, We Are One, One More Time, Time Machine, Damaged, Six Feet Deeper, Drum Solo, The Other Side, Bass Solo, You Saved Me, Not Hopeless, Doin' What the Devil Says to Do  (Richie Kotzen song), You Can't Save Me  (Richie Kotzen song), Shine  (Mr. Big cover), I'm No Angel, The Dying, Regret

Encore:  Fooled Around And Fell In Love (Elvin Bishop cover), and Desire

The opening band was The Sixxis from Atlanta, GA.  I’ll admit that I had never heard of The Sixxis but was pleasantly surprised by their set.  Their music was tight and had a progressive flavor in the arrangement of the songs.  In short, they were better than I anticipated from a new-to-me opening act.  They had great harmonies and the vocalist, Vladdy Iskhakov, commanded the stage.  High points in the set were “Snake In The Grass” and “Believe”.   

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