The hard-rock band Winger never received their proper dues as a premier act in rock music. When they released their first album in 1988, they were an instant success. Their self-titled album, "Winger" and their follow-up release "In The Heart Of The Young" both became platinum sellers, but they were also grouped with the rest of hair metal bands of the era. Since their five year stretch of success, Winger have been re-capturing their fans with their live performances as the last two decades would not be an easy road for the band. In 2014, Winger released the comeback album "Better Days Comin'," which found it's way back onto the album charts, debuting at #85 and found a renewed excitement in the band's live show.
Last Friday night, Winger kicked off their latest leg of the tour with a packed show at the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun. The night began with the sound of a revving engine as Winger instantly captured the audience with one of the new songs "Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine." But, everybody was there to hear the hits that still have a home on Sirius radio stations, like "Hair Metal Nation." Fans were singing along to "Easy Come Easy Go" and "Hungry" as lead singer Kip Winger got the audience involved with singing along to the chorus. A string of newer songs featured the excellent guitar work of John Roth as his solos contained a little taste of his bluesy Memphis roots.
Between the newer hard hitting tracks of "Stone Cold Killer" and "Rat Race," original drummer Rod Morgenstein took his turn in the spotlight with an intense drum solo. Kip Winger and the band would return to the stage, with Kip on keyboards for the ballads "Miles Away" and "Headed For A Heartbreak," before running through a string of Winger's most well-known classic rockers "Can't Get Enuff," "Madalaine" and of course "Seventeen." Guitarist Reb Beach just amazed the audience throughout the night with his skills on the instrument, pulling out solos that would mirror the great Eddie Van Halen.
The short 90-minute show would close with Winger inviting a couple of members of the audience to join them. First, Kip invited a young woman named Allison from a local rock band to sing lead vocals on "Time To Surrender" from the band's debut album. She was very into the moment as every word of the song was delivered with pure rock energy. Then Kip asked if there were any bassists in the audience to help on the band's closing song and one younger gentleman, on crutches hobbled over to the stage to help the band through a blazing version of Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" to finishes the night.
Winger have always supported live music and their performance Friday night showcases how great of a band Winger was and still is as the musicians in the band are some of the best in the genre.
Setlist: Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine, Easy Come Easy Go, Hungry, Pull Me Under, Down Incognito, Deal With The Devil, Stone Cold Killer, Rat Race, Miles Away, Headed For A Heartbreak, Can't Get Enuff, Madalaine, Saint Solo (instrumental), Seventeen, Time To Surrender, Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love