The Winery Dogs Are Still Running In Denver [Photos + Review]


The Winery Dogs featuring Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, and Richie Kotzen announced a run of tour dates for 2019. The trios “Who Let The Dogs Out” tour is in the home stretch and made a stop Thursday night at the Oriental Theatre in Denver, Colorado. Even though the band has not been on the road as a group for three years, The band never missed a step, sounded amazing, and had no signs of slowing down.

With no album to promote, the band nailed songs from their two studio albums (‘The Winery Dogs’ – 2013) and (‘Hot Streak’ – 2015). After soaring into set opener “Elevate”, Sheehan, Portney, and Kotzen energized the crowd with rockers “Captain Love” and “Hot Streak”. The Winery Dogs performed their perfect blend of rock, blues, prog, and a heavy dose of soul.  If have ever seen drummer Mike Portnoy live, it is no surprise that he is enjoying himself. Mike’s smile is infectious as he entertained the crowd, tossed up and snagged his drum sticks while directly pointing to fans in the audience. I’m not sure there is a more entertaining bass player live that Billy Sheehan. Sheehan’s tapping technique is hypnotic to watch as he twirls his bass around his body.

A highlight of the night came as Ritchie Kotzen sat at the keyboard/piano and sang an emotional version of his solo song “The Road”. Kotzen is well known for his guitar wizardry, but is an underrated vocalist with a beautiful soulful voice. Kotzen flexed his R&B chops again as he sang at the piano for beginning part of “Regret” before being joined by Portnoy and Sheehan. The bands best bluesy moments poured out during “I’m No Angel” and “The Dying”. This is where Kotzen showcased his guitar skills by adding some improvisations and extended solos. The main set ended with the progressive rocker “Oblivion” followed up with an encore cover of Elvin Bishop’s (“Fooled Around and Fell In Love). Kotzen had no problem getting the audience to participate singing back the lyrics matching his voice inflections.

Sheehan, Portnoy, and Kotzen are all individually talented but when you put them together, they are special. Portnoy promised that “The Dogs” would return again “but next time we will return with a new album”. When “The Dogs” run again, fans will be there to chase them down!

Review and photos by Jason Bullinger