Thorogood revels in first Delaware State Fair show

Photos by Marc Clery/Delaware State News

HARRINGTON – George Thorogood doesn’t necessarily play up his Delaware roots, but he certainly embraced them as he played to a rowdy Delaware State Fair crowd Friday night.

The crowd roared early in his hour-and-half performance when he inserted a lyric – “good times in Delaware can’t be beat” – into his classic, “Who do you love?”

After the song, he said, “I hope it’s me.”

At age 66, Wilmington-born “Lonesome George” is still rocking and appeared to enjoy his first time on the Harrington, Delaware, stage,  strutting and teasing the crowd in between his signature slide guitar sound.

Thorogood rose to fame after working in clubs upstate, in Philadelphia and other places in the late 1970s. Early in his career, his band was known as the “Delaware Destroyers.” The state name was dropped as he grew in national popularity, but it didn’t keep him from dropping it into the show now and then Friday night in Harrington.

It was a homecoming, of sorts, for Thorogood and the crowd seemed very familiar with the music.

His look wasn’t all that different from the early 1980s, wearing black jeans and the black T-shirt with Destroyers on the front.

“How sweet it is!” Thorogood declared as he launched into “Rock Party” to start the show.

Thorogood show included his well-known blues and boogie tunes, and the well-known drinking songs like “One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer” and “I Drink Alone.”

During “One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer,” he teased the crowd with long pauses while the audience filled in the lyrics before him.

“She said that don’t confront me as long as I get my money next Friday,” he sang in his tale of house rent blues.

He held off while the crowd finished, “… and out the door I went.”

“Some of you have heard this song before,” he joked, “but you’re going to hear it again … and again and again and again and again.”

He improvised a little and said he was on his way to the “Friday night rock party in Delaware … Delaware, the world’s best kept secret … yeah, the First State” and the crowd roared once again.

During “One Bourbon” … he sings playfully about getting the “triple shot of that stuff” and interjected a “public service” message about not drinking and driving.

After the song, he told the crowd that he got to meet blues legend Johnny Lee Hooker and “he thought I was a really cool guy – which of course I am. It’s my bandstand and I’ll say what I want.”

It’s a line that he has updated and used elsewhere through the years, but the crowd nevertheless rejoiced when he said he would take his time on the stage.

“It took me 40 years to get here,” he said, “and we’re going to enjoy every sweet second of it.”

Truth was, this time, that it did take Thorogood 40-some years to get to the Delaware State Fair stage and his first concert with the Destroyers below the canal.

In the late 1970s and 1980s, he often appeared in Newark around the University of Delaware campus.

Before starting into his career-making “Bad to the Bone,” Thorogood addressed the audience.

“We have never had the pleasure of playing the Delaware State Fair,” he said late in the show. “We hope this is the start of a beautiful relationship.”

Before  his finale, Thorogood said he was talking with “management” back stage and learned that they were given permission to break curfew.

“That was just foreplay,” he said of the show to that point. “It’s time to get dirty. That’s why you came here, right?”

The night finished with Thorogood playing “Madison Blues.”

Reach editor Andrew West at awest@newszap.com

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