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Classic.  Merriam Webster defines the word as:  Serving as a standard of excellence, of recognized value. Or traditional, authentic.  I can think of a goodly number of things that are deserving of this distinction.  The classic suit and tie, burger and fries, the black dress, apple pie, or even Classic Coke.  Mostly though when one thinks of all things classic today, the first two that come to mind are Classic Rock and Classic Cars.  Both came together in Ontario California last weekend at the Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion.

The annual Classic Car show is a massive 2-day event which boasts some of the most beautiful cars from all decades from the 20’s to the 70’s.  Convertibles, cruisers, pick-ups, and of course hot rods of all varieties graced the streets of downtown Ontario, CA leading all in attendance to reminisce about the glory days. On Saturday evening, the focus shifted from cars to music.  Foghat, the boogie-woogie, blues-rock band known for their prominent slide-guitar, took the stage at the Ontario Town square. This one was going to be special.

Since their inception in 1971, this multi-platinum selling band has been pumping out the grooves in workman-like fashion to audiences all over the world.  Saturday night was no exception.  Founding member Roger Earl (drums), Charlie Huhn (vocals, guitar), Bryan Bassett (lead guitar, slide guitar master) and Rodney O’Quinn (bass) jumped into their set with the appropriate “Driving Wheel” and “Road Fever”.  The receptive crowd of all ages seemingly all got caught up in the moment and spontaneously began dancing as if on cue.  The band then ripped into “Stone Blue” and “Chateau Lafitte '59 Boogie”, and by this time the lawn chairs and beach towels had no chance.  The place turned into one of the largest dance parties you’ll ever see, and it didn’t stop here.  Foghat executed their iconic “Fool for the City”, “I Just Want to Make Love to You” and of course “Slow Ride” to keep the folks movin’ and groovin’.  It truly was something to behold.

Although there have been some personnel changes over the years, the current lineup has been together for many years themselves.  Earl and O’Quinn can keep the beat going all night if need be, and Huhn brought his years of experience with Ted Nugent, Humble Pie, and Gary Moore with him and navigated through the set with precision and poise.  Bassett, most well-known for his work in Molly Hatchet, and his hit “Play that Funky Music” with Wild Cherry way back when, was just in another world.  His hypnotic slide guitar skills were on point as he expertly played the Foghat staples to dropped jaws all over the beautifully manicured amphitheater.

On this day, the combination of perfect Southern California weather, miles and miles of the coolest cars you’ll ever see, and a high-octane performance by one of the most enduring blues-rock bands of all time could only be described in one way.  



John McAteer

Photojournalist - Orange County

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