The unofficial start of the summer season is upon us: Memorial Day weekend has finally arrived. And with that, Kiefer Sutherland made a stop on his Not Enough Whiskey Tour to the Stephen Talkhouse, way out east in the Hamptons, to a quaint little town called Amagansett in New York. The drive out east on the Friday evening of May 26 was lined with traffic at times but it gave the opportunity to take in the picturesque ride. This region is filled with history and beautiful historic buildings and landmarks. The huge old trees that line the streets going from town to town also make for a nice setting in a township that requires even the big box stores to conform to the architecture of the area.
Stephen Talkhouse, which gets its name from honoring the famed Native American Indian who would make round trip walks, of up to fifty miles daily in the vicinity of the venues location. His photo is also prominently displayed as the stage’s backdrop, which is actually located in a converted historic home. The place has a very intimate setting that only allows for a capacity of just about two hundred people. The tour bus was parked right out front of the venue and fans were glued to it in hopes of possible seeing Sutherland, maybe getting to meet him for a photo or an autograph. For those that arrived early enough, after the sound check they were pleased that he did stop for a few and grant their wishes.
The line that formed outside eventually trailed all the way down the block. Being this is such a small venue, once the doors opened, it quickly filled and people found their spots in a jiffy. The audience was definitely made up of hardcore Sutherland fans as chatter was heard throughout about their favorite roles he played in movies or television series. Many were also very familiar with his album, Down In A Hole, and were talking about how they had enjoyed seeing him play here last year on this weekend and hoping this becomes an annual event.
Starting the night off was singer songwriter Rick Brantley from Macon, GA. With just his acoustic guitar and his warm, powerful voice he entertained the audience for about a half an hour. Brantley played several of his original songs, including “Hurt People” and “I Still Dream Of Tumbleweeds,” and a cover of the Otis Redding song “Try A Little Tenderness.” For his last song Sutherland’s band joined him on stage and they rocked it out. The crowd definitely enjoyed him and his music and cheered for him after each song and especially loud as he left the stage.
With just enough time to freshen drinks and return to their spots, they began cheering again as Sutherland’s band walked out on stage, moments later followed by Sutherland himself. His large brimmed hat could not hide the smile on his face as he strapped on his guitar and started the night off with “Can’t Stay Away.” Before playing “Not Enough Whiskey,” he shared with his fans, “I wrote about twenty five songs, I was surprised at how many of them were about drinking” and the crowd went wild. After the song Sutherland raised a glass of whiskey and said, “I’m trying to have a drink with everyone I come across on this tour, so thank you so much for coming out and let’s all raise our drinks together!” Needless to say there was no hesitation and all in house gladly complied with his request.
As the show continued, they played many of his originals, “Going Home,” Shirley Jean,” “Calling Out Your Name,” and seriously rocked out to “Ways To Be Wicked.” They played a new song that has not been recorded yet, “Saskatchewan,” that Sutherland said will appear on his next record, which fans were extremely happy to hear. They also played several cover songs, including Merle Haggard’s “The Bottle Let Me Down,” which Sutherland spoke about meeting Mr. Haggard in the weeks prior to his passing and his influence on his own music. Then they closed out the night with a heartfelt version of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” which had the whole place singing to every word and swaying along to the beat. Sutherland thanked his fans for coming to the show every chance he got throughout the evening but at the end of the performance he thanked them again with a sincerity and warmth like no other, and his fans were clearly just as thankful that he came to play for them.
Sutherland is a true entertainer. Just as he pours himself into the roles he plays on film, he pours himself into his music and his performance is truly genuine, his vocals are very warm and inviting. His band mates, Michael Gurley (vocals/guitar), Austin Valleijo (vocals/guitar), Joseph DeLeo (bass) and Jess Calcaterra (drums) are all stellar musicians and complimented him very well. This is a show very well worth checking out, even if you are a fan of his acting and may not be familiar with his music, he even acknowledges that during his performance, but guaranteed by the time his show is over you will become a fan of his musical side.
See full gallery of the night.