Wong & Wooten: Cory Wong Brings Power Station Tour To Detroit Featuring Victor Wooten & More
Ryan Storm caught the Power Station Tour stop in the Motor City.
By Ryan Storm Mar 2, 2023 • 10:30 am PST
Cory Wong’s Power Station Tour rocked Detroit’s Majestic Theatre last night with his signature high-energy funk sound. The nearly two-hour set contained material from across Wong’s deep catalog and was highlighted by numerous special guest appearances.
Opening act Trousdale got the crowd warmed up with some of the finest three-part vocal harmonies I have ever heard, blending with their “country funk-pop” sound. Make it a point to check them out and do not miss their opening set!
Wong, backed by his eight-piece band dubbed the “Wongnotes,” began their performance with the tour debut of “Ketosis,” a track from 2017’s Cory Wong and the Green Screen Band. Unleashing a breakneck flurry of horns atop the tight rhythm section, the crowd was bouncing along as the band launched into “Flyers Direct” next.
Continuing the set with “You Got To Be You” from 2021’s Wong’s Café, alto saxophonist Eddie Barbash stepped out with a melodic solo as keyboardist Kevin Gastonguay laid down some percussive upright piano sounds beneath him.
One of the cooler things Wong has done recently is incorporate a handful of Vulfpeck and The Fearless Flyers songs into his band’s live repertoire. Fans immediately recognized the familiar guitar hook of aptly-named “Cory Wong,” a song recorded on 2016’s Vulfpeck LP The Beautiful Game and based on an impromptu jam session between members of the funk group and Wong from over a decade ago. Bassist Sonny T extended the groove with an impressive solo, setting the tone that this show was the night of low-end.
Being in Michigan, Wong welcomed frequent collaborator Antwaun Stanley for the next song. Stanley has performed and recorded with Wong on many occasions and is a longtime Vulfpeck collaborator as well. The vocalist’s powerful voice and infectious energy got the crowd bouncing throughout “Work It Out” and took the opportunity to lead a three-part singalong.
One of the things that Wong has perfected as part of his live show is the “shtick.” Each tour, he and his band concoct a new bit or angle to add some humor to the amazing musical performance.
This time, the Wongnotes all left the stage as the guitarist explained that they would be performing two songs only on instruments that would fit in a carry-on bag for a flight.
Drummer Petar Janjic emerged with a toy drum kit, Wong picked up a miniature acoustic guitar, and Gastonguay broke out his melodica for the occasion before launching into “Bluebird.”
Gastonguay and Barbash led the charge on the acoustic tune’s highly energetic groove with amazing solos on melodica and tiny alto sax respectively before the band jumped into “Lunchtime.”
For a song most commonly seen performed electric as either the opener or a show-stopping closer, it was really cool to see it performed in such an unusual fashion and featured an awesome solo by Kenni Holmen on his small woodwind instrument.
Returning to electric instruments and bringing Trousdale back on stage, the band blew up takes on “Crisis” and “Golden,” both tunes eliciting huge grins from all on and off stage.
Legendary bassist Victor Wooten was then welcomed to the stage for the remainder of the show as Trousdale fronted the band on “Synchronicity.”
Wooten’s “featured guest” spot was highlighted next with “Direct Flyte,” a song written by Wong specifically to be played with The Flecktones bassist on his most recent album. Baritone saxophonist Jake Botts took the first solo on the tune with some growly low notes before handing it off to Wooten’s impressive slap-and-pop solo. Incorporating a whammy pedal and doing his signature spin (you have to see it to believe it), the first huge bass solo of the night had the crowd in an absolute frenzy.
Holmen once again stepped out on tenor saxophone during “Feed The Id,” before unreleased track “Separado” was tapped. Trombonist and horn arranger Michael Nelson stepped to the front of the stage for a mellow solo before Gastonguay got his first organ spotlight of the night, absolutely ripping up his custom Hammond A-100. Trumpet player Jay Webb brought out the “plunger mute” for his solo to close out the tune.
Wooten song “Two Timers” and classic Wong track “Welcome 2 Minneapolis” closed out the main set with more bass fireworks and an absolute lock between the Wooten/Janjic rhythm section.
Another memorable shtick that Wong has brought out for the Power Station Tour has been his post-show press conferences. Acting like the end of a sports game, all members of the band changed into matching sweatsuits and took questions from the audience about the gig or other topics. Each one is uniquely humorous – where else are you going to hear Victor Wooten talk about his Boston Marathon time?
The band returned to their instruments for a big-band show-closing take on Vulfpeck’s “Dean Town” with both Sonny T and Wooten on bass.
Cory and the Wongnotes’ Power Station Tour closes this weekend with shows in Madison, Chicago, and Minneapolis. The band has a full slate of festival performances booked through the summer and will tour Europe in the fall. Do not miss a show if they come to your area!
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Cory Wong at Majestic Theatre
- Flyers Direct
- You Got to Be You
- Cory Wong
- Work It Out
- Crisis /
- Direct Flyte
- Feed the Id
- Two Timerz
- Welcome 2 Minneapolis
- Dean Town
- Victor Wooten