Smith/Kotzen finish up first ever USA tour in Ventura, California
Smith/Kotzen is a musical collaboration between Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith and The Winery Dogs guitarist/vocalist Richie Kotzen. In 2021, they released both their self-titled debut and the Better Days EP. While both musicians are currently on break from their own bands, what better way to warm up than for them to announce their first ever tour. The first stop of the tour was at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood and the final stop was at the Majestic Ventura Theater in Ventura, California. Joining them as their bandmates was Bruno Valverde who normally drums for Brazilian power metal band Angra and handling bass duties was Richie's wife, Julia Lage. A Friday night in Downtown Ventura was a great way to wrap up the tour as the venue had filled up to a good amount by the time Smith/Kotzen hit the stage.
The lights went out and the crowd cheered as Smith/Kotzen came out to the stage and started their show with the opening track from the debut album, Taking My Chances. Even though both musicians are used to playing heavy metal and jazz fusion, this band has a more blues, R&B and rock feel to it. Still, the fans reacted positively and were happy to finally see the headlining band of the night. On this special night, Smith/Kotzen played every song that they've released from their debut and EP albums. The show continued on with Better Days and Some People. The band members themselves were on fire and played their music to perfection. Smith and Kotzen played their guitars beautifully as well as took turns singing the songs. Lage played some groovy bass lines while Valverde pounded on the drum skins with thunderous precision. The show went on as they played bangers like Glory Road, I Wanna Stay and Scars. The final song of the night was Solar Fire and it got the fans nodding their heads and raising their horns. The show seemed to come to an end and all was quiet. After a brief break, the band came back out for some encores. The first encore was a Kotzen solo song titled You Can't Save Me which is also one his most popular releases. The second encore was an Iron Maiden cover of Wasted Years, one of Iron Maiden's best songs. It's safe to say that most, if not all people in attendance were Iron Maiden fans and it was easy to spot them. Aside from the obvious Iron Maiden merch, they also raised their horns to the song and sang along to the chorus. It was time for grand finale and so Smith/Kotzen played Running. The show ended, fans cheered and clapped as the band left the stage once again.