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KIP WINGER – ROSEMOUNT HOTEL

Kip Winger by Shotweiler Photography
Kip Winger by Shotweiler Photography

KIP WINGER
ROSEMOUNT HOTEL
16 MARCH

Words by Chris Symes and Alanna Symes
Photos by Chris Symes, Shotweiler Photography

ONE MAN. ONE GUITAR. KIP F***ING WINGER!
It’s the working title of the unauthorised biography and tribute I’ll probably never write, about the unsung hero and musical unicorn that is Kip Winger.

They ended the set with everybody’s favourite Winger hits, Madalaine and Seventeen, and the crowd blew up once more, with Kip promising he’d return to our shores again, this time with the band.

Because in a time plagued with uncertainty, we all need something we can count on. And toilet paper or no toilet paper, we can all feel safe in the knowledge that Kip Winger is still a hero.

The classically trained musician hailing from Denver, Colorado has more credits to his name than most of his peers. From the time spent in Alice Cooper’s band, the feature on a Bob Dylan album, a short-lived stint in supergroup The Mob and a plethora of both his own and Winger’s albums, to his 2017 Grammy nomination, it’s hard to believe Kip isn’t more frequently talked about as one of the greats.

Throw in the symphony he’s currently working on (commissioned by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra) and we have to question how we got lucky enough to have a musician of his calibre playing an intimate gig at The Rosemount. Which brings me to the point of this piece.

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As much I’d like to spend this article continuing to revel in what makes him a legend, in the interest of doing what I’ve been asked, I will (also) begrudgingly review what turned out being the best gig I’ve been to yet: 16 March 16, Kip Winger at The Rosemount.

So, 16 March. This night was important for two reasons.

  1. It wasn’t 100 degrees. To say I was ready to not be surrounded by a pit of sweaty youths at The Rosie was an understatement. The mid 20s (degrees) were rolling in and it was glorious.
  • It was the beginning of the end. As it turns out, we were being lulled into a false sense of security and we were back to the fiery puts of hell by the following week. But in the end, that didn’t matter, because this was the week the country came to a grinding halt. Having a stranger’s sweat flick on us became both the least of our concerns, and our worst nightmare, as we entered apocalypse Rona and gigs started cancelling across the city.

The anxiety that was already gripping the city meant the turn out for the last leg of Kip’s Australian tour was dismal. But on the flipside, this meant I got some facetime with the big dawg and he was treated to a room of strangers who were willing to risk their lives (or at least a chesty cough) to see him perform.

XYZ were down to open the show but pulled out before boarding their flight over, leaving local rockers Ragdoll to hold down the fort.  Having supported Kip through much of his Australian tour, Ragdoll put on a solid show of mostly new music, and we got to experience guitarist Ryan posing like the late 80’s heart break kid, Shawn Michaels.  

With the crowd sufficiently warmed up, Kip came on stage to a huge cheer from the room (plus one superfan chanting Junkyard Dog – and ‘No’, he doesn’t ‘do that one’). We kicked off the acoustic set with ‘Cross’ (Songs from the Ocean Floor, 2001) with just Kip and the support of percussionist Robby Rothschild lighting up The Rosemount.

We then took a trip to the early 90s, with a string of Winger classics – ‘Can’t Get Enough’, ‘Easy Come Easy Go’ and ‘Who’s the One’. Kip showed he’s still got it – not missing a beat.

The set continued with an impressive lack of guitar changes and a visit back to the 00s with 2009s ‘Deal with The Devil’ – which Kip mentioned wasn’t something they usually do acoustic. A couple of strong vocal numbers later and it was time for a track from ‘Get Jack’ – the Jack the Ripper themed musical Winger wrote alongside Damien Gray. The room was cloaked in red and they tore into ‘’Requiem for Nothing’ – another heavy vocal number, but otherwise unlike anything they’d played yet.

As we hit the halfway point in the night Kip asked the crowd who’d like to sing ‘Miles Away’ with him. After confirming that he wasn’t shit (or words to that effect), Ragdoll’s producer, Troy Nababan, was invited on stage for the singalong, backed by the high energy of the crowd. In fairness, Troy was not shit.

The duo then powered through a few tracks from Winger’s 2008 solo album ‘From the Moon to The Sun’ and the crowd continued to lap it up. The guy next to me seemed like he couldn’t believe his luck every time they started another song and to be honest, the feeling was mutual. It was hands down the hardest show I’ve had to shoot. Like my new pal next to me, I spent most of the show in awe and forgot I was supposed to be taking pictures. ­

Somehow Kip and Robby found time for a rendition of an INXS classic and followed it up by trying to break our hearts with a cheeky suggestion that it’s time for Kip to cut his hair off. Judging by the never-ending booing his suggestion received, we’re safe for now.

They ended the set with everybody’s favourite Winger hits, Madalaine and Seventeen, and the crowd blew up once more, with Kip promising he’d return to our shores again, this time with the band.

Kip and Robby put on a mind-blowingly good show and if that was the last gig I see for the foreseeable future – damn it was worthy of it.

Setlist
Hungry
Ever Wonder
Rainbow In The Rose
Free (instrumental)
Spell I’m Under
Pages & Pages (Kip on piano)
Where Will You Go (Kip on piano)
Headed For A Heartbreak (Robby on piano)
Nothing
Down Incognito
Madalaine
Seventeen

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