PHOTOS: Steve Winwood at The Grand Sierra Resort


There’s nothing like a band that knows how to jam! I remember from the last time I saw Steve Winwood that jamming out in the middle of a song is right up his band’s alley. “Light Up or Leave Me Alone” is the perfect example of this skill. Everybody took solos and it killed! When a group of musicians are connected spiritually in a song they can run with it. They are all in touch with where the others are going, and you can hear it.

This was an old school, bare bones show. The band was set up pretty close together considering the size of the stage they had to work with. There was not even a drum riser. There were no ‘show biz’ special effects of any type. It was just the music, a great sound system, standard stage lighting and the GSR’s big screen monitors on either side of the stage. The show at The Grand Sierra Resort looked to be close to a sellout.

The “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” was a highlight for sure. It started out slow and sultry with a very cool sax solo and it eventually built up to a fever pitched guitar solo that then dropped back down into a slow roll where the vocals came back in. It continued through more great solos (including a great organ solo) and a couple ‘fooled ya’ false endings until it wrapped up after close to 15 minutes.

As if that wasn’t enough of a highlight, they followed this up with an extended jam version of Light Up or Leave Me Alone that lasted 15:25. Everybody let it all out in this song. Paul Booth played a fantastic sax solo. Jose Neto did the same on guitar. Richard Bailey and Edson DaSilva played a 2 ½ minute drum / percussion solo that was awesome.

Chris Isaak Brings 'Happy Show' to GSR

The whole evening was filled with memories. The crowd was definitely into it often rising to their feet, cheering and clapping. I’m sure there were some really great reruns on TV, but going out and supporting live music sounded better.

After the requisite stage exit they returned to encore with Dear Mr. Fantasy, and Gimme Some Lovin’. They ended the show as they started it with Steve’s hits from when he was 18 & 19 years old playing with The Spencer Davis Group.


  1. I’m a Man
  2. Fly
  3. At Times We Do Forget
  4. Pearly Queen
  5. Them Changes
  6. Can’t Find My Way Home
  7. Had To Cry Today
  8. The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
  9. Light Up or Leave Me Alone
  10. Higher Love
  11. Dear Mr. Fantasy
  12. Gimme Some Lovin’


  • Steve Winwood – Vocals, Organ, Guitar
  • Jose Neto – Guitar
  • Richard Bailey – Drums
  • Paul Booth – Woodwinds, Organ
  • Edson ‘Café’ DaSilva – Percussion
Nick McCabe
About Nick McCabe 64 Articles
Nick McCabe is a Reno-based photojournalist and musician. He’s been shooting concerts in the Reno-Tahoe area since 2006 and writing articles and reviews since 2012, as well as doing interviews on occasion. His musical education and playing experience goes back to 1967. He is a founding member of the Reno Tahoe Forte’ Awards, and he still plays music locally for enjoyment. First concert: Jimi Hendrix. Last concert: we’ll see.


  1. Hi Nick…I’m an old, mutually-music-crazed, friend of Pat Sanborn’s. ‘Been wanting to see Winwood since the 60’s, just saw him in Santa Rosa, NorCAl. Wow! I was (expectedly) thrilled with all five of them. With talent and history like his, show-biz effects are unnecessary and would have been a distraction. Best concert I can remember in decades! All about the great music.
    I will be visiting Pat in late Oct. ‘Hope we can all get together. Carolyn
    P.S. Great review and pics.

    • Kind words indeed. I’m guessing Pat must have forwarded the link to you if you’re out of the Reno area. Thanks for the kind words

  2. Was at the show and it was great! Did a meet and greet and shook hands with the great man, outstanding musician…the others weren’t bad either!

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