Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2010 and 2011 - My Life in Concerts

Its been a fairly interesting, starting in September through today, I have been at a very eclectic series of shows.  Its been interesting to think how I have, in many instances, revisited some of my youth.  Having an exceptionally varied musical palate, it shouldn't be a surprise but the lineups of shows is even a bit of a head scratcher for me.

The adventure is still relatively young, starting in 2010 actually but its been a very full seven months.  Starting in September the journey began with Skidrow and Warrant and their new lead singers.  I had seen both bands in the late '80s with Sebastian Bach (Skid Row) and Jani Lane (Warrant) and their replacements, Johnny Solinger (Skid Row) and Robert Mason (Warrant) did not disappoint.

What seems odd to many of my friends is that I think that each band is BETTER with the new lineups.  Sure Bach and Lane have iconic voices (within their genre), and both bands redefined debauchery in the '80s, but the new lineups are TIGHT.  Honestly I don't remember Skid Row ever sounding this hard and edgy, Warrant too for that matter.  As a previous post outlines, both of these bands were at the Mississippi Moon Bar in Dubuque, IA, possibly the best small venue I have ever been to.

Just days after Skid Row and Warrant, my wife, our kids and I made the trek to Tinley Park, IL to see the iconic glam / hair band, KISS.  Tinley Park is a phenomenal venue, and despite the cold, we all loved it.  KISS has never disappointed me in any show, and they too have gotten better.  The show was glitzy and loud, Paul Stanley is always the showman but did seem to have a small bit of a cold, but who cares, its KISS.

The cold winds of an Iowa Winter brought the boys from Tesla to the Mississippi Moon Bar, and oddly enough another singer that had a cold.  The nice thing about a band like Tesla is that even in the era of big hair and spandex (the women wore that too), Tesla always sounded like, well, Tesla.  Age hasn't hurt Jeff Keith's voice, in fact I think it has aged quite gracefully.  Okay enough of the waxing poetic,  Tesla beat the living crap out of the MMB, they just did.

February brought another show, this time in Moline, IL at the I-Wireless Center, and this time it was to see the self proclaimed "Prince of Darkness" himself, Ozzy Osbourne, on Valentines Day.  This concert was a first for our entire family, none of us had seen Ozzy before and WOW, what a show.  I think all too many people think of Ozzy as a drug-addled buffoon, but based on what I saw, and heard Ozzy is neither drug-addled or a buffoon.  The man, and his guitar player, Gus G kicked proverbial ass. It was a phenomenal show and not to be forgotten but to be forever reminded, the opening act for the Ozzman, was the one and only Slash.

Slash performed tracks from his solo project, as well as a large chunk of the GNR library, and not to sound like a broken record, but I didn't miss Axl Rose either.  Slash showed off his guitar skills as well as an excellent sense of balance as he spun through the entire show.  I'm not kidding, he spun up and down the stage nearly the entire show.

With March came another trip to MMB, and this time it was to see Stephen Pearcy and Slaughter, and with that almost came a trip to the doctor because my hearing had been so assaulted that I was fairly sure I was deaf.  I had seen both bands back in the late '80s / early '90s, and I was anxious to see what they would be like today.  First off both bands took the MMB to audio levels beyond anything they had heard previously, and watching both bands perform made everyone tired. 

The intensity of Stephen Pearcy, his vocals and the band members around him really whipped the crowd into a frenzy with tracks from Ratt and all of his other projects were phenomenal.  Pearcy has proven that the '80s were just a number, and that he can rock in any decade.

Then there was Slaughter.  Oh sweet mother of pearl were they LOUD, and sharp, although Mark Slaughter's voice has changed somewhat, it really didn't matter.  The stage presence of Slaughter and the balls to venture into a crowd full of '80s fans (I think some were still stuck there, and some were that age), as well as a walk along the railing in which I sat (yes I sat, get over it I'm old), proved that they too, can still rock.

As this little novel shows, I do like quite am eclectic group of music and I have some serious leanings toward the prototypical hair band, but the next show wasn't one I dreamed about.  Just after Pearcy and Slaughter, I took my wife, and two of her friends to the United Center in Chicago to see Bon Jovi.  Before I continue, I will preface my comments by saying yes, there are some Bon Jovi songs I like, but with that said, I'm not a fan of the band or the music, my wife and her friends are so I did the good hubby thing and took the jaunt into Hell.

Although they played a plethora of their music catalog, I was amused mainly by the fight that was just in front of me, but I did catch portions of the show,  They did sound great, in fact I thought that they were lip syncing and playing "air guitar" because they sounded that good.  It did become obvious that they weren't lip syncing but I thought I was onto something (foiled again).

Despite the music I knew and did actually like, every time I looked up at the HUGE screens they had, it seemed that Mr. Bon Jovi as well as his cowboy hatted sidekick, Mr. Sambora, were always posing for the crowd and watching themselves on the screens.  It was possibly the biggest "I love me some me" fest I have ever seen.  The show wasn't bad, we had a kick ass meal in the Stadium Club before the show and I had the coolest parking spot ever, right next to the statute of Michael Jordan, so I had THAT going for me, which is nice.

As a premature ending to 2011, April brought me into the kingdom of Rick Springfield, also at MMB, and the Working Class Dog played the crowd in an eerily similar Jon Bon Jovi type way.  Despite the fact that there were no big screens for the WCD to stare at, he too made his way though the crowd and he used every drop of his "dreamyness" to suck out all of the estrogen in the room and change nearly every female (and some males) into love struck horn dogs.  It was too close to the Bon Jovi experience for me, but he was very entertaining.

Well that's it for now, hopefully Social Distortion is in my future in May and I know I'll be at Poison, Motley Crue and the New York Dolls (what a bizarre lineup), so with that, more shows are on the horizon. 

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