What do you get when you mix a bombastic blonde with a quirky group of men? Some might say an odd mix of new and old as Blondie and Devo rollout their Whip It to Shreds Tour, bringing with them some newer material.
With only 13 dates scheduled in the Whip It to Shreds Tour, Sunrise Marketplace was lucky to land the unlikely duo for the last night of the Sunrise at Night Concert Series on Friday.
Over thirty years ago both Blondie and Devo were household names in the music world, as MTV was ramping up to play a steady stream of music videos, California had an actor as Governor, and Madonna was a piece of art, not a piece of work.
Ahh, so much has changed since then, just ask a teenager who Blondie or Devo is. You’ll get one of those looks that make you feel older than dirt – trust me I’ve seen that look.
Neither group is standing on their laurels either as both are out promoting their new work. Blondie with her latest album Panic of Girls and Devo with their album Something for Everybody. Both albums have respectable reviews, but could they possibly invoke trips down memory lane as some of their hits do? Songs like Blondie’s disco-infused “Heart of Glass,” and Devo’s wildly popular “Whip It?” I think not.
Devo started out as a twenty something group of nerdy guys and have “devolved” into a sixty something group of nerdy guys. The weirdest part for me was these guys were awesome! Their sound, their message, their style, played well in the 70’s and 80’s, and it plays well in the 10’s (I guess that’s what you call the 2010’s).
With brothers Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh, and Gerald and Bob Casale, all original band members, Devo kicked off their set with “Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man)” and “Peek-A-Boo!”, wearing plastic masks in what looked like some type of uniform.
During their set they played three songs off their latest album “Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man),” “What We Do,” and “Fresh.” The rest of their songs were their oldies, but goodies.
As is normal for this quirky group of guys, there were numerous wardrobe changes, plenty of videos playing in the background and even popcorn flying through the air. “Whip It” found the group wearing their signature hats as fans went crazy.
After a brief set-change Blondie made their way on stage as original lead singer Deborah Harry came out singing “Dreaming” and “Hanging on the Telephone.” Deborah sounded good and the audience gave her a warm welcome, but I believe they made a fatal mistake, as do most aging bands. They played too many newer songs, losing the audience.
As Blondie continued with “Love Doesn’t Frighten Me” and “D-Day,” both songs from their latest album, the crowd settled down. However, whenever they started in with an old hit like “Call Me,” the crowd would go wild, only to settle back down while the continued on to a new song. They played a total of six new songs, one from 2003, and five from 2011, all unfamiliar to the crowd.
Her encore won the audience back as she closed with “Relax” and “Heart of Glass.”
In my opinion Devo was the better performance with their quirky style. I’m surprised that I’m saying this, but I think Devo should have been the headliner, or close the show, as their tour is being billed as “co-headlining.” In the end Blondie played too many newer songs, while Devo, for the most part, stuck to the sounds that got them where they are today.
This show concludes the Sunrise at Night Concert Series at Sunrise MarketPlace. It all started when Sunrise started to host the Sacramento Capitals and erected a small arena, so the powers to be decided to, dare I say capitalize, on having arena by turning it into an outdoor concert venue.
The Series brought over 10,000 people to Sunrise Marketplace, with 7,000 concert goers coming from outside the area. These were people who normally would not have made the effort to visit the area.
Many of the visitors who had not been to Sunrise Marketplace in quite some time were surprised and impressed with the number of changes to the area. Merchants also saw in increase in sales with close to 50% of attendees visiting and patronizing their favorite stores.
While the concert series got off to a slow start it gained momentum as the season unfolded, ending with full house for their final concert.
Look for an even more exciting concert series next season!
This is the first year with an expanded venue at Sunrise MarketPlace, and my first time visiting. It was spacious with beer, wine, and Margaritas available along with various food choices such as hotdogs. Depending on where you were seated, you could be lazy and have a waiter/waitress get your drinks.
I found the sound lacking on the side bleachers, but still pretty loud. If you’re one of those purists who must have their sound just right, then you may want to get your tickets for the center area.
There really isn’t a bad seat in the house with a great view from pretty much any seat in the amphitheater. There are a few seats around the spotlights that may feel “cramped” if you are sitting right next to the platform, but that area is general admission and you can sit where you want – so don’t sit next to the lights, unless you think that’s Kool.
Many amphitheaters have monitors, or big projector screens for the cheap seats, but with such a small footprint fans didn’t have a problem seeing the action onstage.
Ok enough about the venue and on to the action, and there was plenty of action, with the exception of an overly long set-change.
Just prior to the concert someone came up to me and said he almost didn’t come out to the concert after he found out that Lionel Richie was no longer with The Commodores. Seriously!? Where have you been for the last 30 years!? Richie is gone people, get over it.
The Commodores stormed the stage playing “Too Hot Ta Trot,” followed by “Easy” with most fans on their feet and singing along. As for the great seating, that all goes down the proverbial crapper when everyone in front of you stands up to boogie down.
The three front men for The Commodores put on a high energy show and were in constant motion their entire set. They were founding members Walter Orange, William King, and longtime member J.D. Nicholas.
They headed into their encore with “Brick House,” but deviated in the middle with a bit of audience participation as they were simply jamming and yelling out to the audience with phrases such as “Say Yo Yo,” leading back into, and finishing off the set with, “Brick House.”
Walter Orange was kicking himself after their set. He told me he just wasn’t “feeling it” during his performance. Orange said it doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, it really bothers him because he believes he can bring it up to a whole other level.
The set-change went way too long. According to my calculations, it took over 45 minutes, which is not a good thing for the fans, as some headed towards the door.
Making a very Kool entrance Kool & the Gang, all dressed in white, came out singing “Fresh,” followed by “Tonight.” The crowd was pretty enthusiastic, but appeared to have more energy during The Commodores set. I attribute that to the lengthy intermission.
As they slowed it down with “Joanna” and “Too Hot,” most of the fans were singing the chorus along with the band. However, during the slower moments you could see a number of fans heading towards the door.
Kool & the Gang didn’t really hit their stride until late into their set. The vocals were lacking in the beginning songs, but seemed to smooth out as the night went on.
They really shined with “Get Down on It” leading into their finale with “Celebration,” which had the remaining crowd on their feet dancing and singing.
It was a great concert, but whenever you have 30 minutes, or longer, for a set-change you’re going to lose some people. In this case Kool & the Gang wasn’t able to reenergize a number of their fans. I believe that impacted their performance, since bands and fans alike feed off each other’s energy.
As for the Sunrise at Night Concert Series – What can I say? It’s a nice little venue with an intimate feel and free parking, but more importantly they serve food and have a limited selection of alcohol, just be careful driving home!
Don’t miss Blondie and Devo as they bring their Whip it to Shreds tour to the Sunrise MarketPlace on Friday September 14th.
That’s what fans did at Thunder Valley Casino Resort Friday evening, when it turned into one funkalicious night as old school favorites Morris Day and the Time, S.O.S., Kurtis Blow, and Midnight Star tore it up for over three hours playing to an overflowing and extremely energetic crowd.
As Midnight Star took the stage and started playing “Electricity,” the crowd jumped to their feet and started dancing. There were very few occasions during the three hour show when the audience wasn’t standing.
Last time I saw Midnight Star I felt they were a little flat, but not tonight. They definitely brought their A-game as they continued with “Wet My Whistle” and “Midas Touch.”
Band members consisted of Belinda Lipscomb (vocals), Melvin Gentry (guitar/vocals), Bo Watson (keyboard/vocals) and Bill Simmons (keyboards), Kenneth Gant (bass), and Bobby Lovelace (drums).
As they infuse pure energy into the crowd after ending their set with “No Parking (On the Dance Floor),” many in the crowd headed to the amphitheater bars, or remained standing and dancing to the music in between sets.
Kurtis Blow, The first rapper to ever be signed by a major label, came out blasting “If I Ruled the World” as he fully engaged the audience by saying ‘Say Yo!’ and then pointing the mic to the audience as they all screamed in unison ‘Yo’.
Blow (ha! I said blow.) just wouldn’t shut up as he kept shouting out to the audience as only a true rapper can. In between songs he would continue rapping about being in Sacramento and giving a shout out to the audience. Some of the audience members started mingling more than paying attention to Blow, as a number of people headed to the bar, or bathroom, probably both.
Sounds Of Success (better known as S.O.S.) got everyone’s attention as they started up “Just the Way You Like It” and continued with “The Finest,” as fans were back on their feet dancing and singing. The crowd was on their feet bouncing to the music for the remainder of their set.
Founding member and lead singer Mary Davis was on fire as she blasted through their hits and finished with a flourish with the song that catapulted SOS to stardom back in 1980, “Take Your Time (Do It Right).” Fellow members included original member Abdul Ra’oof (vocals/trumpet), with Celia Georgie (background vocals), Sultan Muhammad (saxophone), Reginald Ward (guitar), Ben Smith (keyboards), Allen Smith (keyboards), and Crystal Martin (drums).
After a brief set change, Prince Classmate and protégé, Morris Day made his way on stage with his personal assistant in tow. As only Day can do, he was continually checking himself in the mirror as he strutted around the stage.
Starting off with “Get It Up” Day had the crowd singing through most of his songs as he worked the crowd with his signature moves, classic sound and his stylish attire.
Decked out in a yellow paisley patterned suit the 53 year old Day continued with “Cool” as his assistant followed him around mimicking his moves as he spelled out the chorus C.O.O.L.
For the fans that still had their butts glued to their seats, band members would shout out for everyone to get on their feet and wave their hands in the air. The band member names I did catch were Ricky “Freeze” Smith (bass), Torrell “Tori” Ruffin (lead guitar), and Jellybean Johnson (drums).
Part way through his set Day explained that he was still cool regardless of sweating. He said it was condensation which cooled him down, meaning that he was still cool. It was at this point he headed off stage to cool down. When Day came back out he flawlessly sang “Gigalos Get Lonely Too,” which had many in the crowd dancing with their significant other.
Towards the end of his performance Day had a large number of fans up onstage to strut their stuff. You could see the excitement in many of their faces as they attempted to groove with the likes of Day.
While a few people left the show early, the amphitheater was still packed as Day completed the night with “Jungle Love,” leaving people dancing in the aisles and wanting more.
This was one of the more high-energy shows at Thunder Valley Casino Resorts Summer Concert Series.
As Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s Summer Concert Series heads into its final stretch, it’s only fitting to have one of the most popular traveling bands of the 80’s lead off the last month of the series.
Styx, like most of their fans, has gone through a number of changes throughout their existence. Most notably was the death of founding member John Panozzo in 1996, followed by the departure of founding member Dennis DeYoung in 1999.
Much like their fans, Styx consists of young and old including founding members Chuck Panozzo (bass) and James “J.Y.” Young (vocals, lead/rhythm guitar). Longtime member Tommy Shaw (vocals, lead/rhythm guitar), and the latest members Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), Todd Sucherman (drums), Ricky Phillips (bass).
Due to health issues Chuck Panozzo only occasionally plays with the band. We were lucky enough to have him come out and play a few songs towards the end of the night.
While not quite a sellout crowd it was still pretty packed, especially for a Thursday night. Let’s face it, anyone who’s a fan of Styx from the 80’s is getting along in years, and may find it difficult to get out on a Thursday night, and then turnaround to schlep off to work the next day. The worst part is, at some point we became responsible, gone are the days of calling in sick the next day. What’s up with that?
As Styx kicked off the show with “Blue Collar Man” and Grand Illusion,” the mostly older crowd was on their feet and cheering.
Styx was firing on all cylinders as they continued with “Too Much Time” and “Lady” as most of the crowd started to settle down in their seats. The front rows remained on their feet the entire show. Not sure how the old geezers did it, must have been a miracle drug from the 70’s or 80’s – I’m just saying.
Everyone’s vocals were crystal as they went from one hit to another. In particular were Shaw and Gowan. Gowan really stole the show with his vocals and his antics on his famous spinning keyboard, as he twirled in circles jumping onto, and off of, his keyboard throughout the night’s performance.
It was a very high energy, and highly entertaining, show as the veterans weaved their way through their numerous hits from the 70’s and 80’s.
The highlight for me was when Gowan came out performing solo on his spinning keyboard. He played a melody of songs including Elton John’s “Pinball Wizard,” the Eurhythmics “Sweet Dreams,” and then Gowan would shout a part of a song, point to the audience for them to finish the verse, and they did, on command. As he started to sing “Come Sail Away,” the audience sang their part and then he started playing the song on the keyboard with the band jumping in at the middle of the song. That’s about the time Panozzo joined the band onstage playing bass.
For their encore they blew the crowd away with “Rockin the Paradise” and “Renegade.”
These guys are pure entertainers and a great bunch of guys as some of them stayed behind to sign album covers that fans had brought to the show.
For all of those that haven’t gotten off of their sorry old ass to see Styx, I would highly suggest you do it before you get any friggin older. The last thing you want to do is make your way to your seat – in a walker!
This after the 36 year old lead singer, Jacoby Shaddix, announced that he had to undergo vocal cord surgery in order to remove a nodule that has been causing him problems.
“It’s no secret that I’ve been having issues with my voice lately,” Shaddix said, “I was hoping to be able to go out there and kill it on this tour by resting and doing vocal exercises, but my voice has just gone out on me. I hate to let our fans down, but unfortunately surgery is the only way to fix it.”
The Rockstar Energy Drink sponsored tour also includes Shinedown, Godsmack, Staind and Adelitas Way. The tour continues through September 30th, when it wraps up in Albuquerque, NM
The Vacaville-based band is responsible for hits “Last Resort”, “Between Angels And Insects”, “She Loves Me Not”, “…To Be Loved”, “Scars”, “Forever”, and “Hollywood Whore”.
Papa Roach will be releasing a new album The Connection in early October.
Grammy winning jazz singer/pianist Diana Krall transformed Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s outdoor amphitheater into a concert hall, as she brought her sultry and sexy smooth voice along with several, very talented, musicians.
It was amazing to watch the audience as Krall kicked off the show with Nat king Cole’s “I Just Found Out About Love” and her own “Lost My Mind.” After giving her a standing ovation to start, the audience was completely silent. You could have heard a pin drop, it was that quiet. If fact, the bars around the amphitheater were dishing out ice as quietly as possible, which isn’t easy.
There wasn’t a bad seat in the house as the hypnotic sounds traveled throughout the amphitheater reaching into the farthest corners, and sounding as if you were sitting center stage. The quiet calm of the crowd was interrupted a couple of times. The first interruption was by a passing train, and the second was caused by someone backstage, who accidentally hit the horn on a golf cart.
As the 47 year old Krall continued with “So Nice” and “You Call it Madness,” her trio of musicians poured their heart and soul into their instruments, taking the music on an emotional roller coaster. Included in the quartet was Karriem Riggins (drums), Robert Hurst (bass), and Anthony Wilson (guitar), and of course Krall on the piano.
The gracious Krall introduced the band members a couple of times during the performance, to ensure they received the credit they deserved.
In particular, Wilson’s guitar playing was nothing short of breathtaking as his fingers flew up and down the neck of the guitar, bringing the guitar to life and providing some very dramatic solos.
There were several shouts of “I Love You Diana,” with her responding in kind, causing the audience to erupt in applause.
The atmosphere was better suited for an intimate evening complete with a candle lit dinner rather than at an outdoor amphitheater, but Krall pulled it off as she continued with more of Nat King Cole’s works “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” and ”The Frim Fram Sauce,” captivating the audience as they hung on every note.
Next month Krall will be releasing her newest album Glad Rag Doll. According to Krall, “It’s not coy. It’s not ‘peel me a grape,’ little girl stuff. I feel this album’s very womanly – like you’re lying next to your lover in bed whispering this in their ear.”
Krall, with the help of some really talented musicians, put on a tremendous show. I have never seen an audience so quiet and completely immersed in the music and the moment.
A little wine, a little music, add some major league talent, and you have one hell of a magical evening.
ZZ Top, consisting of Billy Gibson, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard on drums, kicked of their show with “I Thank You” and “Waiting for the Bus,” as avid ZZ Top fans filled the outdoor amphitheater to capacity – some diehard fans were sporting their own long beards.
A number of fans were getting their ganja on as a brief video came on introducing band members Billy Gibson, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard on drums. You could see Beard (yes, the only one not sporting a beard) climbing into his nest of drums. Once the crowd spotted him they all began cheering.
Friday night was a special day for Beard as his brand new drum set, complete with pistons, gas tanks, and whole lotta skeletons, arrived at Thunder Valley for the drums inaugural performance. In between songs Beard could be seen admiring his sparkly new set.
As the band continued to play “Jesus Just Left Chicago,” “Pincushion,” and “Heard It on The X,” the crowd remained standing, with some fans dancing in the aisles.
ZZ Top played their latest single “I Gotsta Get Paid,” off their new album La Futura, due out in September. The song was recently in an advertising campaign for Jeremiah Weed, and appears on the soundtrack for the film Battleship. It’s a catchy tune!
This is the band’s first album in 9 years and includes “Flyin’ High,” which actually debuted in outer space. It wasn’t quite completed yet, but NASA astronaut Mike Fossum asked to hear it while en route to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spaceship ““ kinda cool.
They played “Sharped Dressed Man” followed by “Legs,” as they pulled out their white furry guitars, causing the crowd to cheer even louder. After “Legs” the band exited the stage, only to come back and play “Tube Snake Boogie,” “LaGrange,” and “Tush.”
While I think this was a great concert, due to the fact it was ZZ Top, I believe they missed the mark musically. At times it was difficult to make out what they were playing, which could have been attributed to the sound system. However, other concerts at this venue have sounded superb, so that would be doubtful. I may have been in the minority, as most fans were singing along to quite a few songs.
A critical error was ending the show with “Tush,” as it left the crowd, not wanting more, but expecting more, with a number of boos coming from the audience as they made their way to the exits. In fact, most of the audience remained until the house lights were brought up and Brancombe Richmond came out to thank everyone for being there and announcing the upcoming lineup for Thunder Valley’s Summer Concert Series.
I Thank You
Waiting for The Bus
Jesus Just Left Chicago
Heard It on The X
I Gotsta Get Paid
Gimme All Your Lovin
Vincent Price Blues
My Heads in Mississippi
Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers
Sharped Dressed Man
Tube Snake Boogie
For all you Sacramentans out there ““ Made you look!
Karmin with Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan were slightly delayed due to an interview on the east coast for ABC’s Good Morning America. Flying from New York to San Francisco, then driving to Sacramento on a Friday afternoon wasn’t the best of ideas, but luckily, for everyone involved, it all worked out.
True to form the kind folks from The End were selecting a number of lucky fans to come up and sit onstage during the performers set. In attendance from 107.9 The End were the Wake Up Call’s own Katie, Jason, and Gavin, along with Dan Mason, Ashley Nickels, and the very entertaining, very talented, and all around nice guy Chris K. (we’re Facebook friends so were like really close, right Chris? ““ Chris? He must not have time to read this, after all he is a very busy man).
As Karmin kicked off their set with “Crash Your Party,” the audience erupted into screams as the mostly young female audience let loose some blood-curdling screams.
Karmin is a site to see as lead singer Heidemann came out with her pin-up girl looks, and pop-star attitude, sporting one hell of a hairdo. As she started belting out her Katy Perry sound, coupled with her blazing Nicki Manaj-like rapping, I could have sworn there were two people wrapped into this amazingly dynamic package.
Karmin went on to play “Hello,” from their new album of the same title. Of course their set wouldn’t be complete without the song that got them here, Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now.” They wrapped it up with their hit single “Broken Hearted.”
Up next was Owl City, best known for their hit song “Fireflies,” they came out singing “Cave In.” I say “their” hit song, but Owl City is a one-man-band who goes by the name of Adam Young (lead vocals, programming, keyboards, piano, synthesizers, guitars, bass guitar, drums, percussion, vibraphone) – I know quite the list.
Young does bring along a few friends to help him out while touring. Among them are Breanne DÃ¼ren (keyboards, backing vocals), Daniel Jorgensen (guitar, vibraphone), Jasper Nephew (guitar), and Steve Goold (drums).
Owl City played a number of their newer songs including “Dementia” and “Meteor Showers.” Of course they also threw in their old standby “Fireflies.”
Adam Lambert sashayed out on stage wearing what appeared to be a lighted pair of pants, but my eyes were deceiving me. Turns out they were a very reflective and very shiny pair of pants with a tiger pattern in black and silver. I say sashayed, but he really strutted more than sashayed, but out of respect for his gayness, I thought I would say sashayed.
What? Where are you going? It was just a joke ““ Wonderful, I just lost half my readers.
Lambert kicked some major butt during the very short time he was onstage as he flawlessly performed songs from his new album including “Trespassing,” “Kickin “‘In,” and “Naked Love.”
I was quite surprised when Lambert didn’t end his set with “Whataya Want From Me,” which is clearly his biggest hit to date.
Lambert could easily have headlined this show, which may be why “they” kept him to only and handful of songs, leaving the audience wanting more. Many of the fans waited in anticipation for him to come back out and perform an encore.
After a brief set change, Demi Lovato arrived on stage as screaming fans greeted her. Many people around me had to plug their ears for fear of blowing out an ear drum or two. In fact, after a couple of songs into Lovato’s set you could see a number of audience members leaving the pavilion. Was it Lovato not being able to hold their attention, or simply the discomfort of all the screaming?
Lovato played several covers including Lil Waynes “How to Love” and Lady Antebellum’s “American Honey.” She also played her smash hit “Give Your Heart a Break.”
If you measured this concert purely on decibels, I would say the show belonged to Lovato as every girl under the roof screamed throughout her set, but I would have preferred to see more of Lamberts work, let’s face it those pants were hot!
While you’ll see a number of photos from the show, you will notice I’m lacking Lovato’s. It appears that Lovato has been so successful and in the media so much, that her management team didn’t think SacAndBeyond was worthy to shoot her portion of the show. I know ““ my therapists didn’t understand it either.
If you haven’t been to a concert put on by The End, it’s well worth it, and you never know, you could End up with some really great onstage seating!
But was it really Foreigner, or just another cover band?
Foreigner was originally formed in 1976 by veteran English musicians Mick Jones and Ian McDonald, along with American vocalist Lou Gramm. In 1980 McDonald left the band, leaving Jones and Gramm as the only original members. 1990 saw the departure of Gramm, only to rejoin the group a couple of years later.
With Gramm’s on-again, off-again relationship, coupled with health issues, a joint decision was made and Gramm made his final departure. This paved the way for their current lead singer, Kelly Hansen, who joined the group in 2004.
With Gramm’s sound and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler looks, Hansen has breathed new life into Foreigner, especially with the likes of Jeff Pilson (bass), Mark Schulman (plays some killer drums), Bruce Watson (lead guitar), Ollie Marland (keyboards), and Tom Gimbel (keyboards, guitar, sax).
Hold up! What happened to the only founding member Mick Jones? Jones has been having health issues and rarely plays with the band, although he has been known to show up to a show or two. Watson was brought on board to fill in for Jones.
With no original band members, can this really be Foreigner, or is it simply a well put together cover band?
If you ask any of the 4,500 plus fans in attendance at Friday’s concert at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, you will get a resounding answer ““ “This is Foreigner!”
As soon as the band struck the first few notes of “Double Vision,” the crowd was on their feet, as Hansen ran onstage. Following up with “Head Games,” Hansen continued his high energy performance as Watson and Pilson joined in, jamming with one another as well as Hansen.
As they started “Cold as Ice,” the crowd brought it up a notch as did Hansen. The 51 year old Hansen, who has been known to climb stage scaffolding, rocketed off the stage, jumped the pit wall, and headed out into a sea of waiting foreigners. Most of the fans he passed had their hand up to give him a high-five, while others scrambled for their cameras.
Towards the end of the show and halfway through “I Want to Know What Love Is,” some members of the Roseville Area High School Choir came out on stage singing the chorus, as Hansen mingled with the choir and then headed back out into the crowd.
During the show fans could purchase Foreigner’s new CD, or DVD, Rockin at the Ryman from the Roseville choir, in addition to their purchase each fan received a ticket for a chance to win an autographed guitar signed by all the band members. Ryan Spencer who is a huge Foreigner fan, as well as a 96.9 The Eagle fan, ended up with the guitar.
This has been a good year thus far for Foreigner, at least in the movies, with several of their hits appearing in “Rock of Ages,” as well as the recently released “Magic Mike.”
Coming to Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s outdoor amphitheater next week is Steve Miller on Friday and Earth Wind and Fire on Saturday.
Okay, maybe not Slaughtered.
While Bret Michaels was billed as the headliner, I do believe Night Ranger ruled the night with their intense, but fun loving, stage presence ““ more on that in a minute.
It was great to have the likes of Bret Michaels of Poison and Night Ranger’s guitarist Joel Hoekstra at Thunder Valley Casino the day after the new movie Rock of Ages premiered at theaters across the country. Music from Poison is featured in the movie and Hoekstra makes a cameo appearance. Hoekstra also stars in the Broadway hit Rock of Ages.
As over 4,000 fans filed into Thunder Valley Casino’s outdoor amphitheater, Slaughter took the stage kicking off this 4 hour extravaganza of hair flipping and high energy entertainment, with their hit song “Wildlife.”
As only true diehard fans can do in close to 100 degree weather, they rose up from the clutches of their nicely cushioned seats (ok, the bleachers ““ not so cushioned) to rock with the likes of Mark Slaughter (lead singer/guitar), Dana Strum (bass ““ makes sense with a name like Strum), Zoltan Chaney (drums), and Jeff “‘Blando’ Bland (lead guitar).
Within minutes into their set, the Slaughter crew were drenched in sweat and appeared to be totally into nothing but rocking and entertaining the crowd. Blando was the most energetic of the foursome, whipping his hair like it was 1999 and acting like he was still twenty-something.
The most violent award goes to drummer Chaney, who thrashed his drums to the point of having to pull out a wrench to fix one of his cymbals. The man was an animal!
While the entire crowd wasn’t on their feet during Slaughters performance, you could see them nodding their heads, pumping their fists, and just plain rocking out.
In between sets actor, stuntman, producer, director, and all around nice guy, Branscombe Richmond came out to joke around with the crowd and throw t-shirts at unsuspecting audience members.
As Night Ranger stormed the stage it was complete bedlam on stage and off, with Hoekstra immediately flipping his blonde locs of hair while ripping away at his guitar, while off stage the entire audience jumped to their feet.
Starting their set with “Lay it on Me,” founding members Jack Blades (bass) and Brad Gillis (guitar), along with Hoekstra were going back and forth playing off of each other. Hoekstra and Gillis were the most animated of the three, as they were making faces at each other and constantly engaging the audience.
Drummer and founding member Kelly Keagy joined in the fun too, as Hoekstra, Gillis, and Blades all would work their way to Keagy.
As they played through hits like “Sing Me Away,” “Touch of Madness,” “Hearts Away,” and of course “Sister Christian,” they continued to interact with the crowd and each other. Hoekstra had a grin on his face almost the entire set, as did Blades and Gillis.
Blades announced to the crowd that Gillis was celebrating his 55th birthday as he ribbed Gillis most of the night.
Night Ranger sounds just like they did years ago and they’ve maintained their high level of energy throughout the years. The addition of Hoekstra has added another, more theatrical, dynamic to their performances.
Prior to Michaels making his way on stage Richmond reminded everyone about Michaels ongoing battle with diabetes and how important it was to take care of yourself and get checkups on a regular basis.
It was a strange start as someone from Michael’s team came out and made some announcements regarding merchandise (nothing new here), but then after he yelled;
“The Party Starts Now!”
The audience ended up waiting for another 10 minutes before Michaels made it out on stage.
Sounding a bit off with Poison’s hit “Talk Dirty With Me,” Michaels had the crowd eating out of his hand. Wearing his signature bandana and long hair (come on! It’s gotta be a wig.) Michaels worked the audience like a true entertainer.
Thanking the audience for making the VH1 reality show “Rock of Love” the number 1 show on VH1 3 years running, Michaels started in with the theme song for the show, “Go That Far.”
Sounding much better after a few songs Michaels continued with a number of cover songs including Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” Loggins and Messina’s “Your Mamma Don’t Dance,” and Kiss’ “Rock and Roll All Nite,” just to name a few.
He peppered in some Poison songs such as “Something to Believe in,” “Unskinny Bop,” and “Look What the Cat Dragged in”
While Michaels wasn’t Slaughtered by Night Ranger, I place him at a close second due to the number Poison hits he left on the shelf. Talking to a number of people after the show, they all agreed that Night Ranger won the night. However, all were in complete agreement that Michaels put on a high energy and entertaining show – so no, he wasn’t Slaughtered.