The 80s haven’t gone away; at least, the music that made hair metal king is still alive and well. Toledo time-warp in effect, brother.
It was the 80s. If you were a hair or glam band, you bought Aqua Net by the case. Your stomping ground were the legendary concert halls of Los Angeles, such as the Troubadour, The Roxy, and Whiskey a Go Go.
Fast forward to Mar 19, 2016. Savage Live brought many of those pioneering hair metal acts to Toledo, Ohio with Rock The Arena.
Up first was Trixter, FireHouse, and Lita Ford. Things can happen to a band at any time for almost any reason. The same can be said for the opening acts. The standard line-up for Trixter is Pete Loran (vocals), Steve Brown (guitar), P. J. Farley (bass), and Mark “Gus” Scott (drums). For reasons that aren’t clear, Billy Morris filled in to allow Steve to handle vocal duties for an absent Pete.
The only bad part of the set was that it seemed too short. The guys managed the switch of duties like professionals and made their first impression on the crowd a good one.
To learn more about the band, check out their recent studio album, Human Era, released in 2015 on Frontiers Records.
Up next was FireHouse. C. J. Snare (vocals), Bill Leverty (guitars), Michael Foster (drums), and Allen McKenzie (bass) are one of those bands that have kept busy and work together like a well-oiled machine. They sounded great during “All She Wrote,” “When I Look Into Your Eyes,” and “Reach For The Sky,” among other hits.
They don’t seem to be taking much time off from playing live, especially with the weather beginning to break for spring; check local listings for shows near you. Grab a VIP deal with the band and ask them if there’s any new music coming soon for us. We won’t live our lives for you for doing it, but we won’t treat you bad for the favor.
The Queen of Metal, Lita Ford, was the next up. Along with her were Patrick Kennison (guitar), Bobby Rock (drums), and Marty O’Brien (bass) and the time together showed well on stage. She has a new book out recently, Living Like A Runaway, dealing with her life. She and the boys are another one of the bands not stopping the touring anytime soon.
The set list included “Gotta Let Go,” “Larger Than Life,” “Bitch,””Blueberry,” “Living Like A Runaway,” “Can’t Catch Me,” “Cherry Bomb,” “Close My Eyes Forever,” and “Kiss Me Deadly.” She is also scheduled to release her latest album, Time Capsule, on Apr 15, 2016.
Then up was Dokken, Winger, and Warrant. Don Dokken (vocals) was coerced to leave the lands of the Far East and bring with him “Wild” Mick Brown (Drums), Jon Levin (guitars), and Chris McCarvill (bass) to play some of the standards in hair metal.
While the last studio album is 2012’s Broken Bones, the set list was heavily favored with the hits of early Dokken. Fans enjoyed hits such as “Kiss,””Into The Fire,””Don’t Close Your Eyes,””Dream Warriors,””Breaking The Chains,””Alone Again,””Maddest Hatter,””In My Dreams,” and “Tooth and Nail.”
It was a great sight to see the interaction between Mick and Don on stage, as they are the only two “old timers” left with the nameplate. And we at the National Rock Review ranch, wonder if the microphone problems on the drum kit were a board operator that had worked with Mick before, in good nature of course.
In what was a mild surprise, Winger had the most original line-up of any of the non-solo artists with a supporting band. Kip Winger (vocals, bass), Reb Beach (guitar), Rod Morgenstein (drums), and John Roth (guitar) plus Paul Taylor (keyboards) were all on stage for a well-done set.
While Kip has had a well-received acoustic solo show, his work with various symphonies has also drawn praise from critics. However, playing Winger hits such as “Pull Me Under,” “Can’t Get Enuff,” “Rainbow In The Rose,” “Down Incognito,” “Rat Race,” “Miles Away,” “Headed For A Heartbreak,” “Easy Come Easy Go,” “Madalaine,” and “Seventeen” is what brought the house down for the sold-out show. We can’t even tease him for his blue tinted glasses, because his set was that cool that it didn’t matter.
Erik Turner (guitar), Jerry Dixon (bass), Steven Sweet (drums), Joey Allen (guitar), and Robert Mason (vocals) were up next to excite the crowd, better known as Warrant. The band performed “Big Talk,” “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich,” “Down Boys,” “Feels Good,” “Sometimes She Cries,” “All My Bridges Are Burning,” “Sex Ain’t Love,” “I Saw Red,” “So Damn Pretty,” “Heaven,” “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” and “Cherry Pie.”
Laughs and smiles were seen throughout the band’s time on stage. And on their “Stairway To Heaven,” many of the band members from the previous acts on stage came out to sing the chorus for “Cheery Pie.” The guys aren’t stopping the touring anytime soon either. Check their website for dates and locations that may be coming near your neck of the woods.
And then there were just two acts left on the night, RATT and Bret Michaels. The latest version of RATT that made an appearance this night is made up of Joshua Alan (vocals), Blaze (guitar), Bobby Blotzer (drums), Robbie Crane (bass), and Michael “Doc” Ellis (guitar). The band is in the middle of their 2016 Re-Invasion tour.
Songs played this night according to their set sheet were “I Want A Woman,” “Back For More,” “One Step Away,” “Slip of the Lip,” “Dance,” “Closer To The Heart,” “Wanted Man,” “Lay It Down,” “You’re In Love,” “Lack of Communication,” “Way Cool Jr,” “Body Talk,” and “Round & Round.” Even the dedication of a song to a fallen member of the Ratt pack didn’t seem too out of place during the stroll down memory lane.
With only one act left to close out the night, the fans eagerly awaited for Bret Michaels and his band to make it to the John F. Savage Arena stage. Bret played many Poison hits and other songs off of his latest compilation album, True Grit, released in May of 2015.
In between songs during the set, Operation Homefront, a charity that provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors, was mentioned as well as his gear trailer being done up to the support of his for pet health.
Michaels made good on his promise to the crowd that they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon, at least not before getting their fill of music from the performer.