Starland Ballroom played host to a great show by 80's rockers NIGHT RANGER the other night. When singer Jack Blades made the announcement from the stage that this was the bands first appearance in the state since 1983 I was shocked. Actually the band played at the now defunct Club Bene' in South Amboy back in 1995 but I could forgive Mr. Blades because he was not part of the band for that tour!
Opening the show was Jersey favorites JERSEY SYNDICATE. Unfortunately, one of the other openers didn't play and so they went on a bit earlier than expected and we were only able to catch the bands last two songs. From what we did see, the tunes "Driving" and "Learning To Live" rocked it up pretty good as singer Stevie Samay strutted her stuff on the Starland stage. The band has gig coming up at the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park soon, so check out their website for the date and all future happenings with the band.
Next up, the headliners proved that they could still rock in America as original band members Jack Blades, Brad Gillis, Kelly Keagy along with newcomers (though they've been in the band several years now) Joel Hoekstra and Christian Cullen ripped through a fun 90-minute set of songs which included all the NIGHT RANGER hits, a few rarities, a couple DAMN YANKEES tunes (Blades was of a member that band) and even threw in a cover of the Ozzy Osbourne classic "Crazy Train" (Brad Gillis was a touring member of Ozzy's band after the untimely death of Randy Rhoades). They even featured a fun part in the show where each member played a riff from a band that was their first concert. With that we got to hear bits of everything from LED ZEPPELIN to VAN HALEN to THE DOORS and even IRON MAIDEN! The band was loose and in good spirits but they were still musically tight as ever. Blades is quite the front man and a funny guy at that as he told stories all throughout the evening between songs. My favorite was when he said the last time they played NJ the tour bus left him at a rest stop on the NJ Turnpike!
I hope it is not another 27 years until NIGHT RANGER comes back to NJ. In fact as the band ended their show Jack Blades said they wont wait so long to come back. Now we have to hold them to it!
Special thanks goes out to Mr. Brad Gillis who extended himself to take care of RockEyez for the show; Thank you Brad.