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Day II of MELODICROCK FEST 3 got off to a bit of a “bumpy” start… at least for me. See, since I am the only “evil” smoker in the group, on trips like these I am usually banished to my own hotel room while Brian, Mark and Vinny get to share a room… and the expense! But as for me, I am usually left to my own devices. Ok, ok… it’s not really “like that” as I am ALWAYS welcomed to stay with “the guys” should I choose. Truth be told, if I had to I can easily put the cigarettes aside (at least in the hotel room) but the real issue is, as I mentioned in day 1, I do have sleep apnea and on a bad night… especially away from home, I can snore like a fucking BUZZ-SAW! So rather than expose my fellow staffers and friends to a night of unyielding snorting and wheezing, I simply get my own room and, oh yeah… I CAN SMOKE!
There are advantages and disadvantages to this and one of the main disadvantages is that even though you are part of “the group,” you can still find yourself on the outside every once in a while… take this morning for instance. I didn’t bother to set the alarm as I figured the guys would call me once they got up and got ready to roll… well, they didn’t. Instead, they got up, got dressed and went down to breakfast. It turns out that they DID indeed come down and pound on my door at like 8:00am and even though I was still in my semi-comatose state I actually do remember it BUT when you hear a pounding on the door at 8:00am in a hotel room only one thing comes to mind… MAID! So the only thing I really managed to do was stumble across my pitch-black room momentarily and awake just enough to crack the door and put out the “Do Not Disturb” sign before curling up and going back to bed.
I woke on my own around 10:00am and since I hadn’t heard the phone ring, I actually figured I was the first one up! So I hopped out of bed, took a shower and began getting ready for the day ahead… it was only THEN that I finally heard the phone ring. Brian, of course, informing me they had already been up for hours. Needless to say I was a little disappointed but hey, it’s my own fault for being the “outsider” so I figured I’d quickly get ready, grab a bite and we could get going. Then came a knock at the door… it was Brian who came down to join me for a cup of coffee so I didn’t have to sit there by myself and eat alone. I know this story really doesn’t have much to do with anything but just goes to show that your true friends never leave you behind no matter what the circumstances may be.
At any rate, over breakfast Brian was telling me about everyone who was down there when they had gone to the breakfast nook in the hotel earlier. I addition to the oodles of fans, they were also dining with Jeff Scott Soto and members of his band W.E.T. and ECLIPSE, FERREIRA, TANGO DOWN, ADRIANGALE and HAREM SCAREM just to name a few and several of them were STILL there even my the time I got down there. So although I may have missed the “rush,” it was still cool to get to sit and chat with some of these guys for a little bit in a less congested atmosphere.
After breakfast, we went back to our rooms to clear out our cameras and such from the night before and get ready for another LONG but great day of music. I had to bring my laptop and such up to Brian’s room so that we could download each-other’s photos.
Since Brian is always the main photographer… especially of the “candid’s” it is always essential that I not only get him my photos so that they can be uploaded to the website, but also to grab any pictures that Brian took that I wanted before they fall into what has been become known as the “Rademacher Void.” Brian just gets so inundated with so many CD’s, photos, and memorabilia almost on a daily basis that if you want something and you don’t get it right away, if you wait only a few days it could easily become lost forever in one of his endless piles of envelopes, CD’s and press kits or one of the many, MANY unlabeled, unorganized file-folders on his computer! Speed is always of the essence! So this took a little while but didn’t matter as Mark was still getting ready himself and Vinny took the car for a quick store-run.
After all this, we were finally ready to head back over to the H.O.M.E. Bar for day 2 of MELODICROCK FEST 3! How would these artists stack up to all the incredible performances from the night before? We were about to find out…
The “casualties,” as I had mentioned in day 1, came early this time around as we didn’t arrive at the venue until just around 1:30pm… just in time to catch the last song of the EVOLUTION EDEN set “Rules Were Made For Breaking” and missing THE RADIO SUN electric set entirely. Having been impressed with their acoustic set the day before, I was really disappointed that we missed THE RADIO SUN’s electric set but took solace in the fact that at the very least, I had gotten to see them the day before and am still very much looking forward to their debut release. As for EVOLUTION EDEN, having only witnessed their set ender, an up-tempo poppier but still melodic number I had mentioned above, all I can say is the song sounded good and we are sorry we couldn’t get our act together a little earlier and had to miss the rest of the set.
But now it was time for one of my “guilty pleasures’ at these MELODICROCK FESTS, area natives 7th HEAVEN. These guys kicked it OUT at both MELODICROCK FEST 1&2 and have become somewhat of a mainstay in the Chicago area playing upwards of 200 gigs a year to oodles of adoring fans. It always amazed me that these guys have such a HUGE reputation and following in this area (and deservedly so as they continue to put out great music year after year after year) but never seemed to branch out far beyond it. But then again, who am I to say? These guys have a loyal following, land opening slots for national acts such as BON JOVI and STYX, receive almost 100,000 hits per day on their website, pack venues all across the mid-west on their own, are considered one of the biggest independent bands in the WORLD and make a healthy living doing what they love… making great music!
Needless to say, it’s always a pleasure to see these guys perform but the REAL highlight was lead vocalist Keith Semple was back in the band! Keith had actually left the band a while back to pursue his solo career and was replaced (momentarily) by vocalist Anthony Fedorov who’s claim to fame was being one of the runners-up on American Idol a few years back. After recording 7th Heaven’s latest release “Synergy” with the band (and as the stories and rumors go), it didn’t take long for them to realize that Fedorov was a bit of a prima-donna (again, as rumors go) so before you knew it, Fedorov was out and Semple was back in and might I add… THANK GOD! I actually picked up their new release “Synergy” at the show and yeah, it’s “good” but clearly misses the energy, nuance and overall feel of their previous releases with Semple so, as a fan, I truly hope they find a way to keep Semple on long into the future. Hey… TONS of artists go on to successful solo careers but in the end almost always seem to find their way back home and I hope that holds true here as even though ALL the members of 7th Heaven are talented musicians in their own right, what Semple brings to the table would be a surmounting challenge to replace.
The band EXPLODED onto the stage with a killer version of the 7th Heaven fan favorite “ which REALLY got the crowd’s adrenaline pumping! These guys sounded absolutely amazing… tight, professional and Semple’s voice was in GREAT form as their set continued on with one of my favorite 7th Heaven songs “Dance of a Lifetime,” the song that actually got these guys the opening slot for BON JOVI “Better This Way” and a stellar version of the opening track to their “Synergy” release called “We Live Life Young” now sounding even better than it does on the CD with Semple back behind the microphone.
Continuing on, dueling guitarists Nick Cox and band founder Richard Hofherr traded off their powerful and potent licks through tracks like “This Summers Gonna Last Forever,” the slightly more laid-back “Cellophane” and the up-tempo sing-along-song appropriately titled “Sing” while Semple continued to showcase his outstanding vocals which especially shined on the ballad “Beyond Beautiful” which he acknowledges as one of his favorite songs that he had ever written with Hofherr… and it’s easy to why. Then finally bringing the set to a close was another band “hit” and crowd favorite ”Gravity”which brought about another round of thunderous applause from these appreciative fans. Tremendous set from not only Chicago’s best melodic/ AOR band but one of the best in the business… period!
Next on the agenda was another band I was really not all that familiar with but whom fellow staffer Mark Balogh had been raving about for a while now… the British based NEWMAN. Fronted by guitarist, vocalist and song-writer Steve Newman, it didn’t take long to realize why Mark had been talking about these guys for so long as their set really impressed with songs like the edgy rocker “Primitive Soul,” the double-bass pounding “Some Kind Of Wonderful” and the guitar-driven NEWMAN was definitely one of the more aggressive, heavier hitting bands on the bill so far while still maintaining that overall, melodic-rock groove. Even their outstanding performance of the power-ballad “Stay With Me” perfectly blended the tender, heart-felt lyrics with a strong, fiery melody and chorus… simply brilliant! But when Steve began to lead a sing-a-long to “One Step Closer,” it really set off the crowd participation transitioning the entire festival from that smoother, melodic-rock sound to the more aggressive bands on the bill that night. Great set… definitely made a fan out of me!
At this point, talented singer/songwriter Brett Walker was slated to perform, but tragically on July 8th… just a few months back, Brett passed away. This brought about the most somber moment of MR3 as his old friends and band mates drummer Tommy “Mugs” Cain, bassist Russell Walters, guitarist Matt MacKelvie and vocalist/ guitarist Jeff Paris paid homage to Brett as the BRETT WALKER TRIBUTE BAND. As Andrew (McNiece) put it during his eloquent memorial to Brett shortly before the band’s performance, “When you’re planning an event like this, you can plan for a lot of mishaps, but you can never be prepared for a tragedy such as this.” But, as the saying goes, “the show must go on” and indeed at did as these four talented musicians (as well as a few additional guests) paid a fitting tribute to a man whose life and talent was cut short WAY before its time.
The show began with Brett’s video for “Hard to Find an Easy Way” played over the venue’s giant TV screens. You could truly feel the emotion build watching the video and the reaction of the band themselves as they stood on stage waiting for their cue. Then as the video drew to a close, it was time for the “live” band to kick in. It was very cool the way they set it up… MacKelvie sang on one song, Paris took on the brunt of the vocal duties but what was truly a class move was that for a couple of tracks from Brett’s last release “Straight Jacket Vacation,” the band played while Brett’s actual vocal tracks were played over them AND perfectly in-sync I might add. Other added surprises to the set included a great rendition of “No Fire Without You” featuring Jason Old from THE RADIO SUN on lead vocals, an uplifting performance of “Bad Time for Goodbye” with Shawn Pelata on vocals, but the true highlight of the evening was an absolutely tear-jerking version of the ALIAS hit “Waiting For Love” which Brettpenned along with Jeff Paris who performed the song so passionately that by the end there was nary a dry eye in the house. Truly a magical moment and an overall classy and appropriate tribute to the memory of this gifted performer. R.I.P. Brett, you will be sorely missed always.
As I mentioned earlier, although the BRETT WALKER TRIBUTEtook the festival back a “tiny” step into the smoother, more conventional melodic rock sound, it was the aggressive and heavier side which ruled most of the night and this next band certainly kicked it back into high gear… KIVEL RECORDS recording artists . Now fronted by a man who is certainly no stranger to “the dark side” of melodic rock after his time in both ACCEPT and BANGALORE CHOIR, seasoned-veteran David Reece took the stage with a vengeance along with ripping guitarist Scott “Rif” Miller, the heavy-hitting Keith Michaels behind the skins and our old friend…the busiest bassist in rock n’ roll now adding his pulsating and penetrating bass lines to yet another project, Ronnie Parkes.
On a night where NEWMAN set the stage, TANGO DOWN pushed the envelope roaring through songs like “Dream Child,” the edgy yet haunting “Alone,” one of my favorite new TANGO DOWN tracks, the more laid-back but still potently delivered “Corners of My Mind” and their set opener “Crying To Me” where “Rif-Man” just goes off in almost Yngwie-like fashion all from the band’s latest release “Identity Crisis.” As a matter of fact, ALL of the songs in their set (hold two) were from “Identity Crisis” including the bit more melodic sounding “Enlighten Me,” “Hearts Catch Fire,” the almost Whitesnake-ish, sounding “Magic Pudding” and another one of my favs off the new release “Blame.” Not to be forgotten, the band finished off their set by paying homage to Reece’s former project performing two BANGALORE CHOIR covers “Loaded Gun” and the epic almost anthem-like “Angel In Black.” Now if that isn’t enough to REALLY get your blood flowing, I don’t know what will! GREAT set overall but my only complaint would be… yeah, I get it! They REALLY wanted to push the new release and addition of David Reece but still, this is a band with a bit of a history especially here at MELODICROCK FEST having performed in the past so I would have LOVED to have heard Reece take on one or two of the old songs.
WAY back when we had first heard that MELODICROCK FEST 3 was indeed happening, the appearance of this next band alone was enough to solidify my trip to Chicago… the triumphant return of ADRIANGALE… and I do mean TRIUMPHANT!
Their new release on KIVEL RECORDS “Sucker Punch” scored a perfect 5 out of 5 stars here on Rockeyez.com and has been receiving positive accolades and critical acclaim from just about any reviewer whose path it’s come across ever since… and deservedly so. “Sucker Punch” is nothing less than the band’s best work EVER but regardless, new album or not… as I said, their mere appearance at MR3 was enough to solidify the trip for me always being one of my favorite bands of the last decade and they did NOT disappoint!
I can’t believe it’s been over 9 years since their last release… 9 YEARS! But still, with the heart and soul of the band intact with returning members lead vocalist extraordinaire Jamie Rowe, the scintillating and vigorous guitar leads of the one and only Eddie Campbell, and the vivacious, dynamic licks and chords of the multi-talented guitarist, song-writer and simply phenomenal all-around musician Vic Rivera now teamed up with newcomer Matt Mahoney on bass and percussionist Ed Faust sitting in for the night how could they miss?!? And they certainly did not, right off the bat delivering a potent dose of sheer adrenaline with the song that started it all… the title and lead track to their debut release “Feel The Fire.” Wow!... what a rush!
Obviously with a new CD to promote, their set included an abundance of tunes from the release including the spirited title track “Sucker Punch,” another intense, aggressive rocker called “When I Said You’d Be The One,” “Believe” and my favorite track off the new release, a rich, melodic rock masterpiece called “The Black and Blue.” But what I really loved about their set was unlike their label-mates TANGO DOWN just minutes before, even with the new CD to promote, ADRIANGALE did not ignore their past but embraced it fully playing tunes spanning almost their entire catalog including the title track to the incredible 2004 release “Crunch” as well “ and the tender, award winning ballad “Without A Moment’s Notice” off of the same release. But it didn’t end there as the band reached deep into their catalog pulling out two gems from their 2002 “Reprogram” release in the form of two tracks I NEVER thought I’d hear live “Heartbreak Guaranteed” and the memorable, harmony-filled “Closer.” Their set ended in true ARIANGALE style with another energy-packed rocker from their “Crunch” release entitled “Faith”… again I say WOW! I cannot stress enough what an absolute thrill it was to see these guys perform and back up on stage where they belong. Rowe’s vocals were dead-on all night long and what can you say about Vic and Eddie? While maybe not a “sucker-punch,” these two certainly deliver one of the most powerful “one-two” punches in the industry. Great, GREAT band who I am sure we’ll be talking about in our year-end honors.
And speaking of powerful performances, another late addition to MR3 in the form of the mighty HEAVEN & EARTH kept the fires burning while executing one of the most awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping performances of the night! What I really like about this band is that while they still lean towards that harder, edgier side, they are able to perfectly blend in hints of that classic, hard-rock sound with a flair for the dramatic ala bands like RAINBOW or DEEP PURPLE. Just take their set opener and lead track to their latest release “Dig” “Victorious” for example… heavy guitars, thick vicious hooks and an underlying melody which almost reminds you of something along the lines of RAINBOW’s “Gates Of Babylon” with Ronnie James Dio. And while I’m that DIO zone, let me just mention that lead vocalist Joe Retta has one HELL of a voice reminding me almost of a cross between Joe Lynn Turner and Ronnie James Dio himself! Very cool and very impressive.
Other highlights of their set included five more tracks from their “Dig” release including
“No Money No Love” which sounds like it could have been an outtake from an early to mid-80’s DEEP PURPLE CD, “Good Times,” another guitar-featured, mid-tempo rocker called “House Of Blues” that has the feel of something you might have heard from VANDENBERG around the “Heading For A Storm” era, the ballady “I Don’t Know What Love Is” and the hard-hitting “Man and Machine.” In addition, they also included two tracks from their debut before the band was even, well… a BAND and more of a “super-group” project started by guitarist Stuart Smith; their set closer “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” which is actually a cover of an old, blues song dating back as far as the 1920’s and the band’s mantra These guys more than impressed with their 40 minute+ set and left our fellow staffer Mark Balogh RAVING about them for days as well as many other fans in attendance, I’m sure!
Now here’s one of my ONLY gripes about MR3. So you line up three bands with a bit of a harder, heavier edge to them and also have Jeff Scott Soto and W.E.T. performing later in the evening and RIGHT smack dab in the middle of it all, you throw in MECCA? Really? That’s almost like asking POISON to open for JUDAS PRIEST! It just doesn’t sit well. MECCA is ANYTHING but heavy or aggressive leaning more towards the “prog” side than anything else featuring smooth, melodic tones, creative and structured arrangements and brilliant harmonies and melodies… not exactly the kind of thing you want to throw into the middle of a bunch of hard-edged rockers as it makes them come off as somewhat boring to your average fans who are all pumped up with adrenaline!
And while they still received a good reaction from the crowd, I just think the band may have come off even better had W.E.T. gone on first and usedMECCA as a nice segue into HAREM SCAREM and that more, traditional melodic rock sound. Just an observation…
But anyway, to me, MECCA was anything BUT dull or boring. Every one of these guys from guitarists Paul Pisciotto and Mark Alano to bassist Wally Hustin to drummer Rick Vitek all the way up to the masterminds behind MECCA, Joe Vana himself and his son Joey… ALL of them are just so, so multitalented and absolutely brilliant musicians, arrangers, engineers, producers, song-writers, singers… need I go on? And then you throw in special guests world-renowned vocalist Jimi Jamison and one of the most talented keyboardists in the industry Eric Ragno and you could actually call that “boring!?!?” What an insult! Well, I think anyone who knows and “appreciates” music would STRONGLY disagree as these guys put on one HELL of a show.
No, no one was throwing their guitars in the air or lighting them on fire! No, the drummer’s drum-kit didn’t stretch out over the audience and spin around while fireworks exploded into the air. No, there were no flashy costumes or cheesy gimmicks and if you are looking for a front man to put on a show and electrify the crowd, Joe Vana certainly isn’t it! But what you DID get was to witness a group of musicians who are all masters of their craft crank out some incredible live renditions of their work including “Did It For Love,” the richly layered “Closing time,” the epic-sounding “Undeniable” and a stellar version of all from the band’s 2011 release “Undeniable.”
Shortly before their set began, during Andrew’s introduction he had made a statement asking the audience to “cut them as break” as lead vocalist Joe Vana had just undergone surgery on his throat for thyroid cancer just weeks before… but there really was no reason for this as Vana’s voice sounded just as lush and radiant as it always has. But he did have a “little” help from time to time taking some of the burden off of his having to put any further strain on his voice by having his have to sing for the entire 90 minute set.
Initially this set was billed as “MECCA+” or “MECCA & FRIENDS” and not only was it to include Jimi Jamison and Eric Ragnobut also the mega-talented Fergie Frederiksen who was in remission from his own battle with cancer when Andrew was putting this whole thing together. Sadly, though, Fergie’s cancer has come back making it impossible for him to attend and in one of the most heart-felt moments of the weekend, towards the end of the set Andrew came up on stage and filmed a quick “get well soon” message to Fergie from both Joe and Jimi before turning the camera onto the crowd of adoring fans wishing him the best as well. Very classy move… we wish you well Fergie!
But the show did go on with Jimi stepping in as the main musical guest and man, did he deliver some killer performances. With Ragno aggressively punching the ivories of his keyboard while the rest of the band thundered along, Jimi’s first appearance just four songs into the set featured a jaw-dropping version of “Burning Heart.” Whatever MECCA may have lacked in showmanship, Jamison MORE than made up for really riveting the crowd up like never before as he would pop back in every once in a while to crank out some awe-inspiring versions of SURVIVOR gems like “Too Hot To Sleep” and One of his final appearances even included a magnificent version of TOTO’s “Carmen” presumably initially included to feature Frederiksen but made into a fitting tribute to his legacy as Vana and Jamison traded off leads on this… one of the set’s biggest highlights.
The rest of this rare appearance featured other MECCA stand-outs like “The One,” an elegant rendition of the band’s “theme” song “Mecca,” “Without You” and “First Day of Love.” But finally, what REALLY brought the crowd to life with a deafening ROAR was Jamison’s final appearance, set closer and fan favorite “I Can’t Hold Back.” Not even SURVIVOR themselves could crank out such a masterful version of this classic! The only thing missing was the searing guitar and backing vocals of Jim Peterik, although Pisciotto and Alano did a fine job in their own right. Truly a commendable set from one of the bestensemble of talented musicians in the industry and a class act all around.
By now the place was packed more than ever before… and rightfully so as Jeff Scott Soto and his “super-group” W.E.T. were about to take the stage. These guys were the first of two of what Andrew called “paybacks.” Originally these guys were slated to play MR 2 but due to Soto’s commitment to TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA they were forced to pull out. So now… after six years, here they were and did these guys put on one HELL of a show!
You want a front man? You’ve got one in the incredible vocals of the miraculous Jeff Scott Soto! Right out of the shoot, Jeff and this incredible band featuring the scintillating keyboards of Robert Sall whom you may remember from his time with WORK OF ART and ripping guitarists Magnus Henriksen and Erik Martensson from ECLIPSE punched it into “overdrive” with a powerful rendition of which nearly blew your socks off! But it didn’t end there as they continued to thrill the exuberant crowd performing W.E.T. favorites like “I’ll Be There,” “Learn To Live Again,” an amazing rendition of “Invincible,” their anthem-like “Rise Up” which sounds SO much better live than it does on the CD, and “Bad Boy.”
The set included a potent blend of songs representing thoroughly both of the band’s releases. They kept it rockin’ with tracks like the guitar-driven “Still Unbroken,” the uplifting “If I Fall,” and“Broken Wings” while slowing down the pace just a bit from time to time by playing the premier ballad off of their debut release “Comes Down Like Rain” and “Rise Up’s” “Love Heals” (although I STILL think “Still Believe” is the better of the two ballads off that release).They even threw in a couple of old TALISMAN covers representing Soto’s time with the band , the electrifying “Break Your Chains” and “I’ll Be Waiting.”
Build and Build and Build! That’s what this set did finally climaxing with the fan favorites “Brothers In Arms” and a show-stopping version of “One Love” to bring the excitement to a close with one final burst of pure energy. WOW! What a set from one of THE premier bands of the genre. It may have taken 3 years to finally get these guys together but DAG-GAM if it wasn’t worth the wait!!!
As I had mentioned early when I was speaking about ADRIANGALE yes, their appearance alone here was enough to solidify my trip out to Chicago for MR3. But where ADRIANGALE solidified it, it was the appearance of this next band that FINALIZED it! If I had to quit my job, hocked all my shit and rode a bike out here, I would have. Ok, ok… maybe that’s a bit extreme but you get the idea!
Back around 1991 or 92, Mark had given me the s/t debut release of Canadian “Melodic-Rock Gods” HAREM SCAREM to check out. I think somewhere around 45 seconds into “Hard To Love” I was hooked for LIFE! Year after year I anxiously awaited their releases. I stuck by them through their highs and lows and through their pitfalls and triumphs but the one thing that always got me was the fact that they NEVER played in the United States… EVER (OK, they did do like one show in the Buffalo, NY area I believe at some point back in the day!). And by somewhere around 2005 or so, I had all but given up on my dream of ever seeing them live. Then came Andrew McNeice and MELODICROCK FEST I to fulfill my desire to FINALLY see these guys live! Well… you can imagine my disappointment when that didn’t happen and after the band broke up a short time later; my hopes were all but a “distant memory.” (Get it?!?! Come on… ya gotta give it to me for working that one in here!)
But here we are! It’s 2013, the band is back together and Andrew did make good on his promise and for his second “payback” of the evening, please welcome to the stage HAREM SCAREM!!!
I literally felt chills running up my spine as the band began to play the opening notes to “Saviors Never Cry” from their original “Mood Swings” release and now “Mood Swings II” but something just wasn’t right. The mix was more than just a bit off as the drums and even the backing vocals of drummer Darren Smith were set WAY too high overpowering the lead vocals of Harry Hess and practically burying the amazing guitar work of Pete Lesperance entirely. But no matter… I was here, THEY were here and I knew they would get it fixed and by the third or fourth song, the mix was dead-on although, unfortunately, they seemed to be battling technical issues all night long with Darren’s overpowering microphone issues rising up again from time to time.
Bottom line… technical issues or not, this was a dream fulfilled for myself and I am sure hundreds of other fans to witness this incredible and possibly once in a lifetime performance of HAREM SCAREM here on American soil. Their set included TONS of fan favorites like the song that started it all and opening track to their debut release “Hard To Love,” a superbly executed version of the “pseudo-power-ballad” “Slowly Slipping Away” and a tender, passionate orchestration of the ballad “Honestly” which really gave Hess’ voice a radiating moment in the spotlight. Then they even threw in a few surprises such as the inclusion of “Karma Cleansing” from their 1997 release of the same name, the aggressive chorus-driven “Dagger” from “Overload” and the fast-paced rocker “So Blind” from “Big Bang Theory.”
LOVED hearing these songs “live” but this night, it was all about “Mood Swings” and their re-recording of this incredible1991 sophomore release for “Mood Swings II.” In addition to the set opener “Saviors Never Cry,” the band went on to play NINE MORE tracks off the release including edgier rockers like “Empty Promises,” the mid-tempo “World Gone To Pieces” and “Had Enough” as well as the melodic masterpiece an engaging rendition of the power-ballad “If There Was A Time” and another harder-edged melodic rocker which has always been one of my favs off the release “Sentimental Blvd.”
Towards the end of the set, it was Pete who took center stage showing his mastery and artistry during the instrumental “Mandy” which I can only describe as simply breath-taking. Then finally, this monumental set came to a close sparking a sing-a-long from the exuberant crowd with the anthem-like “No Justice” and heart-pumping “Change Comes Around” I don’t care what ANYONE says… technical issue or not, this was HAREM SCAREM! Strike this one up as a dream fulfilled and a show and experience I will never forget. Thanks SO much Andrew for making this happen and a special thanks to ALL of the guys in HAREM SCAREM who not only put on an incredible performance but were some of the nicest, down to earth and appreciative guys you’d ever want to meet.
My hat’s off to ALL of the musicians on the bill tonight. From our old friends Vic Rivera, Eddie Campbell, Ronnie Sparkes, Eric Ragno, Jeff Scott Soto, Joe Vana and Jimi Jamison who are ALL CLASS ACTS to our new friends in NEWMAN, the BRETT WALKER TRIBUTE BAND, 7th HEAVEN, TANGO DOWN, ADRIANGALE, HEAVEN & EARTH, MECCA, W.E.T. and HAREM SCAREM. Thanks for making this whole day one for the ages! And most importantly… WE MADE IT THROUGH TO THE END!
Two days down… One to go! Coming soon right here at RockEyez.com!