Skid Row took the stage at about 11:30 or so with their usual flash and power. I have to say, I am never disappointed in a Skid Row show. After all these years, this band still knows how to rock. Johnny Solinger just gets better and better every time I see him, although it sounded like he was a wee bit under the weather this night. However, it didn't stop him and the Skids from belting out a hard 12-song set that included tunes from the entire decade-and-a-half catalogue the band has racked up. Opening with the ultra-heavy title track to their 2003 CD "Thickskin," the Skids then launched into an ear-melting set that included "Piece of Me," "Sweet Little Sister," "New Generation," and a kick ass version of "18 and Life" that began with a short instrumental intro. From the new release "Revolutions per Minute," we got to hear "Another Dick in the System" (my personal fave off the CD) and "Disease," two really powerful songs that had even some skeptic fans jumping around and waving the devil horns. Solinger's vocals really came to life on the crowd favorite, an acoustic version of "I Remember You," and the set wrapped up with "Slave to the Grind." Amidst cheers and screams for more, the band came back for an encore with their first hit, "Youth Gone Wild."
Overall, the Skid Row of 2006 is vocally, musically and visually far better than the Skids of the early 90's, and they proved it on this night. Recovered from his recent carpal tunnel surgery, Snake Sabo played the guitar like he was born to manipulate those strings. Rachel Bolan is still the most animated, crazy, sexy bass player in the business, and eternally comical Scotti Hill -dressed in overalls that really have seen better days-entertained us with rhythm guitar riffs and a great big smile. Dave Gara, the wildest drummer this reviewer has ever seen, retained his title as the King of Power with his amazing drumming this evening. For the guy in the back of the stage, Dave is certainly no backdrop, as he wields the sticks like a man possessed.
As far as the vocals go, I can never say enough good things about Johnny Solinger. The wall-to-wall people at the State Theater this Wednesday indicated that nobody seems to remember the has-been singers of the world, but they sure welcomed Johnny Solinger like an old family friend. Crooning about love in one breath and screaming like you killed his mother in the next; Solinger showed us that his pipes could handle whatever you throw his way-and with style and power, to boot. While the has-beens from former bands are playing with second-rate musicians and cranking out rearranged versions of hits they cling to retain their fame, Skid Row marches into 2007 as a fresh and modern band whose music remains popular and whose new tunes will surely kick your ass like never before.