The day started out slow (I’m not talking music-wise). Fans slowly crept in as the day wore on. They missed some great music as Quiet Riot, Great White, and Lita Ford hit the stage before a large portion of the crowd showed up to witness the last two acts: Tom Keifer of Cinderella and Vince Neil of Motley Crue.
Kicking off Treasure Island’s Rock Party was Quiet Riot. Adding American Idol Finalist James Durbin as the new lead singer was a great move. His voice is a great match for this early 80’s rock giant, able to hit the highs and screams with authority, although I still find it hard to hear anyone but Kevin DuBrow on the lead Mic. The 45-minute set was basically a greatest hits disc performed live. They played many of the hits including a cover of Slade’s “Cum On Feel The Noize” that helped Quiet Riot become the first heavy metal (hair metal?) band to have both a Billboard #5 hit and #1 album at the same time.
The second 45-minute set belonged to Great White, an absolutely fun band. It was great to hear all the classic hits as lead singer Terry Ilous hit it note for note on this short set, which, once again, turned into a greatest hits collection. Still, this felt weird with Ilous singing the hit songs “Once Bitten Twice Shy” and ” Call It Rock N’ Roll.” It was well done, just different. Too bad the band and Jack Russel separated, with Russel flying solo and forming Jack Russel’s Great White Band. I will always prefer Russel over any lead singer that may play with Great White. Maybe because the band never seemed to recover publicly from that horrible night where the pyrotechnics burned down The Station Nightclub killing 100 people including guitarist Ty Longley.
Lita Ford always is a hit for me, that voice still blows me away. She’s just one helluva rocker, whether it’s her famed solo career or her time in The Runaways with another great bandleader, Joan Jett.
The afternoon set was filled great hits and, of course, lots of guitars, including two of Lita’s famous guitars, The B.C. Rich Yellow Mockingbird, and a White Double Neck Warlock that she used in the song “Kiss Me Deadly.” She was joined on stage by the famous Bobby Rock on drums, Marty O’Brien on bass and Patrick Kennison on guitar. Later on, Kennison joined Lita on her hit song “Close My Eyes Forever,” filling in for the Legendary Ozzy Osbourne. I must say he does a good job with that particular song, but it still takes a moment or two to erase the sound of Ozzy.
This was the second time in a ten-day stretch that I was in attendance for a Tom Keifer (of Cinderella) show. He was so much better this time, even though the last time wasn’t his fault (storms and horrible lighting). This time everything lined up for him, great weather and a fantastic crowd to support him.
Keifer’s blues-rock was a wonderful break from the early sets. He played all the Cinderella hits along with songs from his solo album The Way Life Goes and a cover of The Beatles “With A Little Help From My Friends“.
Headlining the night was Vince Neil of Motley Crue. Everyone that I talked to said the same things, he’s lost his voice and he runs out of breath and makes the crowd sing to cover it up. On this night none of that was true! His voice sounded better than it has in years! If there was help from sampling, I couldn’t tell you.
Vince was all over the stage and sweating up a storm, he was very engaging (to my surprise), involving the fans. Yes, it did include some singing along. This wasn’t his normal style of spray and sweep with the microphone (as he would if he was running out of breath).
Vince Neil mostly covered everything from Motley Crue, which bums me out a little. It’d be great to hear a song or two from his solo work including “Your Invited But Your Friend Can’t Come” or a killer version of Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4“. Nope, he stuck with the tried and true, with hits “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Kickstart My Heart” and the song that started the ballad craze from a lot of the 80’s hairbands “Home Sweet Home.”
Vince Neil surrounded himself with plenty of great musicians with Jeff Bland on lead guitar, Dana Strum on bass and Zoltan Chaney on the drums. All members who currently are playing with Vince have one thing in common (at least), and that is they all play in the band Slaughter. If you want to see some amazing drumming, check out Chaney, he absolutely pulverizes those skins.
What a great show that the Vince Neil Band put on, now it didn’t have the pyrotechnics that a Crue show would have, it was an entertaining night nonetheless. Vince sounded pretty good, and the band was great, including the moment when Vince took a break and the rest of the band played a Led Zeppelin cover.
The only thing missing tonight was some of Vince’s original music, hopefully, he works some into the future shows. Not all of us want just straight Motley Crue Covers. That is really my only complaint about the evening. If that’s the only problem, you’d have to call that a success. Every fan wants to hear a certain song, well not this time for me. I’ll be back to see him again, I’ve seen Motley Crue and Vince Neil Solo so many times, I lost count.