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Saturday, August 25, 2012

‘Operation Rock’ Featuring Cinderella, Sebastian Bach and Lynch Mob Live in Detroit!

‘Operation Rock’ Featuring Cinderella, Sebastian Bach and Lynch Mob
DTE Energy Music Theatre / Pine Knob – Saturday 18th August, 2012
 So it’s a Saturday night and there’s a multi band bill, rock show in town and it’s quite a lineup.

It’s billed as ‘Operation Rock’ to pay tribute and honour the US Military and the venue offered a special deal to members of the military forces or veterans, by offering free lawn tickets to those that presented their military ID.

 This was in fact, a five act bill, with John Corabi (Ex-Motley Crue) as the opening act and Enuff Z’Nuff as well, prior to Lynch Mob, Sebastian Bach and headliners Cinderella.

Here’s the thing folks, with the show starting at 5pm, there was no way Rhonda and I were going to find a sitter to watch the kids from say 4pm – It can be up to an hour getting to and into Pine Knob, from where we live. – up until midnight, when we anticipated getting home, so … Didn't happen!
I really am not a big fan of ‘The Crue …,’ so suffice to say I didn’t mind missing John Corabi, sorry to fans of his …

Enuff Z’Nuff …, honestly, I have never heard their material, so can’t really comment, but obviously that meant, we’d give them a miss too.
We caught the very last two of their songs as we arrived and it sound OK, but nothing extraordinary. Sorry ...

Lynch Mob

Lynch Mob onstage at Detroit's Pine Knob / DTE theatre - Photo: Alun Williams

Now Lynch Mob, that’s a different story, while not knowing George Lynch’s solo career that in depth, I have now been a Dokken fan for some years, but I will say the ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ album I really did enjoy.
Oni Logan is also a great lead vocalist, so I really didn’t want to miss this and that as it turned out, was absolutely the right decision.

Rhonda and I loved their set, they sounded strong, good and the crowd on the night loved it too!

The band opened with a new song, ‘Sucka’ from their latest ‘Sound Mountain Session’ E.P. that’s just been released and it sounded good.
Oni Logan is a class singer and George Lynch these days certainly seems very much on top of his game.
Lynch Mob again at Pine Knob / DTE - Photo: Alun Williams

Then it was a classic Lynch Mob track in the shape of ‘River of Love,’ excellent song that the band played very well.
Robbie Crane (Ratt, Vince Neil, Adler’s Appetite) on bass, is a seasoned and solid addition, very strong.
Have to say, I’m not 100% on the drummer, as I know it wasn’t Brian Tichy, don’t think it was Scot Coogan either …?
‘Hell Child’ up next is another strong song, before something many had been waiting for, some classic Dokken!

George and the guys fire up ‘Into The Fire’ in great style. The band assumes their poses, like they’re the headline act so they are clearly enjoying themselves.

George Lynch the main man! - Photo: Alun Williams

Some great guitar work from George all through their short set, particularly on next number ‘Mr. Scary’ though and what a tight band?!

Another new track in ‘Slow Drag’ off the new E.P. and on first hearing, it sounds like a winner. Not bad in a live setting as one of the opening acts.

The band closes with probably their best known song in ‘Wicked Sensation,’ which is also emblazoned on the back of many Lynch Mob t-shirts being worn tonight, clearly much love here in Detroit for the former Dokken player.
Nice set guys, come back soon!

Sebastian Bach
So, to former Skid Row – American version! – frontman and TV personality, Sebastian Bach next.

Here’s the thing … I really don’t know much of his solo material, as I’m not his biggest fan and wasn’t really hooked on Skid Row, I do have their first release, but that’s it.

Sebastian Bach and band onstage in Detroit. - Photo: Alun Williams

Clearly Mr. Popular though … Sadly, to me, he really comes across as a wannabe Axl Rose and I know they are friends or acquaintances so, perhaps no surprise there …?!

The crowd does seem to love this though and I believe the opening song was ‘Slave to the Grind.’

A very strong backing band, no question at all, but boy, have they cranked the sound up?!
This is possibly the loudest show I have ever been to and believe me when I say that; I’ve probably been to more than a thousand in my life.

He certainly loves to swear, as throughout his set, it’s a continuous barrage of ‘f’ bombs, just constantly.
He introduces the next song as, ‘We’ve got a new song for you that’s all about kicking fxxxing ass!’
So I'm guessing it was ‘Kicking and Screaming,’ the title track off his last solo album.
Really was at a loss with most of the rest of his set and without telling us the song titles, the way they were sung, made it hard to even guess?!

Sebastian Bach, the man with the hair! - Photo: Alun Williams

We did of course get plenty more swearing, including various references to this being ‘Detroit f**king rock city!’

He introduces his guitar player Nick Sterling(?) I’m guessing, although I swear he said Bret Woods …?
He then proceeds to make fun of the guy, saying that, ‘Yeah, this guy’s hair straightener broke, so that’s why his hair is such a mess tonight!’

Then he talks about Axl Rose having sung on the next song they’re about to play, then he says, ‘I’d like to bring out a special guest … Just kidding!’ Adding, ‘Even if Axl was coming tonight, he wouldn’t be here yet anyway!'

Next track is introduced as a song off ‘Angel Down’ and is something about …. , ‘mother truckers …’ Yeah, that about sums you up Seb!
His voice sounds alright, it’s just that I’m not familiar with the songs, but he certainly plays the front man role well, posing, swinging the microphone around all over the place frequently and then some.

Sebastian Bach and band onstage in Detroit. - Photo: Alun Williams

He also interacts with the crowd between EVERY song, clearly like Axl and Ted Nugent, a motor mouth, no question!

Aha, a song I know next with Skid Row’s mega hit, ’18 and Life’ and suddenly I notice something really crafty about the guy and his vocal technique. He’s got a little trick down with his sound engineer.
Whenever he goes to hit the last note of a song line, where the album reflects him holding the note, well, live he’s singing and as he goes to sing that last note, he pulls the mic away and the sound guy holds the sustain on the last note, so he doesn’t have to and lets it fade out.
Clearly he knows he can’t physically hold those notes anymore on a regular basis. Clever live trick!
He dedicates the next song to the American military and it’s ‘American Metalhead.’
Then it’s back to the Skid Row era of his career and ‘Monkey Business’ from the ‘Slave to the Grind’ album.

Band introductions next, on the guys he’s not introduced already with Jason Christopher on bass, then Bobby Jarzombek on the drums, gets the nod from Bach for ‘More cowbell Bobby …. Bobby Jarzombek on cowbell!’

Bach then gets the crowd singing along and announces, ‘I love Pine Knob!’ Then he thanks the WRIF - Local radio station. - and DJ Doug Podell, saying that they helped break Skid Row in Detroit.

With that we get ‘I Remember You’ from his previous band and brings out the bands guitar tech to play acoustic guitar here.
He seems to struggle on some notes in the chorus, but it’s still a great song.

Seb Bach rockin' the stage in Detroit! - Photo: Alun Williams

‘It smells like hot dogs and beer in here tonight … And I smell f**king dope!’
The crowd seems to get a kick out of that …

 He then tells us that this is the band’s last show on this tour – Cinderella only had one more date anyway … - and that tomorrow they go home.
He goes on to thank the band, the techs and the road crew and they wrap it up with ‘Youth Gone Wild.’
 He has a great band, puts on a show and sings alright, just a shame that the guy doesn’t take into consideration, that on a show like this, there’s a lot of young kids there, as it’s a show dedicated to the military, hence why it’s called ‘Operation Rock’ and many of those guys are here tonight with their family. Shame …


Cinderella hits the stage in Detroit! - Photo: Alun Williams

 Cinderella comes on pretty late in the evening and by the time they hit the stage, it’s clear we are not going to hear much more than just over an hour, as it’s now 9.50pm and curfew here is 11pm.
‘Once Around The Ride,’ what a great opener and the band sound on their game from the off!
It’s been almost three years since the band played here last, opening for The Scorpions on their ‘Final Sting’ tour.
Next up is ‘Shake Me’ another big hit for the band and clearly they understand they are on a tight schedule time wise, so it’s hit city!
Tom Keifer, Eric Brittingham, Jeff Labar and Fred Coury still have what it takes to put on a great show and tonight is no exception.
‘Heartbreak Station (Last Train)’ was always a favourite of mine, but then there’s not a bad song in tonight’s set, so no complaints here, only on the time limitation and shortened set.
The whole sound tonight is great, can’t believe it, when you think of it being an outdoor gig, I love it!
Top - Jeff Labar and Tom Keifer, jamming!
Bottom - Fred Coury and Tom Keifer.
Photo's - Alun Williams

‘Somebody Save Me’ up next and like I said before, there’s not a bad song tonight and Tom Keifer after his recent illnesses is still as good and raspy as ever!
Then it’s ‘Night Songs’ and that riff was always a great opener on their first album and Tom is sporting a twin neck guitar and he quick change from chorus to verse playing, on both necks just shows the guys great ability.

Top - Eric Brittingham on bass.
Bottom: Tom Keifer sporting twin neck guitar and top hat.
Photo: Alun Williams

The evening is all about paying tribute to the troops and Tom Keifer then brings out military man, ‘AJ’ as someone .., ‘who has served our country, so I ask you all … All the military troops here tonight, to please raise your hand.’

The troops in the crowd duly oblige and then Tom says, ‘Now, everyone else standing next to someone with their hand raised, turn around, look them in the eye and say ‘Thank you!’
Wow! That just gives me goose bumps!  Good one Tom, respect mate!
‘So now I’d like to dedicate this next song to all our troops out there still serving our country, it’s a song called ‘Coming Home.’
‘Second Wind’ next sounds good, before a baby Grand Piano is rolled out to the front of the stage for Tom to introduce ‘Don’t Know What You’ve Got (‘til it’s gone)’ which really moves the crowd to sing along.
What a great night!

A little piano time with Tom Keifer - Photo: Alun Williams

Straight into ‘Nobody’s Fool’ and you see what I mean about every song being a winner? Bet you wish you were here?!

As well as carrying the songs well vocally, Tom really shows his talent here with some nice lead work, but taking nothing away from Jeff Labar, alongside Tom Keifer who’s done an excellent job throughout the set too and of course Eric Brittingham and Fred Coury keep the rhythm tight!
Then it’s ‘Gypsy Road,’ which really gets everyone on their feet, everyone loves it, with Tom getting the crowd singing and clapping along. It’s a great song to close the set with.
They come back with the blues of ‘Long Cold Winter,’ before ‘Shelter Me’ finishes the evening, Tom adding a little saxophone in there for good measure.
No complaints from Rhonda or myself and from the crowd’s response, everyone is going home happy tonight.
A great show certainly for us, with some killer performances from Lynch Mob and Cinderella, Seb Bach’s band were on their game too.

Special thanks as well to Patty in the Palace staff for all you did to make the night go smoothly!


Side note: Folks, for those that don't realise it, if the photo's seem small, click on any of them to enlarge the image.
The blogsite limit's how big it is streamed.

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