Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Night Ranger can still Rock in London 2012!!

London O2 Islington Academy, Monday 4th June 2012

The 80s Metal renaissance continues to spread far and wide in 2012. Van Halen, Faith no More, Accept, Slayer and Megadeth have all hit the road this year playing to packed houses, and reminding us all just how fine a time the era of MTV metal really was three decades ago. Now it was the turn of Night Ranger.

The band had not played the UK for an eternity, yet this show made it the second time they have now played this intimate 800 capacity venue in just under 12 months. The place suits them to perfection. Small, and tight, yet with remarkably good sound and an audience in within touching distance meant that they ripped it up last time around, and this time everyone was anticipating more of the same. In the end, it was indeed a no-brainer.

Fans travelled the length and breadth of the country for the last show, and this year was no exception. Although not quite sold out, the Academy seemed to be full to the rafters, and Dante Fox served up an accomplished short set before the main attraction, Night Ranger . . . .

Lights dimmed, the AC/DC intro tape faded away and Lay it on Me, opened things up in glorious fashion. The band looked delighted to be back in a venue they tore apart twelve months ago, and it seemed like a home town audience again, as they proceeded to play all manner of classics from their thirty year catalogue in various guises, including one unexpected treat. 

The quintet were on fire, Jack Blades rocking out like a teenager, Kelly Keagy taking his share of vocal duties with aplomb, and Brad Gillis scorching through every guitar solo like it was his last. The man was simply stunning, with incredible stage persona, pulling out impressive solos seemingly at will. He was just breathtaking.

Blades reminisced about times gone by, speaking of the first song they ever wrote, how their rider had changed over thirty years, and lauding Gillis' fine work with Ozzy on the Talk of the Devil live album. They then powered through a frenetic Crazy Train which was a real treat, and the highlights seemed too many to mention, including Secret of My Success, High Enough, and Touch of Madness. The set closed with the mesmerizing keyboard riff of Don't Tell me you Love Me, before the two encores in Sister Christian, and a supremely heavy (You can still) Rock in  America. 

I'm not sure why it took Night Ranger so long to hit the UK since those 1985 gigs. The two shows at this venue in the last twelve months has shown they are still the absolute real deal, thirty years on from when they started out. One fan there saw them in Japan in 1985; others were on the american Monsters of Rock Cruise earlier this year; someone else was here from New Zealand, but the sentiment from everybody seemed to be they just get better and better as time goes by. Truly coming of age.

The 80s Metal renaissance is alive and screaming in 2012. Magnificent.


Lay it on Me
Sing me Away
Seven Wishes
Coming of Age (Damn Yankees cover)
Crazy Train (Ozzy cover)
Rumours in the Air
The Secret of My Success
Let Him Run
Eddie's Comin' out Tonight
High Enough (Damn Yankees cover)
Growing up in California
Touch of Madness
Four in the Morning (I can't take anymore)
When you close your Eyes
Don't tell me you love me (with Deep Purple Highway Star snippet)
Sister Christian
(You can still) Rock in America


Special thanks to everyone in the geordie corner in The Angelic for making it such a great party, and to Stevie M and Si.

Click here for a review + pix of Van Halen's incredible show at Toronto's AC Centre from March 2012

1 comment:

  1. a special nite , first time i've seen em' , Sister Christian has always been a fav of mine so to catch it live was a real treat !

    i just need to be 25 again so i can rock as hard these boyz did.

    impressive stuff

    cu soon
    stevie m