Pure Rock Patroller
Monday, July 8, 2002 @ 12:33 AM
Rock Never Stops Tour Live at
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The summer concert season is upon us once again. Several big name tours litter my calendar and provide for a healthy dose of loud music to keep me sane. Nu metal marauders pillage the countryside with such packages as Coal Chamber/American Head Charge, Korn/Puddle of Mudd, The Family Values Tour, Vans Warped Tour and Localbazooka with Sevendust. Veteran bands like Aerosmith, Danzig, the Dio/Deep Purple/Scorpions tour and various other hair band outings. And don’t forget Jackfest, er, I mean Ozzfest and his merry bunch of bands that shouldn’t be. Okay, that’s a little harsh but I’m a fan of REAL metal. Ozzfest should have bands like Slayer, Celtic Frost, Iron Maiden, Pantera, Megadeth, Soulfly, Queensryche, Danzig, Accept, Anthrax, Judas Priest, Dio, Scorpions, Iced Earth, Seasons of the Wolf, Drill 187 and maybe even some hair bands like Ratt, Quiet Riot, Cinderella, LA Guns, Skid Row (with Sebastian) or the original lineups of GNR or Van Halen. Hell, Ozzy launched the careers of Motley Crue and Metallica by letting them open for him long ago. Could you imagine Metallica stepping down off that high horse and supporting the Godfather of Metal? Now that would be a show! That brings me to the event I witnessed last night. I debated reviewing it because I know a lot of you simply don’t care. For those wearing nu metal blinders, read on if you are prepared to learn more about the metal genre fueled by sex, drugs and rock n’ roll! (SD&RR) Welcome to decadence revisited, well kind of…
Being a huge fan of this type of metal, the place to be Saturday night was Mile High Field in Wausau, WI. Concertgoers had a chance to see rock legends duke it out in a makeshift battle of the bands. I only wish I was the farmer across the road charging five bucks a car to park in his field. The guy made enough to buy a new John Deere to replace the green one he currently sat upon. Surveying the land like a king, he watched several hundred money making machines drive onto the mud soaked property, only to get stuck ankle deep in it while spinning their wheels. This made possible by two solid nights of rain that let up only a few hours before the concert.
Most of the metal heads missed the local opening act; too busy inhaling plant life and beers from coolers in their open trunks. I missed most of Skid Row while standing in the line to get inside. This however was okay. The new singer, Jonny Solinger I believe, has a good voice but he isn’t Sebastian Bach, hence it’s not really Skid Row. I did like hearing Rachel Bolan sing the Ramones staple “Psycho Therapy” in a tribute to Joey (RIP).
Next up is local favorite, Jackyl. These Atlanta natives come to Wausau often and always put on a great show. Jessee James Dupree is one of those few singers whose voice never falters from studio to live. Playing classic tunes from their catalogue such as “I Stand Alone,” “The Secret of the Bottle,” “When Will it Rain?” “Redneck Punk,” “Lumberjack,” and their closing “love” song, “She Loves My Cock.” Jackyl provided the largely thirtysomething crowd with a salted-rim Pabst Blue Ribbon induced party. I will always enjoy their southern tinged brand of alcoholic metal that is the poster child for SD&RR!
Now for the most publicized vocalist on tour, Vince Neil. Billed as Motley Crue featuring Vince Neil, I was skeptical. With news of his recent drunken Rockline interview fresh in my mind and a handful of bad reviews floating around the net, I was prepared for the worst. To my surprise, he sounded better than anticipated and looked pretty good amidst weight rumors. Yes, he skipped a few lyrics here and there and coaxed the audience to sing a lot of the choruses, but this was Vince fucking Neil! He still knows how to get the crowd excited and I found myself pumping my fist and screaming my lungs out to Crue classics. Vince opened with “Kickstart my Heart,” as we sang along to “Dr.Feelgood,” “Same Ol’ Situation,” “Live Wire,” “Piece of Your Action,” “Shout at the Devil,” “Looks that Kill,” “Red Hot,” “Knock ‘Em Dead Kid,” “Home Sweet Home,” “Smokin’ in the Boys Room,” and “Girls, Girls, Girls.” Maybe it was all the Bacardi and Cokes at the bar across the street before the show, or the several bottles of Mike’s Hard Lemonade that they peddled at the venue, but Vince sounded fine to me. It was amusing to see him run back to the side of stage behind the drummer to swig on a brown beer bottle during guitar solos. By the end of his set, my voice started to crackle as the hoarse was fast approaching. Thanks, Vince, for bringing back some great memories of better days. Fuck the critics!
And now, the newly reformed Tesla. I’ve seen Tesla twice before, once opening for Poison in the late ‘80s, and again as a headliner with Firehouse in the early ‘90s. Tesla is one of those bands that you either love or you hate, mainly because of Jeff Keith’s high-pitched nasal instrument. I have to admit this was the best Tesla performance I’ve seen out of the three. They looked straight outta the ‘80s, still sporting long hair, except drummer Troy Luccketta with his short ‘do. I forget what they opened with, mainly because I was left speechless when I heard the eerie wail of air raid sirens from Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” The crowd went nuts, and Tesla did an excellent rendition of the timeless classic. Tearing through a set list consisting of hard rock gems like “Getting’ Better,” “Little Suzy,” “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out),” “Edison’s Medicine,” “Call It What You Want,” “What You Give,” and the Steve Clark Tribute, “Song and Emotion,” Tesla earned their stripes with the metal army swarming before them. I haven’t sung that loud or played my air guitar in such a manner in years! I can’t remember the last time I felt so fucking alive. The cool thing was the crowd. There were no fights or pits, just a bunch of head banging 25-45 year old chicks, bikers and mullet heads dressed in tight denim and leather, some with teenage kids in tow taking in their first concert experience. Tesla closed with my favorite, “Modern Day Cowboy,” and a new track called “Heaven,” dedicated to loved ones lost on 9/11 and a friend of Frank Hannon’s who recently died of a heart attack. The song kicked serious ass and was heavier than most of their stuff. I look forward to hearing the rest of the album.
Overall, this was an excellent show. People can say all they want that ‘80s metal is dead, but tonight proved to me that there is still a hungry market for it in Central Wisconsin. I will always fly the metal flag proud. Long live the loud!