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NIGHT RANGER Live In Houston, Texas With Photos!

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 @ 4:20 PM


Band Rocks Sold Out Concert Pub North In Rare Club Appearance

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"If I book it, will you come?"

These were the words uttered by Houston promoter John Escamilla at a concert a couple of months ago in reference to his attempt to book a national act at the Concert Pub North on a Sunday night. He wanted to know that he had the fans support before making this commitment because it would be probably the most expensive show brought to the club and like any good promoter, he didn't want to lose his ass on the deal. Armed with an overwhelmingly positive response, he pulled off the seemingly impossible, booking a band that never plays small clubs, though not at all surprising to the Houston rock fans that have seen him bring countless bands to the area the past 3 years. That band? NIGHT RANGER.

He booked it and they came. The place was sold out and packed for a show to close out November on the 30th. There were two local bands on the bill, which is typical for a national show, and they were two of my favorites, TAME FURY and LOVE & WAR. Unfortunately we arrived to the show late (actually we were eating dinner in the club restaurant) and missed TAME FURY's opening set. But you can certainly check out the review of their debut EP, Taste Of Fury, right HERE. Sadly, LOVE & WAR's set was also missed because at that time we were standing in the line for the NIGHT RANGER meet and greet, but we could hear the band and they sounded great. There were quite a few people in line for the meet and greet and it got started late and so was a bit rushed, but I did get to say hi to all the guys before getting my picture with them and they were all in great moods, which definitely was a good omen for the show that was about to start.

Finally, it was NIGHT RANGER time. The Concert Pub actually renovated their stage a bit, extending the front of it out about another foot and a half to two feet, which might not seem like much, but when you have 5 band members up onstage with all their gear every inch counts. The only thing they didn't have time to do was reposition the front of stage lighting, which made it impossible to take good photos when guitarists Brad Gillis or new addition Keri Kelli would come out onto the extension. Truthfully though, that was little more than a pebble in the road as opposed to a speed bump in an otherwise perfect evening of rock-n-roll. It really is amazing the difference between a promoter who takes care of the bands he brings versus a shady, back alley one who tries to stiff a band every chance he gets. The end result is a great show and a happy band (at least the vast majority of the time), one that is willing to come back again in the future. The band hit the stage for a 17 song set, kicking things off with a pair of songs from the Midnight Madness release of 1983, "Touch Of Madness" and "Rumours In The Air" before jumping back to where it all began, 1982's Dawn Patrol for "Sing Me Away".

The band, Jack Blades (bass), Kelly Keagy (drums), Eric Levy (keyboards) and the aforementioned guitarists Gillis and Kelli, were all smiles on this night and you could tell they were having every bit as much fun as the overflowing crowd was. In between songs Jack would tell different stories about their past and how it might relate to certain songs and even though he would get a tad long winded at times, the crowd appreciated the background information. The set rolled on with tracks from just about every NIGHT RANGER album, including "4 AM", "Secret Of My Success", "Eddie" and "Sentimental Street". The set even included a couple of DAMN YANKEES hits, "Coming Of Age" and "High Enough". Granted, Jack Blades was a part of that band but it did seem just a bit odd, especially when you consider the NIGHT RANGER catalog they could have chosen other songs from. Still, the songs were a nice addition and were well received. In a nod to the past of Gillis and Kelli they also played the ALICE COOPER hit "School's Out" and "Crazy Train" by, well you know who. Their pre-encore performance was finished off with "When You Close Your Eyes" and "Don't Tell Me You Love" before returning once again for probably their most recognizable song, "Sister Christian" and then closing things out with "You Can Still Rock In America".

The show was a rousing success, in large part due to the active participation of the Houston area fans who helped to promote the show, given plenty of incentive from the club in the form of Platinum VIP upgrades that were awarded to a handful of randomly selected people who shared various flyers of the show across social media, something they started a couple of months ago. The end result is a win-win-win situation; the band's happy with a sold out crowd, which makes it more likely that they'll come back, the club wins with free promotion of shows and the fans win by getting to see their favorite bands and having the chance to be up close and personal. But the bottom line is what it's all about: keeping the rock scene alive and kicking in Houston!

Setlist:

  • "Touch Of Madness"
  • "Rumours In The Air"
  • "Sing Me Away"
  • "4 AM"
  • "Coming Of Age"
  • "Sentimental Street"
  • "Secret Of My Success"
  • "School's Out"/"Crazy Train"
  • "High Road"
  • "Eddie"
  • "High Enough"
  • "Goodbye"
  • "When You Close Your Eyes"
  • "Don't Tell Me You Love Me"
Encore:
  • "Sister Christian"
  • "You Can Still Rock In America"
Check out some more photos from the show!
All Photos By Larry Petro

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