Tuesday, May 28, 2002 @ 9:11 AM
Tesla, Jackyl, Vince Neil, & S
- advertisement -
REVIEW BY: Tommy Trog
St. Louis was the chosen launching pad for this "on paper" fantastic line up of bands...Tesla, Vince Neil, Jackyl & Skid Row. 3 of the 4 held up, and 1 of which just looked silly.
It was an early start, 6pm for Skid Row who had to be disappointed going out in front of thousands of empty seats. I'd estimate they played for about a hundred people until the last couple songs of the set that they opened with an embarrassingly bad rendition of "I Remember You," done in a complete punk style and I found to be totally unnecessary. I guess they are thinking they can appeal to the kids that are buying Blink 182 and Green Day records, but someone needs to tell them those kids don't know who Skid Row are, nor do they care and those kids will never be exposed to their punk rock renditions so why bother. (There were no kids in attendance, or VERY few.)
They redeemed themselves afterwards with true, respectable versions of "Piece of Me," "Mudkicker," "Thick is the Skin (new song)," "Riot Act," & "18 & Life." Johnny Sollinger, who is Sebastian Bach's replacement, did a decent job hitting the notes, but carried himself a little too much like Bach personality-wise on stage. Even his look resembled Bac, but if you can get beyond that, he was cool. They rounded out their set with a stunning rendition of "Monkey Business," the real version of "I Remember You" and "Youth Gone Wild." I found it totally unnecessary to play two different versions of the same song when they had such a short set time to begin with, and the potential list of other songs they could've performed could go on for the rest of this article.
It was a cold night in St Louis. Unseasonably cold and particularly painful for an outdoors show, and add to the fact that it was rainy, which has been typical weather conditions in Missouri all week, and you can see that Jackyl really had their work cut out for them. They were up to the task, I'm glad to say. Jackyl are damn near the most entertaining band touring today and this performance sealed my opinion. Jackyl played with a fierceness that most people probably would not have expected. They opened with a new song, "Put a Curse on You" and then delivered the rebellion anthem "I Stand Alone," which got almost everyone's fist in the air. They didn't slow down for a second and in between songs. Jesse James Dupree was talking a mile a minute and putting a big grin on everyone's faces. I won’t spend the review trying to recite all the things he said, but let me tell you, he did what a musician is supposed to do -- he entertained!!
The whole line up was on fire, and they appeared as a four piece with Jesse picking up the 2nd guitarist duties so that their sound didn't change. Watching Jesse play the guitar made me wonder why they even bothered being a five piece when they started out. I believe Jimmy Stiff is the one who left leaving Jeff Worley as the main lead guitarist, his brother Chris on the drums who was really fun to watch and new bassist Roman Click of the now defunct Brother Cane rounding up the lineup. Roman was impressive to watch as he stalked the stage with an unusual presence. Other songs included the brand new "Kill the Sunshine," another new song that they didn't state the name of, "Down on Me," "Dirtee Little Mind," "Redneck Punk," and "The Lumberjack," which included Jesse's famous chainsaw bit. At one point Jesse even went out into the seats getting the crowd further fired up for the sake of rock-n-roll. My only disappointment was their failure to play any songs beyond the first album. They did 3 new songs, none of which are available for purchase, and the rest of the set came from their platinum debut... maybe they just wanted to stick with what they felt the majority might know the words to.
Vince Neil seemed to take much longer to get out on stage & when he was there, oh I tried hard to like him, believe me I did, but he performed like someone who just couldn't wait to get off the stage. He barely talked to the audience, except to tell them it was cold out and he had just flown in from Hawaii. In between songs the band members all seemed to gravitate to the back of the stage with Vince disappearing completely -- A sharp contrast to the frontmen who played before Vince. Vince's voice was all but lost, as he whined his way through a few words, then would hold the mic out and hope the crowd wanted to sing the rest. He did ALL Motley material, nothing from his own solo records. I was up close and when I watched his face -- I saw nothing but insecurity. He looks like a fighter past his prime. I hate to say this because I used to love his voice back in the ‘80s but it, along with his stage presence was totally lacking.
He opened with "Kickstart my Heart" and if it were not for guitarist Brent Woods, the set would've been a complete waste. Brent did an excellent slide solo for "Piece of Your Action," and for the record, the rest of the band was great, too, but it was like watching a Motley Crue tribute band with a singer that just couldn't hold any notes. Vince appeared to have problems hearing himself with the ear plugs and at times there was some feedback, but all in all this set told me Vince should find another occupation.
Tesla came on like champions but had their share of technical problems at the start. They opened with "Action Talks," but Tommy Skeoch's guitar wasn't plugged in or something and he wasn't coming thru in the mix, he was pissed. The expression on his face told it all, the band became aware and looked bewildered but segued into "War Pigs" and delivered a powerful rendition of it. I guess this is their song to fall back on if there is a problem. By the time that was over, Tommy's guitar problems were solved, and he was back out coming through loud and clear in the mix and it was non stop, all out killer rock from there. Tesla are troopers, this is the real deal, the CLASSIC rock band for the new century. Radio needs to embrace this band again because they have songs of near perfection.
We got a good blend of material from all their records, "The Way It Is," "Little Suzie," "Song & Emotion," "What You Give” (perhaps one of the sweetest, most touching songs ever written) "Mama's Fool," "Love Song," "Signs," "Modern Day Cowboy" and "Heaven's Trail" were all delivered with a powerful punch. Jeff Keith's vocals sounded excellent and the way he staggers and struts around the stage is priceless. For an encore they delivered "Hang Tough," and bid us farewell. The faithful applauded loudly, unfortunately the faithful probably didn't amount to much beyond 3,000, if even that and the venue (UMB Bank Pavillion) holds 20,000. If St Louis is any indication of ticket sales in other cities, then see this tour while you can, because I doubt it will last the summer dates that are planned -- I just don't see how anyone profited from last night's dismal attendance. This is unfortunate, I feel like I'm part of a dying breed. My advice, check out the tour, 3 of the 4 bands are great, actually all 4 bands are great, it's just one singer who is in dire straits and looking rather lost as the new century unfolds around him.