Night Ranger: @O2 Islington Academy, London 12/03/2015


Melodic rock legends play London, and MVM’s Garry is there to tell you will wish you were too

A six hour car ride there and back may seem excessive to see a band in the capital on a Thursday evening….but when you’ve been a fan of the band for years and their live shows in this country over the last 30 years can be counted on one hand, sometimes you just need to make the trip!!!

Arguably one of the best kept secrets over here, the mighty Night Ranger were in London as a warm up to their headline appearance at the HRH AOR festival in Wales over the weekend….let me tell you this, it was no warm up…this was the full nailed on rock experience of 2015!!!
The band burst on stage at 9pm with the majestic ‘Touch Of Madness’ and you could tell they meant business from note one, they followed the opener with ‘Seven Wishes’, ‘Growing Up In California’ and ‘Sing Me Away’…..what a start, the band were going for it and so were the 800 strong crowd, it was definitely one of those up close and personal gigs you read about and wish you had gone to.
The band played hard but the smiles on their faces said it all, they were pleased to be here and promised to revisit these shores a lot more in the near future than they have in the past, the tracks came thick and fast from the superb brand new album ‘high road’ and from their extensive back catalogue…..they even threw in a few covers including Alice Cooper’s ‘schools out’ to introduce recent addition to the band guitar player Keri Kelli who spent nine years on the road with Alice and also Ozzy’s ‘crazy train’ which came complete with Osbourne anecdotes from one time Ozzy guitarist Brad Gillis….who it has to be said is a guitar player of the highest order.
A few technical issues didn’t knock keyboard player Eric Levy out of his stride for long and brought some good light hearted mockery from frontman Jack Blades who it has to be said never stopped smiling all evening….he was loving the raucous reception that each song received and was slightly taken aback by the way that the two Damn Yankees songs ‘coming of age’ and ‘high enough’ were belted out by the crowd.
Drummer Kelly Keagy (who I had the pleasure of interviewing a couple of weeks back) is one of those guys who you feel at times is wasted stuck behind the kit especially as it was he who supplied the vocals to tracks such as ‘sentimental street’ and the mega hit ‘sister christian’ that we were treated to at the end of the evening… it was particularly enjoyable when Kelly strode out front to take the mic.
The whole evening was a proper no gimmicks, no holds barred rock show with tracks like ‘night ranger’, ‘st bartholomew’, ‘when you close your eyes’, ‘eddie’s coming out tonight’ and set closer ‘(you can still) rock in america’….hopefully the band will keep their promise to return to these shores sooner rather than later…..Mr Blades spoke of a five year plan that involved the UK, and on the basis of the crowd reaction at the O2 in Islington they will be welcomed back time and time again with open arms…..a visit to the midlands next time would be appreciated though as I feel the highways agency and their ongoing mission to replace us all with traffic cones are not big rock fans!!!! 


Garry presents the Unchained Rock Show on 101.8 WCRfm at 10pm on Thursday nights.

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