May 16, 2005

Concert Review: Joe Lynn Turner 5/13

About a month ago I noticed a listing for an upcoming concert featuring Joe Lynn Turner and Yngwie Malmsteen. I had heard of Turner, but couldn't really place the name, Yngwie is another story. Yngwie is an absolutely amazing guitar player, he may have gotten a but repetitive over the years, but he still has the skills and puts on a fun show, the guy is crazy. Then the day of the show comes around, I check the site, and Yngwie's name was no longer listed as appearing. I checked his site, and there was no mention of him there either. Will so be it, I am still going to go and have fun at a rock show.

I did check up a little on Joe Lynn Turner, I found that he was with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow for a few years, he also was the lead singer in Yngwie Malmsteen's band for a while, and he also spent some time with Deep Purple. This in addition to a wealth of solo work. Sadly though, I was not familiar with his work going in.

The day arrived, I went to the show, actually looking forward to it. I arrived around 8:30, just as the crowd was filing in, I went inside and met up with some friends and waited for the show to begin.

The first act to hit the stage was an up and coming local act called Metadox. I have seen them a few times, and they keep getting better. They have a great old school metal sound, and they have been displaying the talent to make it, so far anyway. They opened with a song that I was unfamiliar with, may be new since the last time I saw them, good heavy track. The performance was not quite up to par since the last time I saw them, the singer seemed to be a bit hoarse and wasn't as active as I am used to seeing, yet he still put his heart into the performance. Then something happened that I didn't expect, about halfway through their set they were playing "Breathless As You Die," one of their better tracks, and one of my friends turned to me and said, "These guys are good!" This coming from the same guy who last year said he didn't care for them, they're getting better. During the same song, another friend turned and said "I know this song, who does it again?" It, of course, is an original, but it shows that they are getting in the people's heads. They closed their set with an extended instrumental which shows they have the chops to back up their Iron Maiden inspired sound. I look forward to future performances from them.

Next up was a band whose name I have seen before, but had never heard, Flytrap. They had a good straight up rock and roll sound. Nothing special, but they were tight and did a good job of getting the crowd going. You could tell that they have been together for awhile, trading some solos, and giving a style of party type rock that I liked, but I couldn't say that I would be on the lookout just for them.

ZO2 was the third and final opening act and I must say they sounded great. That despite the goofy, to me, self introduction of the band harmonizing "Hello..... We Are.......ZO2!" I don't know what it was, but it seemed to be very 80's and just slightly unnecessary. But once that was out of the way and they started actually performing, it all changed. For a three piece, they had a large full sound. Their style of music is poppy radio friendly rock. I thought they put on a great show, lots of energy and playing to the crowd trying to get everyone involved. I was also amused by the fact that the lead singer/guitar player looked like Spike from Cowboy Bebop (anime fans know of whom I speak). ZO2 could be an act to keep an eye out for, they have a bright future.

Finally it was time for our main event, Joe Lynn Turner. One of my friends has been a fan of his for a long time and was very much looking forward to this performance, I was approaching it with a touch of trepidation. That fear did not stay very long as the band took to the stage and broke into some straight up rock and metal. Joe's voice sounded great, hitting all the right notes, I was very impressed, he has been on the road for a long time, and he still sounded like it was the 80's all over again. I am assuming that the music was a mix of his solo material and Rainbow material, and at one point playing a track from the Deep Purple album that he appeared on. You could see that he was having fun up there, enjoying all of the applause and cheers that the crowd was giving to him. He played for over an hour before leaving the stage briefly before returning for the encore. The encore consisted of two cover songs, songs which he performed many times during his stint with Deep Purple, "Highway Star" and "Smoke on the Water." It was a great way to close out an excellent night for rock and metal, a couple of songs I actually knew! After this performance I have a feeling I will be out looking for some Turner material, perhaps his latest album The Usual Suspects which is also the name of his band.

On a side note there were a pair of celebrities in attendance. There to watch the show was Richie Scarlett and Ace Frehley. Both of whom I sadly missed upon leaving, they came down to sign autographs and talk with fans along side Joe Lynn Turner.

Over all it was a fun night filled with excellent performances from all involved, I was glad to be a part of it.

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