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Summerfest, Milwaukee, USA 7 July 2005
On a day when my spirits were low after watching the terrorist attacks on my
home city from a hotel room TV, Night Ranger rocked away my troubles with a
storming hour and 40 minute set on the Summerfest Classic Rock stage.
At their biggest between the end of AOR’s glory days and glitzier hair metal
of the late 80’s, NR are too easily overlooked but are a sensational live
act. Stunning rapid fire twin guitar duels between Jeff Watson and Brad
Gillis, the latter striking some classic guitar hero poses, brought several
songs to a blazing climax, notably Eddie’s Coming out tonight and set closer
Don’t tell me you love me.
Probably nearing 50, the tiny Jack Blades still acts the hyperactive
teenager and treated us to two Damn Yankees songs; while Johnny Vaughan
lookalike Kelly Keagy, whose drumkit is located at the side of the stage
rather than the back, added his distinctive voice to the ballads, shining on
an acoustic slot and getting the sizeable crowd singing and swaying to
Sister Christian. Not treating the gig too seriously, they also covered
Highway to Hell and Once bitten twice Shy in honour of keyboardist Michael
Lardie’s stay in Great White.
My only complaint was a lack of stuff from their two post-reunion albums but
with classics like 7 Wishes, Rumours in the Air and When You Close Your
Eyes, their final encore summed the night up - You can still rock in America.
Review: Andy Nathan