Thursday, 14 November 2013

Skid Row at the Waterfront November 2013

There are a few things I’ve waited twenty years for and I’ve written about some of them on this blog. In August 1992 I was on holiday with my parents. I don’t remember where, but I remember the cottage we stayed in and my sister’s radio that we listened to Atlantic radio on constantly. I knew one of my friends from school was at Donington Monsters of Rock and that they were broadcasting it on Radio 1. So I sneaked away to my bedroom and try to tune it in. Radio 1 reception was awful. Thunder were playing, but I soon got frustrated with the sound quality. When I got back to Norwich I started “collecting” the albums by all the bands who played:

  • Iron Maiden
  • Skid Row
  • Thunder
  • Slayer
  • WASP
  • The Almighty

and soon they all became firm favorites of mine. In the twenty one years since 1992 I have seen all of these bands multiple times, except for Skid Row. I went to my first Monsters of Rock in 1994 (Aerosmith headlined) and I went again in 1996 (Kiss and Ozzy), but I missed 1995 when Skid Row played again and some time after Sebastian Bach, the incredible front man, left the band never to return.

In 2005 I attended the first every Bloodstock Open Air. Children of Bodom and Sebastian Bach headlined, but of course no Skid Row. He was incredible (as were Children of Bodom who are playing Bloodstock again this year) and of course did Youth Gone Wild and the other classics. Superb!

Fast forward to November 2013 and Skid Row are playing a double headliner with Ugly Kid Joe at the Waterfront in Norwich. I have moaned about the appalling quality of the Waterfront PA many, many times, but for some reason tonight they hit the sweet spot.

The support band Dead City Ruins were ok, but not worth getting excited about.

My concern about Ugly Kid Joe was that they’d do Everything About You and Cats In The Cradle and a load of fillers. Plus I’ve only got their first album (America’s Least Wanted) so haven’t kept up with their later stuff. I couldn’t have been more wrong. What an act! Musically very good and Whitfield Crane had a calm charisma which had the whole audience eating out of his hand all the way through. Who cares if they’re in their forties! I haven’t bounced up and down so much since I was in my early twenties.

Then the moment I’d been waiting upwards of twenty years for arrived. Original line-up, minus Seb, plus a new singler, who wasn’t as tall. First impressions were that they looked like spitting image characters of their younger selves. That didn’t matter because after the opener that I’d never heard before it was straight into classic after classic with only a small scattering of material from albums I didn’t know. In fact the only way the set could have been better was if they’d played their eponymous first album all the through followed by Slave To The Grind all the way through. They played superbly, but Seb’s replacement baffled me a little. He lacked Seb’s charisma and struggled to follow Whitfield Crane a little. Vocally he seemed to have the range, but not all of the time. He backed out of the first chorus during In A Darkened Room and then hit it almost perfectly the second and subsequent times.

It was certainly worth the wait and I wasn’t disappointed. Beyond a set consisting of the first two albums, the only way it could have been better would have been to have Seb back in the band. That’s probably about as likely as Fish back in Marillion or even freddie back in Queen.

Roll on Amon Amarth, Hell and the mighty Carcass on Sunday!

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