One of the 1980’s premiere Hair Bands made a return to Orlando’s House of Blues on Saturday night, as they celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their hugely successful debut album “Night Songs.”
I remember stumbling across them in a local Philly club in the mid-eighties and thinking they did not have much of a future. Jon Bon Jovi saw them shortly afterwards and saw the talent, and over the years they’ve sold millions of albums, and packed a slew of arenas.
Tom Keifer, is clearly still the heart and soul of this Philadelphia area quintet. His vocals were fantastic. He’s gone through two difficult surgeries on his vocal chords including one just 5 years ago, but you’d never know by listening to him. His distinctive voice is still powerful, and he hit every note perfectly.
Keifer also showed off his musicianship throughout the evening, playing an assortment of guitars, as well as they keyboards and piano. While he played impressive leads and solos, the rest of the band didn’t really shine. They were all adequate, but no one really stood out and sounded good, despite the majority of them being original members.
“Heartbreak Station” featured drummer Fred Koury stepping up front to share the vocals, and Keifer playing a slide guitar solo. During “The More Things Change, Keifer and guitarist Jeff LeBar traded off the lead and seemed to be having some fun on stage. The highlight for me was Keifer sliding behind the piano for one of their biggest hits “Don’t Know What You Got.”
Overall, the show was good, although brief. They played the exact same set list that they’ve been rolling out nightly throughout this tour, and the show seemed a bit devoid of energy.
The set list featured 11 songs, and clocked in at a meager 57 minutes, and they followed that with a ten minute encore which closed with a smoking version of “Shelter Me.” Overall, the song selection was excellent and a diverse sampling of their catalog, both metal hits and bluesy rockers.
Here’s the Setlist:
- Once Around the Ride
- Shake Me
- Heartbreak Station
- Somebody Save Me
- Night Songs
- The More Things Change
- Second Wind
- Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)
- Nobody’s Fool
- Gypsy Road
- Long Cold Winter
- Shelter Me
The evening opened with an acoustic set from rock and roll nomad John Corabi. Corabi’s voice sounded great and he interacted with the crowd throughout, and was a very nice surprise. His set was highlighted by an abbreviated version of Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” reprising his role as the group’s lead singer he held for 15 minutes in the mid-nineties. He closed with a fantastic cover of The Beatles “Oh! Darling” that featured the full range of his powerful voice.