There are few things in this world that make me as warm and fuzzy as the phrase, “You work for Music in Press? Cool!” While I haven’t run into quite enough readers to make a sweeping generalization, I have noticed a common trend among those of you I’ve met: you guys are some cool muthaf*ckers. The type of people that know cool music, like cool shows, throw cool parties, and back in high school, would never have invited me to them. But don’t worry, I wasn’t offended. I had Sebastian Bach. While most kids raised a glass on Friday nights, celebrating how young and wild and free they were, I jumped around in my bedroom, soberly dancing to “Youth Gone Wild,” pretending like I was totally boss (and that people still said “boss”). So when I got wind that my buddy Sebastian would be playing the Pacific Amphitheater with fellow hard rockers Cinderella, you better believe I was there, ready to rock like it was 1987… or in my case, 2005.
Bach got the night going at 7:30 on the dot, playing a hair-whipping, high-note-hitting set as only he can. He swung the mic like a lasso over his head, narrowly missing his bandmates at times, and gave the crowd everything he had on classic Skid Row hits like “18 and Life” and “Here I Am.” I had hoped to hear more of Bach’s recent solo stuff (he had the artwork for the 2007 album Angel Down hanging on the wall behind and the 2012 art from Kicking and Screaming on the kick drum), but the Skid Row stuff was just as great; I danced to “Monkey Business,” held hands with a boy for “I Remember You,” and screamed out the lyrics to “Youth Gone Wild” just the same.
Sebastian eminated energy and joy, not to mention a badass, rocker attitude. When the PacAmp staff asked him to “Go easy on the curse words,” he playfully responded, “You shoulda told me that before you put the microphone in my hand!” At his urging, the audience then shouted out a few expletives of their own, as he innocently eyed the staff, saying “It wasn’t me!” But what was truly remarkable about Bach’s performance was the quality of his vocals, even after all these years.
There were moments where, I’m ashamed to say, I questioned whether or not he’d hit the high notes he was once so renowned for (watching his face redden during the first verse of ”Big Guns” was particularly worrisome), but with each riveting chorus all my doubts were wiped away. The man can belt it out, and he did, time and time again.
Tom Kiefer and Cinderella are the only act that could have followed a set like Bach’s and still blow me away. Despite seeing Cinderella a few times in recent years (once as recently as the night before the concert), this band delivers on every single level. They opened with a perfomance of “Once Around the Ride” that might as well have come right off the album, and moved seamlessly into my favorite song, “Shake Me.” Tom grabbed his guitar halfway through the song, and from that point on was never seen without an instrument. He moved seamlessly from guitar to keys, and even played a little saxophone durning “Shelter Me.”
The set list was comprised of classic Cinderella hits, from up-tempo, dancable songs like “Gypsy Road” and sexy tracks like “Night Songs” to heartfelt ballads like “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone).” Each song was brilliantly done, inspiring even, and it was clear that Kiefer and the boys were giving it their all. By the time he settled down at the keys for the first ballad of the night, Tom was already dripping with sweat, but the power of his performance never waned. The evening wrapped early (as shows at the PacAmp tend to do), and the boys gathered together for a grand bow before screaming fans. It was obvious that, at least for this arena, rock n roll was alive and well, and I couldn’t have loved it any more – it was the type of party I was meant to be a part of.
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