There was going to be a Riot in NYC this evening and I am speaking about the legendary NYC Metal band that goes by that name who were set on delivering the goods for their ardent fans tonight at B.B. King Blues Club. I’ve never seen them before so I was rather excited to see what it was all about because my friends had been fans for years. The down side was that founding guitarist Mark Reale had been admitted to the hospital only days before the tour began and was reportedly in critical condition due to the effects of Crohn’s disease. We sure wish him the best and applauded the band for not cancelling the shows for the fans. To check out the full concert report and see some photos just scroll on down past the bands logo below.
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Gothic Knights, Arctic Flame
Label: SPV Records
My interest level was high when I learned that the legendary New York Metal band Riot was going to be playing one of my favorite concert venues after never having done so before. Well, I will admit that this is to the best of my knowledge because I’ve only been reviewing shows at this establishment since 2004 and I don’t recall my missing a show like that. I had to admit that even though I grew up enjoying many of the same bands that my friends do, I was less than informed about this bands stuff. My only real exposure to them was with the album “The Privilege Of Power” which was one of their later efforts and morphed them more into a Power Metal band than a traditional Heavy Metal one. Since I had never seen them before this would be an exciting show to both my ears and eyes and it was honestly very cool to be right up front in such intimate quarters as this venue allows. There was a serious downside to this gig as the bands founding guitarist Mark Reale would not be making the journey and had been hospitalized only a few days before the show due to complications from Crohn’s disease. It had to be hard on the band to do this without him but they apparently had his blessing to do it.
The gig was opened by a couple of local favorites in Gothic Knights and Arctic Flame. Having seen each of these bands many times over the years I opted to pass and do some networking and meeting up with friends at another location. I knew so many people coming into this event that I wanted the chance to be with them before running around getting photos and taking notes. Riot went on just before 9pm and that was pretty early when you consider some of the shows that are only starting at that time and when they hit the stage it was an explosion. They opened up with “Narita” which is the title of their second album and it worked out well to get people into the mood. The band recently had released their latest album “Immortal Soul” which I had at this point only heard snippets of, but very much liked, on SPV Records. They also re-issued “Fire Down Under” recently as well which is their third recording and the one that found them being “too heavy” for their at the time label Capitol Records. What the fans were finding was a comprehensive set list that appeared to touch upon many different albums and that was a good thing. There was a mix of younger fans among the legacy listeners this evening and it was clear that some of the New Schoolers in the Metal Republic were wondering why they were not on top of this group before this evening. That’s never a bad thing to observe especially when you considered that the up and coming sensation band Ghost was performing down on the Lower East Side this same night.
A few of my friends had enjoyed the band in the live sense for years and were happily surprised at how well they handled the double guitar material with a single axe. The band’s second slinger Mike Flyntz was to be commended for his hard work for sure. I was floored by the level of power in the vocal pipes of Tony Moore who also happened to handle the chore on the album that I was familiar with. Man could he belt out the notes. It was awesome and equally so was the drumming devastation that is Bobby Jarzombek. For some reason I forgot that this was where I knew his name from but of course I eventually realized this after seeing him with Halford on numerous occasions. He is truly one of the best and tightest of the Metal drummers out there. The speed and ferocity of his double bass work can make your heart stop. Watching the band up there you could see that they were having a blast even though it was likely very difficult to do this without Reale on the main guitar. They kept a great Metal game face on however and were periodically enticed into more screaming thanks to the efforts of bassist Don Van Stavern and of course Tony Moore. The new album received three songs in the set list and they did visit the “Privilege Of Power” album that I was familiar with so I did not feel excluded. I am going to remain hopeful that perhaps SPV Records chooses to remaster all the rest of their stuff so fans get make up for lost time.
As the set drew to a close, Tony spoke to the crowd and while he had mentioned the sad news about Mark earlier, at this point in the night it was to bring up a special guest in the Riot family, guitarist Rick Ventura who had worked with them from the second album up until the middle eighties. His presence was very well received and it added the necessary second string punch that was missing all night. Mind you I really thought Mike was kicking some ass tonight but you have to admit that when there is supposed to be a second guitar that it kind of feels like its missing something. Rick would do the encores and then the show was done while everyone screamed for more.
Closing up I had to say that this was one of those shows that I think many more people should have taken part in. There was a solid crowd present for sure but I like when bands like this manage to rally the masses. Clearly those who missed out, missed out big time. After the show the band members all hung around and signed memorabilia for the fans and also chit chatted with whoever wanted to at no extra charge for the privilege. That was awesome to see being the case. Let’s all not forget to keep Mark Reale in our thoughts as he goes through this obviously arduous time. I don’t know a whole lot about Crohn’s but if its put him in the hospital in critical condition then it’s obviously a very serious issue. We wish you the speediest and most healthy recovery that we can Mark. Get well soon please so you can entertain the fans once again. I think a lot of people would like that.
2. Fight Or Fall
3. On Your Knees
4. Metal Soldiers
6. Fire Down Under
7. Johnny’s Back
8. Wings Are For Angels
9. Sign Of The Crimson Storm
10. Still Your Man
12. Flight Of The Warrior
13. Road Racin
15. Swords And Tequila – encore
16. Thundersteel – encore
You knew this was coming didn’t you and that is the image of the vaunted B.B. King Blues Club marquee that broadcast to all of Times Square on this chilly evening. The wind might be blowing the arctic temperature through our jackets outside but down in the confines of the venue the heat from the Metal would bring you back to proper order.
Here’s the evening’s poster. I forgot to try to find one on the smaller card and see if I could get the band members to sign it. Dammit. I love getting that done as it makes for nice scrapbook stuff.
Here is a quick shot of the guys gear on the stage, it was all that I was able to get for you and think it will have to suffice.
After the show I ran backstage briefly to let the guys know that I was doing some coverage of the event and how they could find it once all was settled and posted. I asked singer Tony Moore to pose by the ever trusty B.B. King’s banner that hangs there and he kindly obliged me in this request.
And one more food good measure….No horns though, that is getting cliche in all my images and I need to stop doing them all the time myself LOL
As mentioned in the context of the concert review narrative, the bands founding guitarist Mark Reale is currently in the hospital in critical condition suffering from issues with his illness. Let’s all please keep him in our thoughts for as much of a recovery as possible.
IMPORTANT UPDATE (1/26/2012): It is with profound sadness that I need to edit this concert review to inform the Riot and Metal fans of the world that the band’s founding guitarist Mark Reale has indeed passed away at age 56. His almost lifelong battle with Crohn’s disease and complications from it are cited as the cause. We send condolences to all who knew him and the fans who enjoyed his work. Rest in Peace Mark.
Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/riotrockcity//