Zebra @ The Downtown (1/30/2004)

Logo - Zebra

Artist: Zebra
Venue: The Downtown – Farmingdale NY
Date: : 01-30-2004
Opener: Wondrous Stories

Once again I have been drawn Downtown (and I mean the cool rock club). The last time I visited was to to see Germany’s own Helloween. This time, the mood and event was quite different. Long Island NY’s very own Zebra were making a visit once again. The announcements for the show told that this time they would be recording a live CD/DVD for mass release in the near future. To my surprise, this was to be an acoustic performance. Needless to say I knew we were all in for a treat this evening. Live & Unplugged was the unofficial label for the night

On arrival I found the The Downtown to be packed beyond my wildest imagination. It was standing room only and I watched as people were turned away at the door. Given the sub-zero weather we had to endure that night I felt bad for those this was happening to. I arrived just before Zebra was supposed to hit the stage and I did try to time it that way. In the past, the concerts I had attended always had a sufficient amount of core followers in by then and settled. This practice made it easier for me to find my spot. However, I was not expecting this kind of turnout when I walked inside. I squeezed my way around as best as possible (harder to do with a beer in one’s hand). So barring minor discomfort I got situated in a decent spot & was fine. I even ran into a buddy I had not seen in awhile. Zebra was running a little late, but I heard that this was because of getting equipment set up just so.

Seeing a draw like this for Zebra was indeed great for the band has been around for 20 plus years to my knowledge. Filling a room without any major record company assistance is admirable. Every fan present was indeed a long time supporter of their music. It impresses me and I am certain this touches the heart of the band members as well.

Kicking off the Festivities was a very talented local cover band called “Wondrous Stories”. They performed music by such notables as Yes, The Who, and Led Zeppelin. The treat for the audience/band was when “Kashmir” was played and from the main stage appeared singer Randy Jackson of Zebra who then performed the number with them. I totally enjoyed that little surprise.

The setting of the main stage where Zebra was to play was very simply stated. It was a couple of stools and a beautiful yellow sparkle drumkit. Candles were set up behind them to add to the atmosphere. It looked quite nice. As Zebra hit the stage the applause was resounding. The opening song was “But No More”. Since this was acoustic there would be no keyboards for Felix Hanneman to play. Instead he ended up using an electric bass. I loved getting to hear songs I knew played with a different angle to them.

The song selection was a little of everything from the albums in Zebra’s career. While the group has been around for a couple of decades they only have 4 studio releases. I counted about 7 numbers from their first album alone. To this day it remains one of my favorite pieces of music. The set list is below for you all to observe and it really was a nice treat since they played about 22 numbers. They also covered many of my favorites so that added to the enjoyment. Randy also chose to keep the stage banter to a minimum however and instead decided to let the music do the talking. He mainly spoke when it came to newer tunes from their recent release entitled “Zebra IV”.

During ‘Arabian Knights’ the band was joined on guitar by Mark Hitt who is a member of Rat Race Choir (a staple Long Island act for many years). This tune sounds great with the acoustic feel. It captures a lot of the Zeppelin-esque quality that Zebra possesses. My only gripe for the night would be the lack of a drum solo by Guy Gelso. He is such a killer drummer, and I was so close to him that it would have been really cool to see. My other gripe was finding myself caught between a few folks who had too much of their alcohol. I had a couple of beers myself but when you are being disruptive and unruly to everyone around you that is no fun at all.

A comment Randy did share was when he told everyone he gave Felix the most credit for being able to relearn alot of stuff on the bass in so short a time. At the close of the show I will say that I enjoyed being able to get a bass pick from Felix at the end of the set, but not Randy’s. Oh well, perhaps next time.

So overall the show was a lot of fun and I cannot wait for the DVD to come out. Given I was jotting down set notes when in front there will probably be some images of me on the video playing drums with my pen. When the music moved you sometimes you gotta play air everything, it just cannot be helped when you are getting so into it. I honestly think this video is going to be great. Zebra fans will love it, and people just looking for some solid music played to perfection can also appreciate it.

Set List:
1. But No More
2. As I Said Before
3. Who’s Behind The Door?
4. About To Make The Time
5. Lullabye
6. KK Is Hiding
7. So I Dance
8. One More Chance
9. Take Your Fingers From My Hair
10. Arabian Nights
11. Wait Until The Summer’s Gone
12. The La La Song
13. Why
14. When You Get There
15. No Tellin’ Lies
16. Life Has Changed
17. Angel’s Calling
18. Don’t Walk Away
19. Bears
20. Tell Me What You Want
21. Time
22. Hard Living Without You

Official Website: www.thedoor.com

Check out some Zebra music care of these Amazon.com Codes below:

Editor’s Note: This article was written for another medium prior to the 2005 launch of PiercingMetal.com and has been added to our content for your enjoyment.

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