Doro @ Blender Theater at Gramercy (9/8/2009)

Logo - Doro

Artist: Doro
Venue: Gramercy Theater (New York, NY)
Opener: Anaka
Date: 9/8/2009
Label: AFM Records

I’m guessing that it’s been a little over a year and a half since we last saw Doro making an appearance in NYC and if you ask any of the Metal loyalists out there – her visits are always a welcome thing for us to be a part of. Tonight the Metal Queen would be playing at The Gramercy Theatre and do this show with the help of local talent Anaka as her sole opening act. Here’s the scoop on the appearance.

Anaka: Interestingly enough, the band Anaka hails not only from Brooklyn NY, but are in the direct immediate region of HQ and I have periodically seen the members of the group out and about on my coffee jaunts and sometimes at the very normal supermarket near me. Though knowing their name, their sound had yet escaped me but tonight would be my very first time catching them do their thing on the stage and resolve that issue. The crowd was light when they came out but the band had a good level of energy which quickly caught their attention. The band features two siblings in brothers Jimmy and Peter Pallis who handle the vocals and lead guitar respectively and are also the most animated of the bands members. Jimmy spoke to the gathered Metal heads from time to time as the band delivered a Metal sound that at times called to mind a little bit of Metallica riffing along with some of the more Nu-Metal band vibe as well. For the most part I was finding this of appeal but it was missing something that I could not really put my finger on. Maybe it was not catchy enough for me and this was probably because I not only had Doro’s music in my head but also that of EdGuy who was set to play a few blocks down from here tomorrow. I also found a slight issue with the pair of musicians to the left side of stage who just stood in place for the most part. I expect to see a little more life from a band in NYC on any stage they are standing on and since the Doro set is going to be a rollercoaster you need to deliver the goods as the opening act. I did like seeing my own neighborhood representing the Metal side for the audience and I will definitely catch them again if the schedule permits. Good luck dudes. Now it was time for the Queen Of Metal to take the stage and rock the house like only she can.

Doro: I always enjoy what Doro does in concert because she gives the audience her all no matter what and since this is a performer who is used to doing her thing in front of tens of thousands across the European festival circuit, it is an absolute treat to find her doing gigs in the more intimate venues of the region when she is able to do so. The singer has a new album out on AFM Records entitled “Fear No Evil” and the release continues the singers charge into Metal glory and comes off as a natural progression or continuation in some sense of her long established sound. With a new release under her studded belt the fans around me had hoped that some of the new tracks would be delivered along with her well established classics. As usual Ms. Pesch hit the stage like a thunderclap and was the usual ball of energy that I have seen a number of times in the past. She is always smiling and her eyes are as bright as the lights above her when she sees her fans and the devotion that they are sending up to her on the stage. She would open with a “get your fists into the air” tune in “Earthshaker Rock” which was a great way to begin and led the audience into a four song Warlock presentation from the singers glorious past. I love how these older tracks have withstood the sands of time and still sound as good as ever when played today by the singer and her band.

From here Doro would give us “Night Of The Warlock” from her new “Fear No Evil” album and it’s a solid track that as mentioned before continues the Metal that she is respected for delivering. After this one she would jump back and forth between the Warlock years and her solo material. Doro fans are nothing less than super dedicated and have been known to travel great lengths to come to see her perform. With that in mind it was not a surprise when Doro spoke of some of the people whom she had met in the venue who traveled from as far as a young man from Israel and a charming young lady from Japan. That is amazing to me; I mean Japan and Israel for a show in NYC. Let this be a lesson to any of us over here who feel that they impress their friends by going to a show in New Jersey or way out on Long Island. I applaud this level of dedication and was happy to meet those two fans that were pointed out. Doro would dedicate “Above The Ashes” to the Japanese girl and I felt that was very nice for her to do. Musician wise we found the singers mainstays still in place as Nick Douglas and Johnny Dee handled the bass and drums and gave the fans a locked in rhythm section. In the guitar department we had the new face of Bas Maas who is not really new to Metal fans at all and comes to Doro’s lineup after the breakup of Holland’s After Forever. On keyboards we had Mr. Harry Young and each of these guys were doing great work for the singer’s material but being new faces there was not the tightness that I have come to expect from a group like this. Perhaps it was the house sound which a lot of people were complaining about as well. It was rather uneven and times and was taking away from the ability to full enjoy it. She would bring back the song from her self-titled debut “Doro” with “Unholy Love” and I think that Gene Simmons helped write it but she made no mention of him this evening. At the show last year Doro actually offered the fans her rendition of “Only You” from the “Music From The Elder” CD by KISS which was very interesting to say the least. We would get another killer Warlock number in “Metal Racer” and then a pounding drum solo from a now shirtless Johnny Dee. Dee leads the audience in his own call and response by doing the beginning notes of “I Love It Loud” and while the audience was light in number they were loud in voice.

Doro led the audience into a Metal sing along with a tune she said she first did at Wacken if I heard her correctly and it’s a fun track. She would follow this with the ballad begun Judas Priest cover of “Breaking The Law”. To be honest while I love the way she does the tune I feel that the covers come off as too much karaoke and she has enough good material to keep us entertained. Especially with a new album that has quite a few high points on it. The rousing “All We Are” was next and this had me thinking that the show was over but thankfully it was not. The audience was called upon again to sing along with the chorus and the singer pit one side against the other and even brought the microphone up to the faces of the fans who screamed at the top of their lungs into it. Some had decent voices while others very clearly did not. Doro thanked the audience again and again during the show but none more than when she began to play “You’re My Family” and after delivering a few more numbers that seemed to have been “waiting in the wings” to possibly be played (such as “Love Me In Black” and “Fight”) she would close the set with “Celebrate” from the new album.

So to sum it up this was a really cool show but as mentioned the audience attendance was rather light and some would tell you that this was because Alice In Chains were playing only a few blocks away. I have to think that no one who would choose AIC over Doro would have been here in the first place and having seen a number of the singers NYC appearances over the past couple of years feel that perhaps her shows need to be combined with that of another artist who might bring in an additional group of like minded Metal fans. The show with Chris Caffery a couple of years ago brought in some of his people but the shows with the local openers did not draw as many as I would have liked to see and with a veritable German Metal invasion happening in NYC this week with EdGuy tomorrow and Primal Fear on Saturday, it made me wonder why the three were not touring together. To be brutally honest you would have needed the Nokia Theatre to accommodate the audience should that have happened. I felt that maybe a little over a hundred of us were in the Gramercy Theatre this evening but you could not tell from the way Doro was playing as in her eyes she saw thousands and didn’t slow down the pace or energy of the show in the slightest. In the end it was another rousing appearance by Doro that was thoroughly enjoyable and I am glad that we have her here with us in New York every so often. The set list did feature a healthy dose of the tunes that she always plays but she did change it up enough to keep it interesting in my opinion. The next time she comes around do your best to be there as she really gives you her all and does what she can in terms of meeting her fans after the show to thank them personally. That is nothing less than a commendable action on behalf of the Heavy Metal Queen and should be considered an honor by the Metal citizens of the realm without question.

Tomorrow would be the EdGuy show and I like to think that Doro’s gig tonight was an exciting way to lead me into my next Metal adventure.

Anaka Set List:
1. Rust & Jade
2. Chained Intensions
3. Sickness
4. Erase
5. It’s All The Same
6. Doomsday Divide
7. Fall From Grace

Doro Set List:
1. Earthshaker Rock
1. I Rule The Ruins
2. Burning The Witches
3. True As Steel
4. Night Of The Warlock
5. Fight For Rock
6. Above The Ashes
7. Hellbound
8. Unholy Love
9. Metal Racer
10. Johnny Dee Drum Solo
11. We Are The Metal Heads
12. Breaking The Law
13. All We Are
14. You’re My Family
15. Burn It Up
16. Love Me In Black
17. Fight – encore?
18. Celebrate – finale

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