Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: The Lizards
Label: Sony Music
Genre: Hard Rock
The Legends of Rock music Mountain would be continuing their 35th Anniversary Tour with a stop at the famous B.B. King Blues Club in NYC. Supporting the show this evening would be The Lizards (a band that now features Mike DeMeo from Riot and Bobby Rondinelli from Rainbow/Blue Oyster Cult). Lizards would be featuring tunes from their last year release “Cold Blooded Kings”, and this music will appeal to any fan of Blues oriented Rock and Roll. There was some great Led Zeppelin feel to the piece and I am happy to report that it conveys very well in a live setting. I was able to briefly talk to the band before they went on and was sad to find out that they would only be playing for 45 minutes this evening. Still, despite this dilemma a good 6 tunes would be performed as well as a drum solo from Bobby Rondinelli. Mike’s voice is crystal clear in a performance and given he also plays the keyboards, the music is full at all times during the set. Patrick Klein had a great guitar tone the entire brief set and he is a stylish player who seems to have a very blues based origin. Bassist Randy Pratt holds it all in place and totally surprised me with the skill he demonstrated on harmonica during one of the numbers. Looking on Bobby Rondinelli I can say that he really needs no words. This man is perhaps one of the best Rock drummers in the business today and any day. His legendary work with Rainbow and most recently the Blue Oyster Cult has made him a welcome addition to the Lizards lineup. I am sure that The Lizards are on an even better path of success based on the addition to these two guys. The crowd reception of them was largely positive and that was nice to see since everyone was a diehard Mountain head in the sold out club. Sometimes those types are not too receptive of the opening acts so this was a great sign for me to observe. The Lizards are set to do some opening slots for UFO when the group returns to the States so if you are a fan of this kind of music I advise you check them out as well. You will not be disappointed.
Mountain would hit the stage very shortly after the break and while it was exciting to see them in person once again, it seemed as though Leslie West was very ill, or just had been. He explained very early in the set that his voice was shot and he joked that it was from yelling at drummer Corkey Laing for 35 years more than anything else. Leslie’s sound was great as I expected it to be, but I have only seen them twice in my lifetime. It’s a unique sound I always felt, and really had influenced a lot of players who came up in the 70’s as far as rock and roll was concerned. Laing was hammering at the drums, and is a different player than Rondinelli. He actually kept his stage tech busy with knocking the stands off of his riser. Continually through the set, Laing would propel drumsticks off the cymbals and into the audience. This crowd was eating that up, and I think he had to go through a few dozen of them. On bass is Ritchie Scarlet, and while he plays a mean one I have never been a fan of his vocals. He sang a few of the numbers that Felix Pappilardi sang I was not all that happy with them. Leslie who certainly likes to tell stories throughout the show, described Ritchie as Keith Richards with a better haircut (or something along those lines). Among the expected Mountain staples, there were a few nice surprises. One of them was an acoustic rendition of Bob Dylans “Blowin’ in The Wind”. This was done by Leslie alone, and truly had some heart to it. Originally it was announced that Michael Schenker would be sitting in with the group on guitar. Yet some personal issues came up and he had subsequently cancelled all of his appearances. As I watched the show I could not see where he would have sat in perhaps except perhaps on one of the closing tunes or cover numbers. The cover number that blew me away was the bands rendition of “Crossroads” by Cream, who West informed everyone was a major influence on his own career. This was a highlight to experience. The surprisingly short show was closed out by the expected “Mississippi Queen” their most famous number. Leslie was definitely showing signs of needing to stop at this point, and perhaps this was the reason for the set length.
I did enjoy getting to see the band though, as a 35 year career in any job is to be admired, much less the Music Industry. Especially today when emphasis is based more on quick money and flash in the pan stuff than fostering a band and watching them succeed year after year.
Peter M. Parrella Adds The Following Comments On The Lizards Performance:
Simply put, The Lizards are a smokin’ live band. Like the best of the groups that drummer Bobby Rondinelli has been involved in (Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult) The Lizards are a great hard rock group with the ability to really swing. At B. B. Kings’ the band played an exciting and energetic set of tunes with hard yet streamlined and agile rhythms that did not fall prey to plodding riff syndrome of so many latter day bands.
The addition of former Riot member Mike DiMeo on lead vocals gives the band a more solid footing on late-sixties to mid-seventies musical turf than they had previously. DeMeo’s bluesy delivery on songs like “Down” remind the listener of early Robert Plant, Ian Gillan, Paul Rodgers and more recently Chris Cornell.
In particular, the full throttle boogie “Hyperspace” showcases the band as a modern day Yardbirds. Along with holding down the bottom bassist Randy Pratt also grabs a harmonica dangling from his microphone stand and plays killer harp solos. DiMeo’s ability to play keyboards greatly expands the band’s soundscape and lefty guitarist Patrick Klein (who also produces their albums) plays liquid leads via a classic Gibson guitar (Les Paul & ES 335) and Marshall amplifier set-up. It’s a pleasure to hear a guitarist who understands great tone and melody are worth more than all the shred in the universe.
There is no doubt that The Lizards wear their musical influences and loves on their sleeves. If you share those particular tastes, as I do, (Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck Group, Free, Deep Purple) you will love this band. Their opening stints for UFO will no doubt bring them to the attention of appreciative listeners. Only thing disappointing thing about the set was that it wasn’t longer.
Full Mountain Photo Gallery: https://piercingmetal.com/mountain-live-photos-b-b-king-blues-club-6292005/
Lizard’s Set List:
1. Something Higher
2. The Rodeo
5. Bobby Rondinelli Drum Solo
7. Can’t Fool Myself
Mountain Set List:
1. Never In My Life
2. Blood of the Sun
3. Theme For An Imaginary Western
4. Leslie Solo
5. Blowin in the Wind (acoustic)
6. Nantucket Sleigh Ride
7. Corky Laing Drum Solo (with Tito on percussion)
8. Going Down
10. Mississippi Queen