Artist: Night Ranger
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Label: Frontiers Records
Tonight would mark my third visit to the halls of B.B. King’s in six days as they were really serving up the Hard Rock with some intent. We had a kick ass Y&T show this past weekend and a solid performance by Lillian Axe on Monday. That left us to the oft dreaded “hump day” where there is usually not a lot going on, but we would be lucky in the Big Apple for it was the return of Melodic Hard Rock champions Night Ranger. I’ll admit that even though my later years found me enjoying much heavier music as opposed to my mellowing with age, that Night Ranger’s material has always been a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I had listened to the band since “Dawn Patrol” and enjoyed a number of its tracks but it was “Midnight Madness” that became one of my very favorite Hard Rock albums of all time. For tonight’s show there would be no opening band and I felt that there should have been since it would have given some up and comers a chance to impress the Night Ranger following. Oh well, I am only the scribe and not the scheduler of events so cannot help out more in that regard. The band would hit the stage at just around 8pm and kick it into gear with “This Boy Needs To Rock”; this is a definite rousing opener and shows that the band doesn’t need to work their way up to the rockers and can instead begin the set with them. Sadly this was one of those seated shows so the audience was not on their feet as the Hard Rock energy washed over them.
They would wander way back to the first album for “Sing Me Away” which I think was the first tune that I enjoyed from their repertoire way back when and it still has the magic that it once did at least to my ears. I had to say that both bassist Jack Blades and drummer Kelly Keagy still have great voices and their register has kept up very well for all these years since their beginnings. Blades himself is a ball of energy up on the stage and very animated as a personality. He keeps you entertained as a member of the audience and when he gets into it you feel as though it is one of your old friends up there rocking out. The delivered only one song from their latest album “Hole In The Sun” which was “You’re Gonna Hear It From Me’ and this tune actually captures a lot of the traditional vibe of the band and can be viewed as akin to their “7 Wishes” output. “Rumors In The Air” showed off some great twin guitar action as no longer new guy Joel Hoekstra ripped up the axe just as good as the great Brad Gillis. Jack kept everyone’s attention between songs as a true master of Rock and Roll ceremonies and brought up a little side project he once had with Tommy Shaw and Ted Nugent as the band blasted into “Little Sister” from his Damn Yankees era. The last time around they did “High Enough” but we would not get that number tonight as an additional treat.
Jack would joke about the bands first chance to get into a movie with their tune “The Secret Of My Success” and how instead of it being in the actual film that it was relegated to the credits or something of that nature. I admit that I don’t even remember the film even though I enjoyed Michael J. Fox in the “Back To The Future” franchise in which he also starred. The “other ballad” of “Sentimental Street” came up next and as expected this kind of tune slows down the pace just a wee bit. There was banter about their friend Eddie who was always the life of the party in the bands eyes and hence the song they penned for him in the easily titled “Eddie’s Coming Out Tonight”. It was just after 9pm when the band delivered “4:00am In The Morning” and while a popular tune, it was never one of my favorites. Still, the band did have to perform as many of their hits that they could get out and believe me there were a lot of those to address. The song led us all to what I refer to as the bands own big four tunes as “When You Close Your Eyes” came up and yes, I was singing along to this one from beginning to end. The song calls to mind a time when MTV ruled the airwaves and bands like Night Ranger could be enjoyed on a regular basis by Hard Rock fans. “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” really got the audience jumping once again but the biggest reaction would come from Kelly’s rendition of the juggernaut tune “Sister Christian”. I don’t think that there is any rocker out there who does not know at least the chorus of this tune. It’s also one of the staple tracks of the play “Rock Of Ages” where guitarist Joel Hoekstra can be seen in action. The cell phone displays were lit and the hands were waiving as this one was being delivered. The band would close it all out with the energetic “(You Can Still) Rock In America” and as it played my mind revisited the bands video for the tune. The funny thing about this tune was how it was almost a statement at the time of its original release and now thankfully you can Rock just about anywhere.
The show ran very quickly and ended very early as well. It’s been noted in other articles of recent nature that B.B. King’s often hosts two events each evening and while there might be an early Rock show there will be a later evening Hip Hop or Latin event. This happens especially on weekends and fans are encouraged to be sure that they know the scoop so they don’t miss out on songs or even the entire show which I have actually witnessed on a couple of sad occasions. Night Ranger had finished their last song by 9:30 and while some of their friends might have been able to get a quick moment of their time, there was no official meet and greet set up for the fans which I think would have been nice for them to do and hence was a bit of an oversight. While I know it is not always possible, this is a definite bonus when it is able to be set up. They left out the songs “LA No Name” and “Goodbye” which were done last time around along with “High Enough” from Jack’s Damn Yankees list but the latter one I didn’t expect since they did “Little Sister”. This evenings set was a little bit shorter in terms of tunes offered up and with no opening band was a little bit disappointing to find being the case. Despite this minor reservation I really enjoyed seeing the band again and was able to do so with a lot of friends. Everyone had an excellent time and that is all that counts in the end.
Tomorrow the “American Carnage Tour” would hit the region and bring to the Metal Republic the power of Testament, Megadeth and Slayer all on the same bill. Clearly Friday was going to be hard on a lot of people but I would have to be at my best since the band Volbeat was doing a show at the Gramercy Theatre with Dommin and I was not going to miss that one.
1. This Boy Needs To Rock
2. Sing Me Away
3. You’re Gonna Hear It From Me
4. Rumors In The Air
5. Coming Of Age
6. Secret Of My Success
7. Sentimental Street
8. Eddies Coming Out Tonight
9. Four In The Morning
10. When You Close Your Eyes
11. Don’t Tell Me You Love Me
12. Sister Christian – encore
13. (You Can Still) Rock In America – encore finale
14. LA No Name
15. High Enough (Damn Yankees)
As expected, the name of the band up in the Times Square lights.
I didn’t capture a lot of behind the scenes moments this time around but that is okay as there is always the next time. Here is a shot of the bands logo just outside of their dressing room. I snapped this since I have never seen it set up like this in the past. It was different so hence share worthy.
Official Website: http://www.nightranger.com