Sunday evening, the 25th of August, Tom Keifer and his band made the third of their four Southern California appearances at The Rose in Pasadena. Keifer being the front man and driving force behind the late 1980’s, pre-grunge juggernaut Cinderella, is touring in advance of his second solo record. RISE, the forthcoming release from Keifer is due out on September 13th.
The performance begins with a darkened stage and the ambience of The Rolling Stones’ Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’ filling the hall. Keifer and band hit the stage in front of a backdrop of #KEIFERBAND which illustrates the importance of social media in today’s music business. The first number is Touching the Divine, from the yet to be released record. It’s a mid-tempo, guitar fueled, bluesy rocker. The new number is well received and quite the brave choice for an opener, considering the audience presumably had no familiarity with it. The presentation will be a two to one ratio of Cinderella tunes to Keifer solo pieces.
Keifer’s supporting cast consists of Tony Higbee on guitar, Billy Mercer on bass, Jarred Pope on drums, Kendra Chantelle on backing vocals and percussion and Kory Myers on keyboards. One notable missing member of the troupe is Keifer’s wife Savannah Keifer. Savannah had to depart the tour and return home to tend to their son who had a sports injury. Keifer included her in the show by calling her and letting the crowd greet her via cell phone.
At just about the midway point of the main set, Keifer sits at a piano for the first half of the title track to his new record. Rise is a ballad, the first half of which puts Keifer’s melodic vocal abilities on display. The second half of the song picks up slightly in pace and Keifer switches to his signature buttered sandpaper voice. Rise gives way to the Cinderella breakout hit Nobody’s Fool fully captivating the audience. Keifer and Company round out the evening with three more Cinderella classics, Don’t Know What You Got (Til It’s Gone), Shake Me and the closer Shelter Me.
After a very brief absence from the stage, the band returns to impart a three song encore. Long Cold Winter, the title track to Cinderella’s second album is a blues composition that features Keifer’s guitar playing prowess. His blues licking gives new appreciation for someone seen as a singer and not necessarily as a guitar player. One more new song, The Death of Me is the center of the trio of extra frames. The evening culminates in a spirited version of Gypsy Road and the crowd eats it up. Keifer and his group linger on the stage at its conclusion to the hum of sustained guitar. All of the performers share ample waves and bows with the attendees and do not seem to want to leave the stage. But, alas, the gypsy road does call and a trip to Northern California is on the agenda.
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