Just when you thought Southern California’s record breaking temperatures were about to cool down, in come the Jersey Boys—not Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons—Skid Row and they cranked up the heat a few more degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius, depending on what part of the planet you’re reading this from. On a balmy Friday night in San Juan Capistrano, California, a handful of concert goers are milling around the outside of The Coach House, grabbing a smoke, waiting for Skid Row to take the stage. The music of Black Star Riders (Thin Lizzy) permeates the parking lot as they blast through a set of both new songs and classics. Sounding amazing by the way!
And if you thought it was warm outside, you soon find upon entering the nearly sold out club that outside was refreshing by comparison, but hey, isn’t that what rock n’ roll is all about? Sweat, sweat and more sweat! As the Skids hit the stage fronted by Johnny Solinger (vocals), the crowd is instantly revved up and ready for a night of headbanging, fist pumping and yes even some Bic waving. Tearing through their set with classics like Big Guns, Makin’ A Mess and Piece Of Me, the energy both onstage and off is palpable. Having said that, The Coach House is an anomaly for rock venues, as it has tables and chairs throughout the club, making it difficult for true headbangers to really “throw” themselves into the show, which doesn’t stop some of us! However, even those choosing to remain seated were visibly moved by the band’s set. Joining Solinger on stage are three original members, Dave “The Snake” Sabo (guitar), Scotti Hill (guitar), Rachel Bolan (bass) and newcomer Rob Hammersmith (drums) who joined the Skids in April 2010. The chemistry within the band is visible onstage, and backstage Bolan expresses his pleasure with the band’s line-up and success, siting a long summer tour which will take them throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Fan favorites definitely included ballads 18 & Life and I Remember You, where Sebastian Bach’s vocals are noticeably absent, but being a replacement singer is like being a step-parent, you simply do the best you can with the hand you’re dealt and hope the step kids will accept you, and in Solinger’s case the kids are alright! As the crowd chanted and cheered (many from their seats) the band came out for an encore playing Slave To The Grind and closing the show with Youth Gone Wild—which the mostly non-youthful crowd did indeed go. Like a child of divorce, many of us long for our parents (or in this case bands) to reconcile their differences and go back to the way things used to be, but there’s usually a valid reason for the divorce in the first place. As a huge Skid Row fan dating back to their 1989 debut, I too longed for a band reunion, but having seen both Bach as a solo artist and Skid Row with its current line-up, I’m content with two families.
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