Hole In The Sun ~ World Tour
Penns Peak, Oct. 12th, 2007
Review and photos by Johnny Rodgers
In the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains, the Jim Thorpe region is a quiet place to go and relax or partake in the beautiful scenery of the surrounding area. But on the night of Oct. 12th, the Penns Peak concert venue disrupted the peace with the powerhouse hit-machine Night Ranger. The San Francisco-based group achieved mega success in the “hey day” of melodic hard rock. Harmony drenched vocals, screaming guitars, instantly memorable choruses and rock solid rhythms were the foundations of the many hits of their career. Songs such as “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” “You Can Still Rock In America,” the soundtrack song “The Secret Of My Success” and their smash hit “Sister Christian” are all still familiar anthems played on the radio today. These songs as well as many others, and a high-energy live show have made them a favorite of legions of hard rock fans worldwide.
In preparation for the upcoming January release of “Hole In The Sun” on VH1 Classic Records and their 2008 world tour, Night Ranger is out playing a select few rehearsal dates. They have a couple new faces on this tour including, Christian Cullen who played on bandmate Kelly Keagy’s solo record Time Passes as well as much studio work with many notable artists. Now, the big question is how do you fill the shoes of guitarist extraordinaire Jeff Watson - the other half of the super guitar duo featuring Watson and Brad Gillis? Reb Beach, that’s how! After all, he is currently the busiest hired gun in the hard rock guitar slinging community. These 2 guys along with, bassist/vocalist Jack Blades, guitarist/vocalist Brad Gillis, drummer/vocalist Kelly Keagy fill out the band line up.
At roughly 8:15 pm, Night Ranger slammed the stage with a monster version of “This Boy Needs To Rock.” The guys all looked to be in great shape and very comfortable playing together with the new faces in the band. In between songs there was a lot of crowd interaction and the normal Jack Blades sense of humor. The third song in the set was a great cut titled “Tell Your Vision” from the new Hole In The Sun record. After the song “Secret Of My Success” the band announced they wanted to play their “Na Na” song, which turned out to be a song medley of the Steam classic “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.” They merged the Journey song “Loving, Touching, Squeezing” and The Beatles “Hey Jude” which got the crowd interacting at high level with swaying arms, and tons of voices. It was definitely a good time for the band and the crowd.
A personal highlight for myself was the acoustic set, where they did the Damn Yankees smash hit “High Enough.” After a bit of joking around with the song “Night Ranger” which is definitely not an acoustic song, the boys went into “Goodbye” from the Seven Wishes album. Throughout the evening the guitar work of both Brad Gillis and Reb Beach was stellar. In my opinion Brad Gillis is one of the most underrated guitarist in the world. He has a very physical acrobatic style of playing, but very sound and precise in his delivery. Every note, the bend and pull of the strings, seems to be physically strangled out of the guitar. New band mate Reb Beach was also brilliant in his sound and delivery. By the way, “Reb, just how many songs from different bands do you know at this point?” Reb definitely does an awesome job interpreting the Night Ranger catalog adding his own melodic flair to each song.
The tag team lead vocals of Jack Blades and Kelly Keagy, where in powerful form with great harmony work delivered by both. Their harmonies display the solid foundation for the bands full sound and play off the twin guitars very well. Be sure to check out both Jack and Kelly in their other projects Shaw / Blades and Scrap Metal on their upcoming show schedule. I highly recommend checking this line up out on their upcoming tour that is being scheduled as we write this review. Once again the CD Hole In The Sun will be released on January the 8th, 2008 from VH1 Classic Records.
This Boy Needs To Rock, Sing Me Away, Tell Your Vision, Touch Of Madness, Rumours, Seven Wishes, Secret Of My Success, Sentimental Street, Eddie’s Comin’ Out Tonight, High Enough, Good Bye, 4:00 AM, When You Close Your Eyes, Don’t Tell Me You Love Me, Sister Christian, Rock In America
Special thanks go out to Nathan Gregory @ McGhee Entertainment and Mark Woodcock, Tour manager and the band them selves for being very hospitable and taking the time to talk with us.
Band website: Night Ranger
Contact Johnny Rogers at: Tel. 267 784 9320 or email: Johnnyrocker12@excite.com