Motorin' At The Mashup!
Night Ranger Live in 2018
Story by James West, The-Rocker.com
A Big Mac… A Six Pack of cheap beer… A Chocolate Mocha at Starbucks… Gee, how do I spend FIVE BUCKS? Well, for the same price as these temporary fixes for your taste buds you could have instead enjoyed a Feast for all your senses by attending the recent Night Ranger concert at Concert Under The Palms at Spa Resort and Casino in Palm Springs, California!
As part of a “Food Truck Mashup” event at the resort, the mighty Night Ranger served as the main course for great food, spirits,
and fun times at the outdoor venue. It also happened to be St. Patrick’s Day, the 8th anniversary of the first date of yours truly and my kick ass wife Danette! So, The Rocker Chic and I couldn’t believe the price when buying our tickets online. I had to work my real job earlier in the day, but for folks attending after 6 p.m. the cost was only five dollars for the event which included the concert!
On one hand I wanted to scream SCORE! after learning the price, but then as I felt with the recent Loverboy concert at the same venue, I felt sad that another top rock group from the 80s could be had for such a small price. Maybe the Casino paid them well, maybe they got some proceeds from the food trucks, maybe the band was just hungry and said, “What the Hell, Why Not?”. All I know is they proved they can Still Rock In America and Rocked they did!
Let me start with saying that if we would have arrived earlier we could have enjoyed everything the event had to offer us. We didn’t know that we would have to wait almost two hours just for pizza to be served up by one of the trucks- And this was a truck with one of the smallest lines
waiting. I can’t even imagine how long we would have waited for lobster on a hot dog roll that had the half-mile long line at concert time. Finally, we got tired of waiting after Night Ranger began and I missed my favorite Ranger song “Sing Me Away” whilst we stood for pizza. The truck was good to give me a refund, so we darted over to the stage area and found good standing room to the side of the stage.
Night Ranger Can Still Rock In America!
This event was also a little deja-vu as the only other time I have seen Night Ranger in concert was 15 years ago at a similar type festival called “Toad Suck Daze” in Conway, Arkansas. The venue there was even smaller and the cost was free. This says a lot for this band, who have always been a band for their fans. They truly will play any place, any time, just to be given the chance to rock and have a good time! Not bad for a band that has also sold over 17 million albums worldwide and was a major part of the 80’s culture scene!
They are also one of the most underrated rock bands of all time in my opinion. I had to remind people who Night Ranger were when I told them I was going to see them. I played them ‘Sister Christian’ and then they ‘of-course’ remembered. But there is so much great music from this great group that most people have not heard. Their last few albums are just as strong as their first ones, if not more. It’s a great discography over a 35-year period in rock history worth exploring!
Highlights from the concert included of
course “Sing Me Away” which sounded great even with standing in front of a food truck a distance away. I also thoroughly enjoyed all the Damn Yankees songs that Palm Springs native Jack Blades dusted off and sang. He is a true rock soldier who shines in every group he has fronted, whether it be Night Ranger, Damn Yankees, or Revolution Saints.
We also were treated to a great take on School’s Out with second guitarist Kerri Kelly in the spotlight. Kerri is a great guitarist in his own right and has worked with several great bands like Alice Cooper, Slash, Skid Row, Ratt and Warrant.
We also got to ride on the rails on a Crazy Train featuring one of my favorite guitarists of all time Brad Gillis! Let’s not forget the incredible contribution that Brad had given to Ozzy Osbourne in the wake of Randy Rhodes horrible accident
which claimed Randy’s life at a pinnacle point in the artist’s career. I felt like such a riff-groupie the whole night just watching Brad shred effortlessly! Lol
Kelly Keagy rounds out the trifecta of talent in Night Ranger. Of course he wrote Sister Christian, but you can tell how the others look to him as the soul of the group. Kelly did a fantastic job considering he is still recovering from heart surgery just a year ago. His dedication and drive keep the mighty Ranger Motorin’ on through the years.
As much as I like to bitch about keyboards in rock music they are essential to the glue that makes Night Ranger work, and I was very pleased with Eric Levy’s contributions for the evening. He played the parts well without making me suffer through any keyboard solo theatrics.
In closing I left feeling the same way I felt when I saw them 15 years ago at Toad Suck: They are a great rock band; they have great songs; they kick ass in concert; so, why are they not playing bigger venues? The answer is who cares? I’m seeing this true American Rock and Roll Band playing literally 15 feet in front of me and they are still playing like it’s their last concert ever. I just hope in another 15 years when I see them playing at some back-yard barbeque they can still Sing Me Away!
Setlist from March 17, 2018 at Concert Under The Palms:
Four In The Morning
Sing Me Away
Coming Of Age (Damn Yankees)
The Secret Of My Success (Soundtrack)
School’s Out ( Alice Cooper)
Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne)
Come Again (Damn Yankees)
High Enough (Damn Yankees)
When You Close Your Eyes
Don’t Tell Me You Love Me
(You Can Still) Rock In America