An 80’s Hair Band Extravaganza Takes Over The Honda Center in Anaheim, California for the Orange County Hair Metal Meltdown on June 21, 2024



Great White. Slaughter, Quiet Riot and Vixen…Ah, the names alone conjure up images of sunsets on the Strip, the lingering scent of cheap whiskey, and that unmistakable sound that defined a generation. They’ve all been around the world and back, leaving a trail of classic anthems in their wake, and now they are packed into a one-night showcase of Epic 80’s Metal.   I have no idea why these types of shows are not more popular in the wake of the the Motley Crue/Def Leppard “Stadium” tour. You don’t need to have a festival or a massive outdoor venue to bring together a great selection of band that normally play smaller venues, and showcase them back in an arena show. It’s a win-win for fans and bands alike, and the Honda Center in Anaheim was packed with fans wanting to rock.

First up on the stage was Vixen as band I had not seen since 1988 when roared onto the hair metal scene with their first album and the hits “Edge of a Broken Heart” and “Crying”.  The stunning all female band was a huge hit then touring in support of Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, and Bon Jovi.  I had interviewed guitarist Jan Kuehnemund on that tour and was completely smitten. She was so damn talented.  Tragically Kuehnemund passed away from cancer in 2013, this derailed a plan for a Vixen reunion at the time. Lucky for fans in Anaheim, Roxy Petrucci was back behind the drum kit as she has been for decades, Britt Lightning who has been with the band since 2017 was amazing on guitar, she and new bassist Julia Lage had such great chemistry alternating sides of the stage and guitar fencing with each other. Lage has such a great swagger. All eyes however were on Montreal native Rosa Laricchiuta who was making her debut fronting the band.  If she was nervous to play her first gig in an arena the size of the Honda Center, it didn’t show.  She was on fire belting out the classic tunes and working the stage and the crowd.  You could tell they were having a blast and the energy was infectious. Seeing her revel in the moment and getting to watch Petrucci play so well were truly the highlights.



Roxy Petrucci – drums, backing vocals

Britt Lightning – guitar, backing vocals

Julia Lage – bass, backing vocals

Tyson Leslie – keyboards

Rosa Laricchiuta – Lead Singer




1.Rev It Up

2. How Much Love

3. Cruisin’

4. Cryin’

5. Red

6. Edge of a Broken Heart


Slaughter. You say the name and it’s like a kick to the teeth with a steel-toed boot. Vocalist Mark Slaughter, bassist Dana Strum, and the axe-wielding Jeff “Blando” Bland came in after Vixen with a blitzkrieg set that crammed nine of their biggest hits into a relentless 60-minute assault. Mark Slaughter I was worried, how does he compare to the voice of the 80’s? The man still has pipes of gold, hitting those sky-high notes that made Slaughter a standout in the overcrowded hair-metal wasteland.

The band was a juggernaut, a well-oiled machine firing on all cylinders, bulldozing through tracks like “Mad About You,” “Burning Bridges,” and “Spend My Life” with the precision of a surgeon and the fury of a rabid dog. Then, just when you thought you had them pegged, they pull a fast one—a scorching cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” that had the crowd roaring like Vikings on a pillage. They filled out the set with their signature anthem “Fly to the Angels,” before capping off their set with “Up All Night,” tossing in a cheeky nod to The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” just to show they could.  I was thrilled by Mark Slaughter’s voice, great range and I didn’t feel like there was anything lacking.  For me Jordan Cannata filling in for Blas Elias on drums was just phenomenal, he was cranked up to 11 with the theatrics and put on a showcase of every drum trick in the book.  He was having a blast and it was amazing to watch.



Mark Slaughter – lead vocals, rhythm and live lead guitar, keyboards, piano, tambourine 

Dana Strum – bass guitar, backing vocals 

Jeff “Blando” Bland – lead and studio rhythm guitar, backing vocals 

Jordan Cannata – drums, percussion 




1.Mad About You

2. Burnin’ Bridges

3. Spend My Life

4. Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin cover)

5. Eye to Eye

6. Days Gone By

7. Real Love

8. Fly to the Angels

9. Up All Night


Quiet Riot took to the stage 2nd to last.  Much like the other bands, if you haven’t kept up with the band over the years, there have been a ton of lineup changes.  The best re-introduction would be the Amazing Documentary, “Quiet Riot: Well Now You’re Here, , There’s No Way Back” directed by Regina Banali, the wife of late drummer Frankie Banali.  A band that started with Kevin Dubrow, and Randy Rhodes, transitioned into their epic heyday of Metal Health with a different lineup and continued to transition dozens of times over the years.  Rhodes is gone, DuBrow as well, and most recently Frankie Banali, yet the band soldiers on, carrying the flame of the music loved by fans.

The real rock of the band for the last two decades has been guitarist Alex Grossi who has done a phenomenal job wielding the axe for all of the classic tunes. With the passing of Banali on drums, iconic bassist Rudy Sarzo the lone member from the Metal Health days re-joined the band, and seeing him prowling the stage with his bass balancing on his head while he seamlessly hits every chord is always a treat.  Sarzo is also included in the great rock doc “Hired-Gun” where he discusses his long career working with Ozzy Osborne, Whitesnake, Dio, and more.  He is truly one of the top rock bassists and he hasn’t missed a beat in decades. Jizzy Pearl, on vocals, is near perfect.  His range and nuanced growl match that of DuBrow and he has an amazing stage presence. The passing of Banali left the biggest hole to fill and it’s just honestly impossible to replace Banali and his John Bohnam-like playing, but much like Pearl, they found a near perfect fit with Johnny Kelly from Type O-Negative. His work is spot on and powerful and the setlist comprises mainly of tracks off the first two albums Metal Health, Condition Critical, with “Wild and the Young” from QR III, being the only outlier.  The song “Thunderbird” which DuBrow wrote to honor the passing of Randy Rhodes, now carries the weight of Rhodes, DuBrow, and Banali and Sarzo’s introduction brought tears to the audience. You can feel how much fans love the songs, and this version of the band pays them so much respect and really nails them.  You couldn’t ask for anything more.  Easily one of the top lineups for Quiet Riot that I have seen live, and I have seen them dozens of times since back in ’87.



Rudy Sarzo – bass, backing vocals

Alex Grossi – guitars

Jizzy Pearl – lead vocals

Johnny Kelly – drums




1.Run for Cover

2. Slick Black Cadillac

3. Mama Weer All Crazee Now

4. Thunderbird

5. The Wild and the Young

6. Let’s Get Crazy

7. Cum On Feel the Noize

8. Metal Health (Bang Your Head)


Now, let’s get to the juicy part. For over a decade, we’ve been treated to a double dose of Great White, thanks to the split that saw Jack Russell going his own way, slapping his name on his version of the band like a badge of honor. Meanwhile, the “official” Great White soldiers on, with Mark Kendall wielding his axe, Michael Lardie pulling double duty on guitar and keys, and Audie Desbrow pounding the skins. They’ve had more singers than Spinal Tap had drummers—Terry Ilous, Mitch Malloy, Andrew Freeman—but now they’ve handed the mic to a fresh-faced kid named Brett Carlisle, who’s barely old enough to rent a car. The dude is 26, and to put that in perspective, Jack Russell was 29 when the band recorded “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” in 1989. So would the new kid bring a breath of searing fresh breath to the band or would he feel like he was playing with his dad’s band…
This gig was my first encounter with Carlisle at the helm, and let me tell you, it was a sight to behold. The last time I caught these guys, Ilous was the one belting out the hits. Never got around to seeing Malloy or Freeman, but hey, that’s rock ‘n’ roll. The carousel keeps spinning.

So here we are, new blood in the form of Carlisle, who’s got the unenviable task of filling Jack Russell’s shoes. How does he measure up? He’s got that young Jack Russell vocal vibe down pat and he’s anything but a wallflower. He’s a tornado with a mic, but it was his in-between song pattern that threw me off. He asked if there were any fans that went all the way back to the beginning and if they would know a song off their very first album, then launched into “Stick It”. I had to pause as I thought, wait a second…He wouldn’t remember their first album as he wasn’t even born yet. I mean the voice was there and the sound was great, but it felt off. It wasn’t Arnel Pineda trying to match the impossible Steve Perry pipes, this is Jack Russel, great, but not that hard to mimic in the bigger scheme of things. The crowd seemed to go for it so I shut the hell up in my head and just enjoyed it. As for the rest of the band, they’re a well-oiled machine. Mark Kendall’s guitar work remains criminally underrated, whether he’s shredding or serenading. Michael Lardie is as solid as ever, switching between strings and keys with ease. And the backbone? Scott Snyder on bass and Audie Desbrow on drums, the unsung heroes keeping the groove tight. With Carlisle’s youthful exuberance and the band’s seasoned prowess, this show was a reminder of why Great White still matters. It was tight, it was real, and it rocked.

The whole evening had a similar vibe, it was new and old mixed together, and for the most part, it really worked. It was a celebration of the music that fans love and new groups of musicians bringing that music to life. Four bands that had been regulated to smaller clubs for the last few decades had an amazing night to shine in an arena again. The whole drive home had me thinking of a perfect lineup for a tour that would work like this, and there are so many possibilities. The Ratt Poison Riot Warrants a Tour!



Mark Kendall – lead guitar, percussion, backing vocals (1977–2000, 2001, 2002–2005, 2006–present), rhythm guitar 

Audie Desbrow – drums, percussion 

Michael Lardie – rhythm guitar, banjo, electric sitar, keyboards, percussion, harmonica, backing vocals 

Brett Carlisle – lead vocals 




1.Desert Moon

2. Lady Redlight

3. Stick It

4. House of Broken Love

5. Mista Bone

6. The Angel Song

7. Big Goodbye

8. Save  Your Love

9. Rock Me

10. Once Bitten Twice Shy






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