Live to Rock Tour Featuring Skid Row, Winger and Quiet Riot lands in Albertville, Alabama, Saturday, May 21, 2022

 

With the school year quickly coming to an end, it was perfect timing to hit the back roads of America with my 17-year-old son for the two-and-a-half hour journey to see the Live to Rock Tour at Sand Mountain Amphitheater in Albertville, Alabama, on Saturday night. The beautiful, open-air amphitheater is just one of the many amenities that is situated within the 130+ acre, multi-use Sand Mountain Park. In fact, concert-goers had to navigate through a huge Perfect Game baseball tournament just to find close parking!

After we secured a fairly decent parking spot, we entered the venue around 5:00pm with our purchased “early pit access” tickets; this gave my son Zach a chance to grab his spot along the front row fence while I was shooting the bands. However, with Quiet Riot not scheduled to take the stage until 7:00pm, that was a lot of standing around in the late afternoon 90-degree Alabama heat for him and dozens of other fans. Fortunately the prices for a bottle of water were a reasonable few bucks!

As the sun started to set in Albertville, Quiet Riot took the stage close to their scheduled start time, much to the delight of the early crowd. I have no recollection of ever seeing any incarnation of Quiet Riot play live before, so this was definitely going to be a treat for me. I was excited to finally witness a legend like Rudy Sarzo perform on bass, and I have always been a fan of Jizzy Pearl’s, dating back to the days when he fronted the band Love/Hate.

With Pearl and Sarzo supported by Alex Grossi (guitar) and Johnny Kelly (drums), Quiet Riot played through a setlist littered with sing-along fan favorites including “Slick Black Cadillac,” “Mama Weer All Crazee Now,” “Cum On Feel the Noize,” and of course, “Metal Health.” These guys are clearly having fun on the road, with Sarzo grinning from ear-to-ear the entire set – and admittedly I was grinning over the awesome pants he was wearing (see below)! I will never be as cool as Sarzo.

 

Quiet Riot
Alex Grossi – guitar, backing vocals
Johnny Kelly – drums
Jizzy Pearl – lead vocals
Rudy Sarzo – bass guitar, backing vocals

 

 

Cooler temperatures (with a nice breeze!) finally prevailed when Winger took the stage after a quick turnover from Quiet Riot. Jokingly, I should probably recuse myself from reviewing their set – Winger is one of my favorite bands, and in fact, the very first CD I ever purchased (back when they came in those long cardboard boxes!) was their self-titled debut. And did I mention that my son just happens to be one of Reb Beach’s guitar students?

That said, my fellow All Music Magazine contributor Alex Dale recently covered Winger in St. Charles, Illinois, (read her review) where she highlighted that guitarist Jake Faun had been substituting for Beach while he is out on tour with Whitesnake. For those unfamiliar with him, Faun is a Los Angeles-based musician that has supported the likes of David Lee Roth, Selena Gomez, DNCE and Bryce Vine. I paid particular attention to a number of solos that would typically be performed by Beach (e.g. within “Headed for a Heartbreak”) and both my son and I thought Faun did a great job keeping true to the songs while layering in his own flare (check out the video of his individual solo below). Like most Winger fans, I always welcome more tunes from the album Pull, but I enjoyed singing along to the entire setlist (below), and my son’s strategic spot on the fence scored him both a Kip Winger pick and a Rod Morgenstein drum stick!

 

Winger
Reb Beach – lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals (currently on tour with Whitesnake)
Jake Faun – lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals (Beach substitute)
Rod Morgenstein – drums, percussion, backing vocals
John Roth – rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals
Paul Taylor – keyboards, rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals
Kip Winger – lead vocals, bass

 

 

 

Setlist
1.) Battle Stations
2.) Seventeen
3.) Hungry
4.) Miles Away
5.) Down Incognito
(John Roth solo)
6.) Time to Surrender
(Jake Faun solo)
7.) Deal With The Devil
(Rod Morgenstein solo)
8.) Headed for a Heartbreak
9.) Can’t Get Enuff
10.) Easy Come Easy Go
11.) Madalaine

 

Unless you have been living under a rock lately (see what I did there?), Skid Row has received a ton of positive hype following the addition of Erik Grönwall as their new leader singer. The Swedish-born Grönwall, who most recently fronted the rock band H.E.A.T, joined Skid Row back in March. Candidly, while I wanted to see Quiet Riot for the first time and I love Winger, checking out a Grönwall-fronted Skid Row was my primary motivation for this trip, and he did not disappoint.

Similar to the recap All Music Magazine contributor Jody Wilk provided from Skid Row’s performance at the M3 Festival a few weeks back (read his complete coverage here), the band took the stage and aggressively launched into “Slave to the Grind.” The 34-year-old Grönwall had a fun-loving and charismatic stage presence and is seemingly finding his own groove against the burden of performing iconic 80s songs. In fact, some guy in the front row held up a sign that said “Erik is better” (clearly making a reference to the recently-departed vocalist ZP Theart).

Whether to make a point or to simply appeal to the decades-long fans, the majority of the setlist was thankfully pulled from Skid Row’s self-titled debut and their second studio album, the aforementioned Slave to the Grind. Backed by Rob Hammersmith on the skins, Rachel Bolan (bass), Scotti Hill (guitar) and Dave Sabo (guitar) delivered upon that “Skid Row sound” fans like me had hoped to hear, elevated by the fresh vocal tone powered by Grönwall. The band also mixed in an enjoyable cover (sung by Bolan) of the Ramones tune “Psycho Therapy,” as well as Skid Row’s latest rocking single, “The Gang’s All Here,” which they announced will be part of their upcoming album release in October.

If you have a chance to catch this tour – and I encourage you to do so – just be sure to check the lineup for the night; Winger and Warrant seem to be rotating in and out of the bill, as availability permits, it seems.

 

Skid Row
Rachel Bolan – bass, backing vocals
Erik Grönwall – lead vocals
Rob Hammersmith – drums, backing vocals
Scotti Hill – lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Dave “The Snake” Sabo – rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals

 

 

 

Setlist
1.) Slave to the Grind
2.) The Threat
3.) Big Guns
4.) 18 and Life
5.) Piece of Me
6.) Livin’ on a Chain Gang
7.) Psycho Therapy (Ramones cover)
8.) I Remember You
9.) Sweet Little Sister
10.) Psycho Love
11.) Monkey Business
12.) In a Darkened Room
13.) Makin’ a Mess
14.) The Gang’s All Here
15.) Youth Gone Wild

 

 

 

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Elliott is a music photographer covering shows in the Atlanta, Georgia and the surrounding area. The highlight of his photography career was back in the early 90s, selling Neil Diamond the rights to his negatives from a show and purchasing a set of tires for his 1979 280ZX during college with the money.

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