It said THE METAL QUEEN DORO was going to do a brief run of U.S. shows in late September/early October, and all I knew was this: if there was one within driving distance I would be there! Car issues prevented me from getting to the NYC/L.I. shows last spring, so nothing was gonna stop me this time as I was bound and determined. I opened the link with trembling fingers and there it was…Fish Head Cantina in Baltimore, on a Saturday night, and not even a two-hour drive. I quickly got ahold of concert buddy Bobby because he’s up for anything show-wise.
Soon we were on our way to the club to see the one and only DORO. Fish Head Cantina is a really cool place. It’s a bar/restaurant, but then you go down a hallway and through a door to the outside where there’s a covered stage and outdoor deck and bar…PERFECT!!
I grabbed a spot at the barricade and prepared myself for the madness. The opening bands were GHOST OF WAR, LOVE IN VEIN, and OBSIDIAN, all of whom did an admirable job of getting the crowd amped for THE QUEEN, so kudos to them. Definitely check them all out at a venue near you.
The stage went dark as DORO and band made their way up. As it turned out I was on guitarist Luca Princiotta’s side and I’m sure he had fun watching me go batshit crazy and screaming along as they plowed through the one-two punch of “Earthshaker Rock” (Mini-Amps’ song!!) and “I Rule the Ruins” to open the show. DORO was in excellent voice and the energy of the crowd was palpable; the band fed off of it. Bas Maas (guitar) and Nick Douglas (bass) were as animated as ever, and so was Luca. But what was different?
Oh yeah, since Johnny Dee (drums) was on the Monsters of Rock Cruise, his tech and also drummer for THE ABSENCE Jeramie Kling was filling in. To say he nailed it would be an understatement. He’s got my vote to pound the skins for this band if ever called on again for sure. “Burning the Witches”, “Fight For Rock”, and “Raise Your Fist” were next, each one hitting like the proverbial hammer, with the chants of “HEY! HEY! HEY!” being led by DORO who was smiling ear-to-ear as we roared back at her. For a change of pace they brought out ‘Without You” and then new track “Love’s Gone to Hell” which will be on the forthcoming album due out in 2017.
And now it was time for the mother of all “Damian Loses His Shit and Screams Bloody Murder in the Front Row” songs…”East Meets West.”
I’m not so young anymore, so the fact I managed to NOT have a heart attack is a miracle in itself with all the headbanging, fist-pumping, and ruckus I was making. But I don’t care; when DORO is on that stage I lose all control, and always will. The classic “Für Immer” was next, and once again the lyric, “Deep inside my heart, Für Immer” resonated with all of us there loud and clear. After this, the six-string boys Luca and Baas treated us to a dual-harmonized guitar solo and then Nick stepped in to deliver the iconic bass intro to “Unholy Love”, a song we don’t get at every show, so it’s awesome when we do.
The Wacken anthem “We Are the Metalheads” was another crowd favorite, as was their rendition of JUDAS PRIEST’S “Breaking the Law”, one I never get tired of.
By now you know what time it is, and if you don’t, kindly see yourself out. “All We Are”, perennial show-stopper and the ultimate in fan participation rocked Fish Head Cantina to its very core. Of course, DORO was giving fans the mic like she always does, but she definitely kept coming back to me because there’s no one in that room who’s gonna sing it as loud and proud, or with as much heart as this guy right here, save for DORO herself.
By now we all started calling out our favorites because we knew there was time for only one more to rock the house. All kinds of classics, both new and vintage were shouted out before the band tore into “Revenge”, my favorite track from 2012’s Raise Your Fist, so color me ecstatic! And then something wonderful happened…
Dedicated to a friend of hers in attendance, DORO performed “Beyond the Trees” off of Force Majeure, something I NEVER dreamed I’d hear live. And with that, the show was over. The band took a collective bow and began throwing out picks, sticks, and stuff. And once again, I have to give props to Jeramie who came in and played like a monster. Great job!
The house P.A. started playing “It Still Hurts”, DORO’S duet with the late Lemmy, and as her mic was still on she led the room in a sing-along on the chorus before disappearing off stage and into the night. Oh, and she also sent her love to Mini-Amps, which was extremely classy. But I expect nothing less from DORO, the epitome of someone who lives and dies with her fans. Hell, she has always referred to us as her family, and goes out of her way to make us feel as such.
All told this was a fantastic night, and proved once again there is only ONE QUEEN OF METAL…and her name is DORO.
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO
LIVE IMAGES: KURT HARVILAK