Life isn’t fair. LITA FORD and I are the same age, but for rock goddesses, age is just a number. I started listening to her when we were both youngsters, but I got older and uglier. Lita got older, but she sure doesn’t look it. She’s still a sexpot and that’s a fact! The growing crowd came to see terrific local bands leading up to the headliner, and it kept building the energy. RIZE ABOVE opened the night with several hard rock tunes to get the leather-clad audience in the mood for the night. DFW favorites BLACKOUT came out next and upped the noise level. Stan German was was in fine voice as the crowd cheered. Bobby Michaelides, with his pink guitar named Bobbywood, hit some hot licks and even brought out Santa Claus to throw candy canes to the room full of naughty girls.
The JOEY C. JONES BAND delivered solid rock and roll with their short set. They’ve been around long enough to know how to be entertainers as well as musicians. They finished their energetic set with crowd favorite “Fox On The Run” by SWEET. The audience got restless and fans began crowding the stage, both wanting to see and hear the pioneering woman on lead guitar. They cheered as the lights dimmed and the video screen behind the stage showed spiders crawling out of a hole while “Balls To The Wall” by ACCEPT played on the loudspeakers.
A voice then announced to “Get the keys to the Ford” as Lita came out to play a guitar solo, stroking notes as fast as she ever did. The striking blonde looked like she hasn’t aged at all in her tight black jeans and sleeveless shirt. The rest of her band then joined her for “Gotta Let Go.” Patrick Kennison hit some hot licks on lead guitar, as he continued to do all night, and Ms. Ford was in beautiful mezzo-soprano voice.
Bobby Rock thumped a driving drum beat to open “Larger Than Life.” It was then time for a heavy ballad in “Relentless,” giving an animated Marty O’Brien a chance to shine on bass. Ford talked about her memoir, Living Like A Runaway, telling everyone it was a how-to manual as she was the first female lead guitarist, and then played the song of the same name. She received a huge ovation as her solo proved she was still a hell of a shredder. A cover of “The Bitch Is Back” showed a sweetness in her voice no one expected. The crowd was ready to explode when she screamed the word “Bitch,” but her understated vocals gave it a different, yet effective, sound. The band added “Hungry” to the setlist with itss energetic bass opening and thundering drum throughout the song.
Lita yelled the prolific lyrics on “Playing With Fire” from the Dangerous Curves album as the women in the crowd danced suggestively. She put aside her guitar so she could move around unencumbered to “What Do You Know About Love.” The fans popped loud as she sexed up the stage and shook her moneymaker, just like the days of old when her MTV videos got me through many cold and lonely nights. “Back to the Cave” was a guitar-driven rocker which drew a loud reaction. Ford got animated as she and Kennison traded hot riffs on an axe duel. That led directly into a well-written song she co-wrote with former flame Nikki Sixx, “Falling In And Out Of Love.” The personal lyrics told a compelling story to which everyone listening could relate.
Bobby on the kit was the driving force behind “Out For Blood.” Lita’s solo led into a pounding jam that pumped up the crowd. The uptempo “Can’t Catch Me,” co-written by the late, great LEMMY, had a haunting melody that enthralled the fans. They stayed enraptured for Rock’s energetic drum solo that lasted several minutes. The Grammy-nominated “Cherry Bomb” turned into a singalong as old and new fans alike knew every word by heart to THE RUNAWAYS song. It segued into “Black Leather” by the SEX PISTOLS. The three-guitar front turned it into a jam session that rocked hard.
Patrick sang OZZY’S part on “Close My Eyes Forever,” Lita’s biggest hit. The power ballad featured Ford on a double-neck guitar. The night ended too soon with Lita’s signature song, “Kiss Me Deadly.” She reached a high for the night with her energy, fist pumps and crowd interaction. Guitarists played off each other and O’Brien almost pulled several muscles with his enthusiastic bass playing and contortions during the drum-infused rock song. The extended jam session finished the night of hits, rock, and memories.
The fans were pleased with the 18 songs over 90 minutes. Ford covered her entire career, ranging from her five albums with THE RUNAWAYS and her eight studio records as a solo artist. As with so many stars from this time frame, she experienced both ups and downs and, thankfully, has stayed on top. Ford is on tour through February of 2018, so you have time to see her if she’s in your area. She’s still a player in the genre and worth catching live. Thanks to Gas Monkey Live for their help.
LIVE IMAGES: GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: DAVID SIMERS