Hot Summer Nights at the Toyota Music Factory…the best place to see a show in the metroplex! There is an extraordinarily amount of excitement in real talent. A real weathered artist always creates onstage drama. First up was TESLA, one of the best openers I’ve ever seen at this venue. They blazed through opener “I Wanna Live”, “Hang Tough”, and “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)” to cheers and applause. Obviously “Signs” and “Modern Day Cowboy” would get the biggest reactions. This should surprise no one as both are great songs.
JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS completely rocked the place. I loved the video they played from Light of Day, the movie she starred in alongside Michael J. Fox. If you have forgotten how Beautiful JETT was this was an eye opening journey. She doesn’t like her photo taken so we won’t see any of her here.
In spite of all that JETT rocked the house. From “Cherry Bomb”, and “I Love Rock and Roll”, to “Bad Reputation” Joan played her ass off. The one song I didn’t expect was “Crimson and Clover.” Visually the lighting was breathtaking. Crimson colors and then green clover colors contrasted the red velvet look. Visually it was the best song of the night. She is a born entertainer and the crowd loved her. Great set, JOAN!
STYX = Showmanship. How could it be a bad show? Everyone in the band trying to get the full attention of the house. It’s somehow overwhelming and yet they state it simple, it’s all a grand illusion. Tommy Shaw in velvet jacket and a multi blue silk shirt. It’s a perfect touch for his still very blond curls. He was playing a Gibson gold top Les Paul.
Lawrence Gowan, vocalist, keyboardist, and always the showman of the band. James Young playing a Sunburst Fender Strat with three Seymor Duncan pickups, it has a special toggle switch for sustain. He did a long intro for “Light Up” getting the crowd to light their cell phones! The driving kick drum by Todd Sucherman was chest-thumping.
Tommy Shaw came to center stage and started singing “Deep in the Heart of Texas” then he introduced Austin native, bassist Ricky Phillips, who walked out playing a double neck 12 and 6 string guitar. Then the band surprised us with a special guest appearance by original bass player Chuck Panozzo. He came decked out playing a bad ass black with a white pickguard Rickenbacker 4 string bass. They electric glided into a pumped up rendition of “Fooling Yourself” which sounded amazing.
Meanwhile “Come Sail Away” and “Mr. Roboto” raised the hair on the back of my neck. Tommy Shaw still sings like an angel and the band over the last few years has really upped their game. Their voices are strong and their tour is a well-oiled machine at this point. It is a great pairing of talent and big sound effects. The intro to “Mr. Roboto” shook the house like an earthquake as the moving lights made a dramatic sweeping effect into the crowd.
Then as everyone was screaming “Renegade”, Tommy stood in a simple red spot playing his Gibson 335, as the rhythm of a beating heart he began to sing. Lawrence yelled as the band kicked into a dynamic double bass version. The audience went absolutely nuts, capping off a great night of rock and roll!
LIVE WORDS: DONNA LOTHRIDGE
LIVE IMAGES: JOE GUZMAN PHOTOGRAPHY