Less than a year removed from seeing her live in Baltimore on the Love’s Gone to Hell Tour, I was lucky enough to catch The Metal Queen DORO at B.B. King Blues Club and Grill in NYC recently. It was a celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of her landmark WARLOCK album, Triumph and Agony, one of the favorites in my record collection.
It is a timeless classic, and with no date anywhere near Philly, you bet yer ass I was making the trek to NY. Especially since she’d be performing the record in its entirety!
So, as soon as my Eagles whipped the Redskins I hopped in the car at 4pm and headed up. I met my L.I. crew Joe and Mike at Penn Station, and off we went.
Once inside I positioned myself to be at the front of the stage (as usual) right near A&GS photographer Zenae D. Zukowski who has been working with me for almost two years now, and it was great to finally have that face-to-face meeting. Right next to her were two beloved members of my DORO family, Lisa and Kelly, and it was wonderful to see them. These shows are more than just live performances; they truly are family gatherings. And now it was time to get it going. The house lights dimmed and at 8:30 p.m. sharp the magic began…
The band (Luca Princiotta – guitar/keys, Nick Douglas – bass/keys, Johnny Dee – drums, and last but not least, Tommy Bolan, who played guitars on the original Triumph and Agony way back when!) came out first, followed by The Queen herself, as they ripped into “Touch of Evil”, followed by a double whammy of “I Rule the Ruins” and “East Meets West.” I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how batshit crazy I was going during these two as DORO led the chants of “Hey! Hey! Hey!” while she grinned ear-to-ear. Man alive, she loves what she does and is soooo appreciative of how riled up we get when she sings and plays for us.
“Three Minute Warning” is one I had yet to hear live, and the band burned hot enough to grill a Porterhouse in five minutes flat. Tommy and Luca were riffing away, and the crowd was eating it up. The eerie opening strains of “Kiss of Death” filled the room and I’m sure everyone in attendance felt just as I did: that we were truly in the presence of a once-in-a-lifetime event.
These are the songs we grew up on, and never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be in the same room while they were unfolding right before my eyes. Mega-classic “Für Immer” was next and that brought the decibel level of the audience up tenfold, as it always does
“Cold, Cold World” is another rarity on the live front, so that was an extra treat, as was beautiful song “Make Time For Love,” one I’ve loved/been obsessed with since I was that 14-year old kid in 1987 blasting this record on REPEAT. “Metal Tango” is always a blast when the band does it, and it had been a few shows since they had, so I was in Heaven once again. And then…well then it was time for the one and only “All We Are.” After an intro in which she let a lot of the crowd sing/scream into the mic, the group tore into it.
And once again, when that mic came my way I made the most of it, screaming the anthem loud and proud like my life depended on it. DORO tends to give me that mic a lot because she knows I’m gonna bring the intensity every time, and for that I am extremely thankful.
Now that the performance of Triumph and Agony was complete, the setlist went bye-bye and The Queen asked us to start calling out our favorites, and they tried to play as many of them as possible. First up? “True As Steel”, wherein those chants of “Hey! Hey! Hey!” really fill the song, followed by “Burning the Witches”, one that never fails to rile me up. I was already going insane, but this one always cranks me up even higher. “Fight For Rock” was my first exposure to WARLOCK, and will always have a special place in my heart. Plus live it destroys!
Oh, and while they were at it, they tossed in two more head-exploding tracks (my neck is STILL sore) in “Hellbound”, and then Mini-Amps’ favorite “Earthshaker Rock”!! I like to think that me yelling, “Do Earthshaker Rock for Corey!!!” had a hand in that one, as DORO smiled and pointed at me when I did so. Again, I’m surprised my head didn’t come loose and land on the stage. Fucking AMAHHHZING!! The band only had time for a couple more, so without delay came “Night of the Warlock” from 2009’s Fear No Evil album, and then the Wacken hymn “We Are the Metalheads.” Did I sing/scream into the mic again? Yer goddamn right I did!!
When the set was over not only did Luca give me two guitar picks, but DORO stayed out there and signed CD covers, vinyls, ticket stubs, photos, you name it.
I was also able to give her a bracelet that Mini-Amps picked out for her and she looked very touched. This show was yet another in a long list of reminders as to how humbled she is by the love and adoration we give, and sincerely give her. And she gives it right back a thousand times over. Like she says in her song “You’re My Family”:
“You mean more to me, more than life can be,
The only ones, the only ones I love,
We’re united in our hearts”
A DORO concert is just that…a gathering of family. And I am happy, honored, and proud to be a part of that family.
It is a place where friends old and new come together, united in metal. And this night served to remind us all once again that the only true Queen of Metal is DORO. So all must bend the knee. Thank you so much from the bottom of my metal heart for putting on the gig of a lifetime…Für Immer.
LIVE IMAGES: ZENAE D. ZUKOWSKI
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO