NIGHT RANGER - Shawnee Mission, KS 06/06/2009

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NIGHT RANGER - Shawnee Mission, KS 06/06/2009

Postby dabstudio » Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:30 am

Veteran 80’s rockers Night Ranger played at Old Shawnee Days in Shawnee, KS on Saturday June 6 in front of several thousand fans of all ages. For years, Old Shawnee Days has provided a national band or two in a family-type atmosphere for locals to enjoy for free. The band, with three original members still in the fold, bassist/vocalist Jack Blades, drummer/vocalist Kelly Keagy, and guitarist Brad Gillis, put on a 1 hour 40 minute performance that will be remembered for its high energy and for a setlist that covered their entire career, from their 1982 debut album Dawn Patrol to 2008’s Hole in the Sun.

With snippets of hit songs from the 60’s and 70’s playing in the background, the band stormed the stage with “This Boys Needs to Rock,” from their top 10 Seven Wishes album from 1985. Toward the end of the song, the band segued into Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” with Blades and Keagy taking turns on lead vocals. Without missing a beat, the band returned to finish “This Boys Needs to Rock.” The songs went great together and proved to me that the band still works on its live show and doesn’t just get up and go through the motions night after night. Keagy then took over on vocals for “Sing Me Away,” the first of several songs from their debut album that still sound great over 25 years after being released. Blades took the lead again as the band flashed forward to their current state as a band next with “You’re Gonna Hear From Me,” from their latest Hole in the Sun release. It was one of the few songs that the majority of fans didn’t know but it was good to hear something from the new album. A double shot of the 1983 album Midnight Madness was next with the songs “Rumours in the Air” and “Touch of Madness.”

While Blades and Keagy took turns on lead vocals all night, Blades was the leader on stage and frequently talked between songs. He mentioned that they had done many songs for movies over the years but that the next song, “The Secret of My Success,” was their favorite song they ever did for a movie soundtrack. Blades said that after struggling to come up with a title of the song, guitarist Brad Gillis decided to just name it after the movie. The “Na-Na’s” from the end of the song led the band into other songs that have sing-along “Na-Na’s” in them, including “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’,” and the song Blades’ considered the best “Na-Na” song of all-time, “Hey Jude.”

The band then slowed it down as Keagy walked to the front of the stage and started “Sentimental Street” before returning to the drum kit to finish the song. After “Sentimental Street,” Blades told the story of the early days of the band playing on Poke Street in San Francisco. He said they always knew it would be a good night if a local named Eddie would show up for their gig. This led them to write their next song, “Eddie’s Coming Out Tonight,” a song I always considered pretty weak. However, Gillis’s guitar intro to the song was excellent and the double guitar ending with Gillis and Joel Hoekstra was probably the best guitar work of the night.

Next up was a long but enjoyable acoustic set of a wide range of music. Starting off the set was the guitar duo of Gillis and Hoekstra playing an unreleased instrumental they have been working on that Gillis mentioned had only been played a few times live. The full band returned and played a medley of parts of several classic songs, including The Eagle’s “Take It Easy,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” and The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues” that had the audience cheering and singing along. The highlight of the acoustic set was Blades’ hit with Damn Yankees, “High Enough.” It has been years since Damn Yankees were together and this song definitely took the crowd back to the band’s early 90’s heyday. The acoustic set finished with Seven Wish’s “Goodbye,” the band’s last top 20 hit. This was a great way to end the acoustic set as the guitars were plugged back in and Keagy returned to the drum kit for the electric ending to that song.

The band finished their main set with a hit song from each of their first three albums. First up was the top 20 hit “Four in the Morning” from Seven Wishes followed by yet another top 20 hit with Midnight Madness’s “When You Close Your Eyes.” This excellent three-song barrage finished with the band’s first hit, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” from their debut album.

After a couple minutes of cheers from a crowd that had already seen a stellar hour and a half show, the band returned for an encore that brought the crowd to its feet. First up was “Sister Christian,” the band’s biggest hit and the song most responsible for the fact they can still tour the world year after year. Keagy let the crowd sing the first couple verses before taking over on both vocals and the signature drum portion of the song as the fans sang at the top of their lungs, “You’re motorin’.” The concert ended with “(You Can Still) Rock in America.” While this was a minor hit for the band, the song has remained on radio and had the biggest audience participation of the night. It was a perfect way to end a concert that proves the band still strives to put on a crowd-pleasing rock show after nearly 30 years together.
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