It was a late eighties glam flashback at the Congress Theatre in Chicago on July 27th. A double threat of Cinderella and Sebastian Bach formerly of Skid Row. First up was Bach and his four piece. The band came out with a roar and jumped right into the Skid Row classic “Slave to the Grind.” Bach sprinted on stage after his band and dove right into the song with as much energy as the young Bach did in ’91 when I saw Skid Row debut that song when they were on tour with Guns N Roses. I’ve always been a Skid Row fan, especially of their second album, Slave To The Grind, so it was nice to see the title track as the show opener.
Next up was the title track from Bach’s most recent solo album, Kicking and Screaming. The performance wasn’t bad at all, but you could tell during this one and the next, which was another solo song, that the crowd was already getting bored. Bach was really trying to get the crowd to interact with him, but at the beginning of his set, it just wasn’t working. He dipped into the first Skid Row album for the next two songs -the second of which was the first song from that album, “Big Guns.” Then everyone in the crowd started getting more into it and jumping in unison. Bach’s onstage shtick hasn’t really changed throughout the years. Jumping in place and waving his hands like little wings, and of course, his infamous Microphone swinging which is a total homage to Roger Daltrey.
At one moment in the set Bach stopped the band mid song to go off on a guy in the crowd. Some guy was flipping him off the whole time and in between songs would yell “You’re not Cinderella.” Bach proceeded to rip him a new asshole and said that he would jump in the crowd and beat the shit out of him. Bach then got the crowd to chant, “Get the fuck out,” and he had security kick him out and had everyone wave bye to him as he was escorted out of the building. It was pretty funny, and like nothing happened, they jumped back into the song right from the point that they stopped. The final three songs were all hits and all spawned sing-alongs especially the monster ballad, “I Remember You.”
Overall it was a decent set. I’ve seen Bach do better, but it wasn’t bad. He still has a decent voice and can scream the high notes, but this time around there was a lot of echo and effects on his voice whenever he held a note. It was nice to see him still have so much energy and fire, and he still pretty much looks the same, just a little older. The rumors have been swirling lately about the original Skid Row reuniting, and Bach has been one who has been helping spark the rumors. I’m sure around this time next summer, you will be reading my review of the Skid Row reunion; it’s inevitable.
After about forty minutes in between bands. Cinderella finally took the stage. I’ve got to say, it was a much bigger crowd then I thought would be at the Congress. It definitely wasn’t full, but a very nice size and these people were ready for some Cinderella. If the crowd seemed mediocre during Bach, they were wide awake and loud the moment Cinderella took the stage. Here’s the thing about Cinderella, I don’t think they get enough musical credit. They started in the whole glam scene in the mid eighties, but they always stood out as being much more blues based rock in their sound. I’ve always considered them the Black Crowes of glam rock. And let me tell ya, their sound is intact. They sounded phenomenal throughout their whole set. Lead singer, Tom Keifer has one of those fragile voices that at times has gone out on him with different vocal chord problems. On this night, however, you would have never thought that because he was on point the whole show.
It was a barrage of hits for the most part, every song was known by this audience. “Shake Me,” “Heartbreak station” and “Night Songs” were early on in the set and set a nice tone for the evening. All four members were on the first album and they are still going strong today. Some musicians have come and gone throughout the years with Cinderella, but these four are the main core. Fred Coury on drums, Eric Brittingham on bass and Jeff Lebar on lead guitar. The stand out as always, though is Tom Keifer. He has so much talent and still displays it to this day at every show. Not only does he handle the rhythm guitar, but even though they have a touring keyboardist, he still gets behind the baby grand piano on “Don’t Know What You Got Til It’s Gone.” Back in their heyday in the eighties, Keifer used to get lowered on to the stage with a white baby grand piano. This one was a little more subtle but the crowd ate it up and swayed with their lit up cell phones in the air.
They ended their set with two classics, “Nobody’s Fool” and my all time favorite song of theirs, “Gypsy Road.” All of us in attendance knew they weren’t through yet and kept making noise until they returned on stage and gave us “Long Cold Winter.” But you can’t end a rock show on a ballad and there was one more hit they didn’t whip out yet and that was “Shelter Me.” Another great blues based rocker that was a great show closer, and gave a chance for Keifer to jump on the Saxophone and wail out a solo.
I was very impressed with Cinderella, I wasn’t sure what to expect since I haven’t seen them in a few years. They definitely have aged well and can still kick ass.
Sebastian Bach: 3 out of 5
Cinderella: 4.5 out of 5
Review: Todd Anthony
Photos: Brian Morgan