Two of the 1980’s most popular hard
rock bands–Skid Row and Warrant–
survive and thrive 25+ years
Who said rock is dead?
Review and photos by Michael Bradley
At one point in the ‘80s, both Skid Row and Warrant were possibly two of the biggest bands in the world. They both enjoyed sold-out world tours, multi-platinum albums, heavy rotation videos on MTV (back when MTV actually showed videos) and legions of fans worldwide. Both bands have also enjoyed continued success even after losing a key member: their lead singer. Replacing a singer doesn’t always work (Gary Cherone in Van Halen anyone?), but in this case things have worked out for the better. Appearing together at the first annual “Rome Rocks” concert at The Forum in Rome, Georgia, both Skid Row and Warrant reminded us of what made them great to begin with, and how personnel changes, changing musical tastes and the lack of radio support has not slowed them down one bit.
Warrant has found a real gem in former Lynch Mob lead singer Robert Mason: a talented, well respected singer/songwriter, and a dynamic front-man who has the vocal chops to pull it off live. Mr Mason was all over the stage, working the crowd and putting his own stamp on classic Jani Lane-penned material such as “Sometimes She Cries,” “I Saw Red,” and the single that initially put Warrant on the map back in 1989, “Heaven.” The band included several selections from their well-received 2011 CD Rockaholic, including set openers “The Last Straw,” “Sex Ain’t Love” and the ballad “Home.” Highlights included a romping version of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and “Mr. Rainmaker,” which once again showcased Robert Mason’s vocal range. Warrant’s set ended, of course, with their biggest hit to date, the all-time strip club favorite “Cherry Pie.”
Warrant Live Photos
Skid Row started out of the gate fast and furious, ripping into “Big Guns” and then the back-to-back punk-infused rockers “Piece of Me” and “Thick Is The Skin.” Lead singer Johnny Solinger was in good voice, leading the melodic “Ghost” and “In a Darkened Room.” The potent twin guitar attack of Dave Sabo and Scotti Hill got a chance to shine on an extended jam during “Monkey Business,” trading licks back and forth to the delight of the crowd. It’s not hard to tell that these two men absolutely love what they do, and they put every ounce of who they are into their playing. The epic “Quicksand Jesus” was a show-stopper, slowly building from its acoustic intro to the band at full tilt. An encore of “18 and Life” and “Youth Gone Wild” ended the night on a high note.
Credit goes to both bands for staying the course, surviving tough musical and financial times, and proving that rock and roll is very much alive and well.