This show had been on my radar as it is always fun to head to Cleveland for a few of our favorite bands, but I must say after it got rescheduled once, twice, three, and then four times, I actually had no clue if or when it was really happening. And then you throw in some winter weather and the small little town of Lorain, Ohio seemed much further than we first thought.
But having just got off a boat where Winger was kicking ass, we knew it would be worth it. So, we hit the turnpike and arrived just minutes before Firehouse took the stage. In fact, I was still sorting out photo credentials and finding a nice vantage point when frontman CJ Snare totally called me out for texting in the front row! Who could blame him, I was clearly distracted, but for good reason.
Things have definitely changed since we first saw these bands, cameras had film and mobile phones were something rich people had in their fancy cars. It is cool that friends can watch us go live and that we can capture selfies in front of the stage, but there are times when it is nice to just be in the moment. I often struggle with this as a photographer, because I’m rarely aware of the music when I’m focused on getting the shot. And then I’m sad if I don’t get the shot, because I’m wrapped up in the music. Another reason I was excited to catch Winger again, I actually put my camera a way for one of their shows on the cruise. Read on, and I’ll explain why.
Firehouse kicked things off with “Rock on the Radio” and “All She Wrote,” drawing the crowd in, and by the time they started bringing out the ballads, the front row had a gathering of very excited fans who’d rushed the stage. It was fun and everyone was having a blast, but apparently those who’d purchased seats up front weren’t too happy that dozens of people were blocking their views and the police that the venue hired to work security had to clear everyone out.
The theater was beautiful and as the band performed favorites like “Love of A Lifetime” and “I Live My Life for You,” there was a disco ball above the crowd that sparkled as the lights hit it. It was almost magical and made those songs all that much more special. Equally great to feel the energy from the band on cuts like “Don’t Treat Me Bad,” whereas we could barely make them out on stage at that last festival show. That makes me all that much more excited to catch these guys at Jergel’s on March 24th where it is always an intimate engagement.
With so many bands losing members, it is important to note that Firehouse is original members CJ Snare, Bill Leverty and Michael Foster, along with their newest member Allen McKenzie who is hard to call new when he has been with the band for two decades. And Winger is all original members with Kip Winger, Reb Beach, Paul Taylor, Rod Morgenstein and newest addition John Roth, who joined the four founding members nearly thirty years ago. Not something you see very often as the decades roll past us.
As I mentioned, in my introduction, I had actually put down my camera during one of Winger’s show’s on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. If you read my coverage from day two, you’ll understand why.I was tempted to put my camera down when they kicked off the set with an old favorite “Battle Stations,” but before I knew it, I got caught up in the madness that is “Rat Race” making my way from side to side of the huge theater stage chasing after those guitars.
All in all, this was a pretty classic Winger set with all the favorites from “Can’t Get Enuff” to “Seventeen” covered. But they did have a few surprises like “Pull Me Under” from their 2009 Karma album, and what is lovingly called the medley featuring badass covers of clips of “Billion Dollar Babies,” “In My Dreams,” “Still of The Night,” and more, from the many band’s these amazing musicians have played with over the years. So was it worth the drive? No question.
For more coverage of Winger from the cruise check out day two coverage and day 3 coverage, and be sure to listen in to recent interview with Reb Beach Regarding his solo album and an interview with Bill Leverty from the archives.
Our latest interviews including MORC recaps with Chip Z’ Nuff (Enuff Z’ Nuff) and Adrian Vandenberg (Vandenberg), as well as interviews with Chris Caffery (Spirits of Fire, Savatage, Trans Siberian Orchestra), Roy Cathey (Cold Sweat, The Fifth) and an interview with Olli Herman (Reckless Love) coming soon!
Follow us @ThePureRockShop on Facebook and Instagram for more local show coverage like Buckcherry and Alice Cooper, Firewind and Dragonforce, Firehouse, and Slaughter, as well as festival coverage including more from the Monsters of Rock Cruise and upcoming M3 Music Festival in May in Baltimore and Masquerade in Philadelphia in July.