Trees Night Club
May 9, 2013
By Ron Dempesmeier
Sick for the Cure | Ain’t That a Bitch | A Different Light | Shake Me (acoustic set begins) | Ask Me Yesterday | The Flower Song (acoustic set ends) | One for Rock and Roll | Solid Ground | Cold Day in Hell | You Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone) (half acoustic, half electric) | Coming Home | Shelter Me
Encore: With a Little Help from My Friends | Gypsy Road
Cinderella front-man Tom Keifer came to Dallas touring in support of his new album. “The Way Life Goes” features some of his trademark raspy, bluesy, hard rock belting as well as more tender offerings dealing with relationships and looking back over his struggles to overcome vocal issues and break ups. One thing that was extremely apparent was that he was grateful to be able to sing with his old power in front of an appreciative audience which he thanked many, many times throughout the night.
He mixed in plenty of Cinderella hits and “deep cuts” to mix in with his new songs. Keifer and his band came out firing with a driving version of “Sick for the Cure” from 1990’s “Heartbreak Station” – the last big charting Cinderella album before the neutron bomb of Grunge music took center-stage over the Glam Metal scene later that year. They then launched into a new song called “Ain’t That a Bitch” that showed that Keifer was still penning winning hard rock songs. Hearing Keifer sing like this reminded me of how much vocally Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses sounded like him when he first came onto the scene.
“A Different Light” was another song from the new album and here’s where Keifer demonstrated his debt to Mick Jagger in some of the stage moves he used like leaning forward with his scarf hanging down and putting his hand on his hip while holding the mic stand. Keifer’s band went into an acoustic set where they sat on chairs in the front of the stage and picked for the crowd. The Cinderella hit “Shake Me” was given a Delta Blues makeover complete with Dobro slide playing by the lead guitarist.
Keifer’s wife Savannah Snow joined the boys on a song they co-wrote with Jim Peterik, of Survivor fame, called “Ask Me Yesterday”. This was definitely a great ballad from the new album and her voice blended very nicely with his. He then performed “The Flower Song” which was a more bittersweet ode to sometimes watching pretty girls with his buddies but telling his loved one that she was the flower he picked.
With the storytelling acoustic set coming to an end, the Cinderella anthem for Keifer’s musical heroes called “One for Rock and Roll” brought the loud electric power back to Trees. I think at this point he introduced the song by saying his mother bribed him with a promised Gibson Les Paul if he finished high school, which was really the only way he could be motivated to do so since he was determined to be a rock star. It worked and he still has the guitar.
“Solid Ground” was probably the loudest song of the evening and he started it with a horrific yell that sounded like he was shredding his vocal cords. For a guy who missed years of singing do to nodules on those cords, he held nothing back. “Cold Day in Hell” sounded the most Stones-like of all the songs performed and Keifer’s “Inner Mick” truly shone on this one.
The finale of the regular set was a trio of Cinderella classics including the steadily building power ballad of “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till It’s Gone)” that started acoustically before ringing out majestically with a superb guitar solo to kick off the second half of the song. Songs like “Coming Home” and “Shelter Me” were performed excellently and reinforced the great songwriting chops he had as a Pennsylvanian kid had back in the 80s. Keifer and his band were playing like they were in a stadium instead of a night club.
When the band came out for the encore, the crowd was given a spectacular rendition of The Beatles-penned, but more famously Joe Cocker performed, “With a Little Help from My Friends”. His wife and the other band members supplied great harmonies and Keifer gave his ultimate vocal performance of the evening. It was a masterful cover of a classic song.
Finally, Keifer ended the night’s festivities with another song from his arsenal of Cinderella tunes called “Gypsy Road”. There is no doubt that he is ready to travel on it like a Rock and Roll vagabond and hopefully his latest album will get some notice because it has some great songs. The reputation of 80s Glam Metal is somewhat tarnished, but there was gold in the dross and Keifer is a major talent no matter how he’s categorized.
There were two opening bands, with the second being Lowside. Lowside consists of former members of Lillian Axe (Ron Taylor on vocals and Darrin Delatte on guitar). They played a very good 30 minute set with songs from their newly released self-titled CD. Taylor’s vocals remain as strong as ever and Delatte’s transition from bassist in their former band to lead guitarist in Lowside is an amazing feat. They will be opening for Tom Keifer on a string of Texas dates since original touring act, John Corabi, had to leave due to personal issues.