Uli Jon Roth with Black Knights Rising Live in Missouri

The Scene Rock Bar
Independence, MO

By Gary Shindler

Uli Jon Roth Set List
All Night Long | The Sails of Charon | Sun in My Hand | We'll Burn the Sky | In Trance | Acoustic Song (Uli Jon Roth) | Drum Solo (Kofi Baker) | Polar Nights | Fly to the Rainbow | Dark Lady

All Along the Watchtower | Little Wing

Black Knights Rising Set List
Death Alley Driver | Mob Rules | Burn | Man on the Silver Mountain | Long Live Rock n Roll | Black Knight | Stand Up and Shout | Vinnie Appice Drum Solo | Neon Knights | Mistreated | Highway Star

The Scene Rock Bar in Independence, MO (a suburb of Kansas City) hosted the Extreme Guitar Tour Feb. 11 to a very receptive audience with a love of hard rocking beats, shredding guitar and leather lunged vocals.

Cries of “Uli!” met legendary guitarist Uli Jon Roth (best known for his stint with the Scorpions) helming a strong ensemble including Kofi Baker on drums (the legendary Ginger Baker’s son), Jon West on vocals (Badlands, Lynch Mob), David Klosinski on guitar (a Sky Academy student of Roth’s), Elliot Rubinson on bass (CEO of Dean Guitars) and Corvin Bahn on keyboards and vocals.

As attendees were gathering in The Scene word spread rapidly that Kofi Baker had an accident outside the facility injuring his foot. Perhaps the presence of his father was egging him on through the night because he played drums excellently after visibly hobbling around before taking the stage.

Uli Jon Roth played fluidly with his eyes shut mentioning that it had been 30 years since he had taken the stage in Kansas City. Young gun David Klosinski showed enough mettle to play dual leads with Roth throughout many of the songs including “The Sails of Charon” and “In Trance.”

Anyone too young to have seen Uli Jon Roth play in the Scorpions could have kept their eyes shut and believed Jon West was actually Klaus Meine singing even if he is probably half a foot taller and still exhibiting a full head of hair. “In Trance” was one of West’s highlights in Uli Jon’s set.

Showing off his “new acquisition” Uli Jon played a classically tinged acoustic solo to give the other members a breather. After triumphant applause from the audience the band closed out the night with two Jimi Hendrix covers “All Along the Watchtower” and “Little Wing” both aptly sung by the leader. Kansas City hopefully will not have to wait another 30 years for his return.

One of the surprises of the evening was the substitution of Black Sabbath and Dio member Vinnie Appice providing the backbone for Black Knights Rising: an all-star band playing a selection of songs from the career of Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio with guitarist Craig Goldy (Rough Cutt, Giuffria, Dio), Tim “Ripper” Owens (Judas Priest, Iced Earth) and the Elliot Rubinson playing double sets on bass. Ripper was a surprise of the evening doing a very good job pumping the audience and stepping up to the daunting vocals of Dio, David Coverdale and Ian Gillan. He had a little bit of difficulty owning Rainbow’s “Death Alley Driver” which might be explained by Joe Lynn Turner guesting with the band on shows earlier this year.

This reviewer watched Giuffria open for Deep Purple in 1985 not remembering much of Craig Goldy’s performance but this night he really shined playing the riffs and leads of some intimidating players including Blackmore, Tony Iommi and Vivian Campbell. Appice appeared to dwarf the drum set he played and exhibited a little bewilderment at the low ceiling in the venue yet he pounded loudly and even had fun toying with the audience during his drum solo. No one was checking their Facebook when he revved up Sabbath’s showstopper “The Mob Rules.” 

Surprises in the evening included Deep Purple’s “Burn” with Ripper channeling Coverdale and Jon West providing Glen Hughes’ vocals and a very convincing “Mistreated” giving Coverdale and Dio’s versions a lot of respect. This band carried on the legacies of Dio and (a no longer hard rocking) Blackmore significantly and the audience enjoyed it.

Toronto, Ontario’s Old James (perhaps tongue in cheek considering the band members looked barely old enough to be drinking) provided an entertaining opening act worthy of sharing the stage with the headlining bands. The crowd fed off the energy of singer Brian Stephenson leaping around the stage while guitarist Andy Thompson played some tasty guitar licks. You might just see this band playing on the bill of Rocklahoma someday so take note now.

If the Extreme Guitar Tour hits your city you owe it to yourself to check it out!