RATT Live at Wings Stadium, Kalamazoo – August 18

RATT with special guests: Lita Ford, Dokken, and Sebastian Bach         

IMG_0734I couldn’t help but think that a Sunday night was a strange night for a show, but we were looking forward to it none the less.  As we pulled into Wings I saw a near-empty parking lot.  What a shame (shame, shame.  Yes a shameless RATT reference).

Lita Ford was already on stage by the time we parked and made it through the line.  The venue was about at half capacity, not too bad for a Sunday night.

This was my first time seeing Lita and she did not disappoint.  Lita plowed through a cover of “Black Leather” by the Sex Pistols and “Cherry Bomb” from her former band, The Runaways.  Lita closed out her set with her two biggest hits, “Close My Eyes Forever” and “Kiss Me Deadly”.  I wish we had been able to see her whole set, but regardless, she was the perfect kick-off for what became an intimate party between bands and fans.

Dokken was second on the bill and I think the billing was wrong.  It should have been Don Dokken since Don was the sole member of the original band.  He opened with “Kiss of Death”.  As he ‘sang’ I could tell it would be a long set.  Don did comment that he was sick, so I have to give him a horns up for not backing out of the show.  However, regardless of the reason or cause, he sounded bad and it sucked the life out of Dokken classics like “Into the Fire” and “In My Dreams.” Luckily his back-up band was solid.  The one song Dokken did not play that surprised me, and that may have been for the best, was “Dream Warriors”.

Eddie Trunk.
Eddie Trunk.

Eddie Trunk, VH1s That Metal Show, stopped in to introduce the next act, and with the opening note to “Slave to the Grind” Sebastian Bach was able to turn around a night that had been in danger of stalling.  His and the band’s performance was a powder keg of energy and personality (some great music may have had a hand in it as well).  Sebastian took the eager crowd to class with “Screamology 101” and had the place rocking.  While he performed just

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a handful of his solo material, the highs came when the band would launch into Skid Row classics like “18 and Life”, “Monkey Business”, and “I Remember You”.  There could only be one end to his set and it says as much about Sebastian as it did for the aging crowd.  With the all too familiar into, the band launched into “Youth Gone Wild”, a fitting end to the set.

There was much anticipation for the headliner.  For the past week, my wife, who knew next to nothing about RATT, had been diligently doing her homework and had listened to just about the entire RATT catalog (I think they may have a new fan).

The reason for the anticipation was the return of origional bassist, Juan Croucier.  This was/is the closest the band could come to the origional line-up  (R.I.P Robbin Crosby).  Eddie Trunk came back out to introduce the evenings headliner and along with Juan, Stephen Pearcy, Bobby Blotzer and Warren De Martini, RATT  hit the stage with Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot) rounding out the line-up.  The band opened with “Wanted Man” followed shortly with RATT classics “Lovin’ You’s a Dirty Job”, “Way Cool JR” and “I Want a Woman”.  I was surprised that they didn’t play anything from the last album, Infestation, which is a strong album and sounds like it could have been released in RATT’s prime.   Much like Sebastian’s set, there was only one way to end the night, “Round and Round” with Sebastian coming back on stage to share vocal duties.  RATT may not of had the same energy that Sebastian had, aside from Juan, but they did have what the crowd wanted and they did a fantastic job of delivering, RATT ‘n’ ROLL.