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Rock Never Stops 2005 featuring Cinderella, Ratt, Quiet Riot, and Firehouse (Tuesday, August 16, 2005, Myth, Maplewood, MN)
Rock Never Stops tour flyer

By Sean Sauder

Tuesday was sneak preview night at Myth, and the first event to grace the stage at the shoe store-turned-nightclub in Maplewood was the Rock Never Stops tour, featuring Cinderella, Ratt, Quiet Riot, and Firehouse.

One common early complaint about Myth is that it's too far of a drive for people in Minneapolis and the southern and western suburbs. But it only took us 25 minutes to reach Myth from South Minneapolis. Maybe it’s more convenient to drive to downtown Minneapolis for a rock show -- and that's what I'd rather do -- but to see a band I want to see, 25 minutes is not a bad drive. (Sure, for people in Eden Prairie or Burnsville it would be 45 minutes, but still nothing to complain about, in my opinion.)

Myth is located near Maplewood Mall, but has its own parking lot. Myth's lot was full when we arrived, and so was the lot in the neighboring Toys R Us store, so we parked in the mall parking lot, about the equivalent of 2 city blocks away. But parking was still free, so no complaints there. Luckily we had tickets waiting at will call because we soon found out that the show was sold out.

Once inside, we could see that the upstairs and VIP booths were not yet ready for business, and therefore not open tonight, which helped lead to the sell out. Had they been open, I'm sure that everyone who wanted to see the show would have been able to get in.

We arrived right at show time (8:30PM) and due to our late arrival and while waiting in line for our tickets, we missed Firehouse. This was fine with me (though my wife would disagree) as I've just never understood the appeal of this band. When I heard their debut single, "Don't Treat Me Bad," I couldn't even believe it was a real band. It sounded more like a Pepsi commercial to me.

Dodging that bullet, we took the opportunity to check out the rest of the club, with our first stop naturally being the bar. The bar is very good-sized and is located a level up from the concert area behind the soundboard. It appeared that the only beer available was in plastic bottles, which meant Mich Golden Light, Budweiser, Miller Lite, etc. The bar staff was swamped, so not wanting to complicate matters, I went with the least of 3 evils and ordered a Miller Lite. My wife ordered a Smirnoff Ice, and there were mixed drinks available, but for beer lovers it didn't appear that there were many (good) choices.

We made our way back down to the floor as Quiet Riot was taking the stage. Once again, I was never a fan of this band, and tonight’s lineup included only 2 of the 4 members from the classic "Metal Health"-era (singer Kevin DuBrow and drummer Frankie Banali). At least the current bassist, Chuck Wright, was in a past incarnation of the group and has played on some of their albums. Though not my taste, the band did sound good. And since Frankie Banali is a very good drummer it wasn't torture to watch their set. The 30 minute performance included a few newer songs, as well as the two Slade songs that were hits for the band in the '80's ("Cum On Feel The Noize," "Mama Weer All Crazee Now"), and of course, "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)".

After downing a couple drinks it was time to check out the rest rooms. Plenty of room in the men's room, and my wife reports the same from the ladies room, so I think that's all the further we need to go with that. Next up: another drink, and back to the concert floor to see Ratt.

As with Quiet Riot and many other bands of their era, Ratt tonight included a minority of original band. Of the five original members, only guitarist Warren DeMartini and drummer Bobby Blotzer remain (alas, the original lineup will never be back due to guitarist Robbin Crosby's death a few years ago). I always liked Ratt's music, and even though three of the current band members are not originals, they are good musicians and are known for past bands they've been in: singer Jizzy Pearl (Love/Hate), guitarist John Corabi (Motley Crue), and bassist Robbie Crane (Vince Neil). Without original lead singer Stephen Pearcy the band seems almost like a Ratt tribute band to me, albeit a very good Ratt tribute band. I'm sure guitar players in the audience were in awe of guitarist Warren DeMartini, who is one of the best. I remember hearing "Lack Of Communication", "You're In Love", "Way Cool Junior", and "Round And Round" included in the setlist.

Next up was Cinderella (featuring all original members). I think these guys get lumped into the "hair metal" (boy, do I hate that term!) category unnecessarily. Sure, there's the awful album cover from their debut album, Night Songs, and some truly horrible songs (for example, "Push Push" which was unfortunately included in tonight's show), but their subsequent albums (Long Cold Winter, Heartbreak Station, Still Climbing) feature plenty of just plain good rock and roll. If packaged differently, I think this band would get a lot more respect from the critics. They sounded great tonight, and the crowd loved 'em! The set included the excellent "Heartbreak Station", "Coming Home", "Don't Know What You Got (Til It's Gone)", "Gypsy Road", "Somebody Save Me", "Nobody's Fool", "Shake Me', "Shelter Me", "The Last Mile", "Fallin' Apart At The Seams", "Still Climbing", and "Push Push".

Myth had to be happy with their first night of business. They've got several other big names booked in the near future (Seether, Nickelback, Queensryche, Live, My Chemical Romance, Fallout Boy, and "Nintendo Fusion Tour", to name a few). I believe if you book quality acts people want to see, they will come. From my perspective everything seemed to go rather smoothly, so kudos to the staff. The club has a great stage and sightlines, and quite an elaborate light show. It's never going to replace First Avenue, of course, but it serves an important niche in this market, and I wish them much success.

Sean Sauder is at ssauder[at]mn.rr.com


See also:

Official Myth Nightclub Website
www.mythnightclub.com

Official Cinderella Website
www.cinderella.net

Official Ratt Website
www.therattpack.com

Quiet Riot Websites
www.kevindubrow.com or www.frankie-banali.com

Official Firehouse Website
www.firehousemusic.com

Ross Raihala’s review of opening night
http://blogs.twincities.com/ross/2005/08/the_myths_openi.html