Last night, a reunited Great White swam into Columbus, Ohio and the Alrosa Villa. Part of the 25th anniversary tour, all original members played to about 400 very rowdy fans.
Great White took the stage around midnight, after a handful of more than decent local bands. When singer Jack Russell, lead guitarist Mark Kendall, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Michael Lardie, bassist Sean McNabb and drummer Audie Desbrow finally took the stage, the crowd was more than ready to rock. Jack Russell was energetic as always, whipping around his mic stand only slightly terrifying a few people in the front row.
During this Back to the Rhythm tour stop, the band played a mix of both classic hits and new tunes. The set list looked like this:
Old Rose Motel
Standin’ on the Edge
Face the Day
On Your Knees
House of Broken Love
Save All Your Love
Can’t Shake It
Once Bitten, Twice Shy
As the band played on, the crowd surged forward, pleasing Russell. Eventually, he started dumping multiple bottles of water on the sweaty mob. At one point, Russell put the brakes on the set, and addressed the Station Nightclub fire from four years ago and the fatal shooting spree at the Alrosa Villa in 2004 that claimed the lives of five people, including guitarist Dimebag Darrell. Yesterday, the Associated Press made mention of the Great White concert calling the event a “match made in hell” (the title came from a quote by a concert safety expert based in Los Angeles). To be sure, there was a television news crew staged in the parking lot across from the club, in the event anything unsavory happened. True professionals, Great White played their best, and said that they would never forget either club tragedy. Jack Russell then raised his bottled water and said, “Tonight, let’s celebrate rock n’ roll.”
The show rolled on.
There were several small solos, including some really great guitar playing by Mark Kendall. During another brief pause in the music, Russell raised a portable coffee mug and said “before you read about it in the papers tomorrow, there is just tea in this cup!”
While a horde of fans rushed to be near the stage to dance, several people stood watching, just observing the entire scene. Jack Russell still has an amazing voice, and the band’s version of “No Quarter” sounded eerily similar to the original Led Zeppelin recording.
Ironically, the flattest part of the performance came during the band’s biggest hit “Once Bitten Twice Shy.” An extended version, the band stopped mid-song for a rousing round of the Mickey Mouse Club theme. Still, keyboardist Michael Lardie seemed bored, playing the notes with one hand, his other perched on a hip. That’s what happens when you play the same song 17,893 times over a 25 year career.
In all, fans of 80s music got their money’s worth proving once again that classic artists can bring back glam.