On August 5, 2011, Scrap Metal returned to the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, CT. For those unaware, Scrap Metal is a band that was originally formed by members of various 80s glam bands (Nelson, Slaughter, Mr. Big and Night Ranger) on the premise that the band would play only the hits from each of the members' bands. Additionally, special guests appeared at every show (including Kip Winger, Jimi Jamison, Jani Lane, C.J. Snare, Jeff Scott Soto and others). The actual band members have thinned out over the years, as Kelly Keagy and Eric Martin appear to have drop out, and Mark Slaughter was not present at this most recent show, leaving just the Nelson twins as the core famous members of the band. The special guests this time around were Janet Gardner (Vixen), John Corabi (Motley Crue, The Scream) and Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple).
The shows are always loose and the band is 'winging it' to a certain extent, as this is a band that simply gets together for these shows, so they are not well rehearsed. You can actually see various players referring to notebooks and calling out cues on stage, but the band is made up of professionals, so it does not detract from the show at all. The band opened with a cover of The Boys Are Back In Town, with all members and special guests on stage. Corabi carried the lions share of the vocal duties for the opening number. Thereafter, the guests left the stage and we heard a few Nelson songs off of the first album ("After the Rain," "Love and Affection," and "More Than Ever"). Thereafter, Gunner Nelson introduced Janet Gardner as "one of his favorite song writers ever." I found this amusing, since Richard Marx wrote a large part of the first (and most successful) Vixen album, and the second album, while I do enjoy it, is not anything groundbreaking. But Gunner is salesman up on that stage, and I understand he was doing his job in promoting his guest. The band played "Edge of a Broken Heart," "Crying" and "How Much Love." Truth be told, Janet was the sole reason I wanted to attend this show, as I loved Vixen back in the day, and jumped at the chance to see Janet sing live again. Quite simply, Janet still has a strong voice and looks fantastic. I wish she go back to performing live a bit more frequently.
Next up was John Corabi, for perhaps the most odd part of the night's show. Initially, John came out and did a solo acoustic version of Hooligan's Holiday (which is what he has been doing all summer on tour with Cinderella). Thereafter, it became apparent that the guys in Scrap Metal were less familiar with Corabi's work, as the remaining songs were all Motely Crue songs that were recorded by Vince. They played "Home Sweet Home," "Live Wire" and "Smokin' in the Boys Room" (I know, that is not a Crue song, but clearly that is what the band was drawing from). To me, it seemed to be a slap in the face to John and all of the other work he has done, but to his credit, he rolled with it and sang those songs perfectly. I almost didn't recognize the chorus to Live Wire, as I have never actually heard it sung live before (that is when Vince holds the mic out to the crowd for them to sing). John seemed to be having a great time and I give him credit for getting the job done, and he clearly had the strongest voice that night. Plus, it was just so strange to see the Nelson brothers playing Live Wire with Corabi singing... very surreal.
Next came Joe Lynn Turner, who sounded great and they played "Street of Dreams," "Stone Cold," "Highway Star" and "Smoke on the Water." I was impressed with Joe's voice and he put on a good show as well, with a lot of crowd interaction.
Then the show took a bit of a downward turn. It used to be about the band members playing all hits all night long, but with the thinning list of 'rock stars,' there is apparently less to draw upon and so the premise changed to include a long guitar solo from an impressive player (I do not recall his name), followed by a cover of "Long Train Runnin'" sung by the other guitar player (also do not recall his name), and I think there was a bit of a keyboard solo in there as well. Seemed like the band needed to add some filler, but really, this did not add to the show at all. The show concluded with all members and guests returning to the stage for a cover of Led Zeppelin's Rock n Roll. Overall, a good show, but the band has been better, and the diminishing number of 'stars' is hurting the show. Hopefully the guys can turn this around, as it really is a show worth seeing.
The only real disappointment of the night was the fact that there is no longer a meet and greet after the show. I'm not a huge fan of meet and greets, but this was always a fun one to hang around for, as the Wolf Den (the room where the show happened) only holds about 300 people, so it was never really too taxing on the band, and it was a nice gesture for the fans. However, when the show ended, everyone was ushered out of the room and the various members never made an appearance to greet the fans that continued to wait around.
It seems as though the Scrap Metal shows are limited only to appearances at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut, which is a shame because it is a fun show. I have seen the show many times (including their very first show), so I can tell the differences between shows more than most, but others that I was with this past time were seeing the show for the first time, and they absolutely loved it. Any fans of glam would love this show, and if you ever have the chance to attend, I strongly suggest you do so.