This review is provided courtesy of fabulous Bring Back Glam! reader Melissa Thompson.
Monday night family, friends, fellow musicians and hundreds of fans paid tribute to Jani Lane, late singer, songwriter and former front man of Warrant. It was an amazing night filled with emotion, laughter, memories, and most of all, great music! In attendance to honor Jani were his family, including brother Eric Oswald and sister Micky Robinson. Also there to pay tribute to their fallen friend were members of Enuff Z'Nuff, Slammin Gladys, Kingdom Come, Sweet, LA Guns, Quiet Riot and Great White. The evening was hosted by Jani's manager and friend Obi Steinman, who told stories of his years with Jani and introduced the bands there to remember him. During the entire evening, three large video screens were showing family photos of Jani, from a child growing up in Akron, Ohio, to stage performances, and moments with his daughters, Madison and Taylar.
First up was Enuff Z'Nuff. Donnie Vie and Chip Z'Nuff took the stage and performed their hit "Fly High Michelle" as well as a heartwarming cover of one of Jani's favorite songs, "Let it Be" by the Beatles.
Next were old friends, Slammin' Gladys, whose first album was produced by Jani Lane in 1992. SG members Dave Brooks, Steve Deboard and JJ Farris performed the songs "Stronger Now" and the Warrant song "Sad Theresa" (Dog Eat Dog). Between songs, singer Dave Brooks dedicated the night to Jani.
Many friends came in from touring to honor Lane in song, including James Kottak (Kingdom Come, Scorpions) who did "Time to Say Goodbye" and Sweet members Joe Retta and Stuart Smith, who did an amazing rendition of "I Saw Red."
Next to come on stage were Jani's family. Older brother Eric Oswald told some great stories about growing up with Jani and sister Micky tearfully read a poem to Jani entitled "If tomorrow starts without me." Eric and Dave Brooks, along with some of the other musicians, dedicated and emotional performance of "Blind Faith," with the entire crowd singing along.
The second half of the show started with LA Guns' Phil Lewis and Steve Riley. Lewis told a great story about how different, as bands, Warrant and LA Guns were, but that the minute he met Jani they were not only fans, but friends. LA Guns then performed "Electric Gypsy" and "The Ballad of Jayne", which for the night was re-named "The Ballad of Lane." Quiet Riot, with members Frankie Banali and Sean McNabb then took the stage to perform "Thunderbird," a song the band has long dedicated to founding member Randy Rhoads, and more recently to lead singer Kevin DuBrow, who passed away in 2007. Last night they dedicated it to their friend Jani Lane.
Last but not least was Great White. Jani toured with Great White last year when singer Jack Russell fell ill and was on the verge of having to cancel 31 dates. Lane stepped up to complete the tour for Russell and the remaining dates were a huge success. A still-recovering Russell came to the mic to remember and honor Jani Lane, then turning it over to the band, with singer Terry Ilous (XYZ) handling vocals on "Mr. Bone," "Save Your Love", and "Rock Me."
All the bands gave great performances, but what followed was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen at show. Jani's most recent touring band took the stage, with Joe Retta (Sweet) on vocals, to perform the most rockin' tribute to Jani with "Down Boys," "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and "Cherry Pie." On "Uncle Tom's Cabin," Jani's brother Eric performed the guitar intro, just as he had done on the original recording. The final number was the most emotional of the evening. An empty stool and microphone stood onstage while Jani's band played "Heaven" with 350-plus people in attendance all singing, lighters held high. There was not a dry eye in the house.
The evening ended with all the musicians on stage for a jam session of some of Jani's favorite songs. All in all it was a great evening and a beautiful tribute to Jani Lane. If he didn't know before how many people loved and respected him, I'm quite sure he does now.