Great White @ City National Grove – 05/31/2013Orange County Rock n’ Roll fans had a lot to celebrate this past Friday night May 31 as 80’s rockers Great White teamed up with 90’s powerhouse Slaughter at City National Grove in Anaheim for a memorable night of classic hair metal. This “one off” show kicks off various summer appearances for both bands and provided a gathering for the die-hards in Anaheim to revel in the timelessness of these two great bands.

Two local bands kicked off this night of music and warmed up all in attendance for a 9:00pm performance by Slaughter. The band hit the stage and slammed right into “The Wild Life” as the crowd cheered at full volume, Slaughter delivered a scorching 60 minute set. Singer Mark Slaughter, with a cold Corona in hand, belted out his trademark high pitched vocals with ease. While as many singers age they often struggle with the high notes and ability to retain the integrity of their vocal sound, Mark sounded amazing and was spot on with all the high notes. Bass player Dana Strum is a fantastic performer as his on stage enthusiasm and excessive head banging compliment his bass playing skills. Strum and Slaughter often came together center stage providing a very classic 80’s feel to the performance.

During the song “Mad About You” Mark walked off the side of the stage down into the second tier at the Grove and sang half the song walking around the crowd with many fans trying to get a hug or high five while the rest of the band belted out the music onstage. Newest member of the band drummer Zoltan Chaney put on a show himself with his flamboyant drumming style, stick twirls and his climbing all over his drum kit and jumping around all while lead guitarist Jeff “Blando” Bland showcased his soloing skills on his black and white checkered Gibson. The wonderful aspect of the performance was that all four members of the band were having fun and it showed by means of the interactions onstage as well as interactions with the crowd.

The night ended with two of Slaughter’s biggest hits, the slower “Fly to the Angels” and then the final song which received the loudest roar from the fans “Up All Night”. Mark thanked all in attendance and the band left the stage. An amazing set by Slaughter and a perfect way to put everyone in the mood for the night’s headliners Great White.

Great White, now fronted by singer Terry Ilous (former vocalist for late 80’s rockers XYZ), is still out supporting their latest CD (and first with Ilous) 2012’s Elation. At 10:30pm the lights went black and the Jaws theme played over the PA as the band took the stage and blazed into “Dessert Moon” to kick off 90 minutes of good ole fashioned, bluesy Rock n’ Roll Great White style. For many fans this was their first opportunity to see Ilous front the band during a live performance . . .well any doubters were quickly silenced as Ilous sounded spot on holding true to the original vocal style of the songs all while adding a bit of his own style. Stage left had keyboardist/guitarist Michael Lardie and bass player Scott Snyder while stage right had founding guitar great Mark Kendall. Drummer Audie Desbrow anchored the band center stage on his drum kit with a large Great White banner hanging above.

Much like Slaughter a great aspect of the Great White performance was it was very obvious the band was having fun and enjoying playing together. In addition to a stellar vocal performance, Ilous is quite a front man as his constant stage movement and hand motions re-enforced the fact he was having fun and he constantly interacted with the other band members throwing in some air guitar and sharing his mic. Without a doubt the highlight of a Great White show is Mark Kendall’s guitar playing. While the sum of the musicians make amazing music, Kendall stands out as one of the finest guitarists of the 80’s generation of bands. Constantly smiling and making “guitar faces” Kendall’s bluesy guitar solos definitely are a signature sound that makes Great White what it is.

The set consisted of many of the Great White classics you would want to hear as well as a few new songs from Elation including the ballad “Hard to Say Goodbye” which Ilous stated he wrote in regards to how he feels leaving his daughter when going out on tour. Lardie alternated between guitar and keyboards when required always with a smile while Snyder and Desbrow held down the rhythm on bass and drums respectfully.

Kendall took a few moments to address the crowd thanking them for all their support through the years and reminiscing about the early days playing shows throughout Orange County and LA County (Mark is originally from the Orange County/Anaheim area). The band then ended the set with “Big Goodbye” and “Rock Me”. The lights dimmed and the band left the stage for a few minutes and then returned with Ilous asking “Do you want one more song ? . . . How about two . . .” and they went into an extended version of “Can’t Shake It” with a impressive instrumental jam in the middle of the song and then ended the night with probably their most well-known hit “Once Bitten Twice Shy” from 1989’s 2X Platinum album . . . . Twice Shy. After the last note, Ilous introduced each band member and then Lardie took the mic and introduced Ilous as the “New Kid on the Block”. Ilous graciously thanked the crowd, stated “We are Great White” and left the stage.

A classic, fun and musically enjoyable night of 80’s/90’s rock n’ roll music by two of the era’s finest bands, Slaughter and Great White.  Catch both bands throughout the summer of 2013 as they play various festivals and fairs.

More information can be found here:

Great White: http://greatwhiterocks.com/

Slaughter: https://www.facebook.com/officialmarkslaughter

Slaughter Set List:

The Wild Life | Take Me Away |Burnin’ Bridges | Spend My Life | Mad About You | Eye to Eye | Real Love | Fly to the Angels | Up All Night

Great White Set List Included:

Desert Moon | Lady Red Light | Face the Day | (I’ve Got) Something for You | House of Broken Love | Hard to Say Goodbye | Angel Song | Mista Bone | Big Goodbye | Rock Me | Can’t Shake It | Once Bitten Twice Shy