It was an amazing sold out show with standing room only. I remember Night Ranger from the 80s as just one of the many “hair bands” of that time. But in reality they were just good-old, fun rock and roll band whose members had long hair. It has been 35 years since their first album, but the band seems to be just as good today. The small venue at Talking Stick Resort was perfect for the band. The audience was right at the stage (no barrier) and the band responded by the guitarists and bassist coming to the front numerous times to play directly to the fans. The crowd was into it from the very start. The entire lower level was standing and singing along with the band from the very first song.
The current touring band consists of founding members, Jack Blades (bass/lead vocals), Brad Gillis (guitarist/vocal), and Kelly Keagy (drum/lead singer). They were joined by veteran guitarist Keri Kelli who had previously played with Alice Cooper. Eric Levy filled out the group on keyboards. Night Ranger broke up in the late 80s and Jack Blades joined a new group called Damn Yankees with outrageous guitarist, Ted Nugent. The band played a couple of songs from his time with Damn Yankees, “Coming Of Age” and “High Enough”. Also Brad Gillis played with Ozzy when he was 35 and the band played one of Ozzy’s songs, “Crazy Train”.
Night Ranger started the show with the new song, “Somehow Someway” from their latest album, Don’t Let Up. They then performed 2 of their classic songs, “Four in the Morning” and “Sing Me Away”. Since some of the band members were in other bands at some time in their career, they played songs from those bands including Damn Yankees, Alice Cooper and Ozzy. At one point for just fun, Jack led the audience in singing different songs that all used “Na Na, Na Na”. Finally he ended with the band and audience singing the most iconic Na Na song, the Beatles’ “Hey Jude”.
The band gave us a personal look at their life. Jack told us that he live a large part of his life in Scottsdale including going to high school here. He said that he has also moved back to the valley. He also told us that the drummer, Kelly is also moving to the valley. Kelly took a break earlier this year for heart surgery but is doing great now. Seeing the way he was drumming and singing, you would never had known he had surgery. Brad joked that he just turned 60 this year and he is just reaching his prime. Given the way he was bouncing all over the stage you believed him. The 2 guitarist and bassist made a great use of the wireless guitar systems. They were all over the stage, running from one side to the other. The guitarists would come to the front of the stage and let the audience even take selfies with them.
They ended the main set with 2 more classic songs, “When You Close Your Eyes” and “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”. They even threw in a short 1 verse version of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” between those songs. Jake then decided to just have the band stay on the stage instead of leaving and coming back for the encore. They started the encore with their biggest hit, “Sister Christian”. They completed the encore with another of their hits, “(You Can Still) Rock In America”. But as the band was taking their final bow and then threw out picks and drum sticks to the audience, Danny Zelisko, the promoter came out on stage and asked the band to play another song. Jake joked that they played all of the songs they knew. So after a short group meeting, the band came back and played “Rumours in the Air”. Then as an added bonus they covered AC/DC’s classic, “Highway to Hell”.
Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: Taking Stick Resort Showroom
Date: July 8, 2017
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2017
Somehow Someway (Don’t Let Up)
Four in the Morning (Seven Wishes)
Sing Me Away (Dawn Patrol)
Coming Of Age (Damn Yankees cover)
Secret Of My Success (Big Life)
18 and Schools Out (Alice Cooper covers)
CrazyTrain (Ozzy cover)
Sentimental Street (Seven Wishes)
Eddie’s Comin’ Out Tonight (Dawn Patrol)
High Enough (Damn Yankee cover)
Boys Of Summer (Don Henley cover)
Goodbye (Seven Wishes)
When You Close Your Eyes (Midnight Madness)
Highway Star (1 verse) (Deep Purple cover)
Don’t Tell Me You Love Me (Dawn Patrol)
Sister Christian (Midnight Madness)
(You Can Still) Rock In America (Midnight Madness
Rumours in the Air (Midnight Madness)
Highway To Hell (AC/DC cover)