A couple of weeks back, Rhon and I went to see Night Ranger at Epcot. They were the second to last band playing the park’s Food & Wine Fest and we’ve both been fans since the mid-80s, so we were super-psyched to see them.
I would say it’s probably been ten years since we’ve seen the band in any incarnation and it was so much fun to hear all the hits played live again. In fact, I’d forgotten how many hits they actually had but with playing three sets each night, they had to pull out a lot of classics to fill the set lists. Of course, “Sister Christian” made it into each set. It’s not that I don’t like the song, but I’ve never been in love with it…though drummer Kelly Keagy does an amazing job singing it. No, I’ve always liked the band’s rock stuff more than the ballads and my fave track of theirs is “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” because I love the play on words in the lyrics.
Well, the first night, the band didn’t play “Don’t Tell Me…” until the end of the third set. But it was cool because they also did the second set acoustic and threw in some Damn Yankees (“High Enough”), which vocalist/bassist Jack Blades was a core member of in the early 90s. But that first night, I got the feeling the band was kind of getting a feel for what the Disney crowd would want to hear.
The second night, the sets were definitely more rock-orientated, and I got to hear my fave song twice, plus they snuck in Damn Yankees “Coming of Age” (I was hoping for my DY fave “Come Again” but I love any DY track).
They also did an impromptu segway during the acoustic set that included a variety of snippets from classic rock songs including Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues,” and even AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” which the band let the crowd sing the chorus to so they wouldn’t violate Disney’s “no profanity” clause. Rhon and I were trying to sing along, but we dissolved into a fit of giggles at the thought of what it sounded like hearing a couple hundred or so people singing “We’re on a Highway to Hell!” at the tops of our voices in the middle of Walt Disney World.
We had so much fun those two nights! I’d forgotten how much fun a Night Ranger show was. I’m hoping either Disney brings them back for next year’s festival or maybe Universal brings them in for Mardi Gras. Or they go on a proper tour, though looking at their website, it seems they book groups of dates rather than doing a full tour nowadays. Oh and during the two nights, they played a couple of tracks off a recent CD that had somehow escaped my notice. I’ll have to look for it in the stores, because from the two tracks I heard live and what I’ve heard on their myspace pages, it’s a great album.
And in between singing and dancing myself silly during the two nights, I took like 300 photos of the band. I culled it down to like 70 and put the best ones up at my Flickr account. Here are some of my faves:
I also realized after attending these shows how much I missed the old days when I ran my own music mag in Wisconsin and went to see rock bands every weekend. The last few years with losing mom, dad and gramma, I’ve really pulled back from going out to see live music and that is something that I really need to start doing again. I even have an idea for a blog, but until it’s live I’m not going to talk about it.
Anyone else out there like the 80s rock bands like Night Ranger?
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