w/ Madame Mayhem
March 1, 2016
The reigning Queen of Metal, Doro Pesch has been relentlessly hitting the road the last few years bringing over 30 years of heavy metal to her fans. Doro Pesch is a living legend who many hold in high regard as the First Lady of Metal and in all honesty, this is a title that is well ruled. Whether it was with her now legendary metal band Warlock or as a solo artist, Doro Pesch has a legion of fans on all corners of the globe and those fans know that seeing Doro Pesch live is a truly magical and unforgettable experience.
It’s no lie that here in the US, Doro’s popularity has never really surpassed a “cult following” level and this very thing is what kept Doro from touring the United States. For years, it saddened me to see all of these amazing shows that Doro and her band were performing over in Europe to huge audiences knowing that I would never get the chance to see her live. All of that changed in 2013 when Doro and Co. embarked on their first extensive US tour in many years as headliners playing in small clubs all over the US. On the tours, city after city the band delivered a full throttle, high energy, no holds barred show of arena/stadium proportions leaving a trail of melted faces in their wake. That trend would continue in 2015 and again in 2016 as Doro brought her 30+ year legacy of heavy metal to the fans.
Getting to see Doro Pesch twice in the last 3 years was something that I never thought would happen so you can imagine my excitement when I learned that Doro would be performing here in Atlanta at Variety Playhouse. I was a bit concerned being that this was such a huge venue. In the past, Doro played in Hell at the Masqurade and usually played to a 1/2 to 3/4 full room. Regardless, I was stoked beyond all recognition for this show. I got to the venue, picked up my 4 buck PBR tall boy (love cheep venue beers) and then made my way to the front of the stage just in time for opening act, Madame Mayhem.
So with a name like Madame Mayhem, you can probably guess what kind of band this is. You guessed it: a female fronted metal band. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER! The band is fronted by Madame Mayhem™ (yes, she includes the “trademark” sign) and I have to say that it wasn’t a horrible show. It wasn’t a great show but it wasn’t horrible. As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure if it was remotely good. Her backing band was a bunch of hired guns looking guys who definitely had all the moves and poses down pat. Musically, it was just very un-insulting but generic and forgettable. Ms. Mayhem™ had a great stage presence and even rocked out this dance that I was dubbed “the sexy robot.” The band put out a great effort but again, musically it was totally forgettable but it was a great warm up for Doro. Hell, it could’ve been worse. We could’ve had to sit through another Kickin’ Valentina set.
Very close to show time for Doro, nearly everyone that was present in the Playhouse made their way to the stage. There were only about 100 or so people in attendance in a place that holds almost 1,000 people so to say the place was empty is an understatement. Normally, I can imagine that any other band would accept this as defeat but not Doro. As she and her band of merry metalers took the stage with “Earthshaker Rock”, you would’ve thought they were playing to a sold out audience. Fists were thrust in the hair, voices were heard, and Doro looked and sounded better than she ever has. “I Rule the Ruins” had everyone singing and throwing horns as Doro and her band absolutely tore the stage up.
Doro Pesch’s set that night covered a lot of Warlock fan favorites such as “Burning the Witches”, ‘Metal Racer”, and “True as Steel” but it was when Doro took the time to honor the memory of Ronnie James Dio and perform “Egypt (The Chains are On)” that I felt my face slide clean off my face. Closing out her nearly hour and a half set with “All We Are” had everyone singing at the top of their lungs and I was so focused on the amount of energy and passion the band was putting out that I actually forgot that the place was completely empty behind me. Doro returned to the stage for an encore of “Unholy Love”, a fan request of “The Night of the Warlock” and closed out with the absolutely stunning “Love Me in Black.”
Doro Pesch and her band delivered hands down one the most amazing performances I have ever seen them put on. As a matter of fact, it’s just a full on metal performance that should’ve been packed to the rafters. Not once did Doro bitch or moan that the place wasn’t packed. Instead, she praised all those in attendance and was not the least bit reserved about showing her love and adoration for her fans. Everyone in attendance that night knew damn well that they were seeing a stratospheric metal performance.
As I looked around at the empty room, the thing that made me the saddest was thinking of all the people that were missing out on this. When Ronnie James Dio passed away, the world rallied and all of the sudden every single person I knew was a Dio fan but where were all those people when he was alive and well? Where were those people when there was only a few hundred people in a small club when he was giving it his all? Where were all those people when he re-joined Black Sabbath in ’92 and nobody really seemed to care as they played 1/2 full theaters? I wonder if when Doro’s time comes if it will be the same thing. People, our heroes are dying faster than we can see them so if you have ever been on the fence about seeing Doro Pesch, go see her and you will thank the metal gods that you did because if you wait too long, “the next time” may be too late.