So the age old question seems to be “Can there be a Skid Row without Sebastian Bach?” Well, for this Skid Row fan of 23 years, that this question was answered loud and proud here in Atlanta. The last time I saw Skid Row was in 2000 on the first KISS Farewell Tour and in all honesty, I don’t remember much. Let’s face it, it was KISS so they were kind of over shadowed. I did remember that they didn’t suck and that the singer kinda looked like Sebastian Bach. Through the years the battle would rage one. Sebastian Bach yelling that Skid Row was not Skid Row without him and Skid Row basically just shrugging it off and saying, “Yeah, whatever dude.” I am definitely not one to take sides in a battle like this and I choose to give each one equal opportunity to prove themselves to me. Well, Skid Row proved to me to reign supreme as they took the stage opening with “Big Guns” from the debut album. The energy was completely off the charts and for nearly two hours I was reminded just why Skid Row has always been one of my favorite bands. It isn’t because of Sebastian Bach or his egotistical and arrogant stage presence. It’s because these guys wrote kick ass hard rock songs and delivered them with grit, passion and in your face energy.
The set list was made up mainly of classic material such as “Piece of Me”, “18 & Life” and “Makin’ A Mess” which was awesome but I particularly really enjoyed the addition of newer songs like “Thick Is The Skin” and “Ghost”. “Disease” from “Revolutions Per Minute” was a total face melter and actually had me wanting to hear them do more new material. Lead singer Johnny Solinger has actually been in Skid Row now longer than his predecessor and in all honesty I found him to be nothing short of stellar. In my opinion, Sebastian Bach created this larger than life presence for himself as a front man that we all connect with and remember when thinking of Skid Row. In reality, if you peel away the facade, what you have is an average singer who really can’t pull off the songs that well. Solinger on the other hand has a presence that is not arrogant or cocky but confident. The camaraderie on stage w/ the rest of the band is totally obvious as they all seem to have a lot of mutual admiration and respect for each other. It’s no longer “The Sebastian Bach” show. It’s the SKID ROW show as it should. With him gone from the mix, the songs really stand out more so than before.
Drummer Rob Hammersmith is probably the perfect drummer for Skid Row as he plays with such a fluid yet powerful, punchy style. He killed it when they kicked into “Mudkicker” showing that he not only had a smooth and fluid style but that he could also pound the living shit out of his drums. Johnny Solinger’s vocal delivery of “In A Darkened Room” and “Quicksand Jesus” had to be my personal highlight as it totally made the hairs on my arm stand at full attention. He was so connected to those songs and I could feel the power as he became one with those intense songs and put 110% into them. It was so passionate and intense to see as Rachel Bolan played both songs with eyes closed as if he was focusing and connecting unlike the other songs. “Monkey Business” was a great treat as guitarists Dave “The Snake” Sabo and Scotti Hill took center stage to have some fun dueling back and forth as Rachel Bolan stood back locking the groove in with drummer Hammersmith before slaying my face and bringing it to a close. “Slave To The Grind” closed out this powerhouse, face melting set but not before returning for a mind blowing encore of “Psycho Love” which reminded me once again why Rachel Bolan is not just one of my favorite bassists but favorite songwriters. That dude’s got it all down. Johnny Solinger than tells the crowd, “No matter how old you are or how old we are, we’ll always be the Youth Gone Wild.” As the band left the stage, I was smiling ear to ear and feeling so pumped to have seen one of my favorite all time bands still riding high if not higher than ever.
It was funny to me how Skid Row didn’t seem silly or dated playing “Youth Gone Wild” because after all, isn’t rock n’ roll all about being eternally youthful? They captured their youth, their present and even their future and proved to me and all in attendance that this is way more than a nostalgic act. This is a band with history and they are not ashamed to if. They also aren’t stuck in their own history or afraid to move forward. I welcome new material from Skid Row with open arms. Skid Row proved themselves to me in a huge way and left me wanting more. They did leave me with one question though. Sebastian who?
Skid Row Setlist
Big Guns, Thick Is The Skin, Mudkicker, Piece of Me, 18 & Life, New Generation, Makin’ A Mess, Monkey Business, In A Darkened Room, Sweet Little Sister, Ghost, Psycho Therapy, I Remember You, Disease, Slave To The Grind
Quicksand Jesus, Psycho Love, Youth Gone Wild
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