Night Ranger - O2 Islington 4th June 2012

Last year's show was Night Ranger's first on UK soil for 25 years and the 800 that packed into the O2 at Islington that night were all die-hard, very excited fans. This was the music that we grew up with so to see Jack, Kelly and Brad performing in these intimate surroundings after so long was fantastic. They had immigration problems, late arrivals, sound issues and pulled out all of the stops to make it a fantastic show (one of the best they have ever played according to Brad). So having popped our Night Ranger cherry so to speak, I thought that this year's show would be a more sedate, less excitable affair.

I was wrong - big time.

They arrived in plenty of time (I saw Mr Gillis having a sneaky cigarette out the back when I too was having a sneaky cigarette way before show time), had no real setup issues (apart from a keyboard plug) and hit the stage after a crowd sing-along to AC/DC. Then they are on stage, all guns blazing into "Lay it on me".

The band were having a blast, fooling around, chatting to each other - their smiles were as big as ours throughout the whole show.. it's infectious at a Night Ranger gig!  We all sang along, every note to every song - even the really high bits on "High Enough" ! Eric Levy is a great keyboard player and a key part of the Night Ranger sound. Joel Hoekstra is a fantastic guitar player - a perfect wing man for Gillis - they traded riffs, and solo's all night.  Jack Blades still acts like he's a teenager on stage, Kelly Keagy still manages to sing perfectly and simultaneously smash the hell out of his drums, Brad Gillis plays the guitar as well as, if not better than anyone - anyone! - ever!

We had plenty of inter-song banter, anecdotes, a note perfect version of Crazy Train (as Brad had completed the Ozzy tour when Randy Rhodes was tragically killed) and even a burst of Highway Star ("what do you think we listened to when we were growing up?")

Lay it on Me
Sing me Away
Seven Wishes
Coming of Age (Damn Yankees)
Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne)
Rumours in the Air
The Secret of My Success
Let Him Run
Eddie's Comin' out Tonight
High Enough (Damn Yankees)
Growing up in California
Touch of Madness
Four in the Morning
When you close your Eyes
Don't tell me you love me (inc: Highway Star)
Sister Christian
(You can still) Rock in America

I think they actually surpassed last year's show - and with them saying this may be an annual event what the hell will they be like next time?  

Simply Magnificent.



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