September 25th, 2009 at The Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, MO.
by Mike Allen
Shooting Star is a band that always packs a punch and never lets the crowd walk away disappointed. Their level of musicianship is so high, that they were, by far, the most professional and talented band of the evening. From the opening of “Tonight,” to the ever popular radio hit, “Last Chance,” each song was played with energy and excitement. Although they’ve been performing more than 30 years, they sound like a band that still has a lot to prove. From every aspect of their show, they keep it alive. Van McLain, who recently had surgery on his left hand, played like he hasn’t played since his early days with Shooting Star. His licks were precise, fast and full of energy.
Janet Jameson, the band’s violinist who has been in the band for a little more than a year, is such a welcome addition to the band. She is the newest member of the band, yet she plays like she’s been there since its inception. The way she and Van are able to “duel” is incredible and a complete eye-opener. Not only that, she has incredible stage presence. She also adds a lot to the depth to the background vocals. Her playing on “Flesh and Blood” is nothing short of phenomenal. She and Van pull off duels during their shows, but last night, they really hit it hard and heavy. During the middle of “Hang on for Your Life,” as they were dueling, it was apparent that Van was sort of challenging her. Van even threw in a riff from “Cat Scratch Fever,” and without missing a beat, Janet mimicked him right back with a smile and a “one up” riff back at him!
Ronnie Platt, who’s been singing with Shooting Star for more than two years now, just gets better with every show. He’s certainly at the level of guys like Steve Perry and Kevin Chalfant. Platt is starting to own the songs that he was once merely covering with Shooting Star. He throws in his own little twists now and then but keeps it totally respectful in his approach, so he doesn’t take away from the originality.
The song “You’ve Got Love,” which is a timing nightmare for anyone trying to air drum or air guitar to, was pulled off with ease. Steve Thomas, who sounds like he’s doing the work of at least three drummers, always manages to lay down an incredible groove with this number.
Dennis Laffoon’s keyboard solo last night was something to remember. He plays voice sounds instead of keyboard sounds, and makes it sound like a really jazzed-up choir. Not only does Laffoon play keys, he’s also the bass player with an incredible left hand. Capping off the show was Ronnie Platt playing the timpani drums up in the balcony of the stage; this brought a standing ovation from the Kansas City audience. All in all, Shooting Star owned their hometown crowd last night.