by Deb Rao
– Senior Columnist —
August 9, 2013 at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, Mass. —
I made my annual trip back home to Boston to visit family and friends last Friday. Also, to cover the concert featuring Vince Neil, Dokken, LA Guns, and Steelheart in Brockton, Mass. at Campanelli Stadium. After years of being a hearty New Englander, I know when it rains it pours here. Today, there was a flood watch enforced, as the rain came down in buckets.
The concert was slated outdoors at the Campanelli Stadium home of the Brockton Rox baseball team. Due to the extreme weather conditions, I got word from the Dokken camp that the show was moved indoors.
I proceeded to the concert early to check out the venue. The new venue was right next door to the stadium. It was a ballroom that still had Christmas lights up and no AC, as temperatures soared easily into the 110s. It kind of reminded me of a High School gym. The venue only held 900 patrons. So this was a far cry of the thousands that could have filled the stadium, if the weather had prevailed. But in rock and roll, you deal with the conditions that you are dealt. Let the show begin, shall we?
Stealheart performed an acoustic set at 7:30 p.m. on the side of the venue with no stage. I never had the opportunity to see the band perform back in the day. The sound was distorted, as the mix was turned up way to high for the ballroom. The only highlight of the set was hearing the song from Rockstar, “Blood Pollution.”
Next up LA Guns performed an energetic set with no stage or platform or lights. They should have put the band on the main stage with DOKKEN and Vince Neil. They had to build a stage on the other side of the venue behind closed doors for Dokken and Vince Neil. But I digress. LA Guns sounded great opening with “Sex Action.” Phil Lewis commented to the audience, “We’re no wimps, we are going to make this show happen.” They proceeded to play an hour of pure glam gritty rock. Bassist Scotti Griffin and drummer Steve Riley held down the fort with their funky rhythm groove. LA Guns always put on a great show. They are true rock and roll gypsies. I regret I couldn’t get any photos of the band due to no lighting. Even though, I was VIP, fans rushed the stage and made the band not so viewable.
During the tail end of the LA Guns set, DOKKEN appeared on the main stage, as the doors opened across the way. Fans rushed to the stage, and bottles and tables began flying. DOKKEN ignited the stage with a heavy set opening with “Kiss Of Death.” The extreme heat conditions did not seem to affect DOKKEN. Don sounded great. The band gave 100 percent. DOKKEN has been performing a lot of shows this summer and sounded really tight. The band only got to perform a short set due to time constrictions. The DOKKEN front man took full command of the audience during the sing along of “Alone Again.” DOKKEN has a huge following in Mass, and it was disappointing that the set got cut short. The venue built a stage for them to play, why not give them 90 minutes too? Don kept his promise of performing new material on this summer tour as the band launched into “This Fire.” Guitarist Jon Levin wails on this song. They wanted to play more new songs but the set was too short. “This Fire” was a great song to end the set. It only left the fans wanting more.
Next up Motley Crue front man Vince Neil took the stage. Vince and his Slaughter band mates did not disappoint. Their set was energized and full of Motley Crue hits. Highlights of the set included “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Kickstart My Heart” and “Wildside.”
As temperatures soared in the venue, Vince and company kept the hits coming. This show was kind of a warm-up to the Motley Crue residency in Vegas at the Joint in September. Highlight of the set was the dedication of “Heaven and Hell” to Ronnie James Dio. Bassist Dana Strum was on fire during the whole set.
I have to comment on the high caliber of the all the bands to make this show happen. The extreme conditions would make any musician cringe but not these top ‘80s bands. Everyone gave 100 percent and gave the fans a great night of music. Tonight Vince Neil, DOKKEN, LA Guns, and Steelheart let the music do the talking Boston style. The hits prevailed and proved, you can’t keep a good rocker down.
The roller coaster ride did not end yet. As my connecting flight to Vegas was cancelled. I was rerouted to Dallas for the night. Then had to fly to Phoenix via Vegas. The trip back home was so worth it though. It’s only rock and roll, and amidst all the confusion it makes a great story!