Fabulous photos!So I got to go see them last night in Baltimore. Once again, it's proven that music is a magical thing. Emotionally affecting, healing, medicinal even. And I must add, that since Jebbudda and I have gotten closer to embarking on a very dramatic move to a different part of the country, we've had moments of sadness here and there. For me they are largely about the impending physical distance we'll be creating between ourselves and some of our most treasured friends. I think it runs a little deeper for Jeb. He's lived in this area for decades. I have lived in Baltimore for 7 years. But when I walked into the venue, I was arrested by nostalgia. Music. It's so powerful. I've seen some really important concerts in that place and many of them with Jeb when our relationship was in its first couple years. So I felt a couple pangs in my heart. I have had a very unusual and quite exhausting 12 months. Right now it's really hitting the fan. Never enough hours. An incredible number of balls in the air and no way to juggle them all. I'm feeling quite affected. And I'd forgotten all about this concert until a friend of mine said something last week. So I got a ticket, picked up the friend last night and headed to the show during what very well might have been the worst hair day of the year for me. I am yawning all the way there...Two opening acts.Thrill Killer first. Thrill Killer will keep me giggling for days. DAYS. These kids were definitely younger than my step daughter. But have MERCY I believe they've been stalking DRG since they were in diapers. They were loud, tenacious, committed, fearless, and some day will sound great. They sounded fine. Like a garage band who worships 1986. But you could hear that time and practice will serve them well. If I had had a child with Slash, he'd look just like the bass player who was a little more advanced than the guitar player. Drummer was a short haired badass girl. The singer WORSHIPS Rob Halford. You could hear spoonfools of RUSH, KISS, and generally everything else that gets talked about on this forum. The stage antics were so over the top that you CANNOT resist being won over. At times it bordered on parody but they are so committed and show so much promise. And even though I was yawning, I was also laughing, applauding and relaxing (which is not something that happens for me right now.) These kids were so enthusiastic, they tried to squeeze in one last song and whomever is in charge of that stage immediately yanked the chord out of the guitar and the music stopped.The Dives second.A few years older than Thrill Killer. Not as headbanging, hair swinging, play your (in this case) bass Jimi Hendrix style up over your head and behind your neck. A little more polished. A lot more tight. The stops were very clean. The guys in the band much less unkempt than their predecessors. They're a little too squeaky clean, major key, stand in one place and play for me. I'm yawning more often now and a little impatient to see the Dead Daisies. But where on EARTH did these kids get these holy shit expensive guitars? They started to grow on me. They are obviously more advanced technically than the first band. They were a little more poppy but with influences from the 50's through 80's, so not as narrow in repertoire. They did do a cover of an Elvis song that was great. And they did a cover of Don't Let Me Down that I thought was fabulous. It was heavy and they really made use of having two guitar players. It sounded large and precise. Even the vocals on it were good, but those vocals to me belong in tact, in their original version. It's tough to beat that. So where did these expensive guitars come from....? I was told after the show ended that this is Paul Stanley's kid's band. ...Oh......... gotcha. Now I know why there were so many KISS shirts in the crowd.The Dead DaisiesThey look... like someone re-imagined The Lost Boys and replaced motorcycles with musical instruments. It's just shy of parody, but in a way that renders your immediate support. It's a job well done taking into account that great rock starts with a great head of perfectly coiffed hair, an expensive pair of rocker jeans and someone who chose leather or pleather when they thumbed through the closet before the show. Add a bunch of tattoos with a ton of cool silver jewelry and PRESTO! You're half way there before you pick up a drumstick or tune a guitar. I do not know a single Dead Daisies song. I think I've made a mistake there. I do believe they're worth a closer listen. I went because I love Doug Aldrich's playing. But I was also curious about John Corabi, and Marco Mendoza, and VERY curious about Brian Tichy. I had absolutely no idea who David Lowy was. When they introduced him, his name still didn't ring a bell and I just had to use Google to remember what his name was... He was the most understated of them and he and I had on the same exact outfit, ha ha.... This band is friggin' KILLER. You can NOT have a bad time. They are totally committed, engaging, funny, charismatic, and they are absolutely ripping it on stage. I forgot that I was tired. It was Brian Tichy's birthday and apparently his Mom was in the crowd. We all sang to him of course. John Corabi demands a lot of audience participation and he does it by doing a phenomenal job of being an entertainer. He does have a killer voice to match and it's clear that he loves his job. Lots of eye make up too. I did not expect to be, but I was impressed. He is just ever so slightly on the cheese end of things which I swear to you is a good thing and I feel like that is a trend with Doug Aldrich- working with slightly cheesy vocalists, ha ha. (See Keith St. John) John Corabi works hard to connect with the audience. He went for the obvious just once and mentioned the Ravens, but it was received with a lot of grumbling so he turned on a dime and went for Maryland crabcakes. He was quite funny about it and was amicably upstaged in the crab cake banter by Marc Mendoza.Marco Mendoza was friggin AWESOME. After Corabi, he did the most talking and verbal engaging of the audience. Very endearing. He also went to the Angus Young school of concert performance and ran down for a bit to play his bass in the crowd. He ended up about three people to my right (all standing, no seats) He looks a little bit like Tom Savini so immediately he's my new BFF. He was highly entertaining, and a total monster on his instrument. He's funny, dynamic and a hard worker. Brian Tichy. Holy SHIT. What a total BADASS. They did a "let's all walk off stage and let the drummer be the center of attention for a couple minutes" thing. I am not often overly impressed or engaged when that happens. This was a total exception. He's got a million dollar smile and his playing is articulate, expressive, fun, and he knows how to completely command the audience's attention without saying a word. I knew I love the Pride and Glory record for more than one reason. And finally, the one.. the only... our beloved Doug Aldrich. He did ...n o t disappoint. He is a complete god. He did an AMAZING job with his slide. (Always a sucker for a slide and when it's being done well and with a lot of creativity.. I'm toast.) He uses every bit of his guitar like people in Maryland eat every single bit of meat that exists inside a crab. Like a traditional Maryland crabfeast, he picks that guitar CLEAN. I'm not a big gear person for the most part (missing the Y chromosome?) but even I noticed that he's playing a stunningly beautiful gold top Les Paul. He also had a talk box and used the shit out of it, but it never got to be overdone somehow. I could only glimpse the pedalboard a tiny bit so I can't tell you much about it. I do believe he's been watching Brian Tichy have fun with tossing his drumsticks around and is trying to take a lesson. Brian Tichy could join a circus. He flings drumsticks all over the place and they come back to him like boomerangs. In about 9,362 drumstick tosses, I saw him miss one. And it looked to me like our hero Doug Aldrich is practicing tossing guitar picks in the air and catching them. He did this constantly. He tried front tosses, behind your back tosses, wide tosses, low tosses... I don't think he caught a single one. He looked comfortable trying though. Like I think he's trying to just relax and knows that eventually he'll start catching them if he does it enough. I have no idea where they were all coming from. They are all big on tossing stuff out to the crowd and I saw that they all had picks and sticks and everything snugged into pick holders on microphones and in their instruments and everything, but he must have tossed three dozen picks around and I couldn't figure out where they were all coming from, haha.. Magic show! Anyway, he's not a big talker but he doesn't have to be as we all know. He is creative, articulate, precise, and an all around master of the guitar universe. I think he does a lot of the writing because some of the phrasing and little nuggets of deliciousness reminded me of Burning Rain. He is extremely physical. Yes, he is in incredible shape. He was running all over the place, lots of very deep knee bends, crouching to engage audience members, jumping off the drum riser, kicking... you name it. He moves like he's in his mid twenties. Thank whatever deity makes you happy we get to keep him around for a while, right? Tired of the Rock and Roll obituaries. I think Doug Aldrich will live to be 98 and he'll look like he's 42 until he dies. You just can't get tired of listening to that guy play the guitar. Holy shit.