Doro @ Reggies, Chicago (US)

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DORO / DEVIL IN DISGUISE / AMULANCE

Date: 14th September, 2017
Venue: Reggies Rock Club
Ticket: $25/€21 (in advance) - $28/€24 (day of show)
Promoter: n/a


I cannot say I like anniversary shows when a band decides to play one of its classic albums in its entity. On one hand, sure, this gives the fans a unique opportunity to listen to a group of songs that usually do not make it in nowadays setlists, but on the other, these live versions tend to sound like covers because most of the times the band’s lineup has gravely changed over the years. On top of this, I believe that if a band is still active and releases new music on a regular basis, then wasting an entire tour playing old material does not really worth the effort. However, there are exceptions (that prove the rule) like WARLOCK which has stopped being active for almost three decades due to some legal disputes that made Doro abandon the name and continue on her own. So, getting a setlist full of WARLOCK songs straight from “Triumph And Agony” with Tommy Bolan on the lead guitar definitely qualifies as an exception to the aforementioned “rule”. By the way, this was the album that opened the gates for WARLOCK to enter the US market which was even harder nut to crack back in the ‘80s.

The ‘deal’ was made even sweeter having AMULANCE and DEVIL IN DISGUISE on the billing delivering some old-school Metal a couple of hours before Doro, and it was with great pleasure seeing lots of people in front of the stage as AMULANCE kicked off their set with the mid-tempo “At Your Grace”. The band looked as if there had been a small delay, so there was a rush to get back on track with the timetable and this song felt / sounded like a warm-up. And that was a shame because last time I saw AMULANCE live it was a massive energy surge. Well, there is nothing an old-school guitar-driven song cannot fix and in this instance the fist-pumping “Violent Victory” quickly managed to clear the cobwebs and saw a nice reaction from the audience. And to have this one back to back with “Feel The Pain” really greased up the gears and despite the general rush, AMULANCE found their mojo. There was some issues with one of the guitar pedals but really there was no time to stop and fix it, so after the short greeting from singer Rik Baez, it was headbanging time with “Black Moon Rising”. If it was up to me, I would have started the show with the four songs (add “Death Wish” too) from the mighty “Feel The Pain” album which would surely make the blood flow. So, after 30 minutes which felt like 15, AMULANCE were off the stage and were already helping setting the gear for DEVIL IN DISGUISE.

AMULANCE setlist:

01. “At Your Grave”
02. “Violent Victory”
03. “Feel The Pain”
04. “Black Moon Rising”
05. “Death Wish”
06. “Crypt”

AMULANCE

Amulance @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Amulance @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Amulance @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Amulance @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Amulance @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)


Next on the billing were DEVIL IN DISGUISE which is basically a GLACIER-tribute band that was put together for Germany’s ‘Keep It True’ festival. Singer Mike Podrybau is the link connecting GLACIER and DEVIL IN DISGUISE, so hearing the songs from the voice that had been in the band makes this really special. I had the chance to see DEVIL IN DISGUISE in action a few months ago at ‘Keep It True’ so I was excited to get a second chance without having to get warmed up. And looking around me, during the setlist opener “Ready For Battle”, I realized that I was not the only one because it was fists in the air from the get-go. Mike looks like one of the most friendly frontmen, so it was not a surprise seeing him greeting people at the front rows wearing a wide smile on his face. Ok, he looks a bit awkward onstage when there’s no singing, but when he does sing, it’s pedal to the Metal! Yeah, “Devil In Disguise” rocked hard and it felt like it was back to the ‘80s hearing all these absolutely killer guitar riffs and rhythms. I guess I have to include DEVIL IN DISGUISE into the exceptions list about getting out there and playing some old tunes. Oh my, “Live For The Whip” sounded absolutely fantastic and I think there were quite a few fans singing along the chorus following Mike’s fist-in-the air prompt. Damn, the hard-hitting riff of “Vendetta” kept the action going (this one is perfect for some ooohs), while “Speak No Evil” dropped the curtain waaaaaaay too early… I mean, we were just warming up and I am sure “Easter Guns” would have been the icing on the cake but there was a schedule to follow. I wonder if DEVIL IN DISGUISE are considering writing some new music, although trying to surpass the GLACIER stuff is by default impossible, especially if you consider the metalheads’ mentality dictating “the older the music, the better”

DEVIL IN DISGUISE setlist:

01. “Ready For Battle”
02. “Devil In Disguise”
03. “When Heaven's At Hand”
04. “Live For The Whip”
05. “Vendetta”
06. “Speak No Evil”

DEVIL IN DISGUISE

Devil In Disguise @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Devil In Disguise @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Devil In Disguise @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Devil In Disguise @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Devil In Disguise @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Devil In Disguise @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Devil In Disguise @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Devil In Disguise @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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As it happened with the VENOM INC show some weeks ago, there were a lot of young faces inside Reggies, so unless it’s a simple coincidence, I will go out on a limb and say that the Heavy Metal scene is growing back here in the States. I am not talking about a huge influx of new fans, but number-wise I think there is a positive rate. So, a couple of minutes before the DORO set, the first rows were packed with metalheads having a wide spread of birth dates, if you know what I’m saying… The lights went out and the taped intro climaxed the excitement as Doro kind of peeked from the side of the stage already greeting those who had seen her. “Chicago, please welcome on stage, celebrating 30 years, the voice of WARLOCK were the right words to use and get Doro last (but not least) onstage with the fast “Touch Of Evil” throwing everyone into a headbanging frenzy. I am not sure if I have ever seen a DORO show starting with that type of energy and I cannot put my finger on who is responsible for this... I guess it is the combination of the band’s over-the-top excitement with the audience hunger for WARLOCK because “Touch Of Evil” cannot be considered as one of the (many) hit songs. Whatever the case may be, it was an explosive start and even though I missed Bass Maas on stage left, having Tommy Bolan delivering the WARLOCK guitar goods like it was the ‘80s was more than enough to make this pain quickly disappear during the hard-hittin’ groove of “I Rule The Ruins”. I have also to acknowledge that Doro nailed the vocals (once again), even though the originals were recorded 30 years with a higher pitch and more aggressive singing (especially the setlist opener). Doro introduced “East Meets West” by saying that this was the first song WARLOCK compose and then passed the baton to “Three Minutes Warning” after giving us a bit of a piece of history; “Here’s a song we played in the US while touring with MEGADETH in 1988”. Oh man, I am sure there were lots of fans inside Reggies who were not even born back then, but that’s a good thing since this 30-year old music is still capable to touch people’s heart.

The show was on a Thursday but it really felt like a Friday night at your favorite Rock club with “Kiss Of Death” blasting from the speakers setting the party mood up. Keep in mind that this sound was extremely appealing to the US back in the mid-‘80s, having the right mix of heaviness and catchy-ness with Doro’s unusually aggressive-for-a-lady singing as the cherry on top.

Before the show, I did not expect that Tommy would fit with the rest of Doro’s band considering how long it had been since the last time he had shared the stage with the Metal Queen and how tight this lineup has been. I am extremely happy to admit that I was wrong since he looked absolutely comfortable and was already sweating his arse off on the side of Nick Douglas who was jumping up and down like this was his first time onstage. One could say that Luca Princiotta was the ‘quiet’ one by sticking to stage-right, but really, this is his modus operandi giving all the available space to Doro and the two other gentlemen.

Speaking of the lineup, Harrisson Young did not follow the band on this tour, so there were two sets of keyboards for Luca and Nick to chip in whenever it was needed. One of those cases was “Für Immer” that gets million times better with the fans’ participation despite the German lyrics. Ok, the “Deep inside my heart” line is clearly English but I did not see any hesitation to the fans at the front rows when Doro was extending the mic to hear them sing. After this one, everyone aside Tommy left the stage, so it was time for a guitar solo, something that felt quite fitting considering he was the guest on this string of US shows. Well, Doro did not actually go backstage but stood by the stage as if she was enjoying the solo like she was one of the fans. This is one of the things that make Doro so special and I am talking about the anti-star attitude and the ‘all-about-the-fans’ mentality she and a (unfortunately) handful of Metal musicians share. “Cold, Cold World” and “Make Time For Love” quickly restored the Heavy Meal balance (solos tend to reduce the crowd’s energy a bit) and another climax happened with “Metal Tango” with lots of dancing. If my memory does not fail me, I could say this had to be the heaviest version I’ve heard. “Are you ready to sing? I am pretty worn up” Doro said hinting the time for the ultimate hit song from “Triumph Of Agony” and of course I am talking about “All We Are” during which everyone was singing along.

As I said, Doro was standing as close the front row as it was humanly possible, shaking hands and occasionally singing autographs on tickets, album covers, dollars (!), even on cell phones (!) and at that point on the set it was time to get requests… Like it happens during SAXON shows, everybody has a preference and each choice seems like a great idea; in this case, “Burning The Witches” was next and it was pedal to the Metal once more. “Fight For Rock” and “Earthshaker Rock” came almost back-to-back and it was amazing to see the crowd going strong without showing any signs of being tired. And how could they having in front of them a band that was full of energy and - despite the years - hungry to play harder and satisfy the fans. “Do you like old-school Metal?” was the rhetorical question of the night, and without hesitation, Doro received a loud “yeah” as the perfect cue for “Hellbound”. And that was the last WARLOCK song we got that night, with the setlist ending with two covers; “Wacken Hymne (We Are The Metalheads)” which I am not a die-hard fan of (I’d totally prefer “Night Of The Warlock”) and “Breaking The Law” which is a special one for Doro since it was with JUDAR PRIEST that WARLOCK crossed the Atlantic. Despite the fact that this is an extremely simple and multi-covered song, that night at Reggie’s we got one of the best editions out there; the way the calm part starts and how the energy peaks is absolutely awesome.

The last act was to get the after-show selfie, although Doro did not leave the stage; she stood there greeting every fan who had approached the stage and started another cycle of signing autographs and I am sure she did that until every gal or guy was happy. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this was an amazing show from an amazing band with an amazing setlist. Once again, thank you, DORO!

DORO setlist:

01. “Touch Of Evil”
02. “I Rule The Ruins”
03. “East Meets West”
04. “Three Minute Warning”
05. “Kiss Of Death”
06. “Für Immer”
07. Guitar Solo (Tommy Bolan)
08. “Cold, Cold World”
09. “Make Time For Love”
10. “Metal Tango”
11. “All We Are”
12. “Burning The Witches”
13. “Fight For Rock”
14. “Earthshaker Rock”
15. “Hellbound”
16. “Wacken Hymne (We Are The Metalheads)”
17. “Breaking The Law” (JUDAS PRIEST cover)

DORO

Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Doro @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)