Doro @ Reggies, Chicago (US)

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DORO / EARTHEN GRAVE

Date: 11th September, 2011
Venue: Reggies Rock Club
Ticket: $25 (€18)
Promoter: n/a


MariaV: Well, I think there is no much to be said as an intro regarding any DORO concert; every metalhead who is following this music from the 80s (late or early, it really doesn’t matter) knows very well what the name of Doro Pesch has been offering to the Metal music scene.. The news that Chicago was one of the two US towns for the presentation of the Queen’s 25th Anniversary DVD found METAL KAOZ ready to go to the always hospitable Reggies Rock Club and lineup with many friends and fans of Doro minutes before the door opening to secure a ‘good’ spot in front rows.

Ten minutes after 7:30pm, Chicagonians EARTHEN GRAVE stepped onstage, having the heavy duty to open for the Metal Queen and clear the ground for Her Majesty. You see, when I say ‘heavy duty’, I mean how difficult and challenging is to play live onstage before Doro’s disarming performance. On the other hand, I had some initial doubts of how EARTHEN GRAVE’s Heavy Doom as hell melodies would fit to DORO’s old school Metal profile; but that was swiftly wiped out from my mind after the quintet had started playing. Mark Weiner gave a hell of performance, nailing every single lyric with his dynamic reading, trying to warm the crowd, while the two axemen (Tony Spillman and Jason Muxlow) did one more time a great job in the lead and rhythmic guitar work. EARTHEN GRAVE served a generous dose of Chicagonian Doom Metal, including material for their upcoming album (have I told you before that I can’t wait for that?), plus a constellation of their classic tunes like “Blood Drunk”, “Death On The High Seas” and “Dismal Times”. The sound was absolutely great, revealing every ‘dirty little secret’ of Ron Holzner’s bass, bringing out the magical moments in EG’s compositions and I can surely tell you that these guys are getting better and better, and are ready to conquer every European Doom-related stage.

EARTHEN GRAVE setlist:

01. “Under The Sun” (excerpt)
02. “Relentless”
03. “Fall In”
04. “Earthen Grave”
05. “Beneath A Shovel Load”
06. “Blood Drunk”
07. “Death On The High Seas”
08. “Dismal Times”
09. “Death Reprise”

EARTHEN GRAVE

Earthen Grave @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Earthen Grave @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Earthen Grave @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Earthen Grave @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Earthen Grave @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: EARTHEN GRAVE did warm us up despite the fact that their music id was not that fitting to DORO’s Heavy Metal profile but it is always nice to have diversity from the supporting band. Nevertheless, the time to watch once more the one and only Metal Queen onstage had come. This concert, along with the one in New York, was planned as release events for the stuffed with material 2 DVD/CD package that reached the US one year later after Europe. This is was such a special show that fortunately attracted many dedicated DORO fans who came to Chicago from the surrounding states, not really caring that next day was a working one. After all, this is our Metal Queen so, we go where she goes!

The crew worked fast as a shark and the stage was ready in less than 20 minutes following the time schedule keeping in mind this was an ‘all ages’ show. So, the lights went off and while the Doro, Dorochanting was holding strong, the band members came on stage with last but not least the Queen herself. Without wasting time, “Earthshaker Rock” shock Reggies with a massive sound and fat guitars that blew our socks off. There was a lot of commotion in the front rows and I did feel I was back in the old days when you had to ‘fight’ for your spot by grasping firmly the protective barrier, while banging your head. Doro was as always in top form and it is such pleasure watching her passion and dedication to the fans. She was standing close to the front rows, occasionally pointing the mic to the fans who did their best in singing the chorus lines (ok, most of us were screaming ‘at’ and not ‘to’ the microphone but the intention matters… hahaha). Everyone who has been at least once in a DORO concert knows that WARLOCK songs play a most important role in the setlist and hence, we got served with all the massive 80s hits that granted Doro her Metal title, drawing the attention as the female version of Udo (how many of do you remember this characterization?). “I Rule The Ruins” was next and everyone was singing the arena chorus, supporting the solid as steel Doro’s voice.

Even though all the eyes were following Doro’s moves and gestures, there was also a lot of action from the rest of the band who looked absolutely pumped up and in excellent energy connection with the charismatic front-woman. Guitarist Bas Maas looked very comfortable handling the guitar leads and I am not talking about his performing skills, but the way he had matched his onstage presence to Nick Douglas driving energy surge. Harrison Young looked very young indeed, but he did great in the rhythm guitar and the keyboard duties, supported by Nick who was helping him whenever was needed. Johnny Dee has been with Doro for more than two decades, so it would be a joke commenting on his drum work. After all the 20 years are more than in enough to ‘tell’ the story about him. “Burning The Witches” is perfect for concerts featuring that 80s Heavy Metal backbone that shines through the simplicity and the in-you-face attitude most of the new bands have forgotten about, while the newer tune “The Night Of The Warlock” gave another reason for some sing-along during the catchy chorus melody.

Doro has been a die-hard Dio fan and it was very moving watching her talking about him and how great his loss has been for the Metal family. She talked about DORO’s supporting US tour to DIO from the mid 80s and how great was meeting him backstage during one of the HEAVEN AND HELL tour. Of course, this was an introduction to the great cover on “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” taken from the “Holy Dio” tribute album released in the 2000. Doro has the best female voice in Metal and it would not be an exaggeration to add that her timbre is unique. She has nothing to do with opera singing or the mellow type singers we usually get in beauty vs beast song recipes that are over-used and consequently considered as cliché.

After that cover, the setlist gained heaviness as the band did the killer triplet with “Metal Racer”, “True As Steel” and “East Meets West”. Having people from all the parts of the Illinois (and not only) “East Meets West” sounded so fitting especially while singing the lyrics: “When East meets West, here's gonna be one hell of a mess” even though inside Reggies there was no actual mess but pure, genuine and 100% honest Heavy Metal! Then it was time for Doro to hit our sensitive side with “Für Immer” and that’s how long we want to have Doro in the Metal scene forever! Her German accent and the slightly harsh voice makes this track so special that I get goose bumps every time I watch Doro singing like it is the end of the world.

Doro advised everyone to grab any given chance to visit the legendary festival in Germany as a preamble to “Wacken Hymne (We Are The Metalheads)” that the story tells it was written by a Metal fan explaining the simple lyrics and yet again sing along chorus. “Raise Your Fist” is a brand new track that will be in the upcoming DORO album and I could not help noticing the ACCEPT references that shine through the trademark German solid rhythm section (a.k.a. teutonic Metal). “Burn It Up” produced energy waves inside Reggies while “All We Are” commenced the sing along ritual that this song is best known for. This song made me think that maybe the end of the concert was near, since this is a classic concert closer but the band after the classic ‘goodnights’ returned with more goods and even more energy.

After “Unholy Love” came “Love Me In Black” with a hair raising performance by the Queen and it was not a great surprise that many girls almost burst into tears while singing their lungs out “Do you really want me do you love me in black”. “You Are My Family” pushed aside the heartbroken emotions as Doro promised that she will continue to be dedicated to her fans and to serve this music scene with all her love and power since “you are my family”. Of course, everyone who is familiar to her contribution to the Metal scene knows that her words come from the heart soaked in her passion and absolute dedication to the DORO fans. After that track, the concert was over but still the crowd asking for one more song and it was pretty obvious that Doro was thinking to do another one. So, without leaving the stage, she asked one by one the band members if they wanted to throw another one. Of course, there was no way to say no and the band geared up and did “Always Live To Win” as a ‘thank you’ token for the audience’s response.

There is nothing to add here; that was a special show but as I can recall every DORO show is special. There is nothing fake in this band that obviously runs on the energy provided by the fans and the determination to serve the Metal scene like many bands did back in the 80s. Unfortunately, few bands are still able to carry the 80s flame and I am not sure if there will be new ones to take the baton and carry on this heavy tradition. On the other hand, Doro promised that she will celebrate with all of us the band’s 50th anniversary, so there is time to change the tide. Or isn’t it?

“Stay hard
True as steel
Stay hard
We’re goin down in history
Stay hard
True as steel
Stay hard, stay hard”

PS: Doro, we’ll love you till the day we’ll die!

DORO setlist:

01. “Earthshaker Rock"
02. “I Rule The Ruins”
03. “Running From The Devil”
04. “Burning The Witches”
05. “The Night Of The Warlock”
06. “Egypt (The Chains Are On)”
07. “Metal Racer”
08. “True As Steel”
09. “East Meets West”
10. “Für Immer”
11. “Hellbound”
12. Drum solo
13. “Fight For Rock”
14. “Wacken Hymne (We Are The Metalheads)”
15. “Raise Your Fist”
16. “Burn It Up”
17. “All We Are”
18. “Unholy Love”
19. “Hellbound”
20. “Love Me In Black”
21. “You Are My Family”
22. “Always Live To Win”

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)

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