Doro @ Reggies, Chicago (US)

DORO / METAL CHURCH / IMAGES OF EDEN

Date: 02nd May, 2019
Venue: Reggies Rock Club
Ticket: $25/€22 (in advance) - $30/€28 (day of)
Promoter: Empire Productions


This was one of the cases where two great concerts were happening on the same day; from one hand there was the explosive Thrash combo of OVERKILL with DEATH ANGEL and on the other, there was our Metal Queen Doro with the reenergized Thrashers METAL CHURCH. Tough or maybe impossible choice to make, right? After some careful planning we had a rough schedule ahead of us but we were confident that we would make it with the first stop was the co-headlining show with DORO and METAL CHURCH at Reggie’s Rock Club.

Having a demanding schedule also meant carefully choosing what to watch and therefore the supporting acts had to be skipped to keep our energy at the required level. IMAGES OF EDEN were wrapping up their set in front of well-occupied Reggies and judging by the people inside the venue I knew that this would be a good one. During the stage preparations the front rows became more crowded so it was clear that METAL CHURCH had their following despite the fact this would be their turn to come first. In fact, compared to their previous Chicago show METAL CHURCH seemed to have strengthened their fanbase and if you’d ask me this makes absolutely sense when considering how great the two last albums have turned to be. It is a fact that after Mike Howe’s return there has been some fresh and high-octane fuel injected in the band’s tank.

The lights were dimmed and soon enough the meditation humming started blasting off the PAs meaning that the set was about to start with the killer “Damned If You Do” from the latest METAL CHURCH LP. As it usually happens I am super tired on Thursdays and my mood was (also) a bit on the crampy side. However, the moment Mike Howe showed up with his addictive smile and his unique way of moving around the stage my mood was tuned 180 degrees. And it was not only me feeling like that because everyone inside Reggies “woke up” and started cheering the band that was clearly in equally great spirits. The stage in this venue is relatively small so Mike did not have the space he needed to move around but he made the most of it. Of course, bassist Steve Unger did his part taunting and playing with the people in the front rows while the two axemen on the two sides of the stage made sure to not lose a single a riff. And damn, the rhythm section of “Needle And Suture” came out amazing and it was time for headbanging. As expected the oldies got the loudest response with “Badlands” being the first.

Coming first of the two headliners meant keeping the breaks as short as possible and even though this could be a potential turn off in the case of METAL CHURCH created an awesome flow with bass-driven “Gods Of Second Chance” giving the perfect assist to the sing-along “Start The Fire”. “Damn that felt great. Let’s go back to 1993 with a song that means a lot to us” said Mike as an introduction to “No Friend Of Mine”. This is a killer piece and it was a bit extended as it featured a drum solo from Stet Howland who proved that no drum-sticks are needed to play… That’s right, at some point he threw those away to play with his bare hands before grabbing a couple of empty beer bottles to showcase his innovation… This was a fun one I tell you.

Guitarist and band mastermind Kurdt Vanderhoof introduced the band and gave us a short breather as we were approaching the end of the set. As it happened with “Badlands”, “Watch The Children Pray” saw lots of action from the audience that I think was older on average compared to other shows (come on, this is not music for the old…). “The Black Things” was the last one from “Damned If You Do” LP that made a nice pairing (song-title-wise at least) with “Beyond The Black”. Kurt hand-signaled that “By The Numbers” would be the last of the night and at the same time reminded what is the down-side of co-headlining tours; you get two great sets but not enough time for either band. Fortunately, there was an encore and after a loud public demand METAL CHURCH returned with my favorite and foot-stomping “Fake Healer”. “Thank you so much for coming out to see us tonight with this amazing lineup we have one more” Mike said and I couldn’t agree more. Were we ready for DORO? You know damn well we were.

METAL CHURCH setlist:

01. “Damned If You Do”
02. “Needle And Suture”
03. “Badlands”
04. “Gods Of Second Chance”
05. “Start The Fire”
06. “No Friend Of Mine”
07. “Watch The Children Pray”
08. “The Black Things”
09. “Beyond The Black”
10. “By The Numbers”
11. “Fake Healer”

METAL CHURCH

Metal Church @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Metal Church @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Metal Church @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Metal Church @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Metal Church @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Metal Church @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Metal Church @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Metal Church @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Metal Church @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Metal Church @ Reggies Rock Club (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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METAL CHURCH did a killer set and monetarily, I found myself wondering whether DORO would be able to top that. As time went by, you could feel the front rows getting a bit more crowded and the excitement was increasing.  Doro is a special persona meaning that she is 100% dedicated to the music and has on top of everything else the fans. With this in mind it made absolutely sense seeing the crowd getting worked up as the stage crew was putting the finishing touches. And then… “Chicago welcome to the stage with her band Doro Pesch, were the words everybody was waiting to hear and the moment Tommy Bolan kicked off the set with the trademark guitar rhythm of “I Rule The Ruins” erased all my weak doubts about whether DORO would indeed be able to top the previous set. Her onstage energy and her radiant smile are impossible to resist and that’s why everybody was moving along this all-time classic. “Earthshaker Rock” and “Raise Your Fist In The Air” went down like cold bear on a summer evening and I think both Nick Douglas and Tommy Bolan were already sweating their arses off. Tommy was even more energetic since the last time I had seen him onstage and in fact he was wearing knee pads because he was busting every possible move on a ‘how to be a Metal guitarist on the stage’ guide. Nick was the classic Nick and he was jumping up and down, moving around when he was not supporting Doro with some backing vocals. Their energy made Chris Caffery looked like the shy one but we have to cut him some slack as he was getting warmed up in these first dates on the ‘Forever Warriors, Forever United’ US tour. Doro was trying to get as close as humanly possible to the front rows constantly greeting fans, headbanging, and working hard to get everyone involved. Although, the music and the energy of the entire band were more than enough to do this but – again – this is Doro were are talking about.

After almost six years Doro released a new double album filled with songs meant to be played live. Yes, these songs lit up when performed live and I believe they were written to work like that. “Blood, Sweat And Rock ’n’ Roll” turned out to be a hard rocker and even though it was released more than three decades after “Burning The Witches” it did match the latter’s energy and that says a lot about the new material. “There could not be a better night” said Doro before one of my many favorites “Night Of The Warlock”. There are many sing-along/chant along songs in Doro’s arsenal and this one is high on the list and I got super-excited hearing and seeing the audience’s participation. I guess, it was the right moment for a short breather although the intensity in Tommy’s solo was not something chill-lax with. He seems re-energized after hitting the road with Doro and - to be honest - I would love to see them writing together an entire album together to see how this onstage energy would be translated in the studio.

Johnny Dee was not behind the drum-kit but - as Doro explained - it was not because he was out of the band. Johnny recently became a dad and there was no way to keep bashing the drums so Jordan Cannata was called to step in and as Doro said he was able to learn the setlist in a couple of days. Sure, Nick was helping him out with a some directions but I have to admit Jordan did great.

“Hellbound” restored the full-band action and it was one of a power-trio with “Metal Racer” and the you-have-to-sing-along “East Meets West”. Damn, both the band and the audience were on a roll. “You guys are always deep inside my heart” said Doro with her disarming honesty and I bet everyone guess what was next; “Für Immer” was next and even though there are some German lyrics there the singing-along did not weaken at all. After “Wacken Hymne (We Are The Metalheads)” Nick introduced Doro at the right moment because “All For Metal” was next. Doro named all the guests on this one and made a special mention to Warrel Dane “who is no longer with us”.

I noticed Doro looking backstage asking for the time because there was a curfew and seeing the audience’s energy she would love to squeeze a couple more. Unfortunately, there was not enough time (there is never enough) so “All We Are” came as the last one for the regular set. After this classic the loud cheers brought the band back for one more and to my delight it was “Metal Tango” that closed this power co-headlining show. Despite the stage-crew’s attempts, Doro remained onstage to greet everyone and sign everything until everybody was happy. And trust me, everybody was happy after this set and once again I felt happy that I had one more show lined up because this was not enough. Thank you Doro!

DORO setlist:

01. “I Rule The Ruins”
02. “Earthshaker Rock”
03. “Raise Your Fist in the Air”
04. “Blood, Sweat And Rock ’n’ Roll”
05. “Burning The Witches”
06. “Night Of The Warlock”
07. “Hellbound”
08. “Metal Racer”
09. “East Meets West”
10. “Für Immer”
11. “Wacken Hymne (We Are The Metalheads)”
12. “All For Metal”
13. “All We Are”
14. “Metal Tango”

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)

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