This past Friday was proof that rock and roll is still alive and well in America and especially in Rock Hill, SC as Night Ranger brought their 35th Anniversary Tour to the Old Town Ampitheatre. The show was supposed to be a co-headliner with Dennis DeYoung but Dennis was unfortunately sick and not able to perform so the night belonged solely to Night Ranger.

This was my first time attending a concert at the Old Town Ampitheatre and I thought it was a wonderful spot for a summer outdoor show.  There is not a bad seat in the house and the set up provided a very intimate atmosphere for the show.  Plenty of free parking was found close to the ampitheatre and the staff was friendly and welcoming. Being that the stage is a temporary one, there wasn’t much room for an elaborate stage set or lighting rigs but Night Ranger certainly didn’t need all the bells and whistles to rock the house. The fact that it was a 35th anniversary show may have made some of the audience feel old, but the band didn’t show any wear and tear as they tore up the stage all night long. Kicking off their set with
“Touch of Madness,” guitarists Brad Gillis and Keri Kelli appeared atop a riser at the rear of the stage with Jack Blades front and center under a yellow spot light and drummer Kelly Keagy’s kit positioned stage left. It was great to see Kelly back behind the kit after a brief leave of absence from the band to undergo a heart procedure. His vocals sounded amazing and he was on fire keeping the rhythm pounding throughout the set. There set included a good variety of Night Ranger songs including a few new ones and all the requisite hits. I liked that they took time to acknowledge other projects that the band members were involved as well.  Jack took a moment to introduce guitarist Keri Kelli before paying homage to his time in Alice Cooper’s band with “I’m Eighteen” and “School’s Out.” Brad Gillis was a madman on the guitar letting it rip all evening and playing to the audience every
chance he got especially during his solo on Ozzy’s “Crazy Train.” Two songs from Jack’s Damn Yankees days were included and the crowd really got into it singing the chorus to “High Enough” at the tops of their lungs. There were a few other surprises as well with a great acoustic version of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” from their “24 Strings & A Drummer” album and a bit of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” during “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me.” As the end of the set drew near, Kelly came down from his kit front and center for a portion of “Sister Christian” which had everyone on their feet and “motorin.” The American flags came out for the finale that rocked all of Rock Hill and beyond with “(You Can Still) Rock in America.”

My only complaint about this show had nothing to do with the band or the venue but with a rather large group of fans seated directly in front of me. I understand that everyone has a cellphone and wants to take pictures during the concert but the behavior of this particular group was quite obnoxious as they were taking selfies all night long which really was a distraction from the show. So I will briefly get on my soapbox and say this, “Please take only a quick picture or two and put the phones away!” Take the time to live in the moment and just enjoy the show. It was a hell of a show by one hell of a band and it saddened me that those few seemed more interested in updating their social media than the fact that a legendary rock band was killing it on stage. That being said, this was hands down one of the best and most fun shows of the summer. Do not miss your chance to see Night Ranger when they head to your town.

 

Set List:

Touch of Madness

Four in the Morning

Sing Me Away

Somehow, Someway

Coming of Age (Damn Yankees cover)

Secret of My Success

Sentimental Street

I’m Eighteen/School’s Out (Alice Cooper covers)

Crazy Train (Ozzy cover)

High Enough (Damn Yankees cover)

Boys of Summer (Don Henley cover-acoustic)

Goodbye

When U Close Your Eyes

Don’t Tell Me You Love Me/Highway Star (Deep Purple cover)

Sister Christian

(You Can Still) Rock in America

Photo Gallery

We would like to thank Todd Confessore for the credentials to review the show.

About The Author Kris Engelhart

I am a small business owner, freelance writer, and part-time piano instructor in Charlotte, NC. My musical career started at the age of five when I was forced into taking piano lessons. I played flute in the school band and added the guitar as a young teen. There is nothing I would rather do than be at a live show. My first concert was Shaun Cassidy at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo in 1978. My top five live shows ever are: 1. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band – Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, NY 1984- They played for 3 ½ hours and it was awesome. 2. Carolina Rebellion- Metrolina Expo Grounds, Charlotte, NC, May, 2011 – The first ever Carolina Rebellion featured over 15 bands with Avenged Sevenfold headlining. Non-stop music for over 12 hours. 3. Chevelle- Food Lion Speed Street, Charlotte, NC, May, 2008 - The first time I ever saw Chevelle live and I was hooked! 4. Skillet with Red- Bojangle’s Coliseum, Charlotte, NC, April, 2010 – Skillet is one of my favorite bands and they totally kick it live. 5. 106.5 The End’s Weenie Roast #9- Verizon Wireless Amiptheater, Charlotte, NC , October, 2003- Featured Staind, Shinedown, Three Days Grace.