WARRANT AND ALICE COOPER – PYSCHO DRAMA TOUR
Well, where do I start? A lot has been said, written, filmed, etc about Warrant in the last couple of months (check the stories and reviews right here on Sleaze Roxx for example, and of course youtube). So, now knowing what we have heard, seen, and/or read…lets go back in time exactly 4 (not 40) days to be exact. Here is a quote on Sleaze Roxx from Warrant guitarist Erik Turner, “We are very excited that we have found an unbelievable voice in Robert Mason (Lynch Mob), an old friend of the band. We have three dates confirmed, come out and judge for yourself…we don’t think you will be disappointed.” I will get back to Erik‘s statement shortly, now, onto the review.
Summertime in Tucson is obviously very hot, we are in the desert after all, but it wasn’t too bad this night (mid 80’s at show time). I got to the venue around 7pm (if you’re ever in Tucson and can see a show at Anselmo Valencia Amphitheater, I highly recommend it. It is a beautiful venue with great sound) and grabbed a soda and nachos and was prepared for the show. I never had the chance, be that good or bad, to see Warrant live before. So, on with the show! The house lights go black and a cool mix of Kid Rock‘s “Bawitdaba” and War‘s “Lowrider” prepares us for Warrant.
The band came out looking lean, fit and ready to kick some Arizona ass. The whole band looked really good (like they are in there mid 20’s, but I am guessing they have to be in late 30’s) as they started “Down Boys”. I notice only four band members at first, but not for long as busting through the side curtain came new lead singer Robert Mason, looking young, energetic, confident and ready. The band kicks off the set and Robert begins to sing and I am thinking what the hell is going on here? This guy is singing strong and he is actually singing! Notes were in key and held longer and stronger than on album (I came home and plugged in my Warrant CD’s to make sure) and by the end of “Down Boys” he already owned the crowd.
Next up was D.R.F.S.R. Going far left, then coming all the way right, using the stage like a personal playground, Robert‘s confidence was contagious. The front row was screaming and reaching out to him as he controlled the stage and once again his voice was dead on. Following D.R.F.S.R. was “So Damn Pretty”, and I am getting redundant here but this guy has a gift! Geez, three songs into the show and I was thinking, why is the band smiling so much? Mason was working the whole stage and then came something new. He threw his microphone stand 15-20 feet in the air and 30 feet away to be caught by a roadie, amazing. The song ended and the Warrant boys looked happy as smiles filled up the stage (I didn’t think I would see that after all I had read about the band lately).
Robert addressed the crowd with a ‘glad to be in Tucson, thank you for coming out’ and even said thank you to the ‘lawn folk’ as he called them, the fans seated way up in the lawn section, which was a very nice touch. Next up was “Heaven” which included incredible vocals by the whole band with Mason leading the way once again with his strong pipes. As “Heaven” ended, out of nowhere the mic stand came flying back to Warrant‘s new frontman, he caught it and made a cool spin to the front row without missing a beat. The band was flowing and tight for “32 Pennies” and everybody was working the stage. You would never have guessed that this was Warrant‘s first show with a new singer…errr, frontman.
During “Hole In My Wall” Mason got the crowd going as they pumped their fists with hair flying and began bouncing around just like him and the rest of the band. Up next was “I Saw Red”, and ladies and gentlemen who are reading this, I truly wish you could have seen this. Mason was once again nailing every high note…just imagine sitting at home with headphones on, I was simply awestruck. He then asked the crowd to sing along and of course they followed his lead. Picking up the pace with “Sure Feels Good”, again I swear, if I closed my eyes I would have thought I was listening to the CD at home.
The microphone stand went flying again and Robert was working every inch of the rather large stage along with his co-horts. Then it was onto my personal favorite, “Mr. Rainmaker”. I am not a singer, but have heard enough albums and been to hundreds of shows, and I was thinking to myself that there was no way Mason could tag the high notes on this song. Wrong! He nailed them all, except with more sustain and substance, as it was absolutely amazing stuff.
Warrant‘s set ended with “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. At this point I was noticing two very distinctive things about Warrant. That they did look happy and that Robert Mason is the best singer I have ever, and I mean EVER, seen live. He has great stage presence and is an awesome showman, a true frontman if there ever was one. Anyway, Mason got the whole crowd singing “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (me included) and the song ended with him once again heaving his mic stand into the air and across the stage. The show ended and the band walked off stage smiling and exchanging high fives.
We all knew Warrant couldn’t leave Tucson without some “Cherry Pie”, so as the chants of ‘WARRANT, WARRANT, WARRANT’ rang through the amphitheater theband came out to huge applause. Robert grabbed the mic and thanked everyone for coming out on a hot Tuesday night. He thanked everyone from the front row to the people all the way in the back, a very nice and what seemed a real heartfelt appreciation for the fans Warrant finished up the set and I saw Jerry Dixon lean over to Erik Turner and say, “Robert is fucking amazing!!” And I must say Jerry that you are absolutely correct, you have got yourself one helluva showman, entertainer, frontman and a singer who sings better live than on albums. As I said before I have been to hundreds of concerts and have never seen any singer sound stronger live than on an album. Well, after witnessing Robert Mason in Warrant I can now say that I have.
So, in closing, Mr. Erik Turner, your quote of “we don’t think you will be disappointed” is 100% correct. I came out, judged for myself, and concluded that Robert Mason is an absolutely great singer and I was not disappointed in the slightest. The new Warrant is a lean, mean, rock’n’roll machine, and I strongly urge you to see them when they come to your town. I think I might even spend the $500 or so dollars and see them in Maplewood, Minnesota, just so I can them as the headliner, doing a full set with their new singer…an absolutely phenomenal singer who also is an outstanding showman/frontman.
I also must add that I was getting text messages throughout the show saying things such as, “new singer rocks”, “new singer is amazing”, “seen Warrant five times and they were never this good”. On an interesting and funny ending note, I dropped off my dry cleaning the day after the show and the girl behind the counter was wearing a Warrant shirt from the previous night. So I asked her what she thought and she said that she was a huge Warrant fan and was blown away by the new singer and wanted to know if they were going to record with him. I told her that I didn’t know, but lets hope they do! Thank you Warrant, you rocked our little town of Tucson and we truly appreciate it…
So Damn Pretty
The Hole In My Wall
I Saw Red
Sure Feels Good
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Well folks, Alice is Alice. He always puts on a great show, and this night was no different. He pulled out all the stops, just as great as ever. There is really no need to go into any detail because if you haven’t seen Alice Cooper yet, put it onto the ‘things to do before you die list’ With an awesome backing band behind him he played yet another outstanding show. So after a long night in the heat I have to thank Alice Cooper and Warrant for putting on one truly amazing concert…Tucson loves ya!!!!!
Alice Cooper’s setlist:
It’s Hot Tonight
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
Is It My Body
Woman Of Mass Distraction
Lost In America
Feed My Frankenstein
Be My Lover
(In Touch With) Your Feminine Side
Vengeance Is Mine
Halo Of Flies
Welcome To My Nightmare
Only Women Bleed
Billion Dollar Babies