BACH IN JOVIAL MOOD AT HOMECOMING SHOW
Date: November 22, 2016
Venue: The Opera House
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Say what you will, Sebastian Bach will go down as one of the all-time great frontmen in terms of hard rock/heavy metal bands. Sure, he sometimes goes off the deep end — or at the very least is short-tempered — as he showed the previous time he played Toronto in December 2014 when he felt someone pushed his mother who was standing in the general admission area, but whatever the case, he has tons of charisma, confidence and is able to connect with an audience one way or another.
This time around at The Opera House in his latest homecoming show in the large metropolitan city of Toronto in Canada, Bach was simply in a very happy and seemingly grateful mood as he put on an entertaining show for his rabid hometown crowd. While being a lawyer, politician or professional debater might not be Bach‘s career of choice, the tall singer displayed some qualities that suggested that those professions might have worked out well for him as he defused a few of my key issues that I was going to mention upon writing this concert review. More on that as this review progresses. Sleaze Roxx writer Eduardo and I arrived to The Opera House just as the last opening act (of two) was wrapping up its set. The band’s name escapes me but they did play a spirited version of a Rage Against the Machine song at the end their set with their drummer taking over the lead vocals. I wasn’t overly enamoured with the band from what I heard but it’s tough to give a real good assessment on a handful of songs that I heard which included one cover.
One thing you got to love about The Opera House, they always seem to be right on schedule. If it is announced that a performer is playing at such time, you bet your ass that’s when that artist or band will go on. I learned that the hard way when I previously saw Helloween play at The Opera House in 2013 and arrived just one song before the veteran power metal group hit the stage. I didn’t bother checking any setlists for Bach‘s prior recent shows given that I knew that Bach would play songs that the crowd wanted to hear and that I most likely knew. Even though Bach continues to release new music, he knows what got him to where he is — and that’s great news for fans of his Skid Row days.
The evening started a little oddly with one of Bach‘s apparent guitar technicians coming up to the stage to announce that Mr. Sebastian Bach would be hitting the stage soon before announcing some rules and regulations. Aren’t we at a rock n’ roll show? The rules and regulations were kept to a minimum and consisted — from what I recall — of not being allowed to take photos or videos over your head when in the first two rows and absolutely no fighting. One can certainly understand the latter rule. We were also told that there were many people that had signed up to do the meet and greet with Bach and to meet at the merchandise table 45 minutes after the show. In addition, Bach‘s band members would be at the merchandise table signing whatever we wanted them to sign after the show. The guitar technician went on to tell seemingly a bit of a fib as he warned that people in the first two rows would get wet so if you wanted to avoid that, best to go back a few rows in the general admission area. I was standing in the second or third row from the stage in the general admission area and did not see any water or liquid ever going into the crowd aside from Bach tossing a few water bottles to people he likely knew in the general admission area. I can only conclude that the guitar technician advised the crowd that people in the first two rows would get wet to discourage them from taking photos from the first two rows.
Bach and his bandmates — guitarist Brent Woods (Vince Neil), bassist Rob DeLuca (UFO) and drummer Bobby Jarzombek (Rob Halford) — arrived on stage to little fanfare and started playing a slower number, which I did not recognize but that setlist.fm has identified as a cover of a Jimi Hendrix song called “Little Wing.” This was definitely not the grand entrance that I was expecting and I was disappointed with how the concert was starting. However, Bach provided his first “lawyer” or “debater” moment in defusing a situation by advising the crowd that he does not bother soundchecking anymore so he and his bandmates were going to ease their way into the set. That being said, no one had to worry that the band would ramp it up very soon. Alright Mr. Bach, the slow start is explained and forgiven. In any case, it was actually a lot of fun to hear Bach play the very underrated Skid Row song “Breakin’ Down” and his kind of country-ish song “Battle With The Bottle.” It also made me appreciate what a good singer that Bach continues to be.
Once the warm-up or “soundcheck” had taken place, Bach got the crowd going right away by playing the Skid Row hit “18 And Life” which had seemingly the whole crowd singing along. That was followed by a good cover of April Wine’s “Rock N’ Roll Is A Vicious Game” which as it turned out would not be the only time that Bach would reference some classic Canadian hard rock music during the evening. Around this time was when Bach put on his “debater” or “lawyer” hat again and defused yet another complaint that I was going to have. Bach pointed to the stage back drop which had the cover of his Angel Down album, which dates back to 2007! Back when Bach had played the M3 Rock Festival in 2014, I had noted the Angel Down record back drop and questioned why Bach did not have a stage back drop for his most recent studio album Give ‘Em Hell. This time around, Bach explained that I believe his father had painted the back drop so obviously it had a lot of sentimental value to him and now, I understood why Bach was continuing to use the Angel Down cover as his stage back drop almost ten years after the record had been released. Another defused situation by Mr. Bach. There will be no more complaints or questions from me about the Angel Down back drop from now on.
Next up was another sing along classic in Skid Row‘s “I Remember You.” I started getting a little worried that Bach was playing the “hits” a little too soon in the evening and wondered what he would have in store for everyone. What Bach had in mind was apparently a trip down memory lane as he ended up playing seven of ten songs from Skid Row‘s self-titled debut album, which also landed the #5 on the Top 12 Albums that have stayed with Sleaze Roxx Readers. Aside from the mandatory big three — “18 And Life,” “I Remember You” and “Youth Gone Wild” — and the almost obligatory “Big Guns” and “Piece Of Me”, Bach and his band treated the audience to great renditions of “Sweet Little Sister” and “Rattlesnake Shake.” I would be remiss if I did not point out how happy Bach seemed to be to playing to his hometown crowd. He sported a big smile for practically the entire show and was a master entertainer talking about tons of various subjects to the crowd including how sad it was that Donald Trump had been elected, all the television shows that he had appeared in, him being recruited to take part in the television show Dancing With The Stars, a funny story about going to an event with the Killer Dwarfs‘ frontman Russ Dwarf, etc. Sure, some of Bach‘s stories did not always resonate with the crowd such as when he spoke about Kanye West but at least the man was able to jokingly recognize that and move on.
Bach was also happy to provide some cappella renditions of some Canadian classics including Razor‘s “Evil Invaders” and the Killer Dwarfs‘ “Heavy Mental Breakdown.” He also impersonated the Mercyful Fate / King Diamond singers with great success. Bach also seemed to be on his best behaviour this time around. He jokingly pointed out that his mother was up in the balcony and not in the general admission area like the previous time that he had played in Toronto. He introduced his new wife to the audience towards the end of the night. He even told the crowd that he would not get angry if they did not jump to the heavy metal anthem “American Metalhead” which he renamed “Canadian Metalhead” as everyone was getting older. I got to say that I love how Bach headbangs away to songs such as “American Metalhead” with lots of gusto and power along with his long frame and hair flying in the process. The evening ended with a great rendition of Skid Row‘s “Monkey Business” with a good chunk of Rush‘s “Tom Sawyer” played as well along with Skid Row‘s “Youth Gone Wild” and a surprise rendition of AC/DC‘s “T.N.T.” Having Bach be the lead singer in AC/DC would have been interesting given how much that the former dominates as a frontman.
The final defusing moment from Bach was when he addressed the public push towards him rejoining Skid Row to which he asked why should he do that as he didn’t want to lose out playing with former Rob Halford drummer Bobby Jarzombek along with jokingly as an after thought guitarist Brent Woods and bassist Rob DeLuca. That wasn’t as compelling an argument as what Bach had provided for the two other previously mentioned defusing moments but at least Bach briefly addressed the whole Skid Row situation.
One surprise was that Bach did not play the Skid Row classic “Slave To The Grind.” As it turns out, this wasn’t just an omission for this night as my review of setlists on setlist.fm for Bach‘s prior stops on this tour suggest that the song has been dropped altogether from Bach’s setlist for this tour. Although there might have been a few songs that I would have liked to hear and a stronger start would have been better, Eduardo and I both agreed after the show that Bach had delivered a great show and it was more than worth it for the price that we paid to get in. On another note, Eduardo and I also spoke how amazing it would be to catch the mighty Metallica play at just a great and intimate venue such as The Opera House the week after but alas, we both could not secure tickets the next day.
Bach just recently posted the following message on his Facebook page yesterday, which gives you an idea of what his show at The Opera House in Toronto meant to him: “Hello Toronto. I just have to say how much last night meant to us. Us as a band & crew, my friends, my family, the whole last 30 years rolled up into one last night at the Opera House. I was very touched by the passionate crowd! You guys really came out in force on a cold Tuesday night and made us all feel very welcome back home. It was very special for me to be doing a show on Queen Street where I used to hang out so many years ago. Toronto will always feel like hometown to me and I feel like I knew every single person there in the crowd last night. This is the end of a very long and grueling tour and to have Toronto be such a great kick ass show and the end of all these weeks on the road really meant everything to me. Thank you all for such a memorable evening and we will see you real soon! Check out my book in stores December 6 across Canada !!!!!” Of course, being the master promoter, he threw in something about his new book 18 And Life On Skid Row, which is scheduled for release in less than two weeks! You got to love it!
Sebastian Bach’s setlist:
01. Little Wing (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
02. Breakin’ Down
03. Battle With The Bottle
04. 18 And Life
05. Rock N’ Roll Is a Vicious Game (April Wine cover)
06. I Remember You
07. The Threat
08. Big Guns
09. Sweet Little Sister
10. Piece Of Me
11. American Metalhead
12. Rattlesnake Shake
13. Monkey Business w/ Tom Sawyer (Rush cover)
14. Youth Gone Wild
15. T.N.T. (AC/DC cover)
Sebastian Bach playing “Monkey Business” with “Tom Sawyer” (Rush cover) at The Opera House in Toronto on Nov. 22, 2016:
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