STEEL PANTHER PUT ON AN ENTERTAINING SHOW BUT DON’T END UP SAVING THE WORLD
Date: June 7, 2020
Venue: DW Drums / Drum Workshop, Inc.
Location: Oxnard, California, USA
Steel Panther‘s Concert To Save The World was going to be my third live stream concert that I paid for since the Covid-19 pandemic shut down pretty much any live concerts from occurring. The first two were from Eclipse and Thundermother, and both ended up being money well spent. I think that whenever artists or bands elect to do a free live stream concert, they are perhaps hoping to attract some new fans that might want to check them out free of charge. Whenever an artist or band does charge for a live streamed concert, I think that most, if not all, of the people paying whatever the nominal fee may be, have to be fans of the bands. After all, I would never pay for a live streamed concert if I wasn’t already into the artist or band putting on the show.
For me, paying $15.00 US to see Steel Panther perform a live streamed concert was a no brainer. Since 2014, I have had the opportunity to catch Steel Panther live two times per year every year (except for 2018 when I only saw them once) and their concerts have always been among the best that I’ve seen every year. If anyone could pull off a great live streamed concert, it would be Steel Panther. In addition and based on my rather limited experiences with live streamed concerts in the last few months, the ones where you have to pay a couple of bucks usually have better production and more cameras filming the concert. It should be noted that Steel Panther were also donating part of their proceeds to Crue Nation, to assist some of the people that put on concerts but are out of work, and the charity Heavenly Pets.
As expected, Steel Panther started their live stream concert with a little humour as all four band members — lead vocalist Michael Starr, guitarist Satchel, bassist Lexxi Foxx and drummer Stix Zadinia — were walking together in a parking lot while wearing yellow Covid-19 styled jump suits. As the Steel Panther band members made their way into the venue, which looked like a business in an industrial park, they started peeling off their yellow jump suits and revealing their regular studio wear. Once inside the venue, they quickly made their way onto the stage, which was probably the smallest stage that I have ever seen Steel Panther perform on. After a little bit of banter between Starr and Satchel, all of a sudden, the latter started playing the guitar riff of the song “Eyes of A Panther” and the concert was underway.
What was interesting about Steel Panther‘s live streamed concert compared to other paid ones that I had seen was that you could see how many people were watching. During the portions of the initial live stream that I saw, the online users topped over 4,000 people. I readily admit that I wasn’t able to watch Steel Panther‘s entire live stream when it first aired as I only caught a few snippets of it. While I know that many people are bored at home and/or unfortunately unemployed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, my life feels like chaos since the lockdowns as I have continued to work (thankfully) on a virtual basis but with my kids home all the time and needing home / online schooling to boot. I was quite pleased to find out that Steel Panther‘s live stream concert would be available for an additional 48 hours afterwards giving me the chance to view the live stream concert at a better time (i.e. late at night when everyone in my family was asleep). Unfortunately, it took some time for Steel Panther‘s live stream concert to get uploaded so I was only able to view it in its entirety the next evening. To their credit, Steel Panther‘s live stream concert is still available as I am watching it / listening to it as I write this review.
Steel Panther delivered exactly what I was expecting from them with lots of comic relief between most songs including “new” material tailored to the current Covid-19 pandemic and Satchel‘s new permed hairstyle (i.e. wig). That’s one of the things that I really love about Steel Panther‘s live shows. Not only do I get to hear kick ass songs but I am also laughing away at the sometimes infantile but very funny jokes that mostly Satchel and Starr deliver. Unlike any other live streamed show that I had seen, Steel Panther had some “crowd noise” whenever they requested for it, which they readily admitted was “fake.” While I really enjoyed the banter between the band members, I would think that if you were checking out the group live for the first time, you might find the banter a little long at times. In particular, the prize give aways felt pretty long and especially since I didn’t win anything!
In terms of the material, I was not surprised to see Steel Panther play many songs from their debut album Feel The Steel (2009) with six tracks from that record. I was surprised to hear only one song (“Weenie Ride”) from Balls Out (2011), which was recently named as the top album on Sleaze Roxx’s Top 12 Albums of The Decade (2010-2019). The other songs in Steel Panther‘s set consisted of two from All You Can Eat (2014), one from Lower The Bar (2017), two from Heavy Metal Rules (2019) and two cover songs. It was probably the first time that I had not heard Steel Panther play the track “17 Girls In A Row” from the Balls Out album in a live setting. The two songs played (“All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight)” and “I Ain’t Buying What You’re Selling”) from the band’s latest studio album Heavy Metal Rules were really good. I have to say that Steel Panther really hit the ball out of the park with at least one of their ballads on each of their last studio albums. While I didn’t give the track “I Ain’t Buying What You’re Selling” a rave review when I reviewed Heavy Metal Rules, the song really comes alive in a live setting. I did however give a rave review to the ballad “That’s When You Came In” when I reviewed Lower The Bar.
Another highlight during Steel Panther‘s live streamed concert was seeing bassist Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Dio — what a resume!) show up to play two songs. I didn’t know that Sarzo actually played on the Steel Panther song “Wrong Side of The Tracks (Out in Beverly Hills)” off the Lower The Bar album, which the band played for the first time ever in a live setting. Not surprisingly, Sarzo was still on stage when Steel Panther ripped through their cover of Ozzy Osbourne‘s classic “Crazy Train” with Starr doing an amazing job of impersonating the Prince of Darkness. Some might say that Starr was mocking Ozzy but I just think he did a bang up job of mimicking the iconic singer while adding a good dose of humour. I don’t know how many times that Foxx stated that Sarzo was his “idol” but clearly the former was stoked to have the latter on stage.
For the longest time, Satchel was indicating that they were playing their live stream show at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (listed as being in Pasadena, California, USA as per setlist.fm) but later on in the show, it seems that the guys were told to reveal the “real” location which turned out to be the DW Drums (Drum Workshop Inc.) headquarters. I believe that Satchel mentioned DW Drums‘ principal Chris Lombardi at one point. I checked out Lombardi on LinkedIn just for fun and he did quite well for himself in 35 years with the organization moving up from Delivery Driver (for two years) to Sales Representative (for five years) to Director of Sales (for 10 years) to CEO (for the last 18 years). Anyways, Lombardi‘s resume seems to be proof that if you work hard, you can work your way up the ladder.
Getting back to the concert, there was another guest performer that showed up. I didn’t know who Rob Riggle was but apparently he is an American actor and comedian who was a cast member of Saturday Night Live way back in 2004 and 2005. I do admit that I don’t watch many (if any) comedy shows aside from attending Steel Panther concerts! Riggle ended up singing the chorus section of AC/DC‘s “Highway To Hell.” As far as Riggle‘s vocal abilities, I would suggest that he stick to comedy and he was lucky that Starr jumped in to sing the chorus with him or else “Highway To Hell” (at least Riggle‘s chorus portion) would have been painful to listen to! Steel Panther closed off their set with their classic “Death To All But Metal” before coming back with their seemingly regular encore “Gloryhole.” Incredibly enough, Steel Panther had not played a show since February 17, 2020 so that’s quite a gap for a hard touring band like that.
Overall, Steel Panther met my lofty expectations for their live stream concert and I was really pleased to be able to listen / view the live stream show a couple of times over the last few days. There is no doubt in my mind that the $15.00 US that I spent for the band’s live stream show was money very well spent and I would do it again in a heartbeat if they play another live streamed gig.
Steel Panther’s setlist:
01. Eyes of A Panther
02. Party Like Tomorrow Is The End of The World
03. All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight)
04. Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)
05. Party All Day (Fuck All Night)
06. I Ain’t Buying What You’re Selling
07. Weenie Ride
08. Wrong Side of The Tracks (Out in Beverly Hills) (with Rudy Sarzo)
09. Crazy Train (Ozzy Osboune cover with Rudy Sarzo)
10. Asian Hooker
11. Community Property
12. Highway To Hell (AC/DC cover with Rob Riggle)
13. Death To All But Metal