Skid Row – Live Review – Sheffield Corporation
By Victoria Holdsworth, March 2018
It has been over 20 years since I first saw this band perform live with their old lead singer, Sebastian Bach, so I was curious to see how the new guy, ZP Theart would compare.
The Corporation is heaving, with everyone jostling to see New Jersey’s finest rock ‘n’ rollers, Skid Row. And from the offset it is abundantly clear that they have come to kick some ass – and they blow the place apart!
Taking to the stage to The Ramones anthem ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’, the new front man screams out to everyone to rock out and they blast straight into ‘Slave To The Grind’ and ‘Sweet Little Sister’, which are tunes that have certainly stood the test of time, and are louder and badder than ever.
ZP Theart, formerly of DragonForce, seems to have effortlessly stepped into the role of frontman. The boy has certainly done his homework, and dare I say it? Yes he is better than Sebastian. His vocal range is crazy off the scale and he hits every note and tone perfectly.
“Timeless rock tunes”
The onslaught continues with ‘Piece Of Me’, and everyone in the place tonight sings every word, whilst ‘Living On A Chain Gang’ is so energetic and gritty some people are already making their way to the back of the crowd, as even the older Skid Row fans – of which there are plenty – go absolutely nuts!
The crowd, clearly excited then start chanting ‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire’ at the guys, and they really do look a little bemused. Maybe an accent issue, but it was funny nonetheless. Rachel Bolan did look a little concerned at one point as I think he thought they were shouting something less complimentary.
I was especially impressed with ZP’s performance of Slave To The Grind’s difficult to sing ballad, ‘Quicksand Jesus’. He nailed every single note and then some! I have to say that the chemistry between ZP and the rest of the band is obvious from the get-go, and they all seem to be in their elemental zones as they tear into ‘Big Guns’ before bringing the whole crowd down to a less hyped level, with the classic, slower anthem, ’18 & Life’.
The timeless rock tunes keep on coming with ‘Makin A Mess’ and ‘Rattlesnake Shake’, which just stirs up the crowd even more. It is fast paced and relentless tonight, and although I have grown old with most of the guys in the band, they have a boundless amount of vigorous vitality that would put most young rockers to shame.
“Into a frenzy”
Taking a break from the vocals, ZP takes a back seat whilst one of the founder band members, Rachel Bolan rocks out the Ramones tune, ‘Psycho Therapy’. This is by far the best song of the night, but I have always been a huge Rachel fan, and the way that he manages to bring so much more out of this song, is an amazing feat. Rachel’s fat bass tones blend attractively with the punk pounding drums but these don’t act as a distraction, as guitar refrains, growls and syncopated riffs exhibit the band’s technical skill, as well as their stereotypical rock ‘n’ roll bravado.
By this point in the set, the entire building is vibrating and shaking so much, you would think there was a riot going on and ‘Monkey Business’ once again shows how limitless ZP Theart’s vocal range is. The crowd goes into a frenzy, and the whole band just keeps stepping it up a notch to match the exuberant front man, who is clearly enjoying himself at the helm of one of the best rock/metal bands of all time.
Dave Sabo’s guitar solo is outstanding, and he and Scotti Hill, who has developed an engaging stage persona over the years, reminiscent of Paul Stanley, engage in an axe off, which is staggeringly epic. Both men are flawless musicians, and clearly enjoy the showmanship of their talents, before slipping back into the shadows to just seemingly do their job. There are no airs and graces with these guys, they are the real deal, even more so now, with a certain groove to them that no one else can quite mimic.
“Stone cold masterpieces”
Before the evening is finished both Snake Sabo and Rachel Bolan take the time to humbly thank the crowd personally, for selling out their tour and also thanking their devoted fans for sticking by them throughout the years. The outpouring of love for all of them is strikingly evident.
Making their way back to the stage for an encore, the band can hardly be heard through the thunderous applause and cheering, however they slow things right down, to the look of relief on some of the people’s faces squashed against me, with the ultimate power ballad, ‘I Remember You’, which encourages an even louder sing along in the chorus.
The only song tonight that was from more recent years is ‘We Are The Damned’, and whilst the majority of the crowd prefer the unequivocal anthems from the first two albums, tonight they do not seem to care.
Ending on ‘Youth Gone Wild’, which is slightly ironic considering the average age of the ticket-holders tonight, I would like to think that song reaffirms those thoughts and feelings of rebellion in a lot of people here tonight, and the fact that they keet it up all night is testament to them all.
The guys of Skid Row went all out tonight with some stone cold masterpieces. The music and vocals were ferocious and breathtaking in places – but what is more apparent wis that they have found their perfect fit with ZP Theart. He has breathed a new lease of life into the band.
Long may they walk an endless mile. Skid Row are youth gone wild.