Jack Russell said it best in an interview I did with him a while back. He stated that the one element of a band you cannot really change without changing the whole sound of the band is the singer. That was his opinion and while some people may disagree with him, he set out to prove his point. Making his first Buffalo area appearance in some nine years Friday evening, Russell and his current band dubbed “Jack Russell’s Great White,” decided to let the music do the talking in front of a packed house at Rock N Roll Heaven.
Russell the estranged singer who has been separated from the original Great White for over two years now, was determined to make up for lost time with the adoring western New York crowd.
Hitting the stage with “On Your Knees” the lone representative from the debut Great White album, Russell also sprinkled in a little of Led Zeppelin’s “Achilles Last Stand” for added flavor. A welcomed addition to the set was the inclusion of “All Over Now” a standout track from Once Bitten that had been long retired from the band’s live show until recently.
One special moment as I reflect on the show was during the introduction to “Save Your Love,” Jack mentioned that when he was laid up with a medical issue a few years ago how he was saved by the support of the fans and his wife. The emotive Russell went on to say how his wife had recently taken ill as he fought to hold back some tears. The heartfelt moment seemed to give the lyrics to the song even more meaning. As the crowd loudly sang along, it seemed to help take Russell’s mind away from his current dilemma.
Jack’s current band includes guitarist Robby Lochner, guitarist Tony Montana, bassist Chris Tristram and drummer Dicki Fliszar. Montana also played bass in Great White during its peak period from 1987-92. Having seen Great White more times than I can remember I can honestly say the current players can hold their own and it really shows on such Great White staples as “Rock Me” and “House Of Broken Love.”
Russell treated the crowd with an encore of “Immigrant Song” before coming back out for another encore which began with a song he called the story of his life “Wasted Rock Ranger,” a song that has a cult following among the diehard Great White fans. As expected they closed out the affair with the band’s highest charting hit “Once Bitten Twice Shy.”
Judging by the audience response and the great turnout this time around the hope is Capt. Russell and his crew will steer their vessel into town again real soon. Until then we wait in anticipation until next time the band navigates into town.
Opening the show was Hair Nation the local group who specialize in eighties metal and hard rock. The band featuring singer Jim Crean, guitarist Jeff Duke, bassist Chris Daley and drummer Colleen Covo, sounded spot on and started the evening off in fine fashion.
On Your Knees (inc. Achilles Last Stand)
All Over Now
Save Your Love
Face The Day
Can Of WUPAS
Lady Red Light
House Of Broken Love
Call It Rock And Roll
Can’t Shake It
Wasted Rock Ranger
Once Bitten Twice Shy