Tags Delivers A Sizzling Show To Cap Off Summer

Concert Review

Tags Summer Stage
Big Flats, NY
Saturday September 21, 2019
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto

What a fantastic way to put an exclamation point on the summer of 2019. Tags simply outdid themselves putting this one together. They put on a similar show two years ago with Cinderella’s Tom Keifer headlining. This time around Ratt, Warrant (who also appeared with Keifer on that bill from 17), FireHouse and Kix not only delivered the goods but had people already talking about who they should bring next year.

Kicking things off were Kix, the band that hails from Maryland. Led by vocalist Steve Whiteman, the band still includes four members from their heyday including guitarists Brian Forsythe and Ronnie Younkins as well as drummer Jimmy “Chocolate” Chalfant. Rounding out the band is bassist Mark Schenker who has been with the band since 2003.

The bands brief 50-minute energetic set featured “Midnight Dynamite”, “Love Me With Your Top Down” and mega hit ballad “Don’t Close Your Eyes” serving as the highlights.

Next came FireHouse led by original members vocalist C.J. Snare, guitarist Bill Leverty and drummer Michael Foster. The band is rounded out by bassist Allen McKenzie who has been with the band since 2004.

FireHouse started things off on all cylinders with powerful opener “Overnight Sensation” which probably remains their best opening tune from their repertoire. From there came “Crash” from their 2003 release Prime Time. Oddly enough the band has not released an album of all-new material since then despite remaining a very active band on the touring front. For more on that check out our interview with guitarist Leverty here.

Most of the songs played by the band (8 in all) were extracted from the band’s double-platinum debut. They remain one of the most solid bands from their era still on the touring circuit. As evidenced by their final two songs “Reach For The Sky” and “Don’t Treat Me Bad” the band simply plays their hearts out right to the final note.

Warrant as mentioned earlier has been here before. They also remain a very active band in the touring world. Today’s version of Warrant includes original members guitarists Joey Allen, Erik Turner, bassist Jerry Dixon and drummer Steven Sweet. The band has included ex-Lynch Mob vocalist Robert Mason since 2008.

The band has released two albums with Mason including their most recent one Louder Harder Faster. While they did feature one song, the title cut, the band is celebrating their debut album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. So they played the album completely from top to bottom before delving into anything else.

It’s always refreshing to hear such gems as “Big Talk” and “Sometimes She Cries”. Mason handles the back catalog with ease while not trying to copy his predecessor and still makes the songs sound fresh in the live setting. The only downside seemed to be “Cherry Pie” as it sounded so outdated for whatever reason. Perhaps the band should look into a different song to end their show on going forward.

Without a doubt the most anticipated act on the bill was the headliner Ratt. For those who are out of touch or perhaps weren’t following the current activity of the band let me explain who actually is currently in the band. The band is led by vocalist Stephen Pearcy and bassist Juan Croucier who are the lone surviving members from their glory days. They are currently joined by guitarists Jordan Ziff and Chris Sanders as well as Black ‘N Blue drummer Pete Holmes.

To put things in plain and simple terms there is no Ratt without Stephen Pearcy. He is the one ingredient needed for the band to have credibility. Many fans will say it’s not the same without Warren DeMartini in the line-up. While that may be true to an extent, Ziff’s riffs and steady playing proved that he was quite ready to step into those shoes.

This was perhaps the best Ratt show I’ve seen since the band’s glory days in the 80’s. They sounded fantastic on such songs opener “In Your Direction”, “Way Cool Jr.” and the bone crushing “Lay It Down”. Pearcy has lost nothing in the vocal department even at the age of 63. This band delivered the goods and then some.

The one constant theme with all the bands on this bill was the fact that all of these bands can still bring it. Each band really gave it their all. While it would be hard to say what band was the best tonight, I think it would be safe to say that each band gave us their best which resulted in a fantastic show for not only the fans to enjoy but the bands themselves. Hopefully next year Tags will treat us with another show of this caliber.






Set List
In Your Direction
Wanted Man
Dangerous but Worth the Risk
You Think You’re Tough
Way Cool Jr.
I’m Insane
Lack of Communication
Lay It Down
You’re in Love
Slip of the Lip
Nobody Rides for Free
Body Talk
Back for More
Round and Round

32 Pennies
Down Boys
Big Talk
Sometimes She Cries
So Damn Pretty (Should Be Against the Law)
Cold Sweat
Ridin’ High
I Saw Red
Louder Harder Faster
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Cherry Pie

Overnight Sensation
Shake & Tumble
Oughta Be a Law
All She Wrote
When I Look Into Your Eyes
Don’t Walk Away
Lover’s Lane
Love of a Lifetime
Reach for the Sky
Don’t Treat Me Bad

Midnite Dynamite
No Ring Around Rosie
Get It While It’s Hot
Girl Money
Mighty Mouth
Love Me With Your Top Down
Don’t Close Your Eyes
Same Jane
Cold Blood
Blow My Fuse

About Joseph Suto

Location: Buffalo, NY Photographer/Reviewer
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