Night Ranger Weeds: Night Ranger

By Wavydave on Monday, July 17, 2000 - 06:56 pm:

    Several weeks ago, I went to see this show, and I wrote this the next day...

    Last night we went to see Edgar Winter and Night Ranger.

    The club where the show was held was a large, open, black-painted building. It was hot as hell in there even though it wasn't even 25% capacity. There was a beer garden separated fom the main area by a chain-link fence (Oooh! Cage deathmatch with the drunken rednecks) The mullet factor was VERY high in the building. We personally observed a wide variety of mullettude in and around our vicinity - I was wishing that had I brought a camera. For that matter, I wished that I brought a tape recorder or mini-cam to bootleg the show. More on that later.

    The opening band obviously went to the Blink 182 school of singing and performing. They were locals, so the lack of musical culture and/or style was expected, though not excusable. We arrived partway though a song and they played 3-4 more. Several groupie-girls off to one side of us bobbed their heads in unison with the music.

    The soundtrack for "Natural Born Killers" played during the stage switch. And I mean the entire disk. The swap/setup took at least 45 minutes. So much that the drunken sots in the beer cage started yelling things. Some halfhearted cheering of "Edgar Edgar Edgar" was hear in front of us - to no avail.

    The bass player was up on stage for a while tuning and fiddling around with his setup. He as an interesting-looking fellow. Black, with black shirt, brown pants (with a sliver snake coiled around his left leg) and a very unique hairstyle. It was matted down into a pseudo dread helmet, but not very thick. He had ponytail/dreads hanging down in front and back of each ear and some eyebrow-length ropy dreads as bangs. He played a 6-string bass and he knew what he was doing.

    So, Edgar finally came on stage and played. They opened with "Free Ride" Edgar is in his mid- to late 50s and still has a LOT of energy and a very good vocal range. He pistoned his arms in the air, ran around and played his neckstrap-equipped keyboard (which was toned waaay back for some reason) and put on a good show. His guitarist, a Jimmy Page wanna-be (complete with a swaggering strut, long flowing hair and too-tight levi's) played a really long, silly, Van Halen-esque solo.

    Then they played Frankenstein. It was really long, with lots of solos and breaks. Edgar played two different keyboardssax and drums. He even played a killer little swing-jazz solo on the sax. They would crank it up, then back off, then crank it up again. The soundboard guys finally found the volume knob for the keyboards, so we could actually hear some of Edgar's finger work towards the end. After a climactic finish, they left the stage.

    After two songs.

    Granted, the second song was 20 minutes long.

    But two songs?

    Another wait This one not as long. The crowd seemed to empty out when Edgar left, but they flowed back in about 10 minutes before Night Ranger took the stage.

    Night Ranger. Sister Christian. You Can Still Rock in America.

    They took the stage with a LOT of energy and immediately won over the crowd. There were two guitarists. They obviously shopped at the same store because both of them were wearing black vests with no shirt on underneath. One had long hair (he played a Les Paul) and the other short and blond (Stratocaster). They were both rock GODs in the pure 1980s sense.

    Let me tell you, even in 2000, Night Ranger is still damn silly. They pulled off every silly guitar solo trick in the book. Think of any hair-band/butt-rock video you saw in the 1980s - remember all the guitar antics. Night Ranger had it.
    I think the best was the synchronized guitar waving. Think KISS without the makeup, blood and explosions.

    I have to say it was entertaining. They did play well (if silly and campy) and I found myself smiling across to my friends every time they started a song I knew. Which was all of them. I didn't think I absorbed that much music in Jr. High and High School.

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