For those who think Night Ranger is merely the group who rose to the top of the music charts with the 1983 hit power ballad “Sister Christian,” seeing them during their recent stop at The Paramount on Long Island, NY on May 3 would surely change their minds.
The gig, part of the band’s 35th Anniversary Tour, featured selections from the San Francisco-bred quintet’s entire catalogue, going all the way back to their debut album Dawn Patrol in the form of numbers like the melodic “Sing Me Away” and the guitar-driven, MTV-classic “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” to last year’s true to form studio offering Don’t Let Up, with set opener “Somehow Someway.”
For a band that’s been around as long as Night Ranger have, keeping things fresh and exciting can sometimes be a challenge. But according to frontman and bassist Jack Blades, it isn’t an issue for the rock veterans.
“We’re still having so much fun getting on that stage and performing together,” enthused Blades, in a chat with Royal Flush. “This year, we’re throwing in some songs that we normally don’t play and that makes it interesting for both us and the fans. There’s nothing worse than playing the same exact show over and over, which we never do – we change the setlist every night,” he continued.
While the group would have no problem sticking to their own vast material, the capacity crowd was also treated to a sprinkling of Damn Yankees, the Blades-led super group formed in 1989 with Ted Nugent and Styx’s Tommy Shaw, during his Night Ranger sabbatical. If the frenetic energy of “Coming Of Age” riveted the hundreds in attendance, the venue came unglued at the onset of the infectious “High Enough,” vocally, one of Blades’ standout numbers.
The underrated guitar work of original member Brad Gillis was highlighted in snippets of metal standards “Crazy Train” and “I’m Eighteen” while his onstage comfort with fellow guitarist Keri Kelli was undeniable as they complemented one another seamlessly.
But not to be overlooked was Blades’ bass prowess, as his chemistry with drummer, and co-lead singer, Kelly Keagy resulted in as tight of a rhythm section as you’ll find. And while Keagy’s vocals shined on the popular “Sentimental Street,” it was the beautiful ode that he penned about his younger sister in 1984 that truly stood out. Despite the endless times the group has performed the soft rock tune throughout their illustrious career, “Sister Christian” is still loved just as much by the band as it is by their fans.
“When you hear the first three notes and the whole place goes crazy, it’s like nothing else,” Blades beamed. “Yeah, we’re basically a straightforward American rock and roll band so that song’s a little different. But you’d have to be a real jaded prick not to have a grin on your face when you see all the people so excited to sing along,” he joked.
For more than 35 years, Night Ranger has been a steady presence in the rock landscape, and it doesn’t appear that’s about to change anytime soon. Between possible new music on the horizon and plans to perform their seminal albums Dawn Patrol and Midnight Madness in their entirety on the next leg of their excursion, slowing down is not in their future. And Blades wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s 2018 and we’re still here. Thirty-five years of rocking and rolling in America,“ Blades proclaimed. “How great is that?!”
- Somehow Someway
- Four In The Morning
- Sing Me Away
- Coming Of Age
- Rumours In The Air
- Sentimental Street
- The Secret Of My Success
- Night Ranger
- Crazy Train
- I’m Eighteen
- Come Again
- High Enough
- When You Close Your Eyes
- Don’t Tell Me You Love Me
- Sister Christan
- (You Can Still) Rock In America
Click here for upcoming shows at The Paramount.
Click here for Night Ranger’s tour dates.