This past weekend, my wife and I made the trek to Cherokee, NC for the Cherokee Survivors Motorcycle Rally and Concert for our Anniversary. We stayed in Gatlinburg, TN, which is roughly 35 miles from the site of the concert. The only way to Cherokee, NC from our hotel is a very long, and extremely windy two lane highway through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This road is not for the faint of heart, or those with weak stomachs. It takes no less than an hour, to get there from Gatlinburg.
As it turns out, this was also the weekend of the Shades of the Past Rod Run. If you live in the Eastern United States and own a muscle car, or hot rod from the 1930′s or beyond, chances are you were in Gatlinburg, TN over the weekend. It made for an extremely hectic weekend, with tons of people that were in town for both events.
RATT – Friday, September 7th
On Friday night, we made it to the concert just a few minutes before RATT took the stage. This was our second time to see RATT this year, and after the Cincinnati show, my expectations were low. I have been a big fan of RATT in the past, and still listen to plenty of RATT tunes in 2007, but once again, I was not impressed by RATT, or mainly Stephen Pearcy. The band itself was actually much tighter than the Cincinnati show. Warren DiMartini was great, and the whole band had a lot more energy that the previous show we saw. The song selection was a lot better too. This is the set list from the Friday night show:
Walkin’ the Dog
Dangerous But Worth The Risk
You Think Your Tough
City to City
Slip of The Lip
Way Cool Jr.
Nobody Rides For Free
Back For More
Lack of Communication
Lay It Down
You’re In Love
Round and Round
The major problem here once again was Stephen Pearcy’s voice. His range is not what it used to be. He sounded marginally better than the 2007 Cincinnati show, but no where near as good as he has in the past. Another disappointment was that they only played for an hour. As a headliner, I would expect the band to play a longer set.
FIREHOUSE AND TESLA – Saturday, September 8th
On Saturday, we returned to Cherokee to catch Firehouse and Tesla play. I have seen Firehouse a few times in the past, but it had been a few years since I have seen them live. I am glad to say that Firehouse was awesome. They played an extremely tight set, and covered material off of all of their releases. I was surprised when they performed Door to Door, off of their 2004 disc Prime Time. This is a hellaciously good song that every Nascar fan needs to hear. This song is sung by drummer Michael Foster. Great Stuff!
Guitarist Bill Leverty was pretty amazing to watch. I have a new respect for him as a guitarist. Luckily, I was able to meet Bill after their show. He informed me that he had a new instrumental CD coming out next month. Check out BillLeverty.com for more details on the CD.
The one unusual thing about this concert is The bikers were allowed to park their bikes fairly close to the stage.
Sadly, the drunken and rowdy bikers were getting extremely obnoxious at this show. They decided to have an engine revving contests throughout the concert. It sometimes made hearing what the singers had to say, and hearing the bands perform somewhat difficult.
Even though my patience was thinning, due to the rude and intoxicated bikers, I was anxiously awaiting to see Tesla play. I have seen Tesla several times in the past, and they have never disappointed me. Saturday night was no exception!
Tesla took the stage around 9:40 P.M. or so, and played close to two hours long. It was an extremely tight set that inluded tunes from all six of their studio releases. This was the first time I heard the band perform any songs off of their 1994 disc, Bust a Nut, or their 2004 effort, Into the Now. They also did a few cover tunes off their Side A and Side B discs of Real to Reel.
New band member, guitarist Dave Rude complimented Frank Hannon’s excellent guitar licks greatly. Jeff Keith was in perfect vocal form all night. Troy Luccketta was kicking ass on the drums all night.
Frank Hannon played two different twelve string guitars during the show. One of which I recognized to be the one that belonged to the late great Steve Clark from Def Leppard. See this link on the story for that. He was also entertaining with his multiple hat changes (tophat, Uncle Sam, Indian Head dress).
In Conclusion, both Firehouse and Tesla put on a killer show. It was a great night of rock and roll Saturday Night in Cherokee, NC. I am glad there are great hard rock bands like Firehouse and Tesla that are still kicking ass in 2007! Don’t miss them if they hit your town!