After a fantastic night of hard rock on Friday night, it was going to take a lot to top Friday night’s performances.
One big surprise this year was the new permanent side stage that was erected for this and other festival shows. The new second stage is far bigger than the original side stage at M3, and its placement at the base of a hill gave a better vantage point for the fans in attendance. This was the beginning of a day of surprises at M3.
When the M3 Rock Festival began late Saturday morning, Heavens Edge quickly set the stage with a blistering performance of their biggest songs, most of which came from their outstanding 1990 debut. Much to my surprise, this wasn’t a bunch of hired hands playing with Heaven’s Edge singer Mark Evans, this was the original band. Evans voice was in perfect form, and Reggie Wu was delivering with all of these heavy riffs that I expected from Heaven’s Edge. I have always loved this band, and thought their debut was severely underrated. Their debut album/CD has been reissued for Rock Candy records, and I highly recommend that you check it out.
Shortly after Heavens Edge’s set, KEEL was ready to rock on the main stage, and they came out all guns firing. Ron Keel looked and sounded great, as did Marc Ferrari, Brian Jay, and company. One of my favorite KEEL albums is their 1987 self titled disc on MCA records. Needless to say I was very happy to hear “Somebody’s Waiting”, but I would have loved to have heard a couple of more from this album. KEEL’s set was way too short in my opinion, but they were great, and I enjoyed their music.
Next up on the second stage was former The Scream, Union and Motley Crue front man John Corabi. I had no expectations with John’s set whatsoever, but I have never seen him live, and was greatly looking forward to his set. I thought he may just do his acoustic thing that he has been doing in the clubs, but he had with him a full electric band. John’s set list made me very happy. I was excited to hear one of my all time favorites”Man in the Moon” (from the Scream), and lost Motley Crue tunes “Uncle Jack” and “Hooligan’s Holiday”. It is a shame that Motley Crue has forgotten about that great album with John Corabi. I am so glad that Corabi still does this music. I really dig Corabi’s new look too.
On the main stage, Jack Russell’s Great White was next, and this was another band that my expectations were kind of low on. I gotta say, Jack Russell’s Great White is far better than I expected them to be. While I thought Jack Russell was looking a little frail on stage, his voice was in great form, and I gotta give him a lot of credit. This version of Great White may not have all of the original members, but I gotta say this version sounds the most like the band I remember from my late teens and beyond. I don’t know where Jack Russell found his guitarist Robby Lochner, but this guy is great, and a lot of fun to watch perform. Kudos to Great White for bringing it at M3, and putting on a great show. I hope I can catch this band live again soon.
Femme Fatale is another band that I never got to see back in the day. I still remember the day when I found their out of print CD in a local record shop. I squealed like a school girl when I found it. I was tickled to death to see Lorraine Lewis and company perform. This was obviously not the original band. Lorraine brought an all female band with her and I gotta say they definitely rocked. Lorraine Lewis was having a great time, and the fans seemed to love the band’s set as much as I did.
Moving back to the main stage was Stryper. I still remember their last appearance at M3 vividly, and I was kind of miffed by their shortened set that year. 2014 made up for that show with a longer set. Of course I gotta hear a bunch of my Styper favorites including “To Hell With The Devil”, “Soldiers Under Command”, “Free”, “Calling On You”. One of the nice surprises, was Stryper doing a a cover of “Shout It Out Loud” from KISS. I love their version on their CD The Covering, but it was awesome to see them do this live. Stryper set was one of the highlights at the 2014 M3 Rock Festival, but the best performances of the day were yet to come.
More on those later in our Saturday Review part 2.