Tommy Lee's 'Live & Loud' Tour
(Freedom Hill, Sterling Heights, MI – August 3, 2002)
Back in the day, when I was in about the sixth grade or so, I had the jacket with all of the patches of my favorite heavy metal bands. While, most of these bands have since broken up or just plain given up, it is nice to see what some of the patch-worthy have moved on to and to see them coming into their own. Last Saturday was a day full reminiscence with headliner Tommy Lee and a performance by Geoff Tate. Throw in some up and comers like Buzzhorn and Switched, with the local flavor of Grinder and you get a metal gathering made for the outdoors.
Taking the stage first and early in the day was Milwaukee band, Buzzhorn. Kicking off their set with the title track of their new album, Disconnected these mid-west boys did a body good as they rocked the place with their edgy sound that was neither too screamy nor too scratchy.
I was fortunate enough to sit in on an interview with the band earlier in the day to find that they are very down to earth and, like all of us, came from the day job bit. Other songs performed were "Waste of a Man” and “Carry Me Home”, which I have to wonder, upon learning that bassist Todd Joseph is the ladies man of the group, whether or not this is what he was asking a busty blonde to do while he went into the men’s room with her after their set. Hmmm??? So busted!! Seriously, this is a band to watch for in the future as their style and talent will lead the way.
Next to go on were the Cleveland natives, Switched. These guys did not care if the venue was only a quarter full, they wanted to tear it up with their very metal sound reminiscent of Coal Chamber or Drowning Pool. And tear it up they did, with their ultimate adrenaline rush of instruments meet voice. Busting out songs such as, “Anymore” I was shocked that there wasn’t a mosh pit. I believe that we will see them coming up in the neo-metal scene and the three quarters of ticket holders that were not in their seats will be sorry that they missed their performance.
Welcome to hockey town, with Red Wing Darren McCarty’s band Grinder coming on next. A group comprised of local musical talents with Billy Reedy and Eric Miller from Walk on Water, Bill Kozy from Speedball and Robby Graham from Hoarse. Add a singer who drinks from the Stanley Cup on a regular basis and there will always be good times ahead. Watching from my seat up in mid center, all I could see at the front of the stage were Red Wing jerseys flying and fans taking advantage of a post hockey season reason to head out to Freedom Hill. The band itself was good and McCarty really knows how to work a crowd. However, with so many covers like their set ender, “Sedated” by the Ramones, they are more tuned to a bar-type setting or a college house party rather than an opening act for Tommy Lee. The audience was in love though, so enough said.
Let’s move on up to the lead singer of Queensryche and for now solo artist Geoff Tate. Man, he hasn’t lost a beat with that chocolate metal voice! The audience had grown to a semi-descent size at this point and I could tell that this was a man that needed to be heard.
Performing songs such as “Helpless” and “Flood” off of his new album, one could see that Tate is an old hand at this game. He knew exactly how to work it and exactly what to do on stage. One might say that a stage is his home away from home, although he should have paid a little more attention and realized that he was in Sterling Heights, not Troy, when he greeted the audience. No matter, as he has one hell of a voice and gave them what they wanted with Queensryche classics like, “Gonna Get Close to You” off of the Rage For Order album and the oh-so-favorite ballad “Silent Lucidity”, to which the crowd wanted to get as close to the stage as possible. I think that Exclusive Magazine contest winners put it best when they commented on Tate by saying, “Jeff has an aura about him. If you get it, you get it. His oral style is very unique.” How do you top that!
The venue is now full (apart from the lawn, which hadn’t been full all day), the moonlight is glowing and all of the silicon breasts seem to be hiding in the shadows. Tommy Lee takes the stage. With galactic scenes playing on the screen behind, Tommy Lee began to sing about his own galactic scale of music.
Wow! After two well-known bands, Motley Crue and Methods of Mayhem, behind him Tommy Lee took this little ampitheater by storm and showed that being has offered him an outlet to expand his musical talents with a mix not unlike his diverse years upon this earth. He was like candy and the crowd was on a sugar binge as he performed songs off of his new album, Never a Dull Moment. You might have noticed this CD with the matrix type cover of Tommy’s face, well a matrix might be the perfect description of his new sound. Somewhere in the depths of metal, rap, hip-hop and techno has come a delicate mixture that makes you want to bang your head and bust a move all at the same time, and by God it totally works. The audience was in agreement with this crazy mix as the front of the venue was a squashy mass of bodies trying to get close to the madness, and the rest of us basking in the afterglow. And yes, the silicon breasts reappeared in the shine of the stage lights as girls felt the need to flash Tommy. Perhaps it is because he is now single from those other very famous silicon breasts, or just caught up in it all. Not real sure. However, Tommy couldn’t help but thank all of the “ladies” profusely throughout the entire show. Maybe, it’s a throwback to “Girls, Girls, Girls”. Anyhow, Tommy definitely rocked out with the vigor of an up and comer, but the status of a veteran performing songs from his new album, such as “Hold Me Down” and “Fame 02”. Yes, I am sure that this is a show to be remembered by the fans, and not to mention the neighbors of Freedom Hill, as a crazy mix of music hit the stage all day and gave us good dreams that night.
Reviewed by G.M. Pasfield / Live Photos by Russell A. Trunk
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