Riot -- New York, NY -- January 18th, 2012
This is per request by Mankvill on Facebook:
Most of you know that I was very much looking forward to this show. Riot has been one of my favorite bands for years, and along with Fates Warning, held the top spot for a favorite band I hadn't seen live yet (aside from Savatage/Avantasia, which I don't really consider possible). The only other time Riot has played the northeast since I became a fan was at a club in New Jersey in early 2006, when I was too young to get in. Most of you also know that their comeback album Immortal Soul was my personal #2 album of 2011. This was one of the most anticipated shows of my concert-going experience.
It was announced a few days prior to the show(s) that founding guitarist and band leader Mark Reale was going to be forced to sit out the dates due to complications of Crohn's Disease. I was a bit heartbroken, and concerned as to how the band would come off as a single-guitar band, but ultimately very, very grateful that they decided to go through with the shows anyway.
We got into the city earlier than expected, around 3pm and decided to walk around a bit, getting back around 4:30. There was still no line outside, and someone from the venue said we could go downstairs and sit in the bar in the adjacent room until they opened the doors, so we waited there til about 5:50, and were the first people inside when they opened the doors at 6. The turnout was pretty bleak at first, but by around 8 the place started to fill up a bit. I'd say the turnout was maybe 350 people. Not absolutely terrible, but certainly not great either. It was an energetic crowd though, so I didn't feel the band got gypped or anything.
There were two support bands, the first being Gothic Knights, who were pretty impressive. I'm almost ashamed to admit that despite them being a NYC-area band, I had never really taken the time to check them out. They are normally a 5 or 6-piece band, but I guess due to issues they only performed as a 4-piece (vocals, guitar, bass, drums). Most impressive of all was vocalist Rick Sanchez - there seems to be a pretty big shortage of great male vocalists out there anymore, but this guy was outstanding, his voice reminiscent of a more powerful version of Charlie Dominici. Gothic Knights were much better than the other support band Arctic Flame, who I've seen countless times over the years with really varied lineups, and they're always pretty mediocre at best. But it's not horrible inappropriate "better off as a garage band" shit, so I'm not really complaining.
Riot came on around 8:45 and played a kick-ass set packed with "classic" songs, stuff from the Thundersteel era, and a few cuts off the newest album, Immortal Soul. To be honest, I felt the set could've been 2-3 songs longer, particularly the absence of "Bloodstreets" upset me. Adding that, "Dance of Death", and an extra song or two off the new record would've made me really happy, but being that I like every album Riot has ever put out, a "bad" setlist really wasn't possible. It was a really energetic and intimate performance, including one very special guest appearance. The band returned for the encore and welcomed guitarist Rick Ventura (Riot's 2nd guitarist from 1978-1984) to the stage for a couple of songs. It was really a special treat and a great way to help thank the fans for coming in spite of Reale's absence. At the end of the show I was able to get the one pick Rick Venture threw out, a drumstick from Bobby Jarzombek (my favorite drummer, who actually remembered me and my name from the two previous times I had met him), and a setlist. After the show all the guys came out and just hung out with the fans for quite some time, so I was able to get some pictures, have them sign my setlist, and talk a little bit about things. I don't want to go into too much detail, but from what I've heard, things about Mark Reale are NOT good, so even though I'm not a "praying" sort of person, I'm really hoping he pulls through.
02 Fight or Fall
03 On Your Knees
04 Metal Soldiers
06 Fire Down Under
07 Johnny's Back
08 Wings are For Angels
09 Sign of the Crimson Storm
10 Still Your Man
12 Flight of the Warrior
13 Road Racin'
14 Warrior (w/ Rick Ventura)
15 Swords and Tequila (w/ Rick Ventura)
They should have played Swords and Tequila twice because it's just that awesome.
A good friend of mine drove down to VA from Baltimore to see them play at Jaxx last night. Turns out, Jaxx was remodeling and cancelled the show without telling either audience or band. So he went across the street to the Afghan kabob place... only to find Riot there eating. So he had dinner with Riot, got a setlist and some merch, and generally had a pretty damn good alternative to seeing them perform. Lucky bastard. He always falls into situations like that.
That's odd about the shorter set, in 09 they played 19 songs usually (according to setlist.fm anyway). That's terrible to hear about Mark, I truly hope he pulls through. If there's a guy who seriously deserves a break from all the bullshit Riot has gone through in the past thirty years, it's him.
Sounds like you had a good time at the show though! The set is definitely solid, but I suppose I'll never hear On Wings of Eagles played live. Also very cool to hear about Rick Ventura showing up, it would have been even better with Mark there.
[QUOTE=Fates Guardian;436665]A good friend of mine drove down to VA from Baltimore to see them play at Jaxx last night. Turns out, Jaxx was remodeling and cancelled the show without telling either audience or band. So he went across the street to the Afghan kabob place... only to find Riot there eating. So he had dinner with Riot, got a setlist and some merch, and generally had a pretty damn good alternative to seeing them perform. Lucky bastard. He always falls into situations like that.[/QUOTE]
Yup, the band showed up to the venue, posted on Facebook what was up with the whole situation, told fans not to buy tickets and contact Jaxx for a refund, said that they'd be hanging out anyway, and even posted where they'd be eating dinner so fans could join them. Easily one of the coolest things I've ever heard of a band doing. I cannot hope enough that they come to California sometime (with Mark in tow of course!).
Great to see RIOT back out there .....hope Mark Reale gets better soon.
That story about JAXX is so ridiculous and unprofessional....i've heard all kinds of horror stories from bands about that place. F JAXX!
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