Doro Pesch @ Highline Ballroom (3/23/2008)

Doro is the reigning Queen of Metal and when she tours it is always a good time. Tonight she would be at the Highline Ballroom and entertain like never before. It was Easter Sunday but there was still a solid crowd of Metal fans in place. To read and see more about this, just scroll past the logo below to see it all.

Logo - Doro

Artist: Doro Pesch
Venue: Highline Ballroom (New York, NY)
Opener: Fatal Smile, Arctic Flame, Lipstick Magazine
Date: 3/23/2008
Label: Locomotive Records

Truth be told, Easter Sunday is not a normal day for me to catch a Heavy Metal show but in all honesty most of us are done with family obligations early enough to still be able to catch a band that’s going on later in the evening no matter what day it happens to be. Such was the case when Doro Pesch, the true Metal Queen for over two decades now, decided to return to New York City for a performance at the Highline Ballroom. For those who have yet to see something over at the place, I had to say that this venue is perfect for Doro since it offers her a decent sized stage to run around on along with great sound and lighting. The last time she performed in New York, she appeared at B.B. King’s, and while the venue is known for all of the Metal shows it holds throughout the year, the stage at the Highline Ballroom is a little better for some bands. The night was listed as Doro with two unsigned openers kicking off the performance and as result would find a band called Lipstick Magazine and Arctic Flame starting the crowd off in their musical evening. Having limited background in Lipstick Magazine and running a little late with the train I opted to pass on them and arrive in time for some of Arctic Flame’s set. I had seen them a number of times in recent concert memory and they are not bad at what they do for the Power Metal genre. When I arrived straight on the dime for the set I found out that the first band had already gone on and while thinking it must have been the Lipstick group, I was stunned to find out that it was instead the band Fatal Smile. Apparently, there was some sort of mix up and parties were uninformed about Fatal Smile being a part of the tour so for this particular case the venue had them go on at 7:30pm when only about 30 fans were in the audience.

To be honest I had no real idea about the band other than that they were also a Locomotive Records artist like Doro and had recently completed a successful direct opening slot for WASP. Still based on this the band should not have been relegated to the 7:30pm slot and instead been adjusted to the direct support that being a label artist offers you the luxury of holding. Good group or not, the unsigned bands should never go on after a label act because that is simply how it goes. Especially when one has an image as strong as Fatal Smile lads appeared to have and more so since they were getting ready to unleash their latest studio release on American soil. When I realized I had missed them based on the lack of information I decided to spend the larger portion of the Lipstick set talking to Fatal Smile, and learning about the album “World Domination” that would be hitting the streets the following week. Fans that caught them made sure they told me I missed out on a good time but how was I to know. I did watch some of Lipstick Magazine and they were good Rock and Roll and they kept the energy up but I would have sacrificed their slot to see the Glam Slam Hard Rock that Fatal Smile apparently brought to the table. Arctic Flame came up next and seemed to deliver the same set I had only seen weeks ago when the band opened up for Grave Digger. They are a solid unit but it seemed like a couple of different members were in place tonight. Fortunately guitarist Rob Mariani was still on point and so was their signature smoke spewing monster sun thing. If you like traditional sounding Metal then you would be interested in these guys and according to some other calendar appearances I see coming, their name is listed as one of the support groups so if that’s what you crave you will get your wish. Now it was time for Doro to deliver the goods and the crowd was certainly at the ready.

Doro hit the stage like she always does and that’s pretty much like the eye of a hurricane and this kind of entry is always met with high energy levels and approval from the audience. Her band this time around would feature the talents of Joe Taylor on guitar and those who caught the singer the last time around might remember that guitarist Chris Caffery was filling in for the tour. While it would have been nice to see him jamming once again it sure didn’t take anything away from the gig as Doro and company thundered through her hits. Doro opened up with “I Rule The Ruins” and then showed us she was “True As Steel”. The singer was all smiles from the second she hit the boards and with the Highline not having any sort of photo pit barrier to keep the audience back a few feet the crowd was right up there and able to sing into the microphone when she held it out to them. She dedicated the song “You’re My Family” to the crowd and while they were singing aloud for this one it was amazing to find the almost silence while she did “Above The Ashes”. Her rendition of Judas Priest’s “Breaking The Law” is rather interesting as she begins it with a slow ballad sort of vibe before she kicks it into gear and during the track we find bassist Nick Douglas and the guitarists running around quite a bit as well. Johnny Dee would do a drum solo and while the audience was into it from my vantage point they were not yelling back at him on command which led him to ask if he was really in New York. He does a little bit of an “I Love It Loud” trick where he gets the audience to sing along but their lack of response had him tell the crowd that they were killing him. In all fairness I think this particular crowd just wanted the songs but audience participation during solos is always risky business. Doro would dedicate a song to KISS’ Gene Simmons and deliver an interesting version of “Only You” from their “Music From The Elder” album. While I really like the song I would have loved to see Doro pull “I” from her bag of tricks. It’s a much better tune.

Eventually the night moved to the main set closer of “All We Are” which always seems to be the song people are chanting for over and over at any given time. This was probably the biggest in terms of the crowd response and it appeared to be the end for the show until she returned and literally was polling the audience for the songs they wanted to hear next. This was different and while she would do four more numbers it really seemed as though she didn’t want to go home all that quickly. Her energy level was at an all time high and she looked and sounded great. They had the talented Luca Princiota on the keyboards and second guitar once again and he truly seems to be a good fit for the players Doro has under her command. After the show she would do a meet and greet and sign posters, albums, CD’s and just pose for pictures with those were able to participate. The downside was the earlier issue with Fatal Smile and the fact that while the audience in attendance was in high gear, that there didn’t seem to be much more than 100 of them. Perhaps the fact that this was a late Sunday on a major holiday came into issue with some who wanted to be there or perhaps enough people didn’t know about the show. Either way, Doro delivered as always and never ceases to amaze me with her zeal and love of performance and the Metal fans that support her. If you can’t catch her when she comes to town the next time around then get yourself a copy of the recent DVD that she issued as it’s a full concert and a ton of other fun and enjoyable footage.

Set List:
1. I Rule The Ruins
2. True As Steel
3. You’re My Family
4. Metal Racer
5. Above The Ashes
6. Breaking The Law
7. Hellraiser
8. Johnny Dee Drum Solo
9. Earthshaker Rock
10. Only You
11. Love Me In Black
12. East Meets West
13. All We Are
14. Hellbound
15. Fight For Rock – encore
16. Fight – encore
17. Burn It Up – encore

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