Max Watts in Melbourne seems such a perfect venue to enjoy the contemporary offerings of LA Guns, thanks to On Tour Presents. As one descends hallowed staircase and is greeted by the tremendous staff of this venue, a particular feeling of awe washes over prompted by the notion that this will be the very first time Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns will have played in Melbourne together…ever.
The Kids (not, not from Belgium) kicked off proceeding, lacking not one ounce of enthusiastic delivery. More bouncing, rocking and bustin’ a move than one could possibly wish for on a Friday night and The Kids greeted the inward flow of excited patrons in fine form.
Eightball Junkies followed up with a killer set of solid numbers and delivered brilliantly. Vocalist Will Vaughan announced that the band had written a track last Wednesday, played it in Brisbane the next night and were not sure how it went down. After pumping out Year Of The Dog to a delighted Melbourne audience, I think it’s fair to say that you’re onto a winner there lads. A fantastic track and cranked out to perfection much like an astonishing cover of Rebel Yell that would have Billy Idol himself uttering “fuck off mate, that’s awesome” in finest cockney accent. A fantastic set that had the room suitably warmed for the arrival of Sisters Doll.
Sisters Doll…These lads are an awesome Aussie glam rock outfit but 2 encores? Yes, the crowd demanded two encores. Presumably that says it all, but to make you a little more jealous of what you missed, Sisters Doll absolutely slayed their set and set the bay way up aloft any who would dare follow. Fortunately its L.A. Guns, so no issue there but Sisters Doll can be extremely proud of a performance that will be spoken about long after we have forgotten where it occurred and who they were supporting. This performance will stand out in my memory as a top notch headline performance, albeit a shortened version. Bravura Sisters Doll. That got the blood pumping. Wow.
With only a few moments to catch up with industry identities before the headline act and a chance to shoot the shit instead of share the pit with brilliant globetrotting rock photographer Paul Miles lead, us both to reflect what a historic moment this really is. The very first time that L.A. Guns perform live Australia with Phil and Tracii, each band member a huge identity in rock history here assembled in one place, a fifteen year fuel put to rest by The Missing Peace all culminate into what is sure to be an unmissable show. Or so I thought.
The truth is that with the first notes played and the vocal delivery of Phil, the breath was removed from my lungs, brought goose bumps to my flesh and mouth left agape in bewildered awe. To see these legends of rock reunited and the mighty L.A. Guns in full flight is one memory neither frail infirmity nor the marching years will ever tear from my recollection.
Electric Gypsy and No Mercy allowed a slow return back to terra firma from my lofty heights of rock elation, but still the vision before me was one I could scarcely believe. I watched in reflection a Tracii took bow to guitar for his solo routine but Bitch is Back is when I genuinely felt how overwhelmed by the mammoth importance of this most momentous occasion. This one gem from the 1988 debut album brought home to roost, how the lost years were repaired and the most magnificent L.A. Guns were back delivering a balanced measure of the old and the new…and it’s real.
Perhaps I make too much of this event and allow my inner rock teen to revel and celebrate unrestrained but as I think back to a pre tour interview with Phil Lewis and ask him to describe his magical reunion with Tracii, I believe the answer lies therein. I hope that this tour and the years since finding The Missing Peace are providing the entire band, but particularly Phil and Tracii with a feeling close to what is being experienced by us here tonight.
As the set list rolled on and continued to Rip and Tear an L.A. Guns sized hole in our rock souls, the overwhelming reality that the quality of the bands performance and the overwhelming appeal of their contemporary offerings combine into a show that belongs in an arena before thousands of adoring fans. Perhaps with the stops removed along with an onward and upwards attitude from the band, we should count ourselves as extremely fortunate that they were so close for us to enjoy.
But it’s over all too soon. L.A. Guns could start this set again and there would be nothing but cheers and cries of elation from this crowd and not one would head for the door. This was one of those extremely special events that are a rarely in our lives. A relatively intimate show with a perfect reunion and a perfect band, launching the appeal of the night into legendary, arena scale significance.
Thank you L.A. Guns. This was an experience I for one will never forget. I beg you people of Australia, people of the world…do not miss this opportunity to experience a truly historic rock event, cram packed with shredding, pounding, screaming rock appeal and performance perfection.
Review Contributed by Casper