L.A. GUNS come to Chicago at Arcada Theatre in St Charles IL, USA July 6, 2017
Review by Jake Warkel
Finally what every L.A. GUNS fan has been waiting for. An tour that actually has two of the most important founding fathers, of the band in the actual band together Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis. I’ve witnessed every Tracii Guns experience of L.A. GUNS as well as Phil Lewis’s with Steve Riley’s L.A. GUNS and always left their shows never completely satisfied because it’s not nor never would be musically satisfying on the Phil and Steve’s version of L.A GUNS with the roster of guitarists that ever played guitar just never had done the music justice, Just as the roster of vocalists Tracii had through all the years I felt no vocalist never cut it for me doing L.A. GUNS music. As a fan of L.A. GUNS I supported both Phil’s and Tracii’s versions but never was complete. That being said I’ve never been happier as a fan than now, that Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns are now touring together again doing what both should have been doing long ago together.
Tonight at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles IL a suburb west of Chicago , will have what is going to be a killer show with Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis back together as L.A. GUNS. I’m so stoked to see the show myself but as I’ve been talking to some of the fans that are making their way in and they could not be more happier that Phil and Tracii are back together again as well. Most of the fans comments have been mainly ripping on Steve Riley and blaming him on why this as not happened sooner. All and all who cares it’s happening now and that’s all that matters. Mostly fans want to hear the new album “Missing the Peace” that will be released October 13 2017 on Frontiers Music label. Many are wondering how many new songs tonight they will play other than “Seed” but we shall see as the stage is being set and the lights go down.
L.A. GUNS now takes the stage with “No Mercy” from their self entitled debut album L.A GUNS which was released in 1988. They came out hard and heavy with “No Mercy” just ass kicking in your face giving the crowd the energy right off the back and gaining speed as the crowd fueled their energy. Phil and Tracii both looked extremely happy and tuned in for what is going to be a killer right of music ahead. Up next “Electric Gypsy” also from their debut album that makes me remember their video as they where riding their Harley’s out on some desert roads somewhere. Sorry not to track off course Phil’s vocals are sounding awesome even though we are two songs in and the band is sounding good at this point. From the 1994 album Vicious Circle “Killing Machine” is another good song choice for the order in the set as of now which flows good from song to song. The crowd is totally digging the show as of now.
Tracii Guns begins to play his bow on his guitar before the start of “Over the Edge” from 1991 Hollywood Vampires album and also appears on the soundtrack for the 1991 Point Break movie. One of my favorites “Bitch is Back” from yes their greatest album ever their 1988 self entitled debut album L.A. GUNS, thus far stage presence from all members is great to see so far it’s not boring and Phil Lewis totally controlling the stage. Next with one of L.A. GUNS biggest hits and crowd favorites “Sex Action” is of course pleasing the fans, but now nothing more important is “Speed” a new one from L.A. GUNS which is something this crowd wanted to hear something new and refreshing. “Speed” definitely keeps to the old school hard and heavy edge that distinguishes L.A. GUNS from the rest of the Hollywood bands when you where hear L.A. GUNS you know instantly who the hell it is.
With a classic “One more Reason” to “Kiss my love Goodbye” Tracii Guns is having so much fun up on stage, it’s
great to see Tracii and Phil up there onstage both looking happy and enjoying playing together again. As it definitely brings the fans more inviting as they are watching the show. “Don’t look at me that way” from 2001 album “Waking the Dead” bassist Johnny Martin still head banging strong as he has been so far all night and playing with his long open leg style stance look on stage as well just rocking out. Now for the cover rendition of Prince’s “Purple Rain” sung by guitarist Michael Grant who does a great tribute to Prince. Most who have never seen Michael sing this song before tonight are pretty amazed. Tracii Guns rips a killer guitar solo which he never disappoints from shredding to Bluesy rock to licks to classic tapping and then straight into “Never Enough” from 1989’s “Cocked and Loaded”. “Jelly Jam” is a instrumental that for the first half lets Michael Grant show more of his guitar solos abilities and then the second half Tracii Guns shows off his guitar abilities again.
The next song was the bands most popular biggest success hit songs of all-time “The Ballad of Jayne” which peaked at number 25 and 33 on the Billboards Mainstream Rock Chart and the Billboards Top 100’s and help make the album “Cock and Loaded”
eventually go Platinum. Phil of course let the crowd participate in singing the song along with him. “Rip and Tear” will end it hear for the last song on the night. I must say Tracii Guns all night looked more at home on stage with Phil up there with playing their classics and the new song “Speed”. Tracii is a monster on guitar and has always been a beast on guitar. Phil Lewis as always looks in control and manages the stage as he should and engages the crowd constantly, Phil is a show man for sure and his voice held up well I thought he sounded great all night. Michael Grant is a solid rhythm guitarist who has a great voice which helps fill backgrounds well and can in his own right shred if necessary. Johnny Martin helps drive the rhythm section with his bass ability’s as well as helps on backgrounds. Shane Fitzgibbon is a solid time keeper behind the drum kit as well as a good background vocalist. Shane’s drumming is well rounded and definitely not one dimensional.
By far this L.A. GUNS line-up of Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis with guitarist Michael Grant, bassist Johnny Martin and drummer Shane Fitzgibbon is bar none the best since the original line-up. I certainly hope this line-up will stay together for time sometime to come. Sure most fans would love to see all original members back but that’s just not going to happen here and as for now this is the best line-up to date. I encourage that you must go check them out when they are anywhere near your neck of the woods or for the hell of it travel to see them they wont disappoint.
4.OVER THE EDGE
5.BITCH IS BACK
8.ONE MORE REASON
9.KISS MY LOVE GOODBYE
10.DON’T LOOK AT ME THAT WAY
13. NEVER ENOUGH
14. JELLY JAM
15. THE BALLAD OF JAYNE
16. RIP AND TEAR