Roxy Petrucci and Share Ross say Hi to their Spanish fans before the tour starts.
Awesome concert the one that took place in Bilbao last Friday, September 26 before an excited crowd that enjoyed every minute of the show… and what came afterwards.
Even before the doors got opened you could tell this was going to be a no-bullshit rock´n´roll show. And I say that because I´ve had some not-so-good experiences when going to see some “massive” artists like Springsteen, Adams, etc. There´s always some sucker who goes to a rock show as if he´s sitting down in his living room listening to a record: arms crossed, blocking your sight of the stage and looking down on you when you´re singing the songs. Assholes.
That was not the case of Vixen´s audience in Bilbao. Starting with their looks, you could tell you were going to a rock concert: black was the predominant color; AC/DC, Def Leppard, Helloween, Ramones or Quireboys t-shirts pretty much left no doubt as to the kind of crowd gathering outside the venue; there was long hair everywhere and girls in particular were mainly dressed in leather, boots and high heels.
They let us in half an hour before the show was due to start and I got to the second row, between the singer and bass player´s mikes. The only “barrier” separating me from the stage was a 20-something long haired blonde that looked like the Janet Gardner from 1990.
The waiting was not hard to take since AC/DC´s “Powerage” rocked through the speakers. Just as we were getting ready to listen to “Rock´n´roll Damnation” for the second time, our four favorite ladies graced us with their presence.
“Roxy Lady” (as Hendrix would say) was the first one to greet us from behind her drum kit and set the rhythm from the very beginning, banging away like there was no tomorrow. The only brunette in the band had her own male groupie shouting “Petrucci, I love you!” all night long at her. At one point, even the bassist told him: “I didn´t understand what you just said, I hope it was something good”. No need to worry, Share: what he said was “Petrucci, I´m yours! Do what you want with me!”
Gina “Blackmore” Stile took Jan Kuehnemund´s place. But she didn´t try to replace her: nobody can. And that´s what´s good about the New York native: she has her own personality and wins over the audience easily with her likableness, her drive and, of course, her skills on the six strings.
Janet “Rock Goddess” Gardner had us eating from her hand from the very first guitar chord. With her “centerfold body going through the moves”, she makes you want to leave everything for her. She´s a panther on stage, strutting and prowling until she drives you crazy. And she´s still hitting all the right notes just like 25 years ago, no matter how difficult they are.
And I saved the best for last: Share “Magic” Ross (no pun intended with the Who song). I admit it. She´s my weakness. My Achilles´ heel. She´s an amazing musician and singer. She´s pure joy on stage. She´s charisma. Her smile can melt you to pieces. Offstage she´s as kind as she can be and her bright blue eyes leave you breathless, completely helpless.
Roxy´s tremendous drum roll announced the beginning of “Rev It Up” and from the very start my expectations came true; every single fan was there for the right reasons: longing to see the band and ready to sing, jump and interact with our very own American girls, who also gave us everything they had from the moment they took the stage, with an eager-to-please attitude that shouldn´t be taken for granted.
The “whoa-oh”s and the chorus of their second album´s title track could be heard from a million miles away, but nothing compared with the night´s first highlight: the second song, one of their biggest hits “How Much Love”, was the perfect choice to carry on with the party.
“Cruisin´” and “Bad Reputation” are songs made to be played live for the audience to take over Janet´s place in the chorus, something to which the singer happily agreed.
“Cryin´” was one of the best moments during the whole show, with its beautiful beginning, just piano and Gardner´s voice. For me, it was THE song I definitely most wanted to hear and, just as I expected, it made me feel like I was 17 again, when I first heard about the band. It was a bittersweet feeling, because I couldn´t help thinking about Jan.
Halfway through “I Want You To Rock Me”, they tried to play a “game” with the audience that didn´t go over very well: Janet sang some lines from hard rock songs from the ´80´s and we were supposed to sing the next line but, on one hand, most people repeated what she sang instead of doing what she had said and, on the other hand, some songs weren´t that well known. I don´t know, maybe Slaughter didn´t have many fans in Bilbao. Some of the songs that got an accurate reply were “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard, “I Love Rock´n´Roll” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison.
One of the surprises was “Not A Minute Too Soon”, a song they said it was only the second time they´d played it during that tour. They apologized in case they didn´t play it very well (sounded great to me) and admitted they were still fighting jet lag a little bit (didn´t show, girls).
Minutes later, Share took over lead vocals for a really cool version of Neil Young´s “Rockin´ In The Free World”, sang by everybody. Right after that, the night´s solemn moment came, when they reminded us that we had lost Jan almost a year ago, and that every note, every song would be dedicated to her… a message they followed with an intense “Love Is A Killer”, a song that received one of the evening´s biggest ovations. That ovation was eclipsed by the almost immediate beginning of “Never Say Never” from their album “Tangerine”, the only exception to a performance based on their first two records.
The band laughed through half of “Hell Raisers”, I´m not really sure why, I think maybe Janet forgot some of the words.
Approaching the end of the show, they announced they were going to play a song requested to them on Facebook, another proof of how well they treat their fans. And then performed the great “Love Made Me”, with its cool “a capella” beginning.
After a brief drum solo by Roxy, they closed the show with “Wrecking ball” and left… only to come back two minutes later to play, of course, “Edge Of A Broken Heart”, which ended up being the most passionately sung song of the whole concert.
That seemed to be the end of one hell of a night. I was lucky enough to get one of the pics Share threw to the crowd and I also bought a t-shirt when I came out… mainly because the one I was wearing was soaking wet after an hour and a half of singin´, jumpin´, clappin´ & rockin´.
I went to the bathroom to change and to my surprise when I came out all four of them were sitting there: Share, Roxy, Janet and Gina, ready to sign autographs, take pictures and talk one by one with anyone who wanted to. It had only been 10 minutes since the show had ended and they spent almost an hour talking to the fans with infinite patience and their best smiles on. Mind blowing.
I had the chance of introducing myself to Share (“It´s Iñigo, from the interview”) and I flipped out with her kindness and thankfulness (?????) for doing the interview I posted a few days before the concert:
“Thank me??? THANK YOU!!!”, I said. Gorgeous and charming, just like Roxy and Janet. Didn´t get a chance to get a picture with Gina.
So anyway, it was an unforgettable evening, both musically and personally. I just hope they had the same blast we had so we can have them back on their next tour, when they promote their next album, which, if everything goes as planned, we´ll be able to enjoy next year.
Ladies, you´re fuckin´ awesome. We love you. Please come back soon. Thanks a million.
1. REV IT UP
2. HOW MUCH LOVE
3. CRUISIN´ + 4. BAD REPUTATION
6. I WANT YOU TO ROCK ME
7. NOT A MINUTE TOO SOON
8. STREETS IN PARADISE
9. ROCKIN´ IN THE FREE WORLD (NEIL YOUNG COVER)
10. LOVE IS A KILLER
11. NEVER SAY NEVER
12. HELL RAISERS
13. LOVE MADE ME
14. WRECKING BALL
Finally, this is us cheering for the band ;-)