at Tavastia, Helsinki, Finland, May 28, 2005

Looks like it’s never too late for an old dog to learn new tricks after all. Hanoi Rocks just pulled off a highly entertaining two hour set to a sold out crowd. There’s nothing unusual about the sold out part since every Hanoi show at Tavastia has sold out so far, but a two hour show is unheard of and if singer Michael Monroe would have his way, the band would probably still be on stage playing. It was good to see Michael being his old charming self, posing for the fans and high-fifing everyone. The crowd looked a bit different than usual, and this time the accustomed dressed-up Hanoi crowd was mostly absent, and it looked like the high profile promotion campaign for the new album was drawing in new faces interested in experiencing this rebellious rock ’n’ roll animal called Hanoi Rocks.

With a brand new album just being released, the band had a handful of new songs to play, and it was interesting to see which songs made it to the set. The brand new back banner was a clear indication that there were more changes to come. The second change that was obvious from the get-go was the pace of the set. There was no runaway train on stage this time, but a more relaxed and a tad road weary unit pacing themselves for the unusually long set.

It sounded like the band was really confident with the new songs and planned on staying around for a while since they started the set playing most of the songs from the new Another Hostile Takeover album, and, not counting the second track “High School,” the audience had to wait until the 7th song of the set to hear another older song. The newbies “Back In Your Face” and “Talk To The Hand” were both in-your-face and oozed conviction. There was even a request moment when someone shouted for “Eternal Optimist,” surprisingly going for one of the new tracks, making Monroe happy and revealing that it was one of his favorite tracks on the new album.

Andy McCoy seemed to be in a nostalgic mood. He dedicated “A Day Late and a Dollar Short” to Razzle reminding us that friends are important. “Don’t You Ever Leave Me” got him reminiscing about his youth and being in love when he wrote the song, thus dedicating it to those in love.

The new and welcome aspects to the show were the goofing off parts where Michael got a plastic hammer and banged himself and the front row with it until the hammer broke, and Andy playing with his scarf and ending up wearing it like a bandit covering most of his face, leaving only his eyes in sight. The show also had it’s share of hassles, like when Conny blew a fuse on his amp and the band was forced to take a break… Michael introduced the band and carried on with what sounded like an inside joke naming Conny and Andy the dynamic duo of Bongo and Bingo.

There was also an interesting sideshow in a form of a new apprentice of drummer Lacu. One of the roadies seemed to be learning the drum tracks straight from Lacu by sitting right next to him and using the drum riser as his drum set playing along on most of the songs.

Even though the audience did get to hear many old favorites like “Tragedy,” “I Can’t Get It,” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” among others, it still seemed that the last two new albums were dominating the set, which is also a new thing to the Hanoi show and demonstrates how confident the band is in their new material.

Instead of the usual one encore this time, the crowd was treated to two encores, adding another dozen songs to the set. During “Motorvating,” the whole band, not including Lacu, ended up sitting on the drum riser, ending the song in a huge jam session. Conny got to sing a bit of “Reggae Rocker” and the start of “Taxi Driver,” and a medley of a couple of covers emerged in the middle of “I Feel Alright,” ending the night on a high note.

This was the most drastic makeover a Hanoi set has seen so far. The band is taking a bold step in relying on the new songs instead of the usual classics. Time will tell how many of these new songs make it to live favorites. In any case, the show was about sweat, class, and smiles, which amounts to one seriously entertaining evening.


  • Metal-Katie

    Katie was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. She claims to have been born a Metalhead. At least she's been one as far as she can remember. She loves Metal music and she's ever so happy to see generation after another founding its charm. She's always interested in hearing new Metal bands and reading about them and their antics. She lives and breathes Metal, or at least her alter ego does.

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