October 19 & 20, 2007

Concert reviews written by Odd Inge Rand and Tarald Lie

Friday, October 19th:

Entering a ship filled with beer, booze, and your favorite bands from 15-20 years ago all sounds like a dream. With a time machine turned into a boat, it was time to be filled with 80’s glory on this years Rock The Boat Festival, now named Skagerock.


He might have looked like the youngest aboard this boat this weekend, and with his short hair and energetic attitude, the 47 year old ex-Mr. Big singer is still delivering the goods. 4 shows into his new and favorite Norwegian backing band Hayseed, Mr. Martin offered a jawdropping set of many old classics like “Daddy, Lover, Brother, Little Boy,” “Voodoo Kiss,” and “Alive And Kicking.”

Hayseed, a Norwegian band with their own agenda (and also playing their own headlining set the day after) made all forget that there actually have been people named Billy Sheehan and Paul Gilbert alongside Eric Martin in his career, and 5 years after Mr. Big wrapped it up, the songs are still alive and kicking. John Nymann from Y&T entered the stage on “To Be With You,” which won the audience participation price this weekend for sure.


Talk about a career with ups and downs, but Lenny Wolf still holds the Kingdom Come moniker alive. Technical difficulties gave the show a terrible start, but the 4-piece came back and revived a little bit of their 80’s glory to a crowd now starting to dig seriously into the beer and the booze.

Kingdom Come’s two first albums are regarded as classics today, and songs like “Get It On,” “Living Out Of Touch,” and “Do You Like It?” are luckily still in their set. Lenny Wolf might not be the singer he used to be, and invited festival organizer and Rock singer Jan Erik Salvesen on stage to join him on “Get It On.” A crowdpleaser indeed, and the show ended on a high after a troubled start.


Way over 20 years after his heyday, Don Dokken still tours under his surname with only half the band intact from those four albums from the mid-80’s. Mick Brown is still behind the drum kit, only to have been out this summer to tour with Ted Nugent.

Guitarist Jon Levin is the third guitar player to have recorded with the band since George Lynch’s final departure in 1997, and while both Reb Beach (now with Whitesnake) and John Norum (Europe) have their own style, Jon Levin might be the one that is the closest to George Lynch.

A new album is on the way, the sixth after the comeback in 1995, but the setlist contained only one song, “Too High To Fly,” from their 1995 Dysfunctional album -– the rest were old classics from 1982-87. Don Dokken now a few years into his 50’s, and while other Rock singers of his generation still hold up pretty well, Don’s voice is far from what it used to be in the 80’s.

To hear the 2007 version of “Kiss Of Death” is indeed sad, and although the set contained Dokken classics like “Breaking The Chains,” “Into The Fire,” “Just Got Lucky,” “Unchain The Night,” and “It’s Not Love” before the encores “Tooth ‘N’ Nail” and “In My Dreams,” this show proved that Dokken hasn’t got that much to bring to the table anymore.


With the 2003 and 2004 shows at Sweden Rock Festival in memory, hopes were up high to see Dave Meniketti and his Y&T playing a clubset at Skagerock this year. Not having done much in Scandinavia before, the band has many fans and all of them wore smiley faces as Dave Meniketti proved that even in his 50’s, he can still sing and play the guitar like there’s no tomorrow.

New drummer Mike Vanderhule has replaced Leonard Haze, making also Y&T down to 50% of their classic line-up, but with Dave Meniketti up front doing what he does, you won’t miss anyone. The band’s chemistry is untouchable, and the guys had the time of their life on stage. None of the old classics were missed as they tore their way through “Open Fire,” “Contagious,” “Lipstick And Leather,” “Mean Streak,” and “Midnight In Tokyo.”

Also, a genuine Spinal Tap moment was when the most eager member of the audience crowd-surfed all the way up and landed right before Dave Meniketti’s feet. Who was it? Eric Martin! Looking like he was having the party of his life, he ended the festival’s first night by sharing the microphone with the rest of the band singing “Forever.” And the way Dave Meniketti and Phil Kennemore spent these two hours on stage, it surely looked like they could do this forever …

Saturday, October 20th:


Return kickstarted Saturday’s party, providing a nostalgic round trip in Norwegian AOR territory for the large audience. The sound was amazing and the band was professional as hell, soaking the fans with brimful buckets of hits. Rockers such as “Tonight” and “United In A Scream” (including the slightly passé line “we are the future” … hehe) were interspersed by classic ballads such as “Take This Heart,” “Friends Will Be Friends,” and “Sing Me A Song.” Knut Erik Østgård’s vocals were incredible, and the whole band delivered all through the set, with an important helping hand from additional rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Henning Ramseth. Steinar Hagen started off “To The Top” with very tasty guitar work and continued to impress with great melodic licks throughout the songs. Their self-pronounced Eurovision Song Contest Song “Steal Your Heart Away” continued the ball, leading into “Colour Of My Wildest Dreams.” With a setlist tailor-made for audience sing-along participation, the crowd was more than happy to scream their hearts out, climaxing in the encores “Can You Forgive Me” and “Bye, Bye Johnny.” A successful gig indeed, filled with many memorable moments, leaving the crowd very pleased …


The Swedes of Treat were up next, and for some strange reason, the crowd was now quite scarce, but that didn’t affect the band at all. Enthusiastic singer Robert Ernlund worked his ass off and showed that his pipes still have the same force and finesse as they did back in the days. Drummer extraordinaire Jamie Borger – also of Talisman and Last Autumn’s Dream – stole the show via some amazingly cool tight and tasty fills and grooves. With super catchy songs such as “Get You On The Run,” “World Of Promises,” “Sole Survivor,” and “Burn For You” (great new one from their latest compilation), enhanced by Borger’s spicy drumming and wonderful guitar work by Anders Wickström, the band couldn’t go wrong. Unfortunately, the time schedule didn’t allow them to play the old crowd pleaser “Rev It Up,” but still a great gig by the semi-legendary – though quite underrated – band. The grapevine is whispering that they might come visit Norway this winter; an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. Go check them out!


How about starting off with Spike’s health announcement of the night: “Cranberries are good for your liver, so when you drink cranberry juice and vodka, you can drink as much as you want!”

There was a whole lot of anticipation in the air for this band; and it started out really well with a great new tune, leading into “Misled” and “Finer Stuff.” The room was already packed with smiles and smiles; and the band played on, diving into “Tramps and Thieves” and the new “One For The Road” – it’s about drinking, of course. After a slightly humpty dumpty start of “Roses and Rings,” the band sharpened up and played like hell for the remainder of the performance. Spike delivered impeccably throughout the show, and his characteristically hoarse voice was full of emotion and kick ass attitude. The singer’s charismatic and genuinely likeable stage persona made people feel welcome and included in the “ceremony.” The interludes between the songs were spiced with irony, good jokes, and heartfelt gratitude towards the crowd “who are keeping Rock ‘n’ Roll alive.” The atmosphere was indeed a blissful one. The Bluesy slide intro of “This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll” – a song in which the title says it all – was a moment of pure brilliance. Their upcoming single “Mona Lisa Smile” (will be released in February) paved the way for the latter part of the show, which proved to be a safe (but mind blowing and glass raising) hit parade including: “There She Goes”, “Hey You,” “7 O’clock” and the encores “I Don’t Love You Anymore” and “Sex Party” — the latter replete with three female backing singers; not very rehearsed, and definitely something fans would have done without, but the atmosphere was loose enough, and most people were drunk enough to appreciate it anyway. Thank God the Quireboys are still around to keep serving their beautiful odes to drinking and women — an amazing live band.

DEAD BABIES – A Tribute to Alice Cooper

Bjørn “Burnem” Müller (Backstreet Girls) and the other guys of Dead Babies (members of the Norwegian band Waste) concluded a great night, giving the persistent audience a very cool Alice Cooper Experience. The stage props included balloons, gory baby dolls, blood-dripping heads, rubber rats, and of course a fake python. Müller – donning a big top hat – IS the impersonation of the Master of Shock Rock, looking uncannily like him, and singing a lot like him as well. Their short but sweet and sweaty set started out with a great rendition of “Elected,” moving into “Be My Lover,” and then surprisingly offering a more obscure, but very well-functioning “Lost in America;” arguably one of the few memorable Alice tunes from the 90s. “I’m Eighteen” was next in line, followed by a dead on version of “Dead Babies.” Last song of the night was “Under My Wheels,” with Müller looking sharp as ever with a plastic rat in his mouth; and what a way to go! Great fun for all the family!


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