at The Carling Academy, Newcastle, U.K., February 28, 2008

Many bands from the 80’s who have reunited over the last few years have managed a half-baked tour or two and perhaps have even squeezed out a lame album to zero interest before imploding back into oblivion. Hanoi Rocks have managed to buck this trend, and rather convincingly too.

Since their “rebirth” in 2002, as frontman Michael Monroe prefers to term it, Hanoi Rocks have released three very strong albums with their latest Street Poetry being up there with their classic material from the 80’s. It is, however, on stage where Hanoi Rocks really excel.

hanoirocks Before the show, Monroe spoke to Metal Express Radio about his immense pride in their latest opus and how pretty much all of the album would be getting aired on the tour with the setlist having a major overhaul compared to previous tours.

True to his word, Street Poetry featured heavily throughout the set with the likes of show opener “Fumble Foot and Busy Bee;” their Finnish Number 1 hit single “Fashion,” which strutted proudly alongside the fist in the air anthem of “Teenage Revolution,” a song just screaming out to be played live. Hanoi’s ode to their heroes in “This One’s For Rock ‘n’ Roll” buzzed with energy while the effervescent and irresistibly funky “Power of Persuasion” grooved along a treat.

 hanoirocks The band seemed genuinely excited and invigorated by the new material and clearly relished the opportunity to air it on stage, and such is the strength of these new songs they slipped into the set — perfectly matching the quality of long established classics.

“A Day Late And A Dollar Short,” “People Like Me,” and “Bad News” with some particularly wicked harmonica from Monroe were highlights from the excellent Twelve Shots On The Rocks, the album that saw Hanoi Rocks returning to recording activity after nigh on 20 years.

As expected, however, it is the vintage material that elicits the greatest cheers of the night. “Malibu Beach” is sheer Punk energy and when Monroe straps on his saxophone for the first time in the night, you can see why it is seen as one of the coolest of all instruments to play. During “Back To Mystery City” Monroe showed a degree of athleticism that the likes of Diamond David Lee Roth can only dream about now. In fact, whatever Monroe is on should be available on the National Health Service as his energy levels never flag or wane at any point in the show.

As Monroe demanded to know whether or not the crowd was ready for Rock ‘n’ Roll, before tearing into “Tragedy,” he proceeded to climb up onto the toilet block and then along a ridge on the wall out into the middle of the hall — something akin to a glammed up Spiderman, much to the chagrin of the nervy security guys below who weren’t quite sure what to do. When has Health and Safety legislation ever stopped Monroe putting on a show??

 hanoirocks While his enigmatic, hyperactive frontman dazzled and sparkled, lead guitarist and vagabond extraordinaire pulled out the riffs and Rock ‘n’ Roll shapes to provide the Keith Richards to Monroe’s Jagger.

Although the main focal point for the band are Monroe and McCoy, they are more than ably supported by bassist Andy A.C Christell; drummer Lacu, making his farewell appearances before departing for pastures new, and multi-talented ex-Electric Boy, Conny Bloom, who really holds it all together.

As the show neared its climax, the classics came thick and fast with “Don’t You Ever Leave Me,” complete with Monroe resplendent in a red feather boa and sparkly, silver jacket before “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Oriental Beat” ended the set on a huge high.

 hanoirocks McCoy, returned to the stage armed with his Bo Diddley signature square box guitar for “Powertrip” from the Street Poetry album before “Motorvatin’” and the uplifting “Up Around The Bend” brought proceedings to a riotous conclusion.

It’s difficult not to get swept away by the energy and enthusiasm that pervades from every pore on stage, bearing in mind the knocks the band have taken over the years, this makes their performance all the more impressive.

 hanoirocks Maybe after all the years where Hanoi Rocks have missed out on hitting the real big time and having watched vastly inferior acts hit Platinum status, you could not have blamed them for jacking it all in. Thank goodness then that they decided to have another go and in doing so have kept alive one of the finest, most exciting Rock ‘n’ Roll acts ever to hit the stage. Let’s hope that in 2008 and beyond, Hanoi Rocks finally get the credit and sales that they so richly deserve.



  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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