On a cold, damp night in November it takes a damn good reason to entice ageing rockers out of their warm cocoon and weekly fix of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. But how could you miss the legendary Doro Pesch, still celebrating her 30 years in metal, and one of only three UK shows?
That she should appear at the small but perfectly formed Tivoli in the North Wales backwater that is Buckley is another great coup for the venue and at least on a par with getting Y&T whom we also saw recently.
Both Y&T and Doro can certainly command much bigger stages and looking back over the year Ms.Pesch has done just that: Steelhouse in the UK, Rock Hard Festival in Germany, Rock In Rio in Brazil amongst others.
It is actually a real privilege to see such mighty performers at a modest-sized and unassuming venue. I don’t know how it feels for performers: last year Jeff Scott Soto was evidently surprised at the venue’s intimacy but I am not so sure that part of this was the novelty (or shock) of seeing an “older” audience and not least the mysterious pensioner who removed his fading “Danger Danger” T-shirt.
An ageing audience is definitely a feature of these gigs but Doro has remained more youthful than most of her followers and with an excellent band (two of whom have been with her for at least 20 years) you could forgive yourself for thinking it was 1985 all over again. The more so, as the bulk of the setlist featured her material with Warlock, the band that brought her to wider attention in 1982 and with whom she stayed until 1988.
Whilst I have never been a big Warlock fan I have enjoyed Doro’s more recent albums and they have always been impressive, her brand of melodic metal easily accessible. Plus, she has a history of interesting duets (including a very fine one with Tarja) and cover versions, including ‘Breaking The Law’ and ‘Egypt’ which cropped up tonight.
Starting with two songs from ‘Triumph And Agony’ the show was pretty much high energy throughout, with the lady herself in hyperdrive not least in her enthusiastic between song banter which I have to say I couldn’t understand a word of.
It was clear that Doro brings a regular following to her gigs, some having travelled from gig to gig and from a great distance as you might expect for these select shows. This was very much a retro gathering with many references to the 80s and stints touring with Dio and Judas Priest and – of course – Donington. There was also a lot of fist-pumping, aimless audience selfies and, for some bizarre reason, a T-Shirt held high, a flag-like rallying call to the faithful?
Doro remains a peculiarly European mainland phenomenon, the brash sometimes thrash metal never having really made the transition to the States and to a lesser extent in the UK. But there is no doubting Doro’s influence on the genre and her role as a torchbearer for females in metal.
Tonight’s show was very much a glorious celebration of her past and – on an uninviting November evening and in a more intimate forum – the engaging Metal Queen came, saw, and conquered.
Review and photos by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
1. Touch Of Evil 2. I Rule the Ruins 3. Hellbound 4. Burning The Witches 5. Fight For Rock 6. Raise Your Fist In The Air 7. The Night Of the Warlock 8. Without You 9. Bad Blood 10. Metal Racer 11. Chained 12. Haunted Heart 13. Egypt (The Chains Are On) 14. Evil 15. We Are The Metalheads 16. Fur Immer 17. Revenge 18. All We Are Encore: 19. Breaking The Law 20. Metal Tango 21. East Meets West
Archive interview (2009)
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BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)
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09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)
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BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)
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