Gig review: HRH AOR – Pwllheli, Wales, Thursday 8 March 2018 (Day 1)

In March 2016, Joe Lynn Turner chatted to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio for an extensive career overview, in three parts.  Parts 2 and 3 are available via Mixcloud

Eclipse - HRH AOR - Pwllheli, Wales, Thursday 8 January 2018

The annual four hour jaunt to one of my favourite festivals was made with a little trepidation: snow was again falling.  But rock fans are a hardy bunch and by mid-afternoon the sun had done its job.

Dante Fox - HRH AOR - Pwllheli, Wales, Thursday 8 January 2018

Dante Fox had the duty of opening this year’s soiree,  Sue Willets’ voice is still one of the best around and Tim Manford’s guitar playing can still stir a hornets nest. An enjoyable set which included ‘Underneath The City Lights’ and set closer ‘Remember My Name’, they set about captivating the audience and didnt disappoint.

Newman - HRH AOR - Pwllheli, Wales, Thursday 8 January 2018

At any festival you want the next band to raise the bar and add some extra heat to the evening.  HRH favourites Newman always give a little something extra,  Steve Newman along with guitarist Shaun Bessant must be AOR’s answer to the Chuckle Brothers. Tonight, Harry Young became the focus for Newman’s gentle ribbing : telling us that he has underwear older than their 19 year old drummer who barely stopped grinning all set.

Bessant and Newman together are a match made in heaven, big gut-churning riffs with Steve vocal range always ready to leave you open mouthed.

With such  a wealth of material they pick mostly big hitters with the bombastic chorus of ‘Pray For The Day’, ‘Primitive Soul’ and ‘One Step Closer’, Newman were as polished and crisp as ever.

The anticipation could be felt in the arena, people had forced their way to the front to witness one of Sweden’s finest exports, the bar area was a little less crowded.

Eclipse - HRH AOR - Pwllheli, Wales, Thursday 8 January 2018

If Newman had started a flame, then Swedish rockers Eclipse were about to turn it into a molotov cocktail. Exploding onto stage via Philip Crusner’s thunderous  drums, opening salvo of ‘Vertigo’ and ‘Bleed and Scream’, Erik Martensen is an assured frontman commanding the stage.

The high energy set meant the party had well and truly started and my favourite ‘Never Look Back’ giving the crowd no chance to catch their breath before shouting along with the chorus.

Along with the packed arena I didn’t want their set to end, we would have been happy to have them headline.  The last song arrived in the juggernaut that is ‘I Dont Want To Say I’m Sorry’, then they took their well deserved standing ovation with every pair of hands clapping them off . This set will go down in HRH AOR folklore and long be remembered.

Joe Lynn Turner - HRH AOR - Pwllheli, Wales, Thursday 8 January 2018

A slightly thinned out crowd saw Joe Lynn Turner headline for the second  time here, totally justified as the man is a legend and provides the essential jigsaw piece to some of rock’s finest moments.

The set was a mix of mostly Rainbow material interspersed with a few solo songs in ‘Dark Days’, ‘Blood Red Sky’ and ‘Endlessly’ – perhaps not so familiar to the audience.  But songs like ‘Death Alley Driver’, ‘Jealous Lover’ and of course  ‘Stone Cold’ really hit the spot.

The surprise of the set had to be ‘Rising Force’ from his collaboration with Yngwie Malmsteen with Jorge Salan doing a fine job on the guitar.

At 66 JLT proved his voice is still in fine fettle and is more than capable of doing these songs the justice they  deserve (take note Mr. Blackmore) and ably backed by a band full of great musicians.  He sent everyone away exhilarated, a great finale to a hugely successful opening night.

Review and photos by Darren Griffiths

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Power Plays w/c 5 March 2018

BAD LLAMA Crooked Empire (indie)
EDENTHORN Mind Like A Mindfield (indie)
KATALINA KICKS Waterfall (indie)
THE ROCKET DOLLS None Of This Is Right (indie)
BONFIRE Crazy Over You (SPV)
THE AMORETTES Everything I Learned I Learned From Rock N Roll (SPV)
MY INDIGO Crash And Burn (MVKA)

Featured Albums w/c 5 March (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 FM Atomic Generation (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 BURN Ice Age (Melodic Rock Records)
14:00-16:00 BETH NIELSEN CHAPMAN Hearts Of Glass (Proper Music)

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