I've been a fan of the band Riot (no, not Quiet Riot) for a long time now. I can remember hearing 'Swords and Tequila' on the radio when I was a young beast, and in the late 80's one afternoon, I was listening to Z-Rock, a syndicated staion that played Metal and hard rock, and a song came on with amazing guitars and stratospheric vocals. This song was the title track from the album Thundersteel, and it was by Riot. Riot was primarily a good hard rock band, but this was straight -up Metal. Riot, like many bands that have been around for a while, has had many line-up changes over the years. The main member has always been lead guitarist /songwriter Mark Reale. Thundersteel, and the following album, Privilege of Power, were more Metallic than Riot's previous output...this may have been due to the era ( Metal was big), and the band members( vocalist Tony Moore's voice was in the multi-octave range, and drummer Bobby Jarzombek is a double-bass monster). Whatever the reasons, these two albums were probably Riot's heaviest. Subsequent releases were with a different line-up, and as a result were in more of a hard-rock direction...don't get me wrong, they're great albums, and I love them, but they lacked the Metallic drive of the previous recordings.
Fast-forward many years and recordings later. I'm looking at the local rock rag and I see an ad for a gig at the newest rock club here in San Antonio, the Scout Bar, where I saw Kamelot back on Halloween. It was an ad for the Riot Thundersteel Reunion tour. I was surprised that this particular line-up got back together ( I saw a more recent version of Riot back around 1999-2000, and they did kick ass), but then, Metal is kind of big again. I knew I had to see this show.
I was tired as Hell( short handed at work), and it was a Tuesday night(last night, to be exact), but I had to go. The opening bands were good, but when Riot hit the stage, it was like Time went backwards. Sure, a couple of the guys had put on a few pounds, but the Metal magic was definately there. The line-up was essentially the same as when I saw them last, with the exception of local boy Don Van Stavern ( drummer Jarzombek is from S.A. also) on bass and Tony Moore on vocals. I didn't have many doubts as far as Van Stavern was concerned, as he'd played in another local outfit called Pitbull Daycare through the 90s, but I wondered about Moore's voice. Would he be still able to hit those high notes ? Oh, ye of little faith...he hit those notes like he was beating a rented mule. The band was tight and in good form as they ripped through their signature songs from that particular era ('Flight of the Warrior', 'Thundersteel', 'Storming The Gates of Hell', 'Bloodstreets', etc.), as well as older pre-Moore tracks like 'Outlaw' , 'Rock City', and 'Swords and Tequila'. They even played a new track(!) titled 'Wings Are For Angels'.The crowd was a good one , especially for a Tuesday night, and there was an interesting mix of older folks and young Metal/Rock fans in attendance. The band was appreciative of the great reception they got from the crowd. At one point, right before Riot played, a guy with grey hair wearing khakis and a polo shirt sat down next to me with his wife, saying, "I'm too old for this !", to which I replied, " Shit, you're never too old for this!" There was a guy with a walker in attendence( I was told he was a family member of one of the band), as well as a gal in a wheel chair, plus lots of younger folks , too.
I wish I'd have taken my camera...my phone takes shite pics. It was a great show, and even though I went to work with only about 3 hours of sleep this morning, it was worth it. The show was a great trip down Metal Memory Lane for me. All hail Riot!