15’TH OF JUNE, 2011
LIVE AT CLUB NOSTURI, HELSINKI
REVIEW AND PICTURES BY MARKO SYRJALA
Cinderella is one of the most successful hard rock bands from the later ’80s. The band, fronted by multi-talented vocalist/guitarist Tom Keifer, formed in Philadelphia back in the early ’80s. Their albums NIGHT SONGS, LONG COLD WINTER, and HEARTBREAK STATION have sold millions of copies in the U.S alone. Things started to change in the ’90s when drummer Fred Coury decided to leave the group. Kevin Valentine replaced him, but soon later, Tom Keifer faced serious problems with his voice and was forced to be out of commission for a few years. Things changed dramatically in the music world at that time, and when the band finally released its fourth, and for now, their latest album, STILL CLIMBING, in 1994, it didn’t sell as expected, and soon the band was dropped by its record company. Cinderella slowly disbanded in 1995. The classic lineup reunion: Keifer, Coury, guitarist Jeff LaBar, and bassist Eric Brittingham did happen in 1998. The band has been doing tours, mostly in the USA. The current tour, which celebrates the band’s 25th anniversary, brought the band to Finland for the first time. This concert was a longtime dream come true for many fans, and the band didn’t disappoint. Sold-out Club Nosturi and its over 700 hard rock fans got what they wanted, and it seemed the band was more than surprised about the noisy feedback that the crowd gave them.
The show opened up with a pair of NIGHT SONGS album tracks: “Once Around the Ride” opened the game, and it was then followed by one of Cinderella’s best-known tracks, “Shake Me.” The latter made the audience crazy, and people sang along during the whole song. At first, Keifer clearly had some problems with his voice, but it got better soon, and when the band headed into acoustic “Heartbreak Station,” there was no sign of any issues left.
Many old classics were followed one after the other. “Somebody Save Me” specially managed to get the crowd crazy again. It did seem that overall, people recognized the debut album songs better than the other stuff. Unlike most U.S. bands formed in the early ’80s, Cinderella has never been a glam rock band, although they looked like one on the NIGHT SONGS album cover. The band’s music is basically bluesy rock mixed with hard rock, melodic pop hooks, and even some country influences that distinguish them from other bands of that era. The band was arguably at its best with their third album, HEARTBREAK STATION, which is also Keifer’s personal favorite of the band’s catalog. In addition to that album’s title track, the band also played “The More Things Change” and “Shelter Me” from that album, and those songs were some of the finest moments of the show for sure.
Cinderella’s “mega ballads” did also worked exceptionally well. “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till It’s Gone)” and “Nobody’s Fool” made at least all the females very happy in the audience, whereas rockers “Gypsy Road” and bluesy “Long Cold Winter” were more “men’s songs” in the set.
All in all, this was an entertaining performance, and there were no weak parts on the show. It’s a fact that there are no real virtuosos in the band, but together they’re a tight and professional unit on stage. Over the past couple of years, there’s been a lot of negative press and feedback about Keifer’s current vocal abilities, but it must be said that now his voice worked pretty well (if you didn’t count the first two songs when he was having some problems there). Maybe his voice isn’t as raspy as it used to be back in the days, but it’s still really recognizable, and it fits well for rockers and more bluesy stuff as well. The man also proved that he’s a classy guitar player and a strong performer in every way, so there’s nothing to complain about here. Guitarist Jeff LaBar did a strong, energetic performance as well, and it was funny to notice that man still looked almost the same as he did some twenty-five years ago. Currently, dark and short-haired bassist Eric Brittingham did reliable work but stayed more in the background, whereas drummer Fred Coury kept the beat going and did many backing vocals. There’s also a “fifth member” in the band nowadays. Keyboard player Gary Corbett, who has previously played with KISS, Lou Gramm, and Joe Lynn Turner, among others, has been a part of Cinderella’s touring lineup since the early ’90s. It was great to hear live keyboards, especially on HEARTBREAK STATION stuff where keys are in such a significant role.
The only negative thing to say about this show was its short length. As a whole, this show lasted only like 70 minutes, and that’s not much nowadays. Many songs were now missing from the setlist, like “Push, Push” or “This One’s Rock ‘n Roll.” Also, why on earth didn’t the band play anything from their fourth album, STILL CLIMBING? The album wasn’t a big commercial success in 1994, but there are still plenty of great tracks there like: “Blood from the Stone,” “Talk Is Cheap,” and WAYNE’S WORLD II soundtrack song “Hot and Bothered.” Here’s a little hint here, it might help sales if you play those songs, right?
Who knows, maybe there’s another Cinderella album to be released after all, and someday we’ll see this great band here again to support its new release? I can’t wait for that….
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