With my early musical nourishment obtained through music videos, my first exposure to Ratt was through such classic music videos as "Round and Round" and "Lay It Down." These videos shaped my early cassette collection which featured "Out of the Cellar" and Dokken's "Under Lock And Key." The pairing of Ratt and Dokken together was a blast from the past.
Ratt came charging out the gates with the explosive guitar bombs of "You're In Love." Warren DeMartini was armed with his signature Charvel crossed swords guitar doling out its palm muted riff. A testament to DeMartini's popularity and renown as a guitarist is that he is still sponsored by various guitar companies while many of his contemporaries would be lucky to get a free set of guitar strings.
You may also remember Carlos Cavazo, the other guitar cog in Ratt, from his music video days in Quiet Riot. The teaming of both Cavazo and DeMartini was astounding as they traded guitar licks for a storming version of "Lack Of Communication." Ratt has also succeeded in trumping some of their contemporary bands with a fairly strong new album, Infestation.
One of their new tracks "Take A Big Bite" sounded like classic era-Ratt with its swirling mix of guitars and Steven Pearcy's trademark vocals. Ratt did an excellent job of pacing the setlist with new ("Best of Me") and old ("Back For More") songs. It did seem that the key of some of the older songs were changed to accomodate Pearcy's vocal range. This only becomes apparent when you hear how much more comfortable Pearcy sounds singing the newer material.
"Round and Round" undoubtedly was the highest point of the their set and everyone in the amphitheater appeared to be on their feet singing along. Making sure to please their oldest fans, dusting off their cover of "Walkin The Dog" from their 1983 debut couldn't have been a better closer to the evening. Ratt 'n Roll is still running strong.
Last time I caught Dokken in November of 2009 at the House of Blues Anaheim, I witnessed a piece of history when all four original members reunited for the first time in over a decade. Well, the reunion hasn't happened yet--Don Dokken was the only original member that hit the stage last night. Dokken did stick to the hits playing an eight-song set with "Tooth and Nail" being the highlight.
Personal Bias: I still have my old VCR tape full of Ratt videos.
Crowd: Lots of spillover from the OC Fair as well as lots of folks with long thinning hair and black t-shirts.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Someone call the fashion police!" Some concertgoers were shocked by the way too authentic '80s apparel.
Random Notebook Dump: Steven Pearcy had a fancy Ratt keychain hanging from his belt and his denim jacket had a sweet "R" Robin logo.
"You're In Love"
"Lay It Down"
"Lack of Communication"
"Take A Big Bite"
"I Want A Woman"
"Slip of the Lip"
"Lovin' You's A Dirty Job"
"Best of Me"
"Back For More"
"Nobody Rides For Free"
"Way Cool Jr."
"The Morning After"
"Round and Round"
"Eat Me Up Alive"
"Walkin' The Dog"