Live Gig Report and Photos: Robert Cavuoto
Ratt immediately set the bar high on Friday, April 28th at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg PA!
The band was energetic and in touch with their audience’s desire to hear their hit songs while paying homage to their origins with a few deeper cuts. The time-traveling experience covered the MTV video and radio years with the focus on three of the band’s pivotal albums; Ratt EP, Out of the Cellar, and Invasion of Your Privacy. For Ratt fans, Ratt n’ Roll has always been about sticking to your guns. It’s about music with attitude laced with fun and fuel injected riffs. Throughout their 30+ year career, Ratt’s style has never wavered from that mantra; upholding the integrity of the music that was the soundtrack of our youth. Ratt fans look for that constancy because it gives them something to count on and tonight they didn’t let anyone down as the set list was perfectly cultivated for this vibe.
With a stage filled with Marshall stacks, the band hit the stage with a sense of fury and purpose as they opened with “Wanted Man” and dove into smoldering versions of “Way Cool Jr.,” “Back for More,” and “I’m Insane.” No pyro or video was needed tonight to enhance the show, they had everything they needed on stage to give the fans a sweaty raw rock show!
Having two of rock’s strongest guitarists in the band, Warren DeMartini and Carlos Cavazo were the icings on the cake that brought the songs to a new level. Warren was armed with two of his hot-rodded Charvel guitars; the “Crossed swords” and “Frenchie” while Carlos was using a black Gibson Flying V. These two guitar heroes and innovators cultivated a sound and style of playing that launch 100’s of bands and 1000’s of players. There is undeniable on-stage chemistry which complements the songs and their playing. When I asked Warren about their chemistry he told me; “Carlos, has been a real energizer. We have this sort of telepathy going on. We are both coming from the same place with the same guitar heroes and have similar views on music. Our ideas literally gel.” They both each took center stage for their extended guitar solos and put on a searing pyrotechnic display of guitars playing.
In the rhythm section is one of rock’s best bassist and backing vocalist, Juan Croucier. His vocals can be heard on every track and helped Ratt solidify their unique sound. His stage moves and bass acrobatics are legendary. Ten fingers flying all night on his black Charvel bass, his energy, passion, and detail to the songs did not go unnoticed and was infectious.
Missing is original drummer Bobby Blotzer due to legal wrangles with the band but filling in is Jimmy DeGrasso of Black Star Rider fame. He did an outstanding job of playing and nailing the band’s vibe. Not a step was lost with him on drums.
Of course leading this rock n’ roll circus was one of the rocks premier frontmen, Stephen Pearcy. He tireless strutted the stage with an air of confidence while whirling his mic. Decked out in a long black leather coat, vest, and leather pants he delivered what fans came for and then some as he drew the audience into the show. His rallying cry for the night that fueled the frenzied PA audience was; “It’s your party tonight, make some noise Stroudsburg!”
Mid-set they did a sleazy version of “Body Talk” that hit the fans like a freight train with it driving drums and bass. “Lay it Down” and “You’re in Love” were clearly the fans favorite tonight and brought down the house. Personal favorites of the night were “No Body Rides for Free” and “Lack of Communication.” Of course, no Ratt show would be complete with “Round and Round” as the encore. In all, 16 songs were played with the same swagger and sex appeal of when they were written in the 80’s.
The theater was loud; the band looked great and gave an outstanding performance. Although this brief tour was focused primarily around the M3 Festival; we can only hope a longer tour is in Ratt’s future! Let’s also hope they capitalize on their momentum and put out a CD as well! It’s always great to see bands like Ratt carrying on and continuing to cement their rock n roll legacy.