Friday, September 17, 2010
G.B. Leighton’s Pickle Park, Fridley, MN
Click either picture to see more photos of Steelheart (13).
Arriving late I missed about half of Steelheart’s performance, but what I saw was shocking. Vocalist Miljenko (Mike) Matijevic has kept glam-era band Steelheart alive throughout the years but in a radically different form. I’m all for bands doing something different, however, I think most people would be more than surprised at the heavy, modern sound of Steelheart today. They bore their way through the likes of “LOL” from the latest album, Good 2b Alive, and the crowd seemed to welcome the new material enthusiastically. Mike’s ear-splitting voice is still in fine form, and it almost seemed wrong for him to use effects on his vocals at times. For the life of me I don’t understand how he can chomp gum on stage all night while singing like he does. Everyone in the band was tight and aggressive, befitting the direction of newer material. The only thing that was out of place was the bass player’s incessant habit of twirling around his topknot like a clown; despite this, he was great on stage. Before I knew it the band left the stage, returning to play “Everybody Loves Eileen”, “We All Die Young”, and “I’ll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)” for the encore. Although Mike occasionally took up a guitar earlier, the encore was played with one guitarist and the songs were adapted well for this format. You can hear this well on “I’ll Never Let You Go”, the final song that brought down the house. This iconic power ballad had the crowd singing along with a vigor rarely seen at a club show as Mike was nearly pulled from the stage.
Steelheart performing “Everybody Loves Eileen”.
Not having seen Steelheart since one of their earliest tours in 1990 opening for Great White and Bulletboys, I was frankly surprised at the heavy emphasis on new material. I admire Mike and the band for doing so, as too many legacy acts use their classic material as a crutch. As long as you’re not expected a rehashing of the first two albums, Steelheart puts on a powerful, convincing show. Judging from the crowd’s response no one seemed to mind.
Watch Steelheart perform their biggest hit, “I’ll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)”.