THE LIZARDS / UFO
MARCH, 04th 2005 at the Matrix / Bochum, GER
It's very frustrating when one of your favourite bands is touring in your country, but you always missed the chance to see a show, because it's too far away and there's no way to get there. So it was with THE LIZARDS! I remember one of their last European tours, together with the reunited Vanilla Fudge, but I had to work at this day and the venue was not very near - a typical 'shit-happens' case! But this time, everything went out well, and the band was again in Germany as support act for UFO. They played not far away from my hometown in a Rock club/disco named 'Matrix'. So I informed my buddy Rolf, and we started our short journey to the city of Bochum. When we arrived, a lot of people were already there, most of them because of UFO and I guess, not much of them have ever heard about THE LIZARDS. Maybe Rolf and I belong to the few people, who came to this place to see them. This tour was something like a first night for the band, because this year the band came over to Europe without vocalist John Garner (ex-Sir Lord Baltimore), who had left the band in 2004. I must confess, that I regret never seeing this man live on stage, because he's an extraordinary singer and performer. Nevertheless I supposed a good show, and that's what it was!!! When THE LIZARDS came on stage, about 150 people had found their way into the 'Matrix', and it was no surprise that most of them were older than 35 years. This time it looks as if we did belong to the younger persons...
The stage presence of THE LIZARDS was intense, and drummer Bobby Rondinelli (Black Sabbath/Rainbow/Blue Öyster Cult) was one of the coolest player I had ever seen, although he played very accurate and hard. Mike Di Meo (Riot) had not only an expressive voice, that reminds me at times to Robert Plant, but he was also responsible for additional keyboards. Guitarist Patrick Klein was a very virtous guitarist and this abilities cover a wide range, no matter if he played his classic hardrock riffs or some emotional solo. Randy Pratt, the man on the six-string bass, stood very smart on the right side of the stage, and layed down one heavy-pumping bassline after the other. He also showed his talents in playing the harmonica, and after the first song was over, Rolf and I knew that this became an excellent evening. THE LIZARDS played a lot of the songs from their latest release "Cold Blooded Kings" as well as a few cuts from "Rule". What I really like about this band is their talent to create some sort of timeless hardrock, which included also some Funk and Metal influences, but is still deeply rooted in the 70's. And although I'm a huge John Garner-fan, I liked the new vocalist, because his voice is giving a new colour to the band's whole sound. Sorry to say, but after ca. 40 minutes, the show was over and I wished, that THE LIZARDS would've been the so-called top-act. Especially after I witnessed UFO!
In opposite to a lot of people, I'm only into the very early period of this band. When Michael Schenker joined the band in the mid-70's, they turned into a typical 70's hardrock band, and they sounded very different in comparison to their early heavy blues days. So it's still a mystery to me, why the band don't play any songs from their first two records nowadays.... And, of course, nothing changed at this evening! While the first songs were still 'ok', others were terrible mediocre. For me (and Rolf, too) it was nothing more than 80's radio rock, and we felt bored from note to note. Ok, the audience liked it, but we decided to go because we had seen the mighty LIZARDS, and I hope they will return as soon as possible!!!