We’re just a couple of days away from the official release of John’s biography ‘Horseshoes and Hand Grenades’ and Australia was lucky enough to catch it first with all pre-release books officially sold out by the Adelaide date, leaving Perth waiting patiently on the official release. Tonight though on the final night of the Australian Tour it was all about the stories and the music. So despite Perth putting on some of its worst weather in 60 years the faithful congregated at the Amplifier Bar to witness what has to be the gig of the year for many.
Interviewing John down in the Green Room before the show Ryan from support band Ragdoll, who put on a great set, will be pleased to hear his vocals got the nod of approval from the man with what I consider one of the best voices in the business. Indeed if you’ve seen John alive and electric over the years seeing him in this stripped back format really does make you marvel at the power and the depth of his delivery.
Pre-show The Amplifier Bar is filled with an other-worldly mist seeping in from the outside to balance the dry ice onstage and the crowd is hanging around the perimeter of the dimply list stage as John emerges from below to take the stage. You could cut the anticipation with a knife as John lays down the rules for the evening before breaking into Union’s classic ‘Love (I Don’t Need It Anymore)’. It’s a great way to start the set with a song that cuts the ice even if you’ve never heard it before.
The set up tonight is perfect – an intimate setting on a rainy Perth night, and more than a few glasses raised to some wonderful songs and tales built around them into one unmissable experience. I’ve seen a few artists do this type of thing over the years but none who do it better than The Mayor! None that draw the crowd in so completely either. Tonight is something everyone is going to remember and everyone is going to be telling their friends about. After the show everyone had their favourites stories and that’s the magic here – whilst some like me discovered John in his days with The Scream, others know him from ESP, Union, The Dead Daisies and even Ratt. But you get the feeling that most in the room tonight know him from fronting Motley Crue, and there are more than a few with tour shirts from his 2019 dates with his band where he played that Motley set electrically. The best thing about tonight though is the quality of the songs. Steve Marriott once said that it didn’t matter how you dress up a song, if you can touch someone with a voice and an acoustic guitar that was the test. Corabi passes that with flying colours tonight.
With the crowd in his palm by the end of the first song and audience interaction and banter encouraged we hear a string of stories, all of which appear in the new book punctuated by songs, or maybe it’s songs linked by stories? That gives you an idea of how seamless the night is. There are tales for everyone, from The Scream, to family and life at large, as well as crowd pleasers like the Kiss stories and ‘singing Hard Luck Woman wrong’ as well as his most recent dates at ‘Creatures Fest’ in Nashville just before he flew out to see us. For me as a huge fan and knowing what a huge fan John is, the Aerosmith tales had me transfixed and to hear him sing ‘Seasons of Wither’ was sublime.
There are messages that echo the book and John’s refreshing outlook on life too, and as well as the wonderfully warm humour we also get the poignant and the heart-felt like the story behind ‘Father Mother Son’ and the message to remember to tell the people near and dear to you that you love them behind ‘If I Never Get To Say Goodbye’.
The crowd loves John’s Kiss stories and you sense the warmth from the Kiss crazies in the room that someone understands their obsession! They also love his Motley Crue recollections and the songs ‘Misunderstood’ and ‘Loveshine’ in this stripped back format are killer! I also loved his take on Eddie Kramer who produced The Scream’s first album.
Tonight was just so much fun, full to the brim of great music and great stories it’s hard to think of anything that could top this in 2022 as an experience. If you get to see John in this format in a Town or City near you please grab the chance. It is so much more than another gig it’s a night when you feel you’ve been let into the world of a man who has ridden the ups and downs of the business and negotiated the Horseshoes and Hand Grenades that life has presented him with.
All the thanks in the world to the man himself John Corabi, to Silverback Touring for bringing the magic and to Mr Paul Miles.
Interview coming soon and Photo Gallery up tonight.