July 3, 2011
House of Blues - Dallas
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Angie Ross
Photos by Michael Insuaste
Cinderella arrived at Dallas' House of Blues over the July 4th weekend to give us a ‘just the facts' show. To put that in simpler terms, this band wasn't here to reminisce about the past. They weren't in town to swoop in, go through the motions on stage, sing some of their biggest songs, grab the money, then hi-tail it out of town. No, this group was here to make the same kind of statement it made 25 years ago when its first album, Night Songs, was selling 50,000 copies per week, and "Nobody's Fool" was all the rage on the airwaves.
To their credit, the original line-up of Tom Keifer, Jeff LaBar, Eric Brittingham and Fred Coury are as tight today as they were a quarter a century ago. The crowd, which had aged as gracefully as the band itself, was in the palm of Keifer's hand the moment LaBar played the opening chords to "Once Around the Ride" from the band's triple platinum debut. From there, the band launched into another cut from that landmark album, "Shake Me", and it was off to the races from there.
It's always fun to hear a band punch up the sound of a song you're familiar with from the radio or CD. That's one part of the concert experience that just can't be duplicated, and well worth the price of admission. However, sometimes the heart of the song, released in its original form, is the very reason you fell in love with the tune and a band in the first place. That said, while I stared at Cinderella on stage, I found my gaze transfixed on the band. I felt as though I was in a studio watching four musicians record the set list they performed tonight for the first time. This band has to play their music as it was originally intended, or the meaning of the songs would be lost. Trust me, if Fred Coury were to suddenly start playing some reggae riffs to "Gypsy Road" on his drums, I'm sure more than just a few people would ask for their money back.
Tom Keifer's throat problems are well-documented. Tonight, he was on pitch and in key with every song. His trademark snarl and raspy guttural tone was especially evident on the songs "Second Wind", "Long Cold Winter" and "Somebody Save Me". His voice didn't sound aged, abused or tired. One never would have guessed that Keifer had numerous surgeries to repair his damaged vocal cords. Whether he sat down to play the piano, or played a surprising killer sax solo on the show closing "Shelter Me", the Cinderella mainstay was in total command.
When Cinderella first broke on the scene, their teased hair look, and constant stream of videos on MTV, made them of the hottest bands on the planet. Touring with David Lee Roth on his first tour, and then for seven months on opening Bon Jovi's marathon Slippery When Wet tour, this Philly band (which Bon Jovi actually helped get signed) attracted a predominantly female audience. Tonight, the crowd seemed a bit testosterone heavy. The teased hair of the ‘80s had definitely given way to a more subdued look. Watching these guys sing passionately along with Tom Keifer to the Cinderella classic "Nobody's Fool", was certainly a sight to see. Then again, this band transitioned into a more bluesy rock sound with the release of their second album Long Cold Winter. An extended tour with AC/DC after that album's release, also helped make Cinderella a more male friendly band. It was apparent tonight in this packed house.
Unfortunately, this was a short show, running some 75 minutes. For some mysterious reason, one of the band's truly great songs, "The Last Mile", was omitted from tonight's show. As Cinderella celebrates its Silver Anniversary in the music business, it's a shame their catalogue consists of only four albums. There's very little incentive for the band to ever record an album of new material, especially with Keifer's fragile voice. But, as he so eloquently stated at one point in the show, "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)", this appreciative crowd at the House of Blues knew exactly what it was getting, and grateful for the opportunity as well.