It was a night of hard rock legends in Texas as Jack Russell's Great White, the Bullet Boys and Kingdom Come played the relatively new Legacy Hall in Plano Texas. For those unfamiliar with the venue (as I was), someone had the idea to put a really nice outdoor venue, with good lighting and sound in the middle of a high dollar shopping area and build a small 3 floor mall around it, with tons of amazing food, bars and balconies.
Kingdom Come opened the show with a killer set of songs from their first two albums. The band's current roster features original members bassist Johnny B. Frank and guitarists Danny Stag and Rick Steier. Unfortunately, original vocalist Lenny Wolf retired in 2016 and original drummer James Kottak (who spent many years with the Scorpions) is in rehab after a disastrous performance at this year's Sweden Rock festival. Since 2018, former Lynch Mob singer Keith St. John has handled lead vocals. He's no Lenny Wolf, but really - who could be? Wolf had a voice that was truly something special that very few could match. What St. John brings to the table, besides being a great singer himself, is that he's also a great frontman with a genuine connection to his audience. Filling in for Kottak on the drums was former Slaughter drummer Blas Elias. He fit in with the band perfectly and classics "Shout It Out," "Do You Like It" and especially the bluesy "What Love Can Be" sounded incredible! Their fantastic set ended with the band's biggest hit to date, "Get It On."
Up next was Marq Torien's current all-star lineup of the Bullet Boys. That includes awesome lead guitarist Ira Black (Lizzy Borden, Metal Church), bassist Brad Lang (Y&T;), drummer Fred Aching and of course Marq himself on vocals and guitar. Highlights included "For the Love of Money," new song "Holy Fuck" and "Smooth Up in Ya." Another fun moment came when it was revealed the day before was Marq's Birthday and the whole crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to him.
They say, "The Show Must Go On" and in Jack Russell's case that couldn't be any truer. Jack was in obvious pain as he recently had surgery on his back, but he was determined not to miss a show. In response to his courageous efforts, the crowd did everything they could to offer up their love and encouragement. Backing him up was longtime guitarist Robby Lochner and bassist Dan McNay. They were joined by drummer Ken Mary (Fifth Angel, Alice Cooper) and filling in a few shows for guitarist Tony Montana, former Leatherwolf guitarist/vocalist Michael Olivieri. As usual, Lochner had so much energy, he seemed to be everywhere on stage all at once. When not also playing keyboards and harmonica in addition to his guitar duties, Olivieri not only kept up with Lochner but seemed to have real chemistry with him.
The setlist was a hardcore Great White fan's dream, featuring many deep cuts and songs that are rarely played live anymore including "Heart the Hunter," "Lady Red Light," "All Over Now" and "Face the Day," The big hits were represented as well with "Rock Me," "Save Your Love," "Mista Bone" with an Olivieri sung Beatles cover of "Come Together" sandwiched in the middle and the eventual closer "Once Bitten Twice Shy." It wouldn't be a true Great White show without a Led Zeppelin song in the mix. This time it was "Achilles Last Stand" paired with "On Your Knees" - another Great White deep cut.
Jack may not have been at 100%, but under the circumstances he still sounded better than what should have been possible. I know there's another band out there that calls itself "Great White" and while they may have more original band members, they've been through multiple singers trying to do the impossible and replace THAT VOICE! You can't have Great White without Jack Russell.