Hard Rock Hell AOR has arrived once again in Wales this weekend. In what promises to be
2 full days of superb music the HRH family had gathered the night before to kick off with a
First on stage are Dante Fox. Front woman Sue Willet holds the audience with her presence and backed by the band they truly put on a performance. Playing through hits such as“Underneath the City Lights” and “Firing My Heart” they certainly captivated the audience.Tonight they introduced their new drummer to the crowd who definitely made his presenceknown through the set. Willet certainly has a powerful voice that is certainly more impressive live than on record.Other tracks played such as “Lost and Lonely Heart” and “All Eyes OnYou” saw the crowd start to move more with the band. Closing with “Remember My Name” it was clear to see the whole band showing their all in their last track of the night and Willets vocals here were certainly at their best for the night.
Taking the stage next was Newman. Fueling the crowd even more with his interaction, Steve Newman took centre stage. That’s not to say he wasn’t fully accommodating to the rest of his band and allowing them to stand in the spotlight which included the introduction of another new drummer. Newman himself has so much charisma and wasn’t afraid to tell this crowd that they needed to sing every word of the chorus on “Stay With Me”. Moving around the stage tonight with confidence there was no doubt he was having a great time playing this festival.Playing through songs old and new including “Aerial” off their latest album and the classic “She Walks In”. Ending with “One Step Closer”,Newman grabbed his guitar and closed this set with a bang with the crowd singing back to the band. Whether you’ve heard of this band before or not they grabbed your attention and didn’t let go.
Eclipse are up next and the venue is packed out. Bursting onto the stage with high amounts of energy the crowd was ready for these guys. With arms in the air clapping along with the band the crowd had just as much energy. Front man Erik Mårtensson took command as he swung his mic stand through the air and demanded your eyes on him. But another member also demanded the crowd’s attention from behind his drumkit, Philip Crusner made sure he was seen. The party is now in full swing! The Swedish band seemed at home as they played tonight and took over the stage. The crowd sang along with favourites such as “Wake Me Up” and “One Life-My Life” and tracks off their latest album such as “Jaded”. It was clear to see that this band was having as great a time playing as the fans were having watching. The pure joy these guys get playing was evident and made the set all that more fantastic to see.
The headliner of the night was finally upon us. Joe Lynn Turner had arrived and this crowd was ready to keep the night going strong. The former Rainbow front man took center stage and backed by his band took over the venue. Playing fan favourites such as “Street of Dreams” the crowd could very clearly be heard not only when singing back but also while
joining in with Turner. Turner is another of the great frontmen of music and spoke to the crowd and joked with them as well as spoke to individuals between songs.
He is as interactive with the crowd as he is with his band and spent time alongside them. As the night went on the songs and the performance only got better. Turner even treated us tonight to some Rainbow hits such as “Spotlight Kid” and “I Surrender”. Joe Lynn Turner created a show tonight that fully immersed the crowd and put them in the centre of the show.
If the pre-party is anything to go by the weekend will be a fantastic one for both bands.
Photography: Mark Ellis http://shootthegroove.com
Review : Emmie Ellis