Joe Lynn Turner at Count’s Vampd 5-26-16
I have been a fan of Joe Lynn Turner since Rainbow’s “Difficult to Cure” and “Straight Between the Eyes”, two albums that came out in the early 80’s. You couldn’t turn on MTV at the time without seeing video’s for “Can’t Happen Here”, “Stone Cold” and “Death Alley Driver.” Then “Street of Dreams” from 1983’s”Bent Out of Shape.” Joe Lynn’s beautiful cat like eyes were as mesmerizing as his powerful voice. He was one of my early crushes.
Joe Lynn Turner has a huge impressive catalog of music over the years from many bands like Fandango, Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Deep Purple, Mother’s Army, Brazen Abbot, Hughes Turner Project, and in the last few years, Sunstorm. How the guy can pick a set list from all of the music he has sang in his life, is beyond me. This Jersey native also has ten solo albums. He has been a very busy man in his rocking lifetime.
I got to see him in 1988 with Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, and all I remember was screaming over Joe Lynn Turner… Yngwie who? It’s been so long I forgot how much I loved “Heaven Tonight.”
Jump ahead to 2013 and finally getting to see JLT again guest sing with Las Vegas’ own Raiding the Rock Vault. I was so excited to hear him sing “Stone Cold”, I was in tears. It had been twenty five years since I saw him sing live so that was special for me. All the ladies up front totally agreed with me, as they were as excited as I was to see him again.
Last year, on January 24th, Black Knights Rising played Count’s Vampd with Uli John Roth and Vinnie Moore and JLT sang some of his most famous songs with them. It was called the Extreme Guitar Tour, but I was there to see JLT… That night I became a huge fan of Uli John Roth as well. It was an epic show!!
Last night Joe Lynn Turner assembled a killer band for a tour and started it out at Count’s Vampd. He put together some of the coolest musicians out there. He had the always busy ,Sean McNabb (Quiet Riot, Dokken, Burning Rain, etc) on bass, Steve Brown from (Trixter) on guitar, Matt Starr on drums (Ace Frehley, Mr. Big) and Eric Ragno on keys. This was the bands first gig together and they completely hit it out of the park! JLT looked great, full of energy and his voice sounded great throughout the set. Steve Brown sang some of the higher notes here and there, but it was still great. They started out the set with Rainbow’s “Death Alley Driver” and “I surrender” which showcases his amazing pipes. They then played “Power of Love” off his solo album “Usual Suspects.” More Rainbow tunes were on the agenda, as we all love JLT era Rainbow, with my fave, “Street of Dreams”, then “Jealous Lover”, “Spotlight Kid” and the best song of the night for me, “Stone Cold.” That one always takes me back… They brought the house down with “Man on the Silver Mountain” in tribute to Ronnie James Dio. Another Rainbow classic that reminded me of MTV was “Can’t Happen Here”
They of course threw in some Deep Purple as JLT was in the band for about a minute and they ripped into one of the all time greats, “Highway Star.” During the song JLT kept bringing the mic over to me to sing the chorus, which I was apprehensive to sing, but what the hell, why not? So as I sang, we up front all laughed and just rocked out during the song. He had me sing the chorus every time to which I tried getting my buddies to sing, but they weren’t having it. It was a truly fun moment that we won’t soon forget. Thanks Joe Lynn!
Then came the riffs by the mighty Steve Brown to Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Rising Force” and can I say that Steve is a very talented guitarist that is underrated as he has been in Trixter since the 80’s. Who knew this cat had it in him to shred some Malmsteen like a champ, but he did! In spades!! The guys ripped that guitar up!! What a killer job these guys did! They almost ended the set with one of the great Rainbow tunes, “Long Live Rock n Roll”, (which we all sang to!) but they had an encore up their sleeve… You know it… Purple’s epic song, “BURN.” Their keyboardist Eric Ragno tore into his board like a madman as the band ripped the song a new one. They killed it!!! After much applause and love they did the final bow and then came out to greet the fans. JLT was as humble and sweet as they come. He’s a funny guy and loves his fans. He was patient and posed for photos and signed everything we threw at him. What a great show and an even greater bunch of musicians!! Thanks Joe Lynn Turner and Diana Lane for being so kind to the fans…