How do you describe a man like Dee Snider? Unique and rightly outspoken? A multi-talented metal legend who plays by his own rules and still continues to set the bar? Well, I can add, one of the best metal front men I have ever seen. This was one helluva show at the Manning Bar in Sydney on Friday night, and everyone who was there would agree that Snider is in a league of his own. His exceptional performance has left me so in awe that I will now be comparing every up and coming hard rock or metal gig to Snider.
It may have cooled down outside but we were all sweltering in the venue. The heat, mixed with the power and intensity of the music, will be a night that none of us will ever forget. I can only imagine how the recovery is going for most of the metal fans who were there tackling a massive Friday night, as I myself am still nursing some sore limbs and buzzing ears. But it’s a pleasure to endure any pain for this unforgettable experience.
The bar filled quickly as eager fans waited in the rain long before the doors were due to open. A great mix of young and old, clambering for their prime spot at the front of the stage, and looking forward to an evening of metal after Snider’s ‘Spoken’ gig the night before. I had no idea what to expect after only ever viewing music clips and concert footage on youtube.
The sweat pit started to increase in temperature as a great support set from Melbourne metal band ‘Desecrator’ got us all well and truly limbered up; impressive energy and stage presence from our Aussie guys and what a gig, to support an icon like Snider. The venue was thundering now, heaving and waiting in anticipation. When Snider and band appeared, it felt like an instant smash to the body and head… up ten notches and bam with ‘Lies Are A Business’ our first track, heavy and pulsating. This pace wouldn’t stop for the rest of the night. Sounding wicked and looking so fit and commanding, Snider has killer energy and just owns every word and beat. It’s Snider’s way or F… off.
There’s barely a break between songs as ‘Tomorrow’s No Concern’ continues this organised chaos until we get to ‘You Can’t Stop Rock’n’Roll’. Brilliant guitars and drums battering us over and over again, we are getting a mix of Snider solo material, his band ‘Widowmaker’ and of course ‘Twisted Sister’ as ‘The Beast’ kicks in. This is a lesson of not just classic metal at its best, but Snider’s showmanship. What a force, it’s a real pleasure to observe the rowdy crowd like putty in his hands. Hanging off every word, we get a local rendition of ‘American Made’ which turns into ‘Australian Made’ towards the end, as fans scream along with Snider.
‘The Fire Still Burns’ is up next and then it’s a warranted ‘Roll Over You’ from his latest solo album, which Snider directs towards a particular Aussie politician who has been using a certain song without permission. Hmmm… the middle fingers go up, and rightly so. Snider’s voice is so deliciously fierce and nasty. And then we get to said song/anthem, ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’, which just breathes an even bigger ‘F… You’ towards this thieving politician. What a setlist tonight as the crowd relives some more 80’s childhood memories. It’s been said a few times between songs, it’s taken Snider nearly 34 years to come back to our shores, so we are being treated to a history of Snider, his previous bands, and new material.
‘I Am The Hurricane’ is an understatement in lyrics as Snider is relentless and this Sydney crowd is more than appreciative. The sweat is dripping everywhere you look, the heads are banging and the hair is flying. I even spot a crowd surfer across the room. From ‘Burn In Hell’ to ‘Become The Storm’, Snider and band push harder and harder, there are so many highlights and trying to keep up is a challenge as these guys just don’t stop at all. Some fans start to slowly emerge from the throng, barely holding it together, just dying for some fresh air and a replenishing drink.
‘Under The Blade’ then takes us back, as does ‘I Wanna Rock’. We get a nice extended version of this anthem and afterwards Snider apologises to the Sydney fanatics for ‘taking so long to come back, but I hope I’m worth it’. Oh you’re more than worth it, at nearly 64 years of age, you give guys a third of that number a run for their money. This is one show that not just every metal fan should see, but anyone who appreciates what it means to be a true lead singer, a dominant, charismatic and engaging stage presence. Some people are just born to be rock stars.
No one’s leaving after this rapturous applause. An encore of the apt ‘For The Love Of Metal’ leads us into a local acknowledgement of Aussie legends ACDC, with a cranking cover of ‘Highway To Hell’. Snider’s voice is so versatile and tonally perfect for this song. What a way to finish our night. The crowd chants ‘Dee, Dee, Dee’ in wonder as Snider and band give us a final bow to another round of cheering, whistling and clapping.
Everyone is beaming as we all make our way out slowly (thank you Hardline Media!). In total worship mode, some lingering and comparing gig notes, others cooling down in the misty rain or gingerly finding their feet after a few too many drinks. All fans united in the fact that they have witnessed a very special show indeed. I have a strong feeling it won’t take Snider 34 years to come back on his next tour, and we will all be waiting.
© MARINA KNEZEVIC 2019. All rights reserved.
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