Steve & Sebastian @ The Iridium, NYC (review)
Back in Sweden. It’s been a hectic and intense weekend in New York City and most of all, I had a blast. I am so glad that I decided to go see this unique gig with Steve Stevens and Sebastian Bach, because it’s just one of those things that you won’t get to see too many times. At least not in Europe. When I did the interview with Steve after the Saturday shows, and he realized that I only came over for this particular gig, he stopped, put his hand on his chest and went: “I’m honored“.
It’s mutual mr Stevens, believe me. There is so so much to tell, there will be a story and an interview, photos and everything else, but I will not have time for all of that today. I’m still trying to shake the jetlag.
For now, let me just tell you about the show. Actually, why not just link the whole thing here for you first (if you can spot the blonde down in the front, that’s yours truly ;) ):
The jazz-club was small, even smaller than I thought. Someone there said it only took about 100 people. Steve said it could hold about 200. Either way – if you wanted an intimate gig, this was definitely it.
Different – to say the least. I was seated right in front of the stage, so close I could probably see the guys’ nosehair if I looked close enough. :-) Cool place though, it was like a mini-jazz version of Hard Rock Cafe.
My friend and photographer Beatrice arrived shortly before the show began, we had barely finished our cheesecakes when the band walked up on stage.
At first glance, you’d probably go “so, who are THOSE dudes?” – you know, the “not-so-rockstar-looking” other guys in the band. But you’d drop your jaw trying to plow through those guys’ discographies and bios.
Anton Fig – drums (Joan Armatrading, Sebastian Bach, Blackmore’s Night, Joe Cocker, Ace Frehley, Peter Frampton, Mick Jagger, Journey, Kiss, B.B King…..) I’m not even half-way through his list!
Neil Jason – bass (John Lennon (!) Kiss, Art Garfunkel, Mike Oldfield, Diana Ross, Cyndi Lauper, Mark Knopfler, Céline Dion…..) And about 4 more pages of legendary names that he’s worked with.
Pete Thorn – guitar (Chris Cornell, Melissa Etheridge, Alicia Keyes, Dread Zeppelin).
Steve Stevens – in case you didn’t know, is the guy who’s been standing next to Billy Idol the past 30 years or so. You’ve heard his solo in Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana”, he also played with Robert Palmer, Joni Mitchell and Vince Neil and got a Grammy for the Top Gun-anthem:
Sebastian Bach – the one and only. If you don’t know who he is, you’re in the wrong place. :) Brought Skid Row to super-stardom, performed on Broadway as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar and Mr Jekyll/Mr Hyde. Has released solo-albums, done acting and everything/anything under the sun.
When he walked up on stage Saturday night, he spotted me and a guy from Jersey that I’d been talking to while standing in line outside the club for a few hours. He was doing some sort of stage-charades when he with a slightly surprised face tried to figure out what I was doing there.
“What are you doing here? Did you fly over??”
The show was so much more than I even anticipated. I got on a plane to New York City because I was curious. I had no idea what to expect. You could easily say that it felt very exclusive being that close, in such a mini-club hearing these incredibly competent musicians play a selection of their favorite songs.
I’ve seen Sebastian many – MANY times throughout the years, and it was so obvious that he loved being a part of this. His face was the face of a little boy at Christmas Eve, he’s never had much of a poker face. :-)
It was a winning combination. Steve has a sincere respect for Sebastian as a vocalist and frontman, and Sebastian gets that extra kick from performing with these guys – because he’s got some high standards to live up to. It always brings the best out in him when he’s working with people of that caliber.
Steve is amazing. Even after so many years of playing, he still has a sincere love for what he does. It’s interesting how both he and Baz admitted to how scary it was, to be playing for such a small crowd, though. You can look every single person in the eye at that little club. It takes guts, even for people who’re used to playing for screaming masses.
I loved their bold choices of songs for these intimate gigs – most of all I loved the fact that they didn’t play it safe.
They picked songs that they loved but that weren’t necessarily the usual crowd-pleasers. They played AC/DC but not “T.N-T” or “Back In Black”, they played Led Zeppelin but not “Whole Lotta Love” and most certainly not “Stairway To Heaven”. And they played Van Halen but not “You Really Got Me” or “Jump”….
I rarely hear bands play what they ACTUALLY want to play, they usually do what they think people want to hear, so just the fact that they took the tough road, was enough to impress me.
It never got boring because nothing was predictable – the next song could be pretty much anything. Because were playing their personal favorites, they gave their all, in a natural, sincere kind of way. Very unpretentious, and damn cool.I truly loved seeing the smiles on their faces. It wasn’t just another day at the office – they were enjoying this just as much as we did.
That’s what I want to see when I go to a show. I had a blast.
Of course, some songs could not be left out of the set – something by Billy Idol and something by Skid Row. So we got “Rebel Yell“, “I Remember You” and “Youth Gone Wild“. People LOVED it! The energy in the room was on top – as much as it could be when you’re seated at long tables in a jazz-club. ;-).
I can still see and feel that back-to-the-roots vibe when I think back at the Iridium-gig. Apart from the impecable musicianship, we also got some hilarious, spontaneous stand-up from the guys who were cracking jokes between songs.
To sum it all up:
It wasn’t Madison Square Garden (that was taken by Megadeth and Motorhead, this particular night) it wasn’t bright shiny lights and glitter-glitz, bombastic stage production. It was the exact opposite of all that – and probably for that very reason, it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever attended.
Can’t wait to hear more from Steve and Baz – and according to Steve, there will be more. Stick around for the interview in the next few days!
FIND PHOTOS BY PHOTOGRAPHER BEATRICE BRING HERE
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