Monday, 26 August 2019

Golden Age Rock Festival - Manege Fonck Liege, 25 August 2019

Golden Age Rock Festival is a new one. Focusing on Classic Rock bands of which many never or hardly played Europe this was one adventurous three day event. I could not attend the Friday and Saturday, but with Sunday holding Angel I simply could not resist. Magchiel was interested in seeing Dee Snider  and both of us were more than a bit keen to see Heavy Pettin as well. Unfortunately Pat McManus played too early for us to reach Luik, so we missed that. Pity as the last time we saw him with Gary Moore in Amsterdam was already 34 years ago as well. On a Sunday which saw the return of summer and full beaches we drove against the stream eastwards. Checking in at the hotel and off to the manege. This turned out to be a huge building with a large market and food area behind it in the garden. First compliment goes to the food options which next to the eighties fries truck also had some very delicious Indian options at fair prices. When we entered the hall we were immediately in for the first nice surprise: Rudy Lenners and friends. Now I did not know Rudy, but it seemed he was local and used to play in the Scorpions from 73-75. So after one cover we got a medley of Tokyo Tapes. Speedy's Coming, Pictured Life and In Trance. With the young guitarist/vocalist doing a great Klaus Meine we had a winner after ten minutes in the hall Hereafter the set was closed with Rockin' in the Free World. Now I am not a great fan of the obvious covers on stage, but with all friends joining in, including his daughter the atmosphere was amazing and the more spiritual inclined among us could feel the positive vibes on their skin. To add to the fun, this set was talked together om stage by one of the three organizers (we guess) and that was when we found out that our French is a bit rusty at best. One thing Magchiel and I already decided there and then. If this festival survives we shall be back.

The breaks in between sets were fairly long so we could hang in the garden and bumped into our Bristol/Stampede friends Patrick from Belgium and Gerrie from Limburg. While talking the nerves increased a bit as Heavy Pettin was on next.Now we knew their Classic albums Lettin' Loose and Rock Ain't Dead, but never saw them live before. That is when I decided to move a bit forward to feel the melodic metal through the stomach. Years ago Heavy Pettin were called Scottish Def Leppard and while boxing does not work you can hear why this was the case. Being Scottish all was a bit rougher on the edges, but their songs went down really well. Victims of the Night, Love times Love and Rock Me passed by and we had a blast, I guess their biggest "hit" is In and Out of Love and makes you wonder why that did not do wonders in the eighties when the world was waiting for such songs. Closing their strong set with Throw a Party was a fine choice as that is just what they did to us over the past hour. This was two winners out of two, so we were only getting more in the mood (or was it with some help of our friends the Belgian beers). Only pity was that I was considering getting their T-shirt later on the evening finding out after Angel they already left the building, probably with a boat to catch. ,

Now things would become more melodic Swedish metal, but I never knew much of 220 Volt. It all sounded OK and apart from the vocalist I guess several original members were on stage, but I played smart. Knowing I would need my limited forces for Angel and Dee Snider still I looked for a place to sit.Now inside there was a small stand to sit on, but this was reserved for VIP visitors and we were obviously not that important. So outside it was and sorry 220 Volt.

After a fine Chicken Massala with rice and salad I was ready for Angel. Actually I am ready for Angel for 40 years now and Live Without a Net is one of the highlights of double live albums. I never expected to still see them live on stage and they were to me the reason to drive down to Luik. Unfortunately Gregg Guiffria left the music business, but it turned out that his substitute played rather well, Original members Frank Dimino on vocals and Punky Meadows on guitars were still there and that is where I have to start, The voice of Frank Dimino is amazing and at respectable age he did not loose any of his power it seems. Punky Meadows was always a glam factor in the band, but seeing him arriving on stage was kind of over the top in double. With his tanned skin, huge mouth and very full hair he looked different from the average man in the audience to say the least. As this was a music festival and I can't be bothered too much by looks his playing was great. Actually there was hardly anything to complain. On the Rocks, Mirrors, Can You Feel It opening a set of Classic Angel songs with such a strong voice and clear sound was the party I hoped for, The Fortune, Rock & Rollers the high never stopped. Well the party might have gone on, but the band hardly did. After only 45 minutes they announced their last song, which obviously is their best song ever the Tower. So we were supposed to get an hour, it seemed to me, they were not all that pleased with the small audience or something else annoyed them. The set was professionally played and very well so, yet two more songs should have been possible with so many classics to choose from and a new (not even mentioned) album coming up. so I saw Angel. loved their show and setlist, yet a tiny disappointment came with the short playing time. Still I will buy Risen upon release and hope to see them one day again.

And then we knew that roller-coaster Dee Snider still was to come on stage. He decided to mix songs from his strong 2018 release For the Love of Metal  (tks for the tip Theo) with some Twisted Sister Classics. Anyone having seen the man on stage before knew what we would be in for. Heavy Metal of the catchy kind with some in-between ranting with a healthy dose of humor. Building a setlist is also no issue for him and as it should be he opened and closed with strong songs from his solo album. Yet while all the music sounds good, the party picks up a notch when we can shout that We're not Gonna Take It. The Kids Are Back and Burn in Hell were nice as well and actually the evening was a a fest. Everyone in watched this set with a smile on their face and sung their lungs out on I Wanna Rock. Dee really does this for the love of metal and if he might have hoped for a larger crowd, he does not show any signs of disappointment. Party, righteous headliner and what a way to close the festival. Dee rules.

Well actually the festival was not closed yet as a cover band would come to play for those not willing to go home yet. I thought by their name we would get Eagles covers, but this was much better. 6 wigged Wallonians gave us covers of Europe, Mr Big, Skid Row, Aerosmith and the likes. Very nice band, but we were satisfied, by so many highlights on the day already. Now what the future holds in store for this festival is unclear and was buzzed around all the time. The effort they made on billing bands you can never see is admirable. Fact is that many bands playing (Moxy, Doc Holiday, Vulcain) shall be hardly known by anyone under 50. I hope they somehow managed to get by with those who attended. The initiative deserves a wider audience and the atmosphere was brilliant. So thank you Golden Age Rock.

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