It had all the hallmarks of a heavy-metal show: denim vests, short skirts, pattered cowboy hats, and long locks hanging freely down the back of fire-breathing bowling shirts worn by aging headbangers toting bottles of Bud Light with tales of Hallandale's Button South and the Hollywood Sportatorium in their eyes.
The reaction to Skid Row's 17-song set at Fort Laudedale's Revolution Live, however, was decidedly unmetal, the older crowd of about 200 at times hard to reach and requiring prompting to cheer during a marathon guitar duel between Skid Row's two guitarists by lead singer Johnny Solinger. Skid Row, who have been without the services of original vocalist Sebastian Bach since the late '90s, still carried themselves onstage as career rock 'n' rollers, playing a mix of old and new material but seeing some of their energy sapped as the crowd stood clustered in front of the stage, barely moving at times and most of the cheering coming from those closest to the band.
Whether it was a genuine love for the band or nostalgia for the slick, grinding sound of '80s hard rock that brought them out in the miserable weather of Friday night, the crowd would most likely have been sitting had there been chairs. Whether that was the fault of the band, who even with a different vocalist still played worthy renditions of hits such as"'Monkey Business" and epitomical power ballad "I Remember You," was unclear.
"I saw them open for Guns N' Roses back in the '80s on Long Island," a balding man named Tony wearing a vintage tour shirt over khaki shorts and sandals said dryly when asked what he thought of the show. He had no other words as he stonily watched Skid Row play "Ghost" from the 2003 album Thickskin and clapped five times in slow succession when it was over.
The strongest crowd reaction was reserved for the final two songs, onetime MTV staples "18 and Life" and "Youth Gone Wild," but overall the entire affair may as well have been part of a televised retrospective of '80s rock as the audience was at times distracted and seemingly only paying attention out of sheer politeness.
Perhaps the lackluster response to Skid Row is more of a testament to South Florida's long-lost love affair with metal and hard rock, exemplified by the demise of the area's two area mainstream rock radio stations, than a poor performance by a band that in recent times has successfully toured with Kiss and managed to hold their own career musicians for over 25 years. Though their sound and style are relics of an era long passed, other acts from that time have still found arena-sized success in the 21st Century, and were Skid Row to team up on another tour with Kiss or hair-metal icons Mötley Crüe or Poison, they would find themselves much more at home with a South Florida audience than as headliners.
Piece of Me
Thick Is the Skin
I Remember You
Psychotherapy (Ramones cover)
Slave to the Grind
18 & Life
Youth Gone Wild
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