Celebrating twenty years of success from a multi-platinum debut album, After The Rain to countless additional projects in nearly every corner of the entertainment industry, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson show no signs of slowing down. With the reunion of the Nelson Rock Band, an upcoming release titled Lightning Strikes Twice (Frontiers Records), and a global tour that just never seems to end, the brothers continue satisfying fans everywhere, staying up close and personal through their Ricky Nelson Remembered Tribute shows, the ever-popular, high-demand Scrap Metal shows, and the one we’re looking forward to reviewing for the first time tonight, the Nelson Rock Show. So, come on…
     It’s Saturday, June 26th, 2010, we’re here at Mohegan Sun and the line of rock fans waiting to get into the Wolf Den that extends to capacity-plus numbers more than two hours before the doors open can mean only one thing: Nelson is in the house.
     Tonight’s line-up features none other than Mark Slaughter, who has officially joined Nelson on guitar, also in a solo performance as the show’s opener. A taste of Slaughter classics beginning with an acoustic version of Spend My Life, followed by one of Mark‘s more recent works, In A Child’s Eyes, beautifully showcasing his talent as a lead guitarist, as well as Days Gone By. A VVI teaser with bits and pieces (no pun intended) of That Time of Year and Ecstasy made for some way happy fans (when’s the last time you heard that stuff live?). Fly To The Angels and Up All Night wrapped it up, nicely priming the crowd’s vocals to join Mark and the band for the upcoming Nelson set.
     Before we get into the music, one of the things that captures my attention at every Nelson show is that they have managed to completely redefine the whole “edge of your seat” will actually see people scooting forward on their seats every couple of minutes until the guys take the stage…just a curious observation and their timing is great; we haven’t seen anyone on the floor.
     So the moment everyone’s on the edge for kicks off with a flawless (yes, that term makes every Nelson review) performance of a song from After The Rain that we never get tired of hearing, Fill You Up. In addition to Mark Slaughter and Gunnar Nelson on guitar, the show also features shred master Howie Simon (Jeff Scott Soto/Graham Bonnet’s Alcatrazz), and longtime Nelson member, as well as contributor to Matthew’s Red 37 project, drummer Brian Burwell, who joins us tonight disproving the rock n’ roll leather and spandex rule rockin’ an authentic Cookie Monster t-shirt (though rumor has it it’s Gunnar’s…we’ll get back to you on that one…). We also get to hear a bit of Red 37 material in another of our live favorites, Evermore.
    True to form, the first notes of the next one, topping those that have made the Nelson brothers’ amazing harmonies a staple in melodic rock has non-concert goers walking away from tables and slots, Love and Affection, followed by A Girl Like That from 1999s Life album.
    The next song, a beautiful ballad and tribute to their dad, the legendary Ricky Nelson, performed at every show, Just Once More, offers yet another example of Nelson’s appreciation for, and impact on, their fans with Gunnar out on the floor in the audience, stopping to sing to one of the many beautiful girls in the crowd.
   Fan volume cranks on another early favorite, More Than Ever, and higher still with Brian’s and Gunnar’s drum solos. Slowing it down a bit, Only Time Will Tell and another personal favorite, Cross My Broken Heart (Because They Can/1995) highlight the set.
   Nothing keeps the crowd on it’s feet like the cult classic After The Rain and the introduction of an extremely cool new song that we’re looking forward to hearing more of, Invisible Man, saw some strong fan feedback, as well (check out the link below for the you tube version of that performance). The band rocked the hell out of Everywhere I Go and a seriously intense encore cover of Cheap Trick’s Surrender featured Howie joining in on lead vocals.
    Not surprisingly, this show was as fabulous as everything else we’ve seen Nelson do live and, of course, ended with the band’s customary meet and greet that has earned the household name at the Wolf Den, “A Nelson Line”, which translates to the entire crowd hanging out to stop and say hi to a band where no fan is ever missed.
    Stop by the links below for more news and updates, including the much anticipated release of Lightning Strikes Twice, upcoming tour dates, and don’t forget to mark your calendars for the next Scrap Metal show, which is happening right here at the Wolf Den on Friday, August 20th.  

As always, thanks for hanging with us. Til next time…