The Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun Casino (Uncasville, CT), is known for packing rock n’ roll die-hards in for ‘up close and personal’ experiences with their favorite bands. Tonight, for fans of the 80’s all-star band, ‘Scrap Metal’, the party started before the show.
     Excitement for this much-anticipated event was obvious as the area around the venue filled rapidly, well in advance of the 8pm show time. Sound check began around 6pm, offering a taste of what was to come with classic Nelson, Slaughter, and Night Ranger, and animated conversations among the crowd dissolved into singing heard well above the sounds of the surrounding casino activity accompanied, naturally, by several air guitars.
     Finally, at 6:30, the doors opened, and 90 minutes later, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, Mark Slaughter, Kelly Keagy, Dave Marshall, and Steve Hornbeak took the stage, opening the set with the Night Ranger classic, ‘You Can Still Rock in America’, bringing the crowd to it’s feet at the sound of the first note.
     I have to point out here that this is a venue that normally discourages the crowd from standing and approaching the stage, photography, etc. Does it happen anyway? Of course, though in my experience with prior shows there, it’s typically a slow filtering of people down to the front a few at a time.
    NOT in the case of Scrap Metal, kids! The energy behind this one had tables and chairs kicked out of the way, hands in the air, and cameras flashing at a seizure-inducing rate, before the end of the first song!
    The few not fully engaged in the action by the end of ‘Still Rock’, followed quickly as the Nelson boys took over vocals in ‘After the Rain’, with an absolutely flawless performance. Up next was Slaughter’s ‘Mad About You’, which had Mark Slaughter redefining the ‘up close and personal’ thing as he jumped off the stage and sang his way through a very encouraging crowd.
    Another Night Ranger favorite, ‘Sing Me Away’ had everyone doing just that, and no one missed a beat as Matt and Gunnar launched into ‘More Than Ever’. Following was Slaughter’s ever-popular rock anthem, ‘Up All Night’… I’d bet my next paycheck they heard us belting that one out in valet parking (at the other casino!).
    The energy in the crowd reached a new high as Mr. Big frontman, Eric Martin made his first appearance, moving from a beautiful cover of Cat Stevens’ ‘Wild World’, to the huge Mr. Big hit ‘To Be With You’.
    Slaughter’s ‘Spend My Life’ was up next, followed by ballads ‘Only Time Will Tell’ and ‘Goodbye’, from Nelson and Night Ranger.
    Nelson’s first single ‘Love and Affection’ produced more vocal appreciation from the crowd, and Slaughter’s ‘Fly to the Angels’ was dedicated, by Mark, to the men and women serving America.
    There were no signs of slowing down as Eric rocked us through ‘Daddy’ and ‘Alive and Kickin’, and the crowd was with Kelly note for note on the Night Ranger mega-hit, ‘Sister Christian’.
    After that, Mark and the guys blew the us away once again, with ‘Burnin’ Bridges’, then finished in high gear with another  Night Ranger classic, ‘Don’t Tell Me You Love Me’.
    After a sincere and heartfelt ‘thank you’, the band left the stage, but, of course, in true Scrap Metal form.…yes, there was more!!!  They joined us again for a seriously ass-kickin’ encore of AC/DC’s ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ featuring Gunnar Nelson on drums, and a guitar solo by Dave Marshall not to be forgotten (WAIT til you see them do this one!).
    ……And still….that’s not all…between the great songs we’ve been rockin’ to for nearly two decades, Mark Slaughter’s approach to stand-up comedy highlighted by, not only his take, but a hysterical version of C.C. DeVille’s, on Aqua Net hairspray, had us laughing long after the show.  Not to mention that the exchange of roles among band members, (guitars, drums, vocals) had our heads spinning faster than Linda Blair’s in the Exorcist.
    Got all that?  Well, in a nutshell (in case you missed anything), they blew the freakin’ roof off the place, drove fans to a new level of psych, and left us all screaming for more….so…are ya ready for Scrap Metal? That’s what we figured….Enjoy the show!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

SET LIST:
“You Can Still Rock in America”
“After the Rain”
“Mad About You”
“Sing Me Away”
“More Than Ever”
“Up All Night
“Wild World”
“To Be With You”
“Spend My Life”
“Only Time Will Tell”
“Goodbye”
“Love and Affection”
“Fly to the Angels”
“Daddy”
“Alive and Kickin’”
“Sister Christian”
“Burnin’ Bridges”
“Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”
Encore:
”Whole Lotta Rosie”

Review conducted by Meri Ballou meri@blastmagazine.net