“I scream my heart out just to make a dime,” Tom Keifer famously sang in Cinderella’s 1986 breakthrough hit “Nobody’s Fool.”
Considering that the house was filled to the rafters on a recent rain-soaked Friday night at the Palace Theater in Stafford, Conn., no certified public accountant was needed to determine whether Mr. Keifer would be compensated more than a 10-cent piece.
But could he still deliver that ferocious howl that propelled his original band to multi-platinum status?
The conventional wisdom and medical consensus was a resounding no. In fact, after nearly a decade of vocal woes ranging from nodules forming on his vocal cords to paralysis, doctors declared that the proverbial rock clock had officially struck midnight on the ’80s icon in 2006.
Keifer did resurface earlier this year—and demonstrate some vocal fireworks—with his first solo full-length, The Way Life Goes. But most music enthusiasts know how things can go in the studio, with all those pretty buttons made specifically to correct pitch, fill out notes and so much more.
So what was the verdict? A resounding “Who knows?”, at least for the first three songs. While the onstage energy could have been measured via Richter scale, the resulting audio was such a loud, blustery mush that it was hard to discern just what was going on vocally or otherwise.
Luckily, an acoustic interlude was interjected into the set early on, making for a much more lush, listener-friendly experience. But Keifer’s rockabilly take on the Cinderella hit “Shake Me” came off slightly croonerish and he seemed to reserve the higher notes in the Stones-y “Ask Me Yesterday” for his wife Savannah, who joined him on stage several times.
As the clock struck 10 p.m. on this 9:30 p.m.-start show, however, the Cinderella man and his new band picked up steam, plowing through old chestnuts like “One For Rock and Roll” and the new “Cold Day in Hell” and “Solid Ground” with equal ferocity.
By the time the MTV staple “Don’t Know What You Got ’Til It’s Gone” rolled around, Keifer soundly dispelled any doubts about his pipes—the band prolonging pauses so he could hold notes (much to the crowd’s delight) whenever possible.
The momentum crescendoed into a rollicking version of the Beatles’ “Little Help From My Friends,” with the 52-year-old frontman striding the stage to thrust the mic out into the audience, and even dropping to his knees and rolling on the stage at one point.
He rose to his feet, hair sweat-soaked, for the fist-pumping finale “Gypsy Road.” It was so spot-on, you needed only to close your eyes and listen to be transported back to 1986 (and deeply inhale the Aquanett circulating the room for added nostalgic effect).
As reported in last week’s column, Country Boy/hometown hero Aaron Lewis performed a benefit for his It Takes A Community Foundation June 14. When asked if he would ever considering gracing the Celebrity Apprentice boardroom for the cause, Lewis replied with a laugh: “As much passion as I have for it, I think I would thank Trump for the golf tix and tell him I love his New York hotel, but no, I have no desire to put myself under such scrutiny.”
Lewis also illuminated the Crawler on his current music news, political views and more.Be sure to catch the full interview next week.
Last but not least: Music in Palmer and a trip down memory lane in Noho this weekend, too.
Mark Nomad, Bluedevil Bluez, Cold Shot and The Hosmer Brothers will lend their considerable talents to Blues for the Cure (rockingthecure.com), occurring Sunday, June 23 at Crossroads in Palmer. The previous night, June 22, scene stalwarts Hypnotic Kick take the stage for the first time in 11 years at The Elevens in Northampton. Past HK credits include shared stages with Korn, Staind, Monster Magnet and Sebastian Bach, to name a choice few.•
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