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american rock live - at hedon zwolle, the netherlands - 10/8/98

from Aardschok (December 1998)
by Robbie Woning
translated by Yvonne Kluitman

Chris Caffery: guitar
John West: vocals
Mike Terrana: drums
Barend Courbois: bass

The American Rock Live set starts with an overwelming performance of Savatages "Black Jack Guillotine". Vocalist John West must have had mixed feelings about it. The tour initially was meant to promote his new CD "The permanent mark", but this album hasn't seen the light of day yet in Europe. For that reason, Chris Caffery being on tour with him suits him very well.

Tonights setlist is not only interesting for the omnipresent Sava-fans. The four born musicians actually give, with "The permanent mark", "The burning times" and the fast "High speed life", an extensive advance on the soon to be released second solo-album of John West and also promptly serves the fans of "Artension" (John West/Mike Terrana) with the driving "smoke and fire".

Promising straightforward sounds "Twisted lies", a first product of the brand new musical co-operation of Chris Caffery and John West, which reminds very much of Doctor Butcher. Other highlights of the set are the keyboardless (!) performance of Malmsteens "You don't remember" and the heavy Savatage tracks "Dead winter dead" and "Hall of the mountain king".

Needless to mention that the show of this "band for the occasion" musically stands like a mountain. On the other hand there are some remarks on the performance of John West. His perfunctory meaningless muttering in between songs ("nice to be playing here on stage for all you, that's the way we like it" etc./RW) does al lot of damage to the musical achievements. West is beyond any doubt a talented vocalist, but gives the impression of a bored singer of a matured entertainment orchestra. Only just during Lynch Mobs "Wicked sensation" he defrosts slightly.

During this song a terminal short-circuit in the guitareffects of Caffery happens and forces the band, with the lustily bassing away Barend Courbois in the leading part,to do some improvisations. Cafferys guitar sounds a lot more brown after the problems, but that makes the following encore "Mistreated" all the more authentic.