Tuesday, October 28, 2014

An Evening With Doro Pesch (including photography from Brian Ronald)

The undisputed Metal Queen, Dusseldorf Germany’s Doro Pesch rolled into Toronto with her 30th Anniversary tour on October 16, 2014.  It had been about a year and a half since her last visit, which was my first time seeing the live Doro experience.  I have long, long been a Doro/Warlock fan, getting into the band with the True As Steel album that we pilfered from my buddy’s older brother’s collection in our hunger to discover new hard rock/metal music that we had recently become exposed to.  From there we moved both backwards and forwards simultaneously as we saved our allowances and paper route gains to collect the previous Hellbound and Burning the Witches albums as well as the recently (at the time) issued Triumph & Agony.  We were fifteen or sixteen and in Canadian High School when we both enrolled in a German class teaching the basics of the language and culture.  One assignment was to bring something German into the next class that we would discuss.  We teamed up and produced the Triumph & Agony cassette when our name was called.  I’m not sure that the rest of the class or the teacher enjoyed that session as we listened to and discussed the album and the band during the class.  Fast forward to 2013 and the first time I had the chance to see her live in a truly incredible performance in Toronto despite the horrible snowstorm outside of the club.  We raged inside while Mother Nature raged outside.  Around that same time, at the age of 40, I had finally decided to take the leap into body art and get my first tattoo.  My love of music was the clear choice of subject.  With the assistance of comic artist Rob Armstrong and tattoo artist Guy Abergel at Art Studio Tattoos, Toronto the tattoo became a full sleeve piece depicting a guitar case “stickered” with the logos of about 30 bands that helped shape or affect my life in some way.  While there are still many great bands missing (not enough arm space), Doro Pesch is the only band to appear twice with both the Doro and Warlock logos!  That shows you where the Metal Queen sits in my hierarchy of life.  Again in 2013 I had been seriously getting closer to making the dream of attending a European festival a reality when I saw the lineup announced for Sweden Rock 2013.  With Doro in the roster, my choice was cemented and tickets were booked and purchased, Sweden here I come! (A Canadian Decibel Geek in Sweden).
MORC Meet & Greet with Doro-photo by Danny Verret
2014 brought another chance to experience the live performance as Doro was slated to appear on that year’s Monsters of Rock Cruise.  Two wonderful shows by the entire band took place there on the high seas.  I spent the entire cruise looking for Doro as the one person that I wanted to meet aboard ship, but alas to no avail.  I was, however, able to meet wicked bass player Nick Douglas and skin basher Johnny Dee (who I’d also met briefly in Toronto 2013), but Doro eluded me.  Forced to attend the meet & greet aboard ship as my only chance to meet her, I had a few precious seconds to display the artwork of my arm and smile for a shot with the entire band before being herded along to the next photo session.  It was still a complete dream come true getting a few seconds with the lady who helped shape my rock tastes and days of teen angst.

…And now we get to the present and specifically October 16, 2014.  Presented by Inertia Entertainment and performing at The Hard Luck Bar would again be Doro and her incredible band.  That announcement months earlier brought an immediate ticket link clicking and sheer elation that the price tag was a mere $22.50 CDN….that’s almost free!  Perhaps this low price was due to the fact that The Hard Luck is a terribly small and totally shitty venue with the tiniest stage and possibly worst sound in Toronto.  All that aside this would definitely be the most intimate show opportunity to see Doro!  Coupled with all of this, the little and perhaps not obvious drop-down menu displayed a higher price option that included a meet & greet VIP and early entry option.  This ain’t no Motley Crue “rip-off meet & greet”….it was only another $18-20 to add this to the ticket!  Hell Yeah!  Thanks Inertia Entertainment and Doro for this amazing and more than affordable opportunity. 

Doro Toronto Oct 16, 2014-Brian Ronald
The evening finally arrived and I set out, meeting up with some friends for dinner prior to the show.  We had gotten word that the meet & greet had been pushed back to after the show as the band had only recently arrived in Toronto.  My good fortune stayed with me and good things come to those who wait as one of these dinner friends, Amy, was actually friends with a member of the band!  How cool is that?  In what almost seems like a dream to me now, before I knew it, on our way to the club we were pit stopping to pick up a carafe of coffee for the band, which shortly saw us on the tour bus!  What, on the tour bus?  Yes, yes we were!  Doro and most of the band were present and I stood a few feet away from where the “Metal Queen” was sitting on the couch.  Perhaps the blonde bombshell has discovered the fountain of youth as she definitely looks every bit as good and hot as she did in her youth!  All the buzz was immediately evident as true in that she (and actually every single member of the group) really appreciate their fans as she chatted lightly with us.  Somehow (thanks to Amy I believe) it was pointed out that I was adorned with a Doro tattoo and before I knew it I was shrugging out of my jacket to display Guy Abergel’s work.  No sooner did I have the jacket off and guitarist Luca Princiotta remarked that he remembered the tattoo from the cruise meet & greet (very cool on that score alone!) as Nick Douglas (bassist) and Doro herself moved in to get a closer look.  All of a sudden I was posing for photos with my German Metal Queen heroine, a few with her pointing to the tattoo.  As we readied ourselves to depart Doro asked our
Doro & Meister Toronto Oct 16, 2014-by Brian Ronald
group if there was anything that we wanted to hear tonight.  They all turned towards me, I gave a few moments thought wading/flipping through the tons of choices that instantly popped into my head.  I wanted to choose something I’d not heard live before, but something that stood a chance of getting played.  I settled on “We Are The Metalheads (Wacken Hymne)” to which she responded “OK”.  Elated beyond belief and totally on cloud nine we all gushed an outpouring of thanks as we departed to give them what little time there was to get rested and ready to perform.  I almost didn’t need the show now, that was so cool thanks Amy Mech, you rock!

Doro @ Hard Luck Toronto Oct 16, 2014 - Brian Ronald
I reported to position at the front of the stage on the side of guitarist Bas Maas.  What followed could only be described as pure magic as we got a heavy dose of Warlock to get the show going.  The crowd was pumped up and were all surging forward, fists in the air and screaming with the opening bars of the Warlock rager “I Rule The Ruins”“Earthshaker Rock”, “Burning the Witches” and “Fight For Rock” all followed.  Time for a double shot of Doro solo material next with “Night of the Warlock” and “Raise Your Fist” from the current, awesome album of the same name before a deeper and rarely played cut off 1984’s Burning The Witches release in “Without You”.  Prior to the tour there had been a Doro fan poll in which the question was asked “What would you like to hear on this tour”.  There were a lot of deeper cuts on the list and “Without You" is only one example, with other choices being things such as "Beyond the Trees" and "Unholy Love".  The band listened to their fans and worked some of those fan favorite songs into
Doro Band Toronto Oct 16, 2014
the set, changing it up a little each night.  The next track was a true treat for a fan like me with “Evil”, a song I’d never heard before and was actually completely unaware of it’s existence.  Doro called out that the song was originally from 1985 and had not been released in Canada or US, so it would probably be new to us.  What a total rager it was and I must add this track to my collection as soon as possible.  “Metal Tango”, "True as Steel” and the ballad “Fur Immer" (Forever) kept the roster heavy in the Warlock vein as Doro offered her apologies on the sound quality (I gather there was some reverb/feedback in their monitors).  So far there had been a few deviations from the setlist that was taped to the stage at the pint sized beauty’s feet and “East Meets West” was another of these.  On the cruise Doro had been joined on stage by Ann Boleyn ("The Queen of Scream" from Hellion) for a duet on this one and since Hellion was indeed in town tomorrow I wondered if we might see a little cross performing, but it was not to be the case.  During one of the choruses of "East Meets West" Doro moved to my side of the stage, worming between monitors and cords and coming to stop directly in front of me!  Staring right at me, we each sang several lines of the chorus to each other as I felt a pat on my back from my friend Amy.  Words cannot describe the feeling.  “Out of Control” another rarely seen gem popped up next with a lengthy skin bashing solo including crowd participation from Johnny Dee.  Doro returned to stage and announced that Johnny Dee (Britny Fox) had been with her for 21 years to date, offering her thanks to him for going above the call on
Johnny Dee @ Hard Luck Toronto Oct 16, 2014-Brian Ronald
this tour and driving the bus as well!  Wow, I know that he was previously the tour manager, so if he’s still performing those duties he’s a busy and dedicated guy!   Doro continued to talk to the rabid crowd explaining about the poll for setlist and the fan chosen favorites.  Then she said: “We met some friends earlier this evening and one of them requested a song.  This gentleman right here, (pointing at me with an outstretched arm) wanted to hear something.  What was it?" She asked.  ""We are the Metalheads",” I nervously replied in a fairly loud voice, a bit shocked at Doro calling me out.  Again I felt the pat on the back from my friend Amy as she knew just what something like that and all these other exchanges really mean to metal fan such as myself.  “Love Me In Black” was next as I still reeled from the previous, my throat nearly raw and harsh.  “All We Are” of course closed up the regular set with a little crowd participation included and we just knew that there would still be more to come.  After a short reprieve the band re-crowded the tiny
Nick Douglas Toronto Oct 16, 2014
stage for the encores as the audience cheered them on with everything they had.  "Hero", composed as a tribute to Ronnie James Dio, lead the way followed closely behind by “Breaking The Law”, a Judas Priest cover that Doro has made her own.  “Burn it Up” was the final song for the evening and as the band exited the stage we all remarked about the total awesomeness of what we had just witnessed and experienced.  We milled around as concert goers filed out or to the bar for much needed refreshments.  After a short while security hoisted out all the non Meet & Greeters and we were explained the rules.  Simple: line-up, two things only signed by the band, walk by them all and quick chat as they sign, no photos, line up again and then photos will start.  It all went remarkably smoothly and not anywhere near as drawn out as I would have thought.  I of course had much more than two things to sign and the promoter had just handed out event posters to us all as well.  I passed a couple of CD covers to friends ahead and behind me as they only had one thing each and we were off.  Luca Princiotta was first and there were of course pleasantries about the show as I approached the table, shaking his hand.  I asked him why they were not selling his solo CD this time around.  I had considered purchasing it last time as he is an awesome and talented guitarist, but passed eventually.  Preferring to buy direct from an artist if possible I waited for this show as my next opportunity to acquire the CD.  He seemed shocked that I was interested and apologized that it was in the truck due to the late arrival, saying he might have one in the dressing room and would check for me after the
Luca Princiotta Toronto Oct 16, 2014
ordeal was over.  Doro personalized my 25 Years In Rock...And Still Going Strong 25th Anniversary DVD/CD set and the event poster and I had a few brief minutes to chat with each member, thankful to them for coming to Toronto.  We rounded around and formed up once again for photos.  The whole band was “into” each fan’s photo taken with their own camera by one of the event staff.  They even took two for everyone to be sure a good shot was captured.  A large number of my group looked at the piss-poor lighting in the Hard Luck Bar, especially in the area we were using for photos and were dubious about the quality that their phones would produce.  Meister to the rescue as I had my trusty little point and shoot camera already in hand.  I ended up using my camera for a total of six peoples Meet & Greet photos!  By the time I arrived home at 3:30am I was totally exhausted but made sure to get everyone’s pics posted and tagged for them on Facebook.  Thank-you Doro Pesch, Johnny Dee, Bas Maas, Luca Princiotta, Nick Douglas and Harrison Young for a truly unforgettable experience and an awesome show!

Doro @ Hard Luck Bar October 16, 2014 Setlist:
"I Rule the Ruins"
"Earthshaker Rock"
Bas Maas Toronto Oct 16, 2014-Brian Ronald
"Burning the Witches"
"Fight for Rock"
"Night of the Warlock"
"Raise Your Fist in the Air"
"Without You"
"Metal Tango"
"True as Steel"
"Fur Immer"
"East Meets West"
"Out of Control"
"Wacken Hymne (We are the Metalheads)"
"Love Me in Black"
"All We Are"
"Breaking the Law"
"Burn It Up"

Look for videos from the show coming soon to Decibel Geek's YouTube Channel

The Meister

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(Doro Website) (Doro Facebook)

(Art Studio Tattoos Website) (Art Studio Tattoos Facebook)

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