|Great White: 30 Years – Live from the Sunset Strip
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-09-29 14:28:19
I was in the audience at a gig Great White played in Milwaukee just weeks before the 2003 tragedy at The Station in West Warwick, R.I. — where a massive pyro display that kicked off the show ignited a blaze in the flammable sound-insulation of the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage. The ensuing fire killed 100 people, including Great White guitarist Ty Longley. When that same pyro display went off in Milwaukee, I remember my buddy and I both exchanging wide-eyed looks. In retrospect, we should be grateful we didn't die that night. The venue where we saw Great White has a floor plan similar to the one at The Station.
Since then, I've experienced mixed emotions whenever I hear Great White's music, amplified by the fact that vocalist Jack Russell acrimoniously split from the band and the Station fire seems long forgotten. So when Great White released this live album celebrating 30 years with a 2012 Hollywood, Calif., performance and former XYZ vocalist Terry Ilous replacing Russell, I didn't even want to listen to it. At that point, Ilous had only been with the band for two years. Fake White, right?
But Live from the Sunset Strip reminded me why I ventured out on a cold winter night in Wisconsin to see Great White 10 years ago in the first place: The songs rock. "Desert Moon," "House of Broken Love," "Save Your Love," "Rock Me." Ilous sounds close enough to Russell for comfort, three longtime or original members remain, and I still enjoy the music. Even if hearing it still makes me feel a little guilty.