I’m 21 years old, and I finally have my first crush on a rockstar. Who is this rockstar you ask? None other than Richard Fortus, lead guitarist extraordinaire who made his start with The Eyes-turned Pale Divine and now plays with the likes of Rhianna and Guns n Roses out in L.A. Unlike most girls with rockstar crushes, it’s not because of his looks. Fortus has the best stage presence, charisma and INTENSE playing skills that I have ever seen. Granted I have only been to probably 10 concerts, but man this man can play. During this show he had to have his off-stage help change his strings TWICE because he rocks that hard. He’s a humble guitar genius and that is why he is my idol. Guess what? We got his autograph, too. 😉
Now that I have confessed my love for the lead guitarist, let me tell you how amazing the rest of the band is and how rockin’ the show was. I reviewed Pale Divine (The Eyes)’s first reunion show last January and my Dad (who grew up as a groupie to the band when they played at Kennedy’s in StL) and I determined to make it a Christmas tradition to see their show every winter. Here’s to hoping they continue to get together because the atmosphere they create, their level of talent and the determination of their fans should be more than enough to convince The Pageant and the band to keep it going. New tradition, St. Louis?
The set list was a bit different from last year’s reunion including some songs that never made it to their CDs (never made it passed the garage they were written in, eh?). They played two sets, actually, with a 15 minute break to have a meet and greet. Michael (lead vocals) actually fell on stage at one point, but the band kept playing. Their sets included some amazing covers including my favorite cover of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields.” The dance floor was packed the entire night and there’s not much else I can say other than the fact that this band just gets better with age. Yes, they are all (but Fortus) middle-aged men with beer guts and short hair (past hair band long locks chopped off or they’re bald in the drummer’s (Greg Miller) case), but this just adds to the old adage that you should never judge a book by its cover. These “old” men as today’s youth would call them have more talent than most bands that “make it” in today’s music industry. It’s almost not fair that when they were in their prime age, no one (including their record label, Atlantic) appreciated their beyond-their-time sound. And now, even though they have a large group of dedicated groupies that grow with each father introducing his daughter to the bands of his time, each band member has their own life and dropping everything to pursue your boyhood dream of rockin out to large audiences at 40+ just doesn’t seem smart. That’s unfortunate. Don’t worry Pale Divine, my dad and I will always be at least two dedicated faces in the crowd screaming and rockin out to your amazing talent. Keep it up and continue to force Fortus away from L.A. to play a reunion show.
On another note, “The Stranded Lads” were the opening act. Good sound, definitely 80’s-sounding vocals and unique music, but they intrigued me.