Three bands, one tour, and one amazing night of pure rock and metal for Penns Peak in Jim Thorpe was the outcome of The United World Rebellion Tour. I want to start by being very clear about one thing involving the venue, Penns Peak, because the level of professionalism I encountered that night was shocking to say the least. For a fan, the venue is superb because it offers multiple views of the stage and top class sound as well however this isn’t my problem.
My problem with the venue was how poorly they treated press and myself as a photographer, despite me having the proper approval from the tour to be there photographing the show. It turned out that I would NOT be permitted to shoot any of the bands from in front of the barricade due to a lawsuit a few years prior. There was nothing I could say to change this so I did what any photographer would do, make lemonade out of lemons in the situation and I headed into the crowd to try and snap off a few shots of the performance to accompany this review. I hope one day things will change at the venue because it truly is a remarkable place.
By the time I had finished all the nonsense involving the management of the club, LA Guns was already on stage and there was no way for me to push up front to get any shots of them so I shot shot wide angles and enjoyed the remainder of their set. It was hard to believer that LA Guns was an opening acts because they have headlined at Penns Peak in years past and you could see why with their performance that night. The crowd didn’t know many of their new material but they sang along adamantly to the older songs and a lot of people were there specifically for that band alone. As their 40 minute set came to a close the standing room section emptied out as the stage was being set up for Saliva‘s performance and I dove on it to see what I could capture of their set. (Continued Below)
Like every band on this tour, Saliva no longer has their original lead singer in the band following a departure for a new career last year. I hate to say it but this was probably the best thing that has ever happened to the band because their new singer, Bobby Amaru, is incredible and a better fit for the band without question. Being the heaviest band on the bill they really tried to get the crowd moving by encouraging a mosh pit and more but the middle aged crowd wasn’t having that. It was awesome to see a group of 5th graders on the barricade along side of me rocking out when Saliva was on stage though, someone is doing an awesome job as a parent out there I must say that!! The band ended their set with some new material and told the crowd to meet them by the bar for drinks after Skid Row‘s performance.
By the time Skid Row came on stage I had worked my way up front and was sweating up a storm from the heat of the stage lights. The band may have been a few minutes late coming on stage but they made up for it by launching right into a crowd favorite, “Slave to the Grind.” Lead singer since 1999, Johnny Solinger, is a great frontman because he isn’t afraid to interact with the fans and did so through out the entire set. Their 13 song setlist kept the crowd of nearly 1,000 singing along from start to finish. The real highlight of Skid Row‘s performance was “18 and Life” when Johnny came down to the front row and did a real intimate sing along with fans in the front row. There is nothing that I like to see more than a band interacting with their fans and truly being appreciative for them being there.
Despite the fiasco with the venue’s management it was still an amazing night of music and I want to be very clear with the fact that all three bands on the United World Rebellion Tour delivered great performances that deserve major props. If you are fan of any of the three bands on this tour, or just rock/metal I would recommend trying to get out to one of the remaining dates because you will be blown away. Skid Row care about each of their fans in the audience and you will feel like you truly a part of their performance. Below is Sight of Sound Magazine’s review of the night along with my final comments and a photo gallery.
Final Comments : A great show from opening band to headliner, I just wish I could have seen it at a venue that wasn’t so rude and belittling to photographers. Penns Peak can’t afford to not have press or annoy the press for that matter because venues like the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem are going to start taking more and more shows from them if they aren’t careful. Regardless, Skid Row came to rock the house and they delivered.