Hair Metal Mansion staff reporter Jamie Leigh Hunt has checked in with the following:
If there is anything great about living in Central Florida besides the weather, it is all the great shows we get for Bike Week. No doubt that Bruce Rossmeyer Harley Davidson in Ormond Beach just outside Daytona wears the crown on this. The last few years we have had some awesome shows like Jackyl, Blue Oyster Cult and Lita Ford. This year we enjoyed what has been my favorite show yet there....Vixen and Great White. The best thing is the shows and parking are free! There are tons of other activities too from food vendors to shopping all located on the huge property of this Rossmeyer dealership.
On Saturday March 15th these two bands put on a rockin' show to a crowd of thousands. The ladies in Vixen were back in Florida playing for the first time since 1990 when they played a well known club in Daytona called Finky's. This show was the first one they have played under the Vixen name with the new line up. The weather was gorgeous and the ladies spent their day shopping around the bike week vendors. Janet Gardner bought herself a nice Harley Davidson top which she wore onstage for the show. In between fans would encounter the ladies and get a group photo with them. It was also Janet Gardner's and Roxy Petrucci's birthday weekend. Happy Birthday ladies!
Vixen made their comeback last year on the 2nd annual Monsters of Rock Cruise but under the name JSRG....standing for each beginning initial of their name. This includes Gina Stile replacing original guitarist Jan Kuehnemund. I am not sure the story or what it matters now but obviously they now have the official right to use the name Vixen again. In fact, this show was the first show of the current line up as Vixen. Sadly, a few months ago Jan, founding member and guitarist, passed away from cancer. During the show, the band paid tribute to their fallen band mate with a few minutes of silence asking the crowd to remember her or someone they had lost. RIP Jan.
Vixen and Great White each had equal billing on the show. Their sets were over an hour each and Vixen played first. The girls took the stage bringing the 80's rock vixen look alive. Janet was dressed to kill wearing her Harley top, sexy black mini skirt,lace leggings and black boots. Her voice has not weathered for time and I could see they were a much tighter, refined unit than when I saw them a year ago on the MOR cruise.
Bassist Share Ross sang a cover of Neil Young's "Keep on Rockin In The Free World" and Michael Lardie of Great White provided his keyboard skills for the band on some of their songs. In between songs Share was recording the crowd and taking photos with her cell phone. Roxy is one bad ass drummer and Gina Stile rocks the guitar. Hearing the songs really brought back a lot of memories. Vixen sold over a million albums in the 80's.
The band's encore song was their hit Edge of a Broken Heart to which the crowd seemed to remember the words to and all the songs very well. Roxy Petrucci threw out 8 sticks during the set. Unfortunately I did not get one but I sure tried!
After the show Vixen did a meet and greet at the merchandise table. I stayed up front to keep my spot for Great White but I saw many photos on social media after the show and the ladies were so happy to meet fans and take photos with them.
Great White came on shortly after. Audie's drums were already set up behind Roxy's set and so it was just a matter of rolling them up and within minutes Great White hit the stage. In my opinion, as I have seen Great White several times in the last 3 years, this was the best show I have seen. A real powerhouse performance and Terry Ilous' frontman skills were shining bright on this night.
Terry was very interactive with the crowd, taking fans cell phones in the front and recording them and himself. The band has no stage show...no props or back drops. If anyone knows me and read my articles for Hair Metal Mansion, you know this is how I like my shows. Just play the songs straight forward with no frills. This show was 100% rock n' roll and musicianship from every member of the band. Mark Kendall ripped out the solos on his shark guitar. I never saw Audie stop banging his kit one time. Michael did triple duty between keyboards, rhythm guitar and percussion. Scott kept the bass beat pounding and this venue has a really good sound system so my chest shook the whole show.
One of the highlights of the show was when Terry brought my friends Rita and Squirrell on stage for Save Your Love. They are getting married this week and Terry honored them with a dance on stage during the song. They were so thrilled and no doubt this was a moment they will never forget.
The band played many songs off the latest album Elation as well as the older tunes like House Of Broken Love and Rock Me. They took a brief leave of the stage before they came back out for the encore of Once Bitten Twice Shy. The show was full throttle from start to finish. Fans left happy as I heard many people after the show had ended saying what a great, high energy show it was.
Great White did a meet and greet at their merchandise booth as well after the show. I had asked the band to pose for a Monsters Of Rock cruise countdown photo with me to which they kindly agreed. As this article posts we are about 10 days away from boarding the ship where Great White will play for the third time out for fans coming from all over the world. Whether you are on the cruise or not, get yourself out to a Great White show soon!