review and photos by Jake Warkel
Red Dragon Cartel Live
Red Dragon Cartel ventured back to the Chicagoland area stopping at The Forge in Joliet on March 13th. They are promoting their brand new sophomore album, Patina. Jake E Lee Is best known as Ozzy Osbourne's amazing guitarist, who had to fill the shoes of the legendary Randy Rhoads after his passing.
This new record is more old-school metal and was done the same fashion as when Jake E Lee was in Badlands, or even his stint with Ozzy. The band would get together and Jake E Lee would present ideas and riffs and they would collaborate on them together. The process makes it sound more like a band, as stated by Jake E Lee.
Red Dragon Cartel hit the stage in great spirits and were excited to be playing for the die-hard Chicago fans. Their set included mainly RDC songs, but there was an Ozzy Osbourne cover and of course you couldn't leave without hearing some Badlands.
Darren James Smith was sounding great vocally and was definitely having fun interacting with the crowd. Anthony Esposito was just grooving along on bass all night not really moving around too much but, was in a zone all his own.
Phil Varone (Saigon Kick, Ex-Skid Row) compliments the band amazingly. Great chops and the time keeping is outstanding and he works quite well with Jake E Lee's playing. Phil has stated this is going to be his last tour as a drummer, which is too bad because he is a great drummer/musician and will be missed. Best wishes to Phil on his next endeavors.
At the end of the show Jake E Lee jumped out in front of the barricades greeting fans and handing off some of his guitar picks to the adoring fans.
Jake E Lee's performance surpassed the last three times I've seen him in concert. He was so much clearer and full of energy and enthusiasm. Jake E Lee is and always will be at the top of any guitar players list and personally, he is one of my favorites and I'm glad he's still plugging away and delivering his own brand of classic metal.
Playing such a diverse variety from both albums, its definitely worth checking them out when they roll through a town near you.
Jake E. Lee-Guitars
Darren James Smith-Vocals
Learn more about the band here
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Red Dragon Cartel Live