Great White - Stage

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Out of print for a long time now, Great White fans will welcome this reissue of the band's mid-'90s live effort, presented here on two CDs. Always respected for their live act, Great White also knew how to select great songs to cover to supplement their self-penned stuff, and here they begin the show with a take on Savoy Brown's blues rocker "Train to Nowhere." That song, about squandering life, kicks off Stage One, the first half of the album that was recorded in 1994 at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. Also on Stage One are the dreamy "Sail Away," the slow-burning blues rock of "House of Broken Love," the reflective "Maybe Someday," the swinging "Congo Square" and the blues tearjerker "Gone with the Wind," all of which were written by band members. The set closes out with another cover; a take on the sublime Small Faces cut "Afterglow." While Stage One shows the blues-influenced side of Great White, Stage Two, recorded at the Celebrity Theatre in Anaheim in 1993, shows the group's rockier side. The set opens with "Face the Day," another example of how the group made great choices for covers as the song, originally done by Angels, would become a fan favorite. The band's "Old Rose Hotel" and big hit "Rock Me" appear but there are more covers too, including a take on Led Zeppelin's "Babe (I'm Gonna Leave You)," a natural since singer Jack Russell sounds very much like Robert Plant at times. Another Angels cut, "Can't Shake It," leads into smash hit "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," which was penned by Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople fame. Stage Two comes to a smoldering conclusion with "Love is a Lie." The Great White lineup for these shows was Jack Russell on vocals, Mark Kendall on lead guitar, Michael Lardie on guitar and keyboards, Audie Desbrow on drums and Teddy Cook on bass. Great White fans can also look forward to the forthcoming Once Bitten Acoustic Bytes by Jack Russell's Great White, scheduled to drop in May.

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