Live: Lita Ford w/ Rock Goddess – O2 Academy, Islington 12/03/2017
It has been decades since former Runaways guitarist, Lita Ford had graced the UK shores with her presence. She found herself performing her only UK headline show at Islington’s O2 Academy in London last night armed with enough guitar porn to make any enthusiast of the axe proverbial wet dream come through.
Opening the curtains tonight are Rock Goddess who returned from a lengthy hiatus in 2013 after an aborted reunion in 2009. Now, a little older, a little wiser but still not afraid to put it all out there and let rip on those who had spent the previous couple of hours queuing outside the Academy, while still treating the early doors crowd to a worthy and rewarding performance.
Lita returned to the stage in 2008 after a fifteen year break from the spotlight to focus on her personal life. When she did return, she came back revitalised, confident, and happy, and this reflects in tonight’s show. She doesn’t overdo it with the crowd interaction as she has gotten the balance right between fan interaction and getting down to the business of performing. We do get some stories behind the writing of Falling In And Out Of Love with Nikki Sixx, and how it took an age to source the photographer responsible for the cover of Living Like A Runaway, her autobiography released last year. As a photographer, myself, this couldn’t have pleased me more to hear.
The classics are all here from both her solo career as well as from The Runaways catalogue. The Bitch Is Back, Back In The Cave, Out For Blood, Cherry Bomb and even Black Leather, often miscredited to the Sex Pistols (Steve Jones & Paul Cook penned it two years two years after the band broke up, but it ended on a Pistols compilation causing confusion) got a good dusting off and belted out for good measure. But it’s fair to say that one of the highlights of the night (other than Bobby Rock’s drum solo) is Close My Eyes Forever with Patrick Kennison demonstrating an impressive array of vocal skill singing Ozzy Osbourne’s parts, almost to the point where he has made them his own, and the crowd showed no hesitation on letting him know.
Bassist, Marty O’Brien is a joy to watch ply his craft in front of the live crowd, especially his interactions with Ford, while in terms of guitar showmanship, this is a treat to watch as both Ford and Kennison skills compliment each other, as opposed to trying to outdo each other (Vai and Vanderberg on Whitesnake’s Slip Of The Tongue tour being a prime example of that pitfall), both stepping aside and giving each other equal time in the sun, the way it should be when it comes to musicians of this calibre. Not even two broken strings, a busted snare drum and various low guitar issues throughout the night was stopping this train from rolling on either the band or the crowds end.
One would question if it was a wise move putting on a headline show 24 hours after an appearance at Hard Rock Hell but that really didn’t play a factor. Islington’s Academy still ended up packed, and fairly sweaty by the end of the night as the set finished up with the 1988 classic, Kiss Me Deadly, with Lita stating that she won’t leave it so long before returning to the UK, a claim we can only hope she will back up. The bitch may be back, but she still remains top of her game in 2017.
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