CINDERELLA: SHEPHERD'S BUSH EMPIRE
29th June 2011
Back in 1985, Jon Bon Jovi saw Cinderella at the Empire Rock Club in Philadelphia, and recommended that his A&R rep, Derek Shulman, go and check them out. And there you have it, the big break they had been waiting for.
Almost three decades later across the pond in London, Cinderella would play the Shepherds Bush Empire, as Jon Bon Jovi was crooning down the road at Hard Rock Calling. This proved to be a massive clash for a lot of fans, and you could see those who'd left Hyde Park before the end of Bon Jovi's set to catch the only UK show on Cinderella's 25th Anniversary tour.
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I for one wasn't going to miss this gig for the world: mix a load of glamsters on a sunny Saturday evening, awesome music and a party spirit, and you get what can only be classed as one of my favourite gigs of 2011.
The band hit the stage and took the crowd right back to 1986 as they kicked off with 'Once Around The Ride', taken from their debut album 'Night Songs', followed by dance floor classic from the same album 'Shake Me'.
Tom Keifer has been through it all: drugs and alcohol abuse, dropping out of school to follow his dreams (although his Mom convinced him to return with a small bribe of a Gibson Les Paul if he graduated), but he's had to overcome the worst thing possible for any vocalist, losing his voice.
It is, of course, always a worry whether he can deliver the goods when he takes to the stage, but there was no doubt tonight that he still has it. Relying on the crowd and his band mates to help out, he pulled it off and delivered an awesome set. The classic line-up - Tom, Eric, Jeff and Fred - kept the Empire bouncing as they played hit after hit. And I swear I saw tears in grown men's eyes as they slowed it down for the likes of 'Heartbreak Station' and 'Coming Home'.
With an all killer back catalogue, you were guaranteed for some tracks to be left out of this short set, but most notable were 'Fallin' Apart', 'Fire and Ice' and 'Push Push'. This all seemed to be forgotten, as they sent the crowd into synchronised moshing for their set closer 'Gypsy Road'. Of course the encore had to start with 'Long Cold Winter', and 'Shelter Me' was a cracking way to end the show.
As the audience dispersed into the night, to the various parties planned across town, you could see a smile on every single face. I guess you could say we had a ball.