Few women epitomize what it means to be a strong frontwoman and role model in the male dominated world of hard rock and heavy metal like the one and only living legend Lita Ford. She and fellow rockers Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Micki Steele and Sandy West literally broke down the door, smashing stereotypes for women in rock and redefined what it meant to be a rock star by forming the first all female band- The Runaways in 1975.
After the demise of The Runaways in 1979, Ford went on to a stunning solo career that spans three decades and, at the tender age of 56 shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. She is out on the road in support of her newest and best album in nearly a decade, Living Like A Runaway with another all female band from Akron, OH, called 11 After serving as opener.
The tour stopped in Pittsburgh and all in attendance were treated to an evening of non-stop, balls to the wall rock n roll.
11 After set the carnage in motion, striking hard and drawing first blood with a powerhouse 45 minute set of infectiously catchy old school punk, similar to Joan Jett’s solo material. Lead singer D. Cruise is a natural born frontwoman that oozes charisma from every pore and guitarist Cyn City is an axe wielding maniac that actually looks a little like Ford herself.
Let’s not forget the drumming octopus that is Kit Kat, who wore a camera on her head and the massive bottom end provided by their new bassist, who learned the band’s entire set in less than two weeks, not that you would ever known that by their stellar performance, if lead singer D. Cruise had not stopped to give her credit for doing such a kick ass job.
They also pounded out a killer cover of Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta” that saw the entire crowd singing the chorus at the top of their lungs and an out of this world cover of the Jefferson Airplane classic “Somebody To Love” that was a million times heavier than the original.
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If that wasn’t enough, they finished the cover trifecta with a cover of “Wicked Game” that would make Chris Isaak jealous and they weren’t quite finished just yet.
The fans were then treated to two of the bands best and biggest hits “Psycho Psycho” and “Choose Me.”
The task of taking things to the next level of epicness fell to the incomparable guitar goddess Lita Ford. Thankfully she and her merry band of misfits, including Mitch Perry, Bobby Rock and Marty O’Brien, not only lived up to the challenge set forth to them, but blew any preconceived expectations right out of the water.
The volume of the crowd rose exponentially when the intro music of “Your Wake Up Call” started pumping through the speak system. Ford took the stage with her trademark black BC Rich guitar and grabbed the mic to shout “The bitch is back Pittsburgh,” which signaled the start of the show and the beginning of her pummeling cover of the Elton John classic with the same name to a massive audience response.
Ford still shreds with the best and the band were tight as hell; at the conclusion of “Bitch Is Back,” and after she bantered with the crowd, the band kicked into the heaviest song of the set “Relentless.”
From there, they ripped into “Gotta Let Go” and “Larger Than Life,” the latter of which was played for the very first time on the tour that fateful night to a near deafening audience reaction. A killer extended bluesy jam version of “Back To The Cave,” with tons of dueling lead guitars followed.
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“Can’t Catch Me” was next, prefaced by Ford telling the story of how she was at Lemmy Kilmister’s place in LA for a three day party binge, one that actually required her to call for help to get herself out, during which time they wrote the song. It lead to Bobby Rocks amazing drum solo that saw him playing one handed at one point, while he took a drink.
After the solo Ford grabbed the mic and her white double neck BC Rich, even commenting, “Check out this guitar,” for her monster smash duet with Ozzy Osbourne, “Close My Eyes Forever” and was joined by the fans, who were all to happy to oblige her request to join her, often singing so loud that it drowned her out.
At its conclusion Ford wrapped it up with “Kiss Me Deadly,” an epic show stopper that nearly brought the house down and was so much heavier with the guitars replacing the classic keyboard.
Much like her live album from last year The Bitch Is Back…Live, the songs are infinitely heavier than their studio counterparts and must be seen to be believed. If the tour stops in your town, it behooves you to go because her albums don’t even come close to capturing the raw essence of the songs like her live performances do.