Shooting Star | 08.21.08

shootingstar.jpgSeeing Shooting Star is a raise your glass in the air, give a yell, proud to be a free American, kick-ass, hard rockin’ good time.






Bottleneck Blues Bar, Ameristar Casino, St. Charles, Mo

Shooting Star…I love this band! Every time I see them, it takes me back to the good old party days! These guys gave a hell of a rock show with high energy level, and delivered their classic tunes with authority and enthusiasm. Seeing Shooting Star is a raise your glass in the air, give a yell, proud to be a free American, kick-ass, hard rockin’ good time.

Ronnie Plat, the lead singer, did a killer job of nailing the vocals; and this is not easy schtuff to sing. Vocals are the most important role with progressive rock music like this. Even with the band rocking out, they have to be upfront and flawless. That is exactly what Plat gave. His voice was strong and clear, and hit all of the high parts that original lead singer, Gary West sang.

Van McLain, Shooting Star’s original and current guitarist, was rockin’ out all night. He performed with his characteristic fat, punchy sound, playing on his vintage Gibson Firebird which provided a warm and full tone.

The other original Shooting Star on stage that night was Steve Thomas, the drummer. He really let loose on his signature fill section at the end of “Last Chance.” At one point during this extended solo, he broke down the drum fill into its rudiments and worked the pattern up slowly up to blistering speed. In a way it was like getting a free drum lesson along with the show!

The original bass player, Ron Verlin, is still listed as a current member of the band, but he was not at the show. Instead, keyboardist Dennis Laffoon, who joined the band after original keyboardist Bill Guffey died last year, provided the bass lines. He did an amazing job of covering these lines with is left hand, along with playing all of the other keyboard parts you expect to hear. It was mesmerizing to watch his left hand keep a solid, steady rhythm while throwing in lightning fast lines in between. He also had a Jerry Lee Lewis style solo piece that rocked the house.

Janet Jameson (Kansas City legendary violinist) also stepped in to join the band, and did a great job of capturing the spirit of the music.

Shooting Star’s songs really motivate and inspire. They hit you right where it counts: your heart, your head and your spirit. They capture a sound that can get you up and pumped, with classic rockin-good-time party tunes like “Tonight,” “Bring It On,” Break Out” and “Hang on for Your Life.” And who could forget the tune “Are You on My Side?” What a freakin’ kick-ass, rocking tune that is! During this overly political season, this tune is the perfect theme song for voters caught in the onslaught of campaign promises. K-SHE should be playing this song every day.

My personal favorite Shooting Star tune is “Flesh and Blood,” which I still listen to on occasion to clear my head, and bring things back into perspective. So, for me, it was a very personal moment to hear the crowd singing along to it with me. Another great highlight of the night was the tune, “Hollywood,” which starts with a slow piano intro and soaring vocals, and ends with an up-tempo part with cool background harmonies. Every song they played seemed to be one hit after another.

Despite the good vibes of the music and the intimate setting of the stage, the casino was a less than hospitable place to hold a rock concert. In order to get a ticket, I was forced to register with the casino! That aside, the Bottleneck Blues Bar has a very cool atmosphere within a really nicely sounding room. This was perfect for filming of the show. They had an on-demand DVD production setup so that you could walk away that night with a disc of the show, from either the early or the late set. You can still order those online at: http://www.allaccessdigital. net/dvd_on_demand.htm.

Shooting Star also has a recent studio album available, and has re-released a CD anthology so you can have all the Shooting Star tunes you need.

One last thing I almost need not say: Shooting Star’s performance of their epic tune, “Last Chance” was enough to give you goose bumps. It was a site to see with the whole crowd on its feet, arms in the air, cheering and singing. The song gives good advice and is one to live your life by. Seize the day, Carpe Diem my friends.| Derek Lauer

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