SAINT / QUIET RIOT: Concert Review

SAINT/ QUIET RIOT show- Sept. 30, 2023- BMI Event Center,Versailles, OH

by Chris Gatto

In the 80’s, the burgeoning CCM market (that would include all styles of Christian music) grew concerned that they were preaching to the choir and wondered aloud how to take the Gospel to the world at large. Some CCM artists sought to “break through” to the mainstream, eg. Amy Grant, the late Mylon LeFevre with Look Up, Steve Taylor with Chagall Guevara, U2, or P.O.D. Many in the heavy scene talked about “heaven and hell” type concerts, where a Christian band would be paired up with a secular band for a show, and wondered what kind of reception they might have. In the 80’s that might have been just a dream. BMI Event Center owner Steve Barhorst has had that in mind for quite some time, and this Rocktober concert series in Ohio has 3 concerts with Christian metal bands opening for similarly-styled mainstream acts.

Saint Dave Nelson

The first concert of this series has veteran apocalyptic metal band SAINT opening for QUIET RIOT. Having just played Labor Day at Immortal, Part 2, Saint kept a similar setlist, with only minor changes. The band added “The Blade” from Hellblade as the opener, before the heavy hitting “Heaven Fell,” an excellent offering from the band’s current CD of the same name.

You gotta love user friendly technology – the screens around the band displayed a moving cover of said album with a cathedral falling to the earth (heaven coming down) with pigeons flying amongst the clouds throughout their performance. Next was “Rise,” from The Calf, before going back to “The Choice,” from Jerry Johnson’s first cd with Saint – In the Battle, which merged right into “The Mark,” from the album of the same name. Similarly, “Phantom of the Galaxy” bled right into “Steel Killer,” the last 2 songs off the classic Time’s End album.

Singer Dave Nelson, seemingly at ease in the camera’s eye, playfully tried touching the lasers at the stage’s edge and played with bassist Rich Lynch’s white mane and then headed toward drummer Jared Knowland’s drum kit to do the same to Jared’s shaved head, before aborting his mission with a wave of his hand in dismissal. On to “Too Late for Living” and “The Path,” from classic era Too Late for Living and “Island Prisoner” from Time’s End. Next was “Hellblade,” title-track from the band’s 2010 album, new song and medley were omitted, before the classic “In the Night,” from Time’s End, and closing with “Vengeance,” thus bookending the show with current material from Heaven Fell, the band the coming back out onstage for pics with the audience.

Saint's Matt and Rich

So the big question on everyone’s mind is how the crowd responded to Saint. The arena had a large crowd that night that were mostly there to see Quiet Riot, although thankfully a handful of faithful fans came out to support Saint. The Gospel was not preached, as main man Rich has always been one to let the music do the talking, in this case – John the Revelator’s message as translated into the heavy metal tongue. Most people we talked to were unfamiliar with the band, although some had clearly gotten the Cliff Notes introduction via youTube, and most were seated during their performance, but looking around, the audience was clearly stunned by the bad’s stellar performance. If I were less verbose, I would sum up the show in one short sentence – Jaws hit the floor! Several members of QR were even seen taking in their opening band’s set. Fans weren’t sure how they had missed this incredible band, and by the crowd around their merch table afterward, were quick to remedy the situation. The band came out and interacted with the crowd, taking pictures and signing autographs.

Saint in action

Quiet Riot, of course needs no introduction. Their cover of Slade’s “(Cum On) Feel the Noise” rocketed Metal Health to #1 on Billboard and brought the band’s name household recognition. Even after the passing of singer Kevin DuBrow and drummer Frankie Banali, the band soldiers on, recently reuniting with legendary bassist and original QR member Rudy Sarzo. Quiet Riot 2023 is singer Jizzy Pearl, guitarist Alex Grossi, bassist Rudy Sarzo, and drummer Johnny Kelly, after 40+ years still making fans bang your head…

Quiet Riot

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