Great White, not just a big man-eating fish and topic of Shark Week, but like their namesake, Great White featuring Jack Russell, left many victims in the wake of their musical feeding frenzy Thursday night at The Hard Rock Cafe Indianapolis, which once again took us on a successful trip down memory lane. To this day I can still remember the Friday night cruising Broad Street with friends and hearing Once Bitten, Twice Shy for the first time. While there may be controversy over the name Great White, for me, and for many in attendance at this show, Jack Russell is Great White. His is the voice remembered by anyone growing up in the 1980’s, and having anyone else singing these iconic songs just wouldn’t feel right.
Jack was in great form for this show and sounded as good as ever and brought himself down to a personal level with the audience, made much easier with the intimate setting the Hard Rock provides. Talking of things such as his coma and his time sober, Jack also offered anecdotes to nearly every song the band played, something rarely seen anymore. Opening with All Over Now, the band proceeded with classics Desert Moon and On Your Knees before going into Save Your Love, which got the crowd singing along. Face The Day and Big Goodbye led into Jack taking us to the next address on Lonely Street with House of Broken Love. Mista Bone, which Jack described as being written about himself, was interjected with Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile (performed by guitarist Matthew Johnson) midway through, then returning for the finish of Bone. Matthew Johnson also performed an incredible bluesy number, Save Me, before the set ended with Rock Me. Somewhere in all of this we were treated with an extended guitar solo from the amazing Robbie Lochner, heavy beats from the drum by Derrick Pontier and some tornadic around-the-neck bass twirling from Dario Seixas (that left those of us directly in front of him hoping that the bass strap was on tightly).
Jack then stated that this was the point that they would leave the stage and let the audience chant for an encore, but rather than wade through the crowd they would just do it now. They then kicked into a hard and loud rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” If there is anyone in the world that can provide a spot on cover of Zeppelin, it is Jack Russell. Anyone who has the album Great Zeppelin knows exactly what I am talking about. If you don’t have that album, get it when you find it as it is the best tribute album in existence. We were then given some “Wasted Rock Ranger” before finishing the night with crowd favorite “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.”
The music that Jack Russell and company provide is simply good time rock and roll. The late great Jani Lane put it best in a quote taken from the book Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal “For every band that writes something earth-shatteringly important, there has to be a band that you can go out and drink beer to.” So as long as Jack and company continue a-hummin’ and a-strummin’, those of us all over God’s world will continue to come out and enjoy the ride.