LOVERBOY Hit And Miss In Los Angeles Concert

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By Gerry Gittelson Los Angeles correspondent
LOS ANGELES -- Loverboy does not tour as frequently as fellow Canadian classic-rock acts such as Rush or Bryan Adams, so it was a rare treat when the fivesome performed before a capacity crowd at Canyon Club, one of Southern California's largest clubs.
In past visits, Loverboy has absolutely killed. This time, the group that has been around since 1979 showed their age just a bit, as singer Mike Reno sang well but struggled to hit the high notes, even though most of the songs were tuned down at least a full step.
Not that Loverboy did not succeed. The crowd (consisting of about 75 percent females!) certainly enjoyed the show -- and that's the most important thing -- and the band defintely put in a solid effort with a nearly two-hour set that featured all the big hits.
But because Reno is such a focal point in band that lacks any other real standouts, a lot of the thumbs-up/thumbs-down comes down to him. Not that it matters much anymore because no one would expect him to fit into the red leather pants pictured on the cover of "Get Lucky," but Reno continues to struggle with his weight. Reno does not move much either, pretty much planting himself in front of the mic stand for the duration.
Then again, Loverboy's songs are so effective that all the group really needs to do is execute and turn up the volume, and that's exactly what went down, so most of us left happy.
Put another away, Loverboy was able to afford holding their biggest two songs for the end -- "Turn Me Loose" and "Working For The Weekend" -- and it all worked out.
Spellbinding? No. Worth the money? Yes.
"The Kid Is Hot Tonight" found everyone pushing away their dinner plates and standing up. "Hot Girls in Love" saw the cougars roaring for all they were worth. "Lovin' Every Minute of It" tinged good memories of a lost generation when rock was king and FM radio ruled.
Originals Paul Dean (guitar), Doug Johnson (keyboards) and Matt Frenette (drums) are all still in place, so Loverboy remains more legitimate than a lot of others with only one or two longtimers.
Afterward, the group was in good spirits backstage.
"I do like to play Los Angeles, but then again, I like playing anywhere," Dean said
An unknown act called Crack-In-The-Shell opened. In keeping with the Canuck theme, the power trio wears its Rush influence on its sleeve, and the truth is the band went over very well and proved surprisingly entertaining.
Singer/guitarist Daniel Allen sounded great on "Waiting," bassist/keyboardist James McFadden kicked ass on "Catastrophic," and drummer Jason Russo pounded away with fury on "Hold On."