|» Pretty Maids 2010 12 04||
Following their fine performance at Sweden Rock Festival this summer, where they stepped in for Ratt at the last minute, many were overjoyed when Pretty Maids were confirmed for a couple of headline dates in Sweden. One of the places that got the honour of welcoming the Danes was the Zaragon Rock Club in Jönköping.
Arriving at the venue, it stands clear that this should be a nice, intimate event. Sold-out well before the day of the gig, the place - with a capacity of 400 people - is jam-packed and filled with an air of bubbly anticipation. The intro to Pandemonium builds up the excitement further, and said title track from the latest Pretty Maids full-length is a powerful, effective opener; while the second number, the splendid I.N.V.U., sees great crowd participation in the chorus. Sensing the potential of a memorable night, singer Ronnie Atkins orchestrates a wonderful sing-along during Walk Away. From here on, there is simply a magnificent atmosphere inside Zaragon.
That the spectators are enjoying themselves immensely is really no wonder considering the music on offer; whether old or new, the songs that make out the Danes' set are simply top-notch throughout. It is evident that the songs from Pandemonium are met with virtually the same appreciation as the old classics, which is further testament to the class of the latest record. It's especially nice to hear the dramatic Cielo Drive. Otherwise, we are served Pretty Maids' customary, glorious mix of heavy and softer tunes. Back To Back is just thunderous, as is the reception to this heavy metal gem. Meanwhile, a seductive number such as Please Don't Leave Me brings out those warm, appealing emotions. Surely, not many bands master the ability to combine rough and melodic the way these Danes do. A vital component is Ronnie Atkins´ well-known vocal talent, and tonight his voice is in excellent shape.
Speaking about band members, all men onstage are in a great, cheerful mood, with an obvious joy of playing, clearly boosted by the overwhelming response from the audience. In addition, the sound is great - heavy and powerful yet clear with all members getting the chance to shine. There are probably those who complain about the absence of certain songs in the set, but with the band playing for one hour and a half - and with the heat in the packed house certainly a factor as well - there can be no complaints. That the stage is rather low hampers the view a bit as well, but with such a jubilant atmosphere, it is just a minor dilemma.
After the standard closer, the classic Red Hot And Heavy (including a
little jam on Smoke On The Water), we nevertheless get a treat. With Christmas
nearing, A Merry Jingle, from the 1990 EP In Santa's Claws, is played.
A fitting conclusion indeed. In my review of Pretty Maids' show at Sweden
Rock, I wrote: "When the band visits Sweden next time, playing their
own show under their own conditions, it should be marvellous". This
evening is just that - marvellous. A brilliant time had by all at Zaragon
- audience and band. It looks like there's a good chance these Danes will
do a round of concerts next year as well; if you have the chance to see
them, there's simply no excuse to miss out on a classic band that is still
at the top of their game - possibly more so than ever.
9 chalices of 10
See also: interview with Ronnie/Ken the same night