March 19, 2015 Doro’s 30th Anniversary Strong and Proud Tour Shreds Trees in Dallas, Texas 3-9-15
Hard Rock singer-songwriter Doro Pesch began her career as the front woman on Warlock’s 1984 album, Burning the Witches, and has continued to rock steady for the thirty plus years since, culminating in the latest release, Raise Your Fist, in 2012. This Metal Queen has been illuminating the stage and inciting musical fervor with her tireless, energetic live performances for longer than some of us have been alive, and her show at Trees in Dallas, Texas on Monday, March 9, 2015, was certainly a rousing Rock fest. Over the years, Pesch has maintained a long-standing fan base that started with Warlock in the early ’80s. The band blazed out of Dusseldorf, Germany and their first record put them on the Metal map. After releasing Hellbound in 1985 the band began to garner worldwide notice; Pesch’s raspy yet feminine voice was not like anything the boy’s club had heard before. After Hellbound, the band had a major label release in the U.S. with True as Steel (1986) and it became apparent that Pesch was bound for glory. In 1987, Warlock gave fans the biggest hit of their career as Triumph and Agony put Pesch on display with the wickedly stimulating “All We Are” for the first single and video. Unfortunately, this would be the last album the band released before Pesch moved forward with her solo career. Force Majeure (1989) and 1990’s self-titled Doro catapulted her into the title of Metal Queen, where she still is today. Pesch and her current band, bassist Nick Douglas, aforementioned drummer Johnny Dee, and guitarists Bas Maas and Luca Princiotta, are a closely knit, well-oiled machine. Her members have longevity, particularly Dee and Douglas, whom have been touring and recording with the Teutonic temptress for more than twenty years. It is obvious that this is a band that works and plays well together. They like each other and that emotional connection makes for an unbeatable formula on the stage.
Warming up the stage was Santa Cruz, California Metal band Archer promoting their soon-t0-be-released album, Culling the Weak. Initially supporting Hellyeah in February, Archer guitarist/vocalist Dylan Rose expressed excitement to be on the road with Doro as well, stating, “It’s going to be a blast playing with these guys every night and a great opportunity to show everyone what we’ve got.” Bringing that energy to the set, the young band performed a seven song set that included Megadeth’s “Tornado of Souls.” Archer will be on the road for some U.S. and European tour dates in the coming future.
As the lights went down at Tree’s, the crowd started chanting Pesch’s name and the Strong and Proud banner was flying high. She raged onto the stage as the strains of “I Rule the Ruins” blasted the air. She recently said that she has never felt better and is in the best shape of her life, which was evident as she controlled the room. Since this tour features classics from her time with Warlock along with her solo career, it was no surprise to hear Pesch move seamlessly into “Earthshaker Rock” and “Burning the Witches.” Something that is a staple at any Doro show is the animation of the audience during songs like “Fight For Rock,” “True As Steel,” and “Metal Racer.” Doro is legendary for her fan interaction and audience members that sing so loudly that they can be heard over the music. Additionally, it is not uncommon for her to hold the mic out so they can join in. She is a metalhead’s dream, and as the anthemic “Raise Your Fist In The Air” tore apart the room, the crowd was screaming in ecstasy.
The refreshing idea behind a thirty year tour is that Doro has essentially let her fan base create her set list. She has been incredibly interactive and has said more than once that this will be about the fans and what the fans want, they will get. It is clear that the fan base in most cities have wanted to hear some of her older music and Dallas was no exception. “Without You,” “East Meets West,” and the rarely heard “Evil” kept the pace of the show at an extremely high level. As she held out the mic, she would ask what the audience wanted to hear next and as fans eagerly called out song titles, she would focus in on the requests and deliver the goods. “Fur Immer,” “Metal Tango,” and “Out of Control” preceded drummer Johnny Dee’s solo and he reveled in increasing the level of crowd excitement. So often, fans do not get the drum or guitar solos as part of large package tours, so it was nice to find that Pesch and her band have not compromised that signature part of a Metal show.
The finale of the night came in the form of Doro’s signature cover of Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law” and the ever enduring “All We Are,” which offered the audience the most interaction of the entire show as she held the mic out to individuals in the front row and allowed them to sing the choruses, before finally closing the set out with the poignant “Love Me in Black.” The band exited the stage for a moment before returning with high intensity for the classic “Hellbound,”
It had been a long time since Pesch toured regularly in the U.S. as she was primarily based in Europe. Her albums were available to her U.S. audience, but when the popularity of Metal seemed to wane at the time, she was affected simply by virtue of not being in this country’s touring market, although she lives part time in New York. All of that has changed now that Metal, particularly classic Metal, is on an upswing and Doro live is a beautiful thing to behold. Those who have not ever had the chance to attend one of Doro’s shows, it is something that no Metal fan should go through life without seeing at least once.