Rockin’ From the Rail with Chele Drappel
Hot off the Stadium Tour with his other band “Def Leppard”, guitarist
Vivian Campbell along with legendary drummer and former Dio bandmate
Vinny Appice (Dio, Black Sabbath, Rick Derringer, John Lennon), renowned rock bassist Phil Soussan (ex. Ozzy, Billy Idol) and power vocalist
Andrew Freeman (ex. Offspring, Lynch Mob, Great White) brought their band “Last in Line” to Worcester, Massachusetts. On the heels of their recent release of a fantastic version of the Beatles “A Day In The Life”, Last in Line have embarked on a fall tour which will run through the end of November.
A quick history on this band…….
What started as a jam between friends Campbell, Appice and their late great former Dio bandmate bassist Jimmy Bain, has now turned into a band that not only helps keep the legacy of Ronnie James Dio’s music alive but they have evolved into much more. You see, the three aforementioned Dio bandmates were all co-writers on those early records, 1983’s Holy Diver, 1984’s Last in Line and 1985’s Sacred Heart. When they decided to form this band which is not a tribute band by the way, Last in Line set forth to record their own music while continuing to acknowledge the works of their past with Ronnie which as we know included some of the very best heavy metal records of our time. With two albums of their own music now under their belt, Last in Line has been steadily forging their own path in rock n roll. Their debut album “Heavy Crown” which was produced by ex. Dokken and current Foreigner bassist Jeff Pilson was released in 2016 and hit number one on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart. Sadly, bassist Jimmy bain passed away unexpectedly shortly before the record’s release. After much consideration the band agreed to carry on in honor of their friend Mr. Bain and recruited the talents of Phil Soussan. 2019 saw the release of the band’s hard hitting sophomore album “Last in Line 2” again produced by Jeff Pilson.
In this collaboration you can hear the cohesiveness and progression of the band. Now…..onto the show!
It was my first time attending a show at this venue called Rascals located in Worcester, Massachusetts. I must say it was a pleasant experience. Staff were friendly, nice acoustics and ample parking just across the street. A great place to catch a show up close and personal with this caliber of artists. First up was the acoustic duo “Deuces Wild Acoustic Rock.” Performing everyone’s favorite 80’s rock tunes, the team of Frank Pupillo (Shot of Poison) and John Whitcore (Iron Tiger) set the tone for the night of singing and fist pumping as they did a great job getting the crowd revved up.
Next up, the special guests for the evening, Bad Marriage. This Boston quintet consists of vocalist Jon Paquin, lead guitarist Mike Fitz, rhythm guitarist Ian Haggerty, bassist Todd Boisvert and drummer Michael Delaney. Formed in 2015, this band has been making some great noise in the rock world. Their catchy tune “Nay Sayin’ Blues” off of their 2016 EP “Knock Three More Times” was used in the commercial for the sports company Fanatics for the past few years.
The 2016 EP was followed up with their debut album entitled “Bad Marriage” in 2019. 2021 saw the release of their second album “Bad Marriage 2.” They have toured with the likes of the mighty Tesla band, Dokken, Eddie Money and most recently have come off a successful West Coast tour with Buckcherry. Having played on the Monsters of Rock Cruise and Monsters on the Mountain in Tennessee this year, Bad Marriage are clawing their way into the hearts of rockers everywhere.
The band took the stage this night to the loud welcome from the sold out hometown crowd as they ripped into a 10 song setlist. The opener “Gateway Drug” (not what you’re thinking) is rather a song about discovering rock n roll music for the first time and how the music makes everything alright. In this song you can hear the undeniable classic rock influences of bands such as Aerosmith. The captivating voice of lead singer Jon Paquin along with his ability to engage the audience is worth the price of admission alone. Couple that with the mega riffs of Mike Fitz and Ian Haggerty along with the killer bass thumping and drum pounding by Todd Boisvert and Michael Delaney and you have a perfect recipe for some in your face big bold rock n roll! Another highlight which had everyone singing along was the crowd favorite called “Old School Stereo” which can be found on the band’s debut album. A nice surprise came when the band tore into a new song called “Match Made in Hell.” From what I heard of it, the song kicks ass! Look for it to appear on a forthcoming album somewhere down the road. The band closed out their set with a fiery version of the Judas Priest classic “Breaking the Law.” Bad Marriage have worked in the past with legendary bassist Brian Wheat from the band Tesla who has produced some music for them. As these New England rockers continue their assault on the rock world, keep an eye out for their new EP release produced by Mr. Wheat due out this January.
Last in Line
After a short break it was finally time for the headliner. Just as the lights came up there stood Vivian Cambpell plugging in his 1977 Les Paul Deluxe into his Engl Amp. Yes, the very same Les Paul that Campbell purchased at the age of 15 and recorded the entire Dio album “Holy Diver” with. To this day that guitar still sounds amazing. The band tore into their opening song entitled “Landslide” off their second LP. A great choice for an opener it was. The meaning behind the song tells of the everyday struggles we as a society go through. Frontman Andrew Freeman’s vocal prowess is really showcased in this song. Night after night he sings his heart out on stage. Freeman does not sound like Ronnie James Dio as he has his own powerful voice and does one hell of a job belting out those classics that many couldn’t touch. Much to the delight of the audience the band then played back to back Dio classics “Stand up and Shout” and “Straight Through the Heart.” Drummer Vinny Appices’ intense energy makes him not only one of the hardest hitting drummers in rock history but one of the absolute greatest. Complimented by the aggressive solid bass playing of Phil Soussan, this duo of the rhythm and the groove were locked in and so was the adrenalized fist pumping audience. Next was another song from the Last in Line 2 record called “The Year of the Gun.” A dark, ferocious riff filled song with a killer bass groove which is about the gun problems we have in America. The energy level of the band and the crowd could not have gone any higher at this point. Songs such as “Last in Line” and “Holy Diver” returned a thunderous applause from the appreciative crowd. The band performed two of my favorites from their debut record “Devil in Me” and “Starmaker” which did not disappoint. A special moment in the show was when bassist Phil Soussan who was friends with the late Jimmy Bain dedicated the song “Starmaker” to him. It’s plain to see the camaraderie between these four musicians on and off stage. They are having a great time up there and the fans are loving it. Catch them out on tour now and look for the release of their upcoming EP “Day in the Life” dropping on Nov 11th! The night closed out with the Dio song “We Rock.” Yeah…. We sure did!!