By Martin Popoff
Live! At The US Festival
There’s an opportunity missed here, in the telling of much more of the US Festival story than the paltry two paragraphs stuck on the back.
Photography stops at four tossed-off shots, as well. Bottom line, “metal day” at the second US Festival, May 29, 1983, was a turning point for metal, and to some extent, the coming-out party for the hair-metal or glam era, anchored in California and glowing and glowering for almost 10 years.
In that light, we got semi-baby band Mötley Crüe, headliners Van Halen, and this least known of all, true baby band Quiet Riot, who were burning up the charts with their landmark “Metal Health” album, most of it played here, beginning with deep album track “Danger Zone,” pure metal sparked by the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and a calling card for things to come very soon from Ratt, Dokken, Keel and later, Poison and Guns N’ Roses. Heck, even Canuck-leheads Triumph sounded like a hair-metal band, and then both Priest and Scorpions were newly into their most Americanized phase, so, yeah, this was the great tilt of metal o’er to the left coast.
Quiet Riot were opportunistically put on the bill, the crack band tight and ready to rock, lead singer Kevin DuBrow looking goofy — but what a voice. Unfortunately, the CD doesn’t do the occasion justice. It takes the also-included DVD of the performance, with its top-level cinematography for the day, to really drive home the enormity of the gig and the confidence, energy and skill with which Dubrow, Frankie Banali, Carlos Cavazo and Rudy Sarzo played to a crowd so vast.