The Babylon that was known as the Sunset strip never really died and L.A. Guns made that point quite clear as they raised the roof at Liquid Joes in Salt Lake City on Friday September 28, 2019.
As the lights dropped in Liquid Joes the introduction music started. It was Ozzy Osborne “Diary of a Madman.” The song continued to play and intermittently the guitar on the track would be drowned out by a live guitar playing the same notes. As the intro music started to crescendo the live guitar got louder until that was all that could be heard. The lights came on and the band took the stage.
LA Guns transitioned seamlessly right into “Over the Edge.” Speeding things up LA Guns then played “No Mercy.” A quick introduction of the band took the crowds excitement up a notch followed by a short guitar introduction into “Sex Action.” It was during this song I realized that Tracy Guns has not lost a step-playing guitar and is probably better now than he was in the 80s and 90s. It helps that now his right-hand man is Ace Von Johnson on guitar also. Ace compliments Tracy better than any other guitar player since Tracy was in Contraband with Michael Schenker.
L.A. Guns then broke out a song from their latest album The Devil You Know. The title track to the album has a classic sound that is all L.A. Guns. The great thing about the song is that you don’t know, unless you are a hard-core L.A. Guns fan, that you are listening to a song released in 2019. It was then time to dig back into the catalog for “Electric Gypsy,” “Some Lie 4 Love,” and “Kiss My Love Goodbye.” Once again L.A. Guns broke out a song from The Devil You Know called “Gone Honey.” As with the last song “Gone Honey” has a modern sound but is classic L.A. Guns making it fit into the set seamlessly. f
1989’s Cocked & Loaded was well represented and two of the best songs on that particular album came back to back. “I Wanna Be Your Man” and “Never Enough” finished off the first part of the set.
After a brief break L.A. Guns returned with a little-known gem for the crowd. 1994’s Vicious Circle is not a well-known album but “Crystal Eyes” was one a great song and the Salt Lake City crowd was happy to hear it.
An L.A. Guns set would be incomplete without their most successful song “The Ballad of Jane.” The crowd sang along with Phil as he ran through the lyrics. L.A. Guns sped things up with “One More Reason” and then continued that with “Speed” from 2017’s “The Missing Peace.” The final song of the night was of course “Rip and Tear.” It was a perfect selection to complete the set.
L.A. Guns may be one of the last truly successful bands from the 80s holding true to their own and still making relevant music today. As I mentioned before when hearing the set live it was amazing to hear how well the new blended in with the old. In addition, the band seems to have something to prove. Their vigor combined with light-hearted attitude on stage reflects an enjoyment for what they do; which is bring smiles in every city they play.