The air was filled with the distinct aroma of nostalgia as the theme park attendees hurried out and were replaced with makeup covered and costume clad fans, headed to Hard Rock to see a group that hadn't played there since 2004.
At 8 o'clock sharp Hell or High Water slowly took the stage to a symphonic overture and quickly began a rendition of the evening's first song, a heavy hard piece of metal to an audience of, just over a third of capacity. On the band's final number, lead singer, Brandon Sallers, requested the growing crowd join with chanting “We don't wanna go home.”
Afterwards, as the crowd was growing restless waiting, the mood lightened once Thin Lizzy's
“The Boys are Back in Town” aired at a heightened volume over the PA. At its close, the lights dimmed and an electric symphony sounded, to a, now, 3/4s full house, who cheered as The Darkness emerged with a howling first song. The frontman, Justin Hawkins danced around stage, played guitar, and mused lyrics with his operatic voice in a pinstriped getup
The Darkness performed a slew of fan favorites from their previous albums to our delight, then, during “Get Your Hands Off My Woman,” the audience exploded into praise, singing along, dancing, and intently watching the physical performance on stage. After a bit of banter during a break, the set continued with “Love is Only A Feeling,” with even more acrobatics and crowd involvement.
“Friday Night” started with an a cappella first bit with the rest of the band coming in at the chorus, The performance continued with an increasing amount of movement and stage theatrics, all to the soundtrack of hard glam rock.
“A Thing Called Love” resulted in in an uproar, with every member of the crowd clapping overhead and singing along. This proved the night's last scheduled song and the Brits rushed off at the close.
However, unwilling to wait another, almost ten years, the fans remained cheering until the band returned with an encore of three songs that were the most exhilarating spectacles of the night, closing with a rendition of Love On The Rocks With No Ice and Justin riding on his brother Dan, the bassist's, back for an extended guitar solo as they walked through the crowd (I apologize, but photos are unavailable as Hard Rock's policy demanded that we cease well before then).
But the night's show didn't close until Justin led a chant of “Or-lan-do,” of which the crowd eagerly partook, as he climbed back on the stage, the band eagerly played the closing notes of the song and they left stage for good (but hopefully not for another nine years).
[Good] photos from professional photographer Lance Rothwell (http://lancerothwell.zenfolio.com/).