Steelheart go back to 1990. They were typical of the day, big hair, anthems, cock rock and loads of attitude. Much in the same vein as Warrant, Cinderella and Winger. I suppose the uprise of Grunge had a lot to do with their failure to capture a massive audience. However despite this the ‘Tangled in Reins’ album was a winner, I guess everyone had a copy of that on vinyl. These days only Miljenko Matijevic remains from that original line up and is leading a Steelheart comeback. This live album is made up of tracks from the debut self titled ’Steelheart’ long player, with a few from ’Wait’ released in 1996. Steelheart are probably well known for their involvement in the 2001 ‘Rockstar’ movie, Miljenko was the voice behind Mark Wahlberg’s character. So a live performance in Milan wouldn’t be complete without something from that escapade.
‘Rock ’n’ Milan’ Starts with a spoken message and drums, it’s atmospheric and tribal and warms up the Italian crowd in an original way. Then we receive ‘Blood Pollution’ used in the soundtrack for ‘Rockstar’ when Marc Wahlberg makes his disastrous entrance for ’Steel Dragon’. Undoubtably a thunderous riff and a chanting verbal onslaught, you have to love this, what an opener, it’s a classic.
‘Livin the Life’ continues in the same vein, pounding, destroying and also from ‘Rockstar’. ‘Gimme, Gimme’ from the ‘Steelheart’ album is next in line. ‘Everybody Loves Eileen’ ’I’ll Never let you go’ ‘Like never Before’ are the others featured from 1990. Dated, cheesy cries, penetrating guitar solos, is this even acceptable nearly 30 years later? Or have ’Steelheart’ something up their sleeves, are Frontiers Music behind them for a reason? These are my thoughts as I continue to bombard my head with earth shattering riffs and screams from the past. Indeed ’I’ll Never let You Go’ is supreme, sliding steel and harmonies, oh ok I had forgotten how good that song was.
There are a couple of ballads including, ’She’s Gone’ which has a powerful chorus and is deep and meaningful, the audience are singing along in epic form to this. Also we do have a Mike Humbert drum solo, no classic live album is complete without one. ’Cabernet’ follows from 1996, which is more moody and reflects that era. It seems lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Matijevic, is on to a winner, with the revival. An unstoppable love for classic rock is so in vogue now and there is a space for ’Steelheart’. It was all a plan, I understand now and I think it will pay off. After this concert, which was part of the Frontiers Rock Festival 4 in April 2017, they put out another album ‘Through Worlds of Stardust’ in the September of that year, which ‘My Dirty Girl’ comes from and is not bad, it’s the only newie on the live album.
The production on ‘Rock ’n’ Milan’ is a little lost in places, there’re some spacious blank spots between songs and for a live album the audience appear distant. I initially thought this would only be a purchase for die hard fans, adding to their Steelheart collection, but this live version of classic, mostly 90’s ’Steelheart’ surprised me and is worth swiping your payment card for. ‘Blood Pollution’ alone is incredible, it took me a while to get past that first track and I couldn’t resist watching ‘Rockstar’ again.
Sadly guitarist Kenny Kanowski passed away shortly after this show, so ‘Rock ’n’ Milan’ is a fitting tribute to him. Out now, check the Steelheart links below on how to add this to your collection.
‘Worth Swiping Your Payment Card For’
Highlights – Blood Pollution, Livin the life, She’s Gone.