July 2nd, 2012 | Published in Stage and Street
By Pete Roche
Once upon a time there was a band called Cinderella.
Cinderella dwelled in a magic musical kingdom known as Glam. Its players—Tom Keifer, Jeff Labar, Eric Brittingham, and Fred Coury—released two albums that were embraced lovingly by the people. Even children sang along with the clever cantos of Night Songs and Long Cold Winter. Younglings danced and caroused. And everyone lived happily ever after.
At least for a little while.
Invaders from a neighboring village called Grunge overtook glam at the dawn of the 1990s. Some of the encroachers seduced the people of Glam rather than slay them. But the writing was on the wall: The time for Glam had passed. Cinderella’s third album, Heartbreak Station, cast less potent a spell despite several worthy revelry-makers and ballads. A fourth—1994’s Still Climbing—was largely ignored, for the townsfolk now preferred listening to music made by the young newcomers in denim and flannel.
Fortunately, the troubadours in Cinderella were well versed in the ways of The Blues—a powerful musical force that held great sway over the world. And wisely, they’d based a lot of their material on The Blues, which in turn gave their incantations a timelessness with which few other bands could compete.
Finally, a day came when Grunge lost its stranglehold on the people, who longed for a return to the music of old. Cinderella was there to sate them, as were other bands that once frequented the bedazzled halls and taverns of Glam.
And the people were happy once again.
Cinderella’s tour brigade brought the quartet to Cleveland’s House of Blues on June 21st for a performance that leaned heavy on old hits. Akron’s Red Sun Rising delighted early attendees with forty-five minutes of potent noise that pleased the gods.
But headliners Cinderella commanded the crowd with an authority un-tempered by passage of years. The room brimmed with bonhomie as Keifer and his companions delighted their audience with tried-and-true tunes like “Once Around the Ride,” “Shake Me,” “Somebody Save Me,” and “Second Wind.” Loud was the music and great was the merriment; liquor flowed copiously from the barrels of the brothel while suitors courted maidens in chivalrous ways.
The players seemed overdressed for so sultry an evening. Singer-guitarist Keifer strode the stage in a long black jacket and grey checked scarf. Guitarist Labar wore a poofy white shirt that looked knitted from the finest lamb’s wool—and this in addition to a jet black evening vest.
Ah, but the musicians gradually peeled away the excess attire once the swelter of the concert hall came to bear. Labar ended up rocking an Indians baseball jersey. Bassist Brittingham and drummer Coury simply sweated out the inspirational effluvium, regaling the throng with strident rhythms and nimble percussion. Keifer even indulged in a bit of saxophone and piano-playing by the end of the set, wooing the ladies with “Don’t Know What You Got,” “Nobody’s Fool,” and “Gypsy Road.”
Applause brought the former glam kings back for an encore, during which they enchanted the populace with competent renderings of chart-toppers “Long Cold Winter” and “ShelterMe.”
After which it was time for the princes and princesses to make good their departures, lest their spellbound modes of transport revert to their natural squashly states bymidnight’s solemn stroke.
Unclaimed be lone slipper found on yon House of Blues staircase following the evening’s performance.