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(Live Review) LITA FORD + GREAT WHITE - Chicago, 8/11/23

The Beard & Little Johnny

Tonight, is a bonus for your favorite reviewer The Beard, as I get to see one of my teenage fantasy rock girls, the lovely Lita Ford. As a bonus, the opening act is Jack Russell’s Great White.

This will be event #46 and bands #218-219 on The Reviews Never Stop Tour 2023.

With me as always is the Maestro of the Mosh, Little Johnny. The lad still has some battle scars from our thrash metal encounter with Havok last event, but upon hearing tonight’s gig was at The Arcada the lad quickly said, “Oh cool. They make Whitechapel Martinis there.” Remember, your limit is two little dude.

As we discussed tonight’s acts, and Lita Ford's long history in rock/metal music, Johnny said, “Wow, she’s old enough to be my grandma. Can she still even play guitar?” “Just you wait and see little dude.”

As usual, we are perched in the balcony front row, drinks in hand and awaiting a shark attack from 1980’s hitmakers ...


Sure enough, the stage went dark, and they did begin with the Jaws theme, before breaking into opener “Dessert Moon”. The mix was too loud initially and Russell’s voice was lost through most of the first number. Immediately, good guitar leads by Robby Lochner were evident, but, again, balance was needed to the whole.

By the second number, the mix was better (Russell turned up and the rest backed off a bit.) so “Heart the Hunter” sounded better. Russell still has a good voice, but he has quite clearly aged a great deal, and with his multiple back surgeries he is largely a stand in place singer now-a-days.

Their cover of The Beatles “Come Together” brought some nice raunchiness to the song and gave it a unique taste. The Beard doesn’t mind a cover if it is either absolutely spot on (like a tribute band) or altered enough to make it something else. Great White provided the latter.

The bluesy number “Old Rose Motel” had nice keys from Tony Cardenas-Montana and another strong Lochner solo. Up until this point, the Beard was quite enjoying the Great White set list.

Bringing a guest singer on to duet for their mega-hit ballad “Save All Your Love” detracted from that otherwise superb song, but Mr. Russell may recognize although that song is expected, his 2023 voice is not what it was almost 40 years ago, and a little assistance is needed. Overall, The Beard found it a vocal weak spot despite another excellent Lochner solo. That guy can play anything spot on apparently.

The bluesy numbers worked better for Russell’s 2023 voice than straight ahead rockers. “Lady Red Light” was made better by a partisan crowd that just wanted to sing along. Likewise, “Rock Me” ,despite the bands efforts, just sounded a bit tired. Like Russell was saying “Rock Me…to Sleep.” Even the five star closer “Once Bitten Twice Shy” lacked any real pizzaz. Other than on guitar, and drums (shout out to Ken Mary), The Beard never felt Great White really brought it on the big numbers. Johnny said, “That dude sounded as old as he looked.”

The Beard had to reclassify Great White to just an average Tiger Shark and thus an 82/100 (based largely on the non-mega hits.)

Headlining tonight was the Runaways secret star. (Cherie Curtis and Joan Jett got the main press but listen to their old stuff, Lita Ford was the driving skill set to that band until her and Joan split over musical direction in 1979.) While Joan Jett went on to immediate success with her cover of The Arrows “I Love Rock and Roll” ,as well as reworking Tommy James “Crimson & Clover”, and her Ramones-esque style of music, Lita Ford took the long way up the mountain with all originals staying in the Rock N Roll Lite-Metal world.

Having a so-so solo career in the 80’s musically, but benefiting from her good looks as both metal-pin-up-girl (along with Warlock's Doro Pesch), and MTV darling, Ford finally found success in the late 1980’s with her self-titled album Lita sparking hits like “Kiss Me Deadly", and, of course, her mega-hit ballad with the Prince of Darkness Ozzy Osbourne “Close My Eyes Forever.”

A hiatus of about twelve years to be a mom and raise her sons left Lita Ford off the musical landscape until around 2008. Since then although she has maintained a steady position as a touring rock and metal act, nothing brand new has ever really taken off for her. Now, at 64, the Beard was curious how a current set was going to go.


Visually, The Beard is back to a love-struck teenager in the presence of the Metal Mistress. From a distance, Lita Ford looks about 10-15 years younger than she is. Close-ups on her face and especially hands though do give away that Lita Ford is closer to the end of the road than its beginning. She is, however, a vision in her one-piece outfit with an ample shot of cleavage. The Beard does not know her possible cosmetic history (if any), but from a body capacity, she obviously keeps herself together quite well.

That beautiful blonde hair mixed with the confident voice, attitude and guitar licks admittedly has me more than little swayed. Although the reviewing Beard should also pay homage to the rest of her band, truthfully, he only had eyes for Lita. When Little Johnny leaned over and said, “she’s pretty hot for an old broad.”, The Beard graciously offered to get him a little closer by virtue of chucking him right over the balcony ledge. He just as graciously declined the offer.

Lita Fords cover of Elton John's “The Bitch is Back” was appropriate even if the Beard would still say that of the two, Sir Elton is more likely the “Queen Bitch”. Still, Lita did a nice job with it.

Her ballad “Playing with Fire” which transitioned into a rock anthem was akin to Stevia Nicks doing a more metalized “Landslide”. Lita’s voice continues to remain astoundingly strong even after over forty years. For “Back to the Cave” Lita brought out a cool ass red guitar that just made her look all the hotter soloing with it. I must have had some kind of look as Little Johnny (smartass that he is), said “Easy Beard, remember you’re kind of old and need to watch your blood pressure.”

“Suck it Johnny!”

Some of the long endless soloing, (so everyone in the band could have a turn shining), did drag down the set a bit so it’s not going to break the meter as any set of the year kind of thing, but after a heartfelt cover of Alice Cooper's “Only Woman Bleed” (which is her admitted reflection on multiple unhappy marriages), closing hits "Cherry Bomb", "Close My Eyes Forever" , and of course her biggest solo hit "Kiss Me Deadly" brought the house to a stomping cheering and sing-a-long conclusion.

Lady Lita Ford still brought it home even after almost half a century in the business. She looked good, moved good, and sounded good, so The Beard cracks a cold one for a great retro set with the time defying Mistress of Metal ... the Lovely Lita Ford 91/100.

That does it for event #46 and bands #218-19. Remember to read all the Beard and Little Johnny reviews every Wednesday & Thursday at your home for All Things Metal.

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Thebeard0728 or #thebeardandlittlejohnny

Until next Time

Stay Heavy


Horns Up!!!


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