When the opportunity to review the new Steelheart live album was presented to me, I immediately jumped at the chance. Hands down, Steelheart has always been one of my favorite bands of all time. Not just from the hair, glam, or even 80’s rock scene. They were just one of the best hard rock and roll bands out there. Vocalist Miljenko Matijevic (known as Mike back in the day) was like nothing I had ever seen or heard before. His voice was a gift from the heavens above, and to this day, he sounds just as amazing, if not more in 2018.
Rock’n Milan is a live album and video release of the band’s performance from Frontiers Rock Festival IV in Milan, Italy on April 29, 2017.
Mijenko opens the show reciting a passage from the late Jim Morrison as tribal drum beats play in the background and lead us into the opener, “Blood Pollution,” What an excellent way to kick off the night, as this is one of their heavier songs in the Steelheart catalog. The sound of the drums really gets the anticipation building and out of nowhere, we hear that all too familiar scream to kick things off.
Without missing a beat, the band transitions into “Livin’ the Life” from Steel Dragon, the band portrayed in the movie “Rock Star.” Only two songs in, and the band is running on all cylinders and cranking hard. Guitarist, Joe Pessia is a phenomenal guitar player with his monster riffs and fiery leads.
Next, we are treated to a double dose of songs from the self-titled debut album. “Gimme Gimme” and “Like Never Before.” These songs really take me back to when I wore out about two copies of Steelheart. Both tracks sound just as killer now as they did then. The energy must have been off the charts being in the audience that night in Milan.
Miljenko tells the crowd, “Come on you crazy Milan m*****rf*****s!” as the band launches into “My Dirty Girl” from the new album Through The World of Stardust. The song is fantastic and carries some serious swag with that opening guitar riff. Overall, the song has great groove and is an excellent addition to set list.
Taking a moment to slow things down and change the mood, the fellas launch into one of my all-time favorite Steelheart songs, “She’s Gone.” Missing is the grand piano intro, however this version is every bit as amazing with that larger than life guitar segue into Matijevic’s powerful vocal delivery. Kudos to the rhythm section of Mike Humbert (Drums) and Marten Andersson for their precision time keeping and laying down a solid foundation of groove.
From the band’s third album, Wait, the crowd is treated to “Cabernet”, a highly intense and funk laden rocker which gives them the perfect opportunity to slide right into the drum solo.
Returning from the solo, the audience is treated to the mid-tempo, “Everybody Loves Eileen” which becomes a nearly 10 minute extended jam version before they launch into the high-octane, “Rock and Roll (I Just Wanna).”
“I like it when you sing with me.” exclaims Matijevic as he leads his band into their mega popular hit, “I’ll Never Let You Go.” Complete with every single one of those high notes and sing along choruses, this was indeed the highlight of the entire show.
Closing out the night is “We All Die Young” from Wait as well as the movie and soundtrack for Rock Star. Miljenko sends out appreciation to his label and to the fans as the night ends on what I can only imagine is an unbelievable high.
If anyone ever needed a reason to believe that rock and roll is alive and well, they only need to look towards Steelheart for proof. Steelheart sounds better today in 2018 than they ever have. Miljenko Matijevic is the heart and soul of this band and it is quite clear that there are no signs of slowing down. Go get this record on December 7th, and turn those volume knobs to 11! Rating: 9/10 Stars.
By Contributing Writer for I’m Music Magazine Jason “Supes” Mesa
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