HER STORY OF ROCK
RIVERSIDE RESORT HOTEL & CASINO 4-28-2019
BY WILLIAM DERHAM
A funny thing happened to me on the way to catch Sammy Hagar and the Circle’s concert in Laughlin Nevada…I never made it. After visiting friends in Aspen Colorado, I intended on hitting Sammy’s gig en route back to El Lay but spent too much time enjoying the natural beauty, dazzling starlit nights, and solitude that Utah and northern Arizona offered.
Upon arrival in Laughlin 2 days after the Red Rocker’s show I noticed a large neon marquee in front of the Riverside Casino advertising the “Herstory of Rock”… hmmm that sounds interesting.
After doing a little research I learned this musical compendium was the brain child of rock chanteuse Carol-Lyn Liddle, aka Las Vegas’s “Queen of Rock”. Liddle is no stranger in the annals of female rock vocalists. She has fronted an Iron Maiden cover band, lent her considerable vocal chops to “Raiding the Rock Vault” revue in Las Vegas, assembled Sheclipse, a Journey cover band, performed as Carol-Lyn and Some Guys”, and even spent a year in a country band. It’s only natural her innate talent and unique perspective would morph into this sonic love-letter that serves as a tribute to the women rockers who inspired her.
The 90 minute presentation starts off with a video montage of precocious young girls gleefully rockin’ out. As the video fades the band take the stage and Carol-Lyn emerges dressed in 60’s hippie garb launching into a medley of Janis Joplin’s “Move Over” and “Piece of My Heart”.
I’m guessing not many people know who Big Mama Thornton and Sister Rosetta Sharpe are but it was evident Carol-Lyn does and paid fitting homage and respect to these pioneering artists from the 1940’s in black and white archival video clips.
Big Mama Thornton (Dec. 11, 1926- July 25,1984) was a blues singer whose songs, including “Hound Dog” and “Ball and Chain,” influenced the development of the rock and roll genre. Sister Rosetta Tharpe (March 20, 1915 – October 9, 1973) was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and recording artist. She attained popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with her gospel recordings, characterized by a unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and rhythmic accompaniment that was a precursor of rock and roll.It’s this kind of inclusion and attention to detail that makes H.O.R. so refreshing and relevant.
The evening’s entertainment was divided into three acts; the first included Carol-Lyns send up of Joplin then Cher, “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves”, Gracie Slick, “White Rabbit”, and Tina Turner “Proud Mary” all with subtle, distinctive wardrobe changes pertaining to the singer/song.
Act II was entitled “The Hit Makers” and C.L dug deep for her take on Kiki Dee’s 1974 hit “I Got the Music in Me” that could well serve as her theme song. Next up was Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Dragging My Heart Around.” Liddle donning Stevie’s signature top hat, scarves, and lace for theatrical effect.
Recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Janet Jackson got served up during a blazing swing through “Black Cat” complete with rhinestone bedazzled belt and black baseball cap. Chrissie Hynde, Lita Ford, and Gwen Stefani all got the Herstory O Rock treatment with “Middle of the Road”, “Kiss Me Deadly”, and “Just A Girl” respectively. It was during her version of “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar that the unmistakable chemistry with husband/guitarist /H.O.R. co-creator Patrick Puffer mirrored the similar tryst of Benetar and hubby/collaborator Neil Geraldo. When she introduced him it was not as husband but “…my lover…” Va Va Voom! Mr. Puffer added all the necessary fretboard fireworks and rock cred to help make this show sizzle.
Act III was dedicated to Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Linda Rondstadt, “When Will I Be Loved”, Blondie’s Debra Harry, “One Way Or Another” The Runaways, “Cherry Bomb” and a pair of Heart songs; “Alone” and “Barracuda”. It’s important to note H.O.R is not an impersonation type show nor does it seem to have any agenda tying it to the #MeToo or #TimesUp. While her powerfully keen vocals are singing other artist’s songs she capably retains her own voice and channels all these iconic lady rockers through her singular lens.
Carol-Lyn racks up about 20 costume changes during the fast paced production, she explains; ” …it’s a challenge because I’m trying to catch my breath, have a drink of water, check my hair and lipstick before I sing the next song…I definitely have to have a Red Bull before the show starts.” The rest of the band is comprised of Scott Griffin (L.A. Guns) on bass, drummer Chris Bishop, Tom Cherry, guitar and Brenda Fitz (who’s brother Brent is Slash’s touring drummer) on keyboards and backing vocals.
Looking forward to see what kind of musical mischief Liddle and Co. have up their sleeves for future endeavors? Interested parties can check carol-lynliddle.com for the latest CLL info.