Doro / No Sleep For Lucy (Manchester)

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Doro / No Sleep For Lucy - Rebellion, Manchester (UK) - 12 March 2019

It has been a while since I last saw a Doro show. It was back in 2006, when the original Rio's club in Bradford still existed. I remember it being a great show as expected, but poorly attended for someone who headlines European festivals in front of 80,000 people. This current UK tour (cough!) was only two dates and I was surprised when the Northern venue was revealed as Rebellion. Though a great little club, it has a maximum capacity of just over 200 and the set-up means quite a few people have to watch from the rear, near the bar. It isn't ideal, but it generally allows for a good atmosphere and tonight was no exception.

Before Doro took to the stage we had support from a young Swedish Pop/Rock outfit called No Sleep For Lucy. I have to admit that I found them a strange opening act, considering the partisan Metal crowd that you usually find in attendance at a Doro gig. The songs were catchy enough, including a cover of U2's 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)', and the performances were OK, but fourty-five minutes was too long and the gentle ripples of applause indicated most people were only interested in seeing one thing. Though their Facebook page describes them as an "Arena Rock band" I have to disagree. They would not have been out of place at a Busted/McFly show and I think the crowd was a little too mature for the material they played tonight.

At 9pm Doro and her band took to the stage, greeted like long lost friends. My photo pass meant very little as I couldn't get anywhere near to the stage, so had to be content with shooting from other parts of the room, through a sea of arms and mobile phones. 'Raise Your Fists In The Air' was an apt opener, followed by an intense run through Warlock's 'I Rule The Ruins'.

Considering Doro has a considerable back catalogue of her own the set was made up mainly of Warlock material, which was slightly disappointing for me as it would have been good to hear a few tracks from the 1990 self-titled release or even the 'Angels Never Die' and 'True At Heart' albums. The most recent 'Forever Warriors, Forever United' featured amongst the older songs, including 'Bs', 'Blood, Sweat And Rock & Roll', 'Soldier Of Metal' and the sing-a-long 'All For Metal', though I was surprised we didn't get the Whitesnake 'Don't Break My Heart Again' cover.

Clichéd the material may be, but there is no denying its infectious appeal. Doro took every opportunity to initiate crowd involvement and they were more than happy to respond accordingly. I've no doubt everything was rehearsed meticulously so it was rather amusing to see the Metal Queen dip to the front row and ask for requests. 'Metal Racer' and a rousing 'Hellbound' were delivered fiercely, with an impassioned and anthemic 'Fur Immer' sandwiched in between. 'Evil', 'True As Steel' and 'Metal Tango' maintained the momentum and it was difficult not to be caught up in the enthusiastic mood and heads-down, foot-on-the-monitor nature of the music. Johnny Dee's drum solo was on the lengthy side and lacked any unique or inventive qualities, so I took the opportunity to get a drink and delete some of the more blurry photos I had taken. 'All We Are' and 'Earthshaker Rock' brought things to a triumphant conclusion and it was hard to believe that a hundred minutes had passed so quickly.

I don't really listen to too much out and out Metal these days so it was a refreshing change for a couple of hours. What Doro does she does very well and I'll be more than happy if she returns for some more solo shows in the near future... hopefully including more of her own material in the set. Long live The Queen.

Review and photos by Dave Bott

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