I am at the historic Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, Illinois to see hard-hitting heavy metal band Last In Line. Former Dio members Vinny Appice, Vivian Campbell and the late Jimmy Bain formed Last In Line in 2012 a year after getting together for an impromptu jam session. They were joined by singer Andrew Freeman and released their first album, Heavy Crown, in early 2017. Bassist Phil Soussan replaced Bain and the band has continued to tour and work on their second album, which is expected to be released early next year.
Starting off the evening was heavy metal guitarist Michael Angelo Batio, who is widely known as one of the fastest guitar shredders of all time. His technique is absolutely incredible, and he was so mesmerizing that, at one point, I stopped taking photos and simply watched! It is notable that most of the sold-out crowd stayed at their seats during this performance – it was THAT good. Truly a superb musician and must-see performer, Batio was the perfect complement to what would come next.
To a loud roar of approval, Last In Line took the stage and immediately launched into Dio-favorite Stand Up and Shout. The crowd erupted into thunderous applause – audience participation was a full 100% from start to finish, most notably later in the evening on another Dio classic, Holy Diver. When asked to sing along, they did just that with wild enthusiasm. Freeman’s vocals were at their best and the rest of the band was spot on. The show was tight and fast-paced and all too quickly we were at the encore. Phil Soussan introduced Starmaker and dedicated it to Jimmy Bain, inviting the fans to “sing along” and “if you don’t know it, sing anyway”. One of the highlights of their album, this song is a fitting tribute to the prolific bassist. The final song of the night was rock anthem We Rock – and the fans that came to the show did just that!
Having seen Last in Line in the past and knowing what a great show they put on, I had very high expectations coming into this – and I left blown away by this performance. The band was clearly having a great time, laughing and joking throughout and the energy emanating from the crowd was definitely a key factor. “Where the hell were you all last night?”, Freeman asked the crowd multiple times.
And to paraphrase Freeman: Last in Line is not a tribute band – they are not a cover band – they are four guys on stage playing music with no auto-tune, no backing tracks, no holograms. Every single song was written by someone on that stage. To which I say, make no mistake about it – they are the real deal and rightly so.
If you’re a fan of loud, kick-ass rock and roll and they come to your town, get out there and see them. And if you haven’t done so yet, check out their album; you won’t be disappointed.
SETLIST: Stand Up and Shout, Straight Through the Heart, Devil In Me, Evil Eyes, Holy Diver, Already Dead, Don’t Talk to Strangers, The Last In Line, Martyr, Invisible, Rainbow In The Dark
ENCORE: Starmaker, Egypt (The Chains Are On), We Rock