Review and Photos by Mike Bax

Kings of Chaos are a jam band comprised of core Guns N’ Roses members Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum. A rotating ‘who’s who’ of musicians join them on the road when their schedules allow, and Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), Robin Zander (Cheap Trick) and Sebastian Bach (Skid Row) rounded out the line-up for the two Canadian shows booked for October 29th in Windsor and last night’s show at Casino Rama in Orillia.

It would be very easy to be pessimistic when assessing a performance like this, as “old musicians looking to cash-in by playing old music”. If you were to call a spade a spade, sure, this was a night of covers by veteran musicians filling time in between touring. Ok. Done. What it really was: a totally AMAZING night of music and entertainment – one of the best nights out I’ve had in ages, in fact.

I don’t even think I can verbally articulate just how much fun this evening was here. But I’m going to try. All of the music sounded great. Robin Zander singing AC/DC totally worked. Sebastian Bach doing Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple totally worked. All of the material by the members’ respective bands sounded incredible.

I think it’s easy as an audience member to watch music unfold onstage but not really think too hard about what’s actually happening. As Sebastian Bach ruminated close to the end of the set during some applause: “It’s just Cheap Trick and Guns n Roses together on stage – like THAT will ever happen again?!?” Bach also chirped up with: “I’d totally pay YOU to come up here and do this – I’m having so much fun up here!

The show opened with ‘Welcome To The Jungle’, ‘It’s So Easy’ and ‘Youth Gone Wild’. It was incredible to hear these songs again, performed by the people who created them. The vibe was good. I was loving what was happening – we were getting to hear some classic GnR and Skid Row. I don’t think it really hit home what was actually unfolding during this evening at Rama until Robin Zander walked on stage adorned in his signature police cap and the band broke into ‘Hello There’ by Cheap Trick. That was when I kind of lost my shit.

It hit me at this point that I’ve not seen Cheap Trick before. Ever. The possibility that I might hear ‘Surrender’ and ‘I Want You To Want Me’ put a little quiver of excitement into me. After being introduced by Bach, who admitted that as a kid he always thought KISS was cool and all, but that in his heart he wanted to BE Cheap Trick – Zander strutted on stage and said ‘Hello Ontario’ before knocking out ‘Hello There’, ‘Surrender’ and ‘I Want You To Want Me’, one right after another.

Six songs in and I was happy enough to head home, content with what I’d seen. There was still over an hour of music left, including more songs from each band along with an assortment of covers to round out the end of the set. All told, we got six Cheap Trick songs, five GnR songs (I’m including the Dylan cover), two songs each from Billy Idol and Skid Row and an assortment of covers, including Dead Flowers, which the band went off set list to perform as a four-piece.

When Robin Zander wound up on stage alone with a guitar, he told the audience that he was going to play a song that some of the crowd may not have been born when it was written. He played ‘The Flame’ acoustically, and as he wrapped up Duff McKagan was slightly visible at the side stage bending his arms down in worshipping adulation.

Sebastian Bach was charmingly humourous this evening. As he looked into the crowd early into this evening’s set, he cried out: “Who knew Orillia had SO MANY hard rock fans?” to screams and applause from the crowd. Before playing ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’, Bach dialoged before the song kicked in that he had tried to get them all to do a Rush song, but that it didn’t fly. He then held his arms up in a shrug and said the same for Chilliwack and Harlequin to some laughter from the audience. After the band performed ‘Dead Flowers’ Bach said that getting to perform that song with these musicians was “like a birthday present, except it ain’t my birthday.

Just before “Whole Lotta Love”, Bach had his wife and Steve Stevens’ wife pop out on stage for a quick hello. The band then performed two more songs, It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) and then encored with ‘Paradise City’… and it was all over.

I loved it.

The audience loved it.

And it was completely obvious that the band loved it. That emotion alone is all it really takes. It’s totally contagious, and it ensured that the Orillia crowd got their money’s worth on this fine Devil’s Night in Canada.

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Setlist:
Welcome To The Jungle
(Guns N’ Roses cover) (featuring Sebastian Bach, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
It’s So Easy
(Guns N’ Roses cover) (featuring Sebastian Bach, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
Youth Gone Wild
(Skid Row cover) (featuring Sebastian Bach, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
Hello There
(Cheap Trick cover) (featuring Robin Zander, Sebastian Bach, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
Surrender
(Cheap Trick cover) (featuring Robin Zander, Sebastian Bach, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
I Want You To Want Me
(Cheap Trick cover) (featuring Robin Zander, Sebastian Bach, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
Rebel Yell
(Billy Idol cover) (featuring Robin Zander, Sebastian Bach, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
Eyes Without a Face
(Billy Idol cover) (featuring Robin Zander, Sebastian Bach, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
I Remember You
(Skid Row cover) (featuring Sebastian Bach, Robin Zander, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
Ain’t That A Shame
(Cheap Trick cover) (featuring Robin Zander, Sebastian Bach, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
Mr. Brownstone
(Guns N’ Roses cover) (featuring Sebastian Bach, Robin Zander, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
The Flame
(Cheap Trick cover) (featuring Robin Zander solo acoustic)
Dream Police
(Cheap Trick cover) (featuring Robin Zander, Sebastian Bach, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
Come Together
(Beatles cover) (featuring Sebastian Bach, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
Dead Flowers
(Rolling Stones cover) (featuring Sebastian Bach, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Steve Stevens)
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
(Bob Dylan cover) (featuring Sebastian Bach, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
Highway Star
(Deep Purple cover) (featuring Sebastian Bach, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
Whole Lotta Love
(Led Zeppelin cover) (featuring Sebastian Bach, Robin Zander, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)
(AC/DC cover) (featuring Sebastian Bach, Robin Zander, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)
Paradise City
(Guns N’ Roses cover) (featuring Sebastian Bach, Robin Zander, Gilby Clarke, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens)