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THE CLAWS OF THE TIGER

Prior to talking about the Tygers of Pan Tang concert, there needs a brief introduction: Robb Weir, historically the leader and guitarist of the band did not participate in this tour, staying in England due to health problems that struck on Feb. 17... the day before the tour! The choice, as rightly noted by Meille during the show, was to not affect the dates with an unnecessary announcement. The decision to go ahead was immediate and I can say without fear of contradiction, Robb can be proud of his Tygers and Italy can be proud of its champion Jacopo Meille.

The fear when you decide to go see a group from a path so long and with troubled history as that of the British band, is to see a cover band as faded as its historical name, and was convinced that many feared this fate for the group from Whitley Bay. However, that fear is certainly dismantled by the performance tonight. Giving up their leader, the member who gives authority and credibility to lead the band, is an unequivocal sign that the group believes in itself and in its music and is doing everything to return to the levels his competence.

Deprived of a guitar, the band loses its heavy metal sound and symbol of the Spellbound album, revealing a more classic hard rock nature, supported by acceleration and metal licks in the best tradition of NWOBHM. The group does not surrender to playing only excerpts from its bestseller, but also plays songs from all their footage (with the exception of bad The Wreck-Age and Burning In The Shade), including the old gems from the debut Wild Cat. In this capacity, through being more inclusive and unbiased, the group reveals its full potential. Dean Robertson covers all the excellent rhythm and solo guitar parts while the veteran Brian West on bass holds everything together, filling and supporting the band. Helped in this task by Craig Ellis on drums, a real devil and force unleashed as the roadies must intervene several times to place the cymbals back on the riser, hapless victims of his vehemence.

Over all, stands the voice of Meille. The frontman maintains a close dialogue with the audience, revealing all his emotion by stating he's "at home" on this stage. An emotion which is clearly conveyed to the audience on several occasions bringing a special atmosphere to the evening. His performance gives the band a new spectrum of life, tracing it back to its best time with the deeds of its illustrious predecessor Jon Deverill, who many consider to be one of the best vocalists of the NWOBHM. Meille has indeed a great, warm range and spares no vocals throughout the set-list, often filling the gaps left by the absence of a second guitar.

Obviously, much of the show consists of classic band material but the group is not limited to only revival material and offers four songs from the new 'Animal Instinct' album that confirm the healthy status of a great composing band, often coming out winners in comparison with the rest of repertoire.

Funny how in many countries a barrier is created when Meille announces a song that they don't want mentioned, but in Italy hopes that the reception is different. As the riff of 'Love Potion No.9' begins I can not suppress a smile. I'm actually wondering how many of you can remember the huge controversy and accusations of betrayal and hot publicity that rained down on the group following the release of The Cage? Controversies that appear to fall apart when hearing the light-hearted, simple riff, which is definitely not out of context today.

The climax is reached with extracts from Spellbound, in particular Hellbound and the violent Gangland. A small, reckless section of the audience embark on a body-slamming, pogo frenzy with one person even coming on stage in front of an amused Robertson. The group goes off but returns with the finale Don't Touch Me There and the audience hail a more than deserved applause: welcome back!



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