Night Ranger takes ‘High Road’ to Tahoe’s Hard Rock

Night Ranger plays March 27-28 in Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe.
Night Ranger plays Friday and Saturday,  March 27-28 in Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe.

“Motorin’ ” is Night Ranger’s best-known metaphor and founding member Brad Gillis kept his figurative pedal to the metal during a conversation with Tahoe Onstage.

“It’s still in our blood to go out and kick ass and play great shows and go on tour,” he said. “So as long as the machine’s still rolling, we’ll put 100 percent into it.”

Bassist Jack Blades, drummer Kelly Keagy and Gillis are Night Ranger’s remaining founding members.

Night RangerThe rock band’s roll began in the 1980s with a series of hit tracks. Night Ranger’s unique sound with dual lead guitars and Blades and Keagy sharing lead vocals still resonates with music lovers today.

The most iconic hit was one of three singles from the 1983 multi-platinum album “Midnight Madness.” The power ballad “Sister Christian” was rated No. 32 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 1980s. Drummer Kelly Keagy wrote the song about his sister’s search for “Mr. Right,” swapping the term ‘motorin’ ” for“cruising.’ ”

The quintet recently released its 10th studio album, “High Road,” and it revs up for its 2015 concert season with appearances Friday and Saturday, March 27-28 in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe.

“We are literally taking the high road through the mountains to see you,” Gillis said. “We’re just gearing up for this year and we are looking forward to playing a couple of smaller shows at the Hard Rock to showcase some of the new material and all the big hits.”

The Tahoe shows are like baseball’s spring training as Night Ranger prepares, as it has for the past couple of years, to play about 90 shows. TOUR

“We haven’t played much this year so were pretty antsy to get up there and do some gigs, then things get pretty heavy in the next month or two when we’re pretty much gone every weekend and doing little tours here and there,” he said. “We’re looking forward to gearing up and playing out again.”

Night Ranger, which toured Japan last year, recently returned from England. In the upcoming weeks it will play on a Caribbean Monsters of Rock Cruise. Then it will appear in Puerto Rico with Sammy Hagar and Poison’s Bret Michaels before returning for runs through the United States.

Gillis’ guitar partner on “High Road,” Joel Hoekstra, is now playing with Whitesnake, which opened the door for the return of Keri Kelli, who played seven years with Alice Cooper’s band which continues to include South Lake Tahoe’s Chuck Garric. Eric Levy plays keyboards.

With the compartmentalization of music nowadays, there are fewer successful straight-ahead rock bands. However, Gillis said Night Ranger still has the opportunity to keep driving because there is “a big resurgence of the 80s going on.”

“I guess our advantage is the good old music of the ’80s, where it was fun and it was good listening,” he said. “All the Baby Boomers are still digging the rock and roll, keeping us working and putting out new records every year or two.”

  • Night Ranger
    When: Friday and Saturday, March 27-28
    Where: Vinyl, inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe
    Tickets: $55 (first 12 rows) and $45
    Purchase: http://hardrockcasinolaketahoe.com/

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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