Even though they live in Los Angeles, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club made their first musical foray into beautiful Santa Ana (actually only 30 miles away) for a sold out show at The Observatory. “To be honest I didn’t even know where this place was,” Robert Been admitted to the crowd of 550 packed comfortably into the venue’s three GA tiers. But it was OK, everyone at the venue knew who BRMC was.
Sunday night’s show for Been, Peter Hayes, and drummer Leah Shapiro was the last U.S. tour date on the band’s 2013 tour in support of their new album Specter At The Feast. And why not finish close to home.
The show started with a moving rendition of “Let the Day Begin”, the first single off their new album, which was originally written by Been’s father Michael in 1989 as a member of the band The Call. In recent interviews Robert Been credits his late father for much of his success and as an inspiration for the new album. It was a fitting to way to start the last show of the tour.
The standing room crowd finally broke rank and started moving when Robert broke into the fast-paced rock cornerstones of the new album, “Hate The Taste” and the sing-along crowd pleaser “Rival.”
But what really set the show apart was the inclusion of several BRMC classics including “Spread Your Love” and the rarely played “Whatever Happened To My Rock & Roll” off the 2001 album B.R.M.C.
Been and Hayes played perfectly off one another all night, switching lead on the vocals throughout the set and alternating solo songs to allow the other to take a break. Over the past few albums Been has steadily taken over as the primary vocalist, but onstage both command attention.
This was the last time we’ll be able to see BRMC in So-Cal for a while, but since the band is admirably known for donating their time to various charities we can only hope for a spontaneous LA charity showcase soon. With their newest album they have shown once again why they are one of the great live rock and roll bands of our time.