Caribia, Turku, Finland. Dec 31st, 2003

For me and my wife Mira, the last hours of 2003 and the first one of 2004 were dedicated to Rock'n Roll. Finnish legends Hanoi Rocks returned to Turku with newcomers Negative as a support act.

We arrived to the venue a bit too late to witness the whole Negative set, and had to settle for the last few numbers. I wasn't familiar with their songs except for the hit singles, so I can't tell you many song titles, but at least "The Moment Of Our Love" was played, and the big ballad "Still Alive", which I didn't know but Mira did - just a few days ago she actually asked me whether I'd know this song she had heard on a Spinning class! Well, the mystery was solved finally. Anyway, the songs I had heard from the band on the radio were kind of moody, melodic rock tracks, but live they turned into rougher versions, and lost some of their charm for me. The female-dominated audience in the front rows couldn't have cared less for the lack of backing vocals and other subtle touches, and loved every minute of it. The whole band was throwing poses like it was 1985, and vocalist Jonne Aaron held the front rows spellbound. The band might not have a whole set of killer songs, but I feel that they're going to improve with age...

The orginal rock peacocks Michael Monroe and Andy McCoy took the stage fashionably late, and were given a warm welcome by the doubled audience. The sound wasn't the greatest, with a weird distortion of the higher sound, but the band seemed to be in shape. Monroe was as energetic as he usually is, and McCoy didn't seem to be too drunk. In place of the recently-departed second guitarist Costello there was Sir Lombard from Monroe's solo band, and the rhythm section was still Timpa on bass and Lacu on drums. A special mention must go to Lacu, who's one hell of a showman behind his kit, whirling sticks in the air and moving like a regular hurricane!

The first half of the set consisted of songs from the latest album mainly, with the singles getting the biggest reception, especially "People Like Me". The it was time for the much-talked re-union, as Sir Lombard made way for original Hanoi Rocker Nasty Suicide, who joined the rest of the guys for some golden oldies, inlcuding classic tracks such as "Don't You Ever Leave Me", "Malibu Beach", "Taxidriver", "Tragedy" and "Up Around The Bend". He may have looked a bit out of place with his "normal" haircut and basic jeans 'n sleeveless T-shirt type of clothing, but he didn't sound like it, and that's the most important thing, right? There might have been a few wrong notes, but nobody cared, and Monroe even teased that Nasty should re-join the band!

All in all, a good night out and it's nice to finally say that I too have seen Hanoi Rocks Live!

by: Kimmo Toivonen 2004