Rockstar Supernova @ Spectrum

Panic Channel (Nadine Joy)The Rockstar Supernova tour has begun and so far there is a lot of positive buzz surrounding it. The band got their singer Lukas Rossi from the television show and their opening acts were also from the show.

Fans of pop have the American Idol tour, but this tour has some balls that the Idol reunion concerts can never have. It’s really the difference between rock-n-roll and bubblegum pop.

The show opened up with a purple-haired Dilana and she belted out some originals like “Holiday” with a band that included a local bongo player they met the night before at a local Philadelphia music hot spot and Magni who was a show favorite. They weren’t the houseband, it seems like most of them ended up with Paul Stanley on his tour, but they played a very memorable acoustic set.

Toby headlined his band and they were adequate, but they didn’t have the same heat that Dilana had. Next up was Dave Navarro’s band, Panic Channel, and they had a sound that at times didn’t sound very original at all. Navarro was shirtless and during a song, he handed off his guitar to a stagehand, and he jumped into the crowd so he could plant a kiss on a female in the crowd, who he later came back out to find to give a backstage tour to. They closed out with a version of AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” that Dilana took part in. It gave Navarro a chance to show the crowd why he is a great guitarist.

The half-filled Spectrum was waiting for Supernova to come on, but they had to wait for a set change at 9:45 p.m. (Note to families: these shows run late for young fans.) The stage turned out to be huge and it had a big jumbotron that looked like a “light brite” game and a disco ball coupled with a 21st century light show to match it. The band’s first song “Underdog” was a solid tune, but the band’s singer seemed slow in getting his mojo on. He finally found it when the band played a wicked rendition of Don Henley’s “Boys Of Summer.” Guitarist Gilby Clarke really shined on this one, adding a new harder dimension to the song.

Lukas then spoke to the crowd and mentioned that the band’s first video was due, and then he talked about his ailing mother for whom he dedicated the song “Headspin.” Drummer Tommy Lee played a mean keyboard, just making the crowd appreciate his spectacular musical talent all the more.

Ex-Black Crowes bassist Johnny Colt played a booming bass, adding to the band’s sometimes dark sound. Nobody seemed to miss original bassist Jason Newsted who tore his bicep and rotator cuff before the tour began. Ouch!

The highlight of the show was when the band unveiled a hotly dressed all-female string section. Rossi played an original song called “Bittersweet Symphony” that was performed on the tv show, but this live version really added another layer to it.

The band closed it out to the song that they first debuted on the show and that was “Be Yourself.” It capped off a performance that lasted more than three hours so the fans in the audience got their money’s worth and most stayed until the bitter end even though there was some considerable snowfall draping over the Philadelphia skyline.

Photos by Nadine Joy.