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Night Ranger prepares for CARD concert

by Seaborn Larson
| July 9, 2013 11:30 AM

In the early 1980s, Night Ranger ranked among the biggest rockers in hair metal history. Fans remember songs like “(You Can Still) Rock in the America,” and “Sister Christian,” as classics from the era of hairspray and denim jackets.

Night Ranger is now coming to Libby to headline Center for Asbestos Related Disease Foundations’s 3rd annual Big Sky Bash fundraiser benefit this Saturday, along with fellow veteran rocker Kip Winger and a local country favorite, the Copper Mountain Band. 

Betty Jo Wood, Development Officer at CARD, said the Big Sky Bash gives back to much more than the CARD Foundation, reaching local businesses as well as asbestos research. 

“There are a lot of negatives because of the asbestos issue in Libby,” said Wood. “We want to be a new positive for the community.”

Jack Blades, bassist and lead singer of Night Ranger, said the band is excited to play for a great cause and the community of Libby. Night Ranger has already played several benefit concerts this summer. A perfect time to do so, said Blades, now that he and the other band members have been surfing the freedoms of being an established band of old rockers.

“We don’t feel like we have to prove anything anymore, we can really just get up there and have as much fun as we want,” said Blades. “That’s what makes a great show for the crowd.”

These days, amongst the crowd at most Night Rangers concerts, you can expect to find the veterans of the age when Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses ruled the airwaves. Some fans still wear the weathered, sweat-stained shirt they bought at a concert decades ago.

But Blades said he has recently identified another head-banging crowd at Night Ranger concerts.

“You see kids that are seventeen and eighteen out in the crowd and they’re singing along with us,” said Blades. “For us, that kind of makes the songs come full circle.”

Blades believes the appreciation behind these new waves of younger fans is to be attributed to the popular video games, Guitar Hero and Rockband. These games compiled playlists of thousands of songs that inspired much of today’s rock music, drawing younger musicians to the bands they may have enjoyed in the ’70s and ’80s.

Blades said he and the other members of Night Ranger deliver the authenticity of their music when it comes from their heart, and that listening to music is the quickest way to look inside a person’s soul.

“People can smell a rat, man,” said Blades.

Night Ranger scraped the top of the Billboard Charts during the hair-metal explosion of the ’80s, with “Sister Christian” (No. 5) and “Sentimental Street” (No. 8). The band reached much success in the 1980s before shuffling and reassembling members in the early 1990s.

Night Ranger is currently on tour for the summer, including more than 25 shows in the U.S. and Canada. Night Ranger will play the California State Fair on Friday in Sacramento, and will be ready to rock the following day at J. Neils Park.

“We’re still a straight-up, American, head-banging, kick-ass rock band; case closed,” said Blades.

Wood said she hopes this year’s lineup draws interest from all parts of the Lincoln County area, and would like to promote all local vendors who take part in the Big Sky Bash.