With hits like “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” and “Sister Christian” in its anthology, Night Ranger has shown that it has the formula for arena anthems.
For further proof, see Don’t Let Up, a 2017 self-produced effort that shows Night Ranger has transcended and embraced the ’80s sound.
“For Don’t Let Up, we stuck to the same format that made Night Ranger big in the ’80s: the big three-part harmony choruses, the guitar assaults and good songs,” says lead and rhythm guitarist Brad Gillis.
“Once you have a formula, you try to stick to it. The only changes are with the production value of today. Things are a lot louder, cleaner and fatter.”
Gillis says the band—which also includes drummer Kelly Keagy and singer/bassist Jack Blades, as well as keyboardist Eric Levy and lead and rhythm guitarist Keri Kelli—is rehearsing new songs to include future gigs like a Saturday, July 8, show at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. Keagy recently returned to Night Ranger after taking medical leave for heart surgery.
“Hopefully, we’ll get the chance to work in one or two of the new songs,” Gillis says. “But we do the big hits. We do songs by Damn Yankees, which Jack was a part of. The Yankees aren’t together, so the songs seem to come off really well live. We have a couple extra fun things. I don’t want to give everything away. I have to tell you; this band is kicking butt. We put 110 percent into the live show and we throw it down.”
After 35 years in the band, Gillis says he still loves to play the hits.
“‘Don’t Tell Me’ is high energy. It’s up,” he says. “You can’t deny ‘Sister Christian.’ Everyone sings along. Closing with ‘Rock in America,’ that slams it out one more time.
“It never gets old, especially with new audiences, new venues and new energy every night. With Night Ranger, the energy is still up. The excitement is still here, so this machine still rolls.”
Night Ranger, Talking Stick Resort, 9800 Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale, 480.850.7777, talkingstickresort.com, 8 p.m. Saturday, July 8, tickets start at $30.