CONCERT REVIEW: THEORY OF A DEADMAN Bring Arena Rock to Starland Ballroom, NJ (February 28, 2023)

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The multi-platinum rock band, Theory of a Deadman have teamed up with Skillet for a co-headlining Rock Resurrection Tour. This 25-date tour of the U.S. from February 17th through March 26th features Saint Asonia as the opener. Theory of a Deadman is touring to support their upcoming eighth studio album, “Dinosaur,” due March 17th. This album marks a return to form stylistically while growing and evolving to solidify their place at the top of modern hard rock. Theory are Tyler Connolly [lead vocals, guitar], Dave Brenner [guitar, backing vocals], Dean Back [bass], and Joey Dandeneau [drums, backing vocals].

At the legendary Starland Ballroom in New Jersey on February 28th, hard rock hitmaker, Theory headlined the show with Saint Asonia. The energy in the room was palpable by the time the Theory hit the stage as Saint Asonia did a phenomenal job delivering their hard-edged songs to warm up this already steamy venue.

Theory kicked off the show with their first single from the upcoming release, “Ambulance.” Since it was the live debut for this New Jersey crowd, it made the night extra special, knowing the band would play new music. They wasted no time by directly diving into their classics, “Bitch Came Back” and “Blow.” 

The band sounded tremendous as they didn’t need to shake off any dust since they tour extensively – almost nonstop. In speaking with Dean about how long the band needs to ramp up for a tour, he told me, “We can get up to speed pretty quickly. It’s more of the technical aspects of lighting and guitar/bass changes. We’ve played these songs for years and years. We just need to rehearse them a couple of times, and we are ready to go. The hard part with eight albums is picking the 70 minutes of material to play. We are going to rotate different songs in and out of the set nighty and hope everyone leaves pleased as we are going to have fun.”

The band dipped their toe into almost all their albums, hitting the fans with rockers and ballads while showcasing their catalog’s diversity. Fifteen songs that have an everlasting emotional impact on fans and bring on instant smiles, memories, and good times. Some of the funnier moments came when Tyler told the crowd that his hair was insured for a million dollars and then teased the song “Friends in Low Places,” made famous by Garth Brooks. He went on to say that Garth was backstage and was going to come out to perform it with them. After the air was sucked out of the room with a loud gasp from the audience, Tyler fessed up and told the crowd, “That joke never gets old!”

Also, in the spirit of fun, the band also performed their newest single, a hysterical play on Grover Washington Jr‘s “Just the Two of Us” called “Two of Us (Stuck).” Anyone who fell for the Garth Brooks trick clearly doesn’t understand the band’s wit and sense of humor. The band slowed things down mid-set, reaching back into the catalog for the honest and emotional “Santa Monica.” A song about running away from love!

“Hate My Life” kept things in the fast-tempo range to pummel the crowd, and the barnstorming riff of “Dinosaur” was played perfectly as they ripped through this new monster single. When they played “Lowlife,” a symphony sing-along moment allowed the guys and girls to live out their inner rock stars to this raucous song that instantly got people grooving.

Dressed in a black trench coat and Elvira t-shirt, Tyler played his chrome-dipped Telecaster while never messing his perfectly quaffed hair. He delivered his powerful and lush vocals reminiscent of what is heard exactly on their albums while drawing the audience into the performance. He dug deep into a gut-wrenching rendition of Chris Isaak‘s “Wicked Game” to give the fans a deeper glimpse into his soul.

Guitarist Dave shined in the spotlight as he gave the songs their forceful riffs and tasteful solos, which resulted in a chorus of cheers. Complex basslines by Dean and the thunderous drumming by Joey provided the hard rock hits well suited for the night. As the end of the set quickly approached, one song was clearly missing, and it was their biggest hit. With one of the loudest demands for an encore, the band returned to the stage finishing the way they started, loud and proud to perform “Bad Girlfriend.” Fans danced and rocked out in the packed general admission and were thrilled with how Theory of a Deadman reminded them that rock n’ roll is not dead and their live show remains one big celebration.

Pre-orders for “Dinosaur” are available now from HERE, and visit the band’s website to purchase concert tickets.

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