Viper Room, Hollywood, CA 19th April '99

(In April 1999, the Neurotic Outsiders regrouped for 4 concerts at the Viper Room;
5th, 12th (cancelled), 19th, & 26th.)


This gig was either going to turn into one of the worst trips of my life or one of the best... Fans at the first date on the 5th April lined up all night, while only people on the "guest list" were allowed in. To make matters even worse, 15 minutes before it ended only 12 people from the line were graciously let in. The second date was cancelled due to the sad death of Duff's Mom.

Steve's comments about the Neurotics reunion on John Taylor's web site, were, how can I put it, less than encouraging, "It's a pain in the arse." Nevertheless, I decided to risk it and fly across the USA to see a band I think are great...

I got there at 6pm (doors open at 9pm), and five people were already in line. We talked about this and that, then suddenly 'Jerk' was blasting out, soundcheck time. After it ended, the entrance door opened and out walks John Taylor; he says "Hi" to us, gets into his BMW and drives off. Not seconds later the door opens again and out walks Duff McKagan. He says, "Hey Guys", gets into his BMW and drives off too. By this time several people were behind me now, but we all just said 'Hello," The mood was kind of tense basically because we all agreed there was a very good chance we might get snubbed. Then minutes later Matt Sorum and Billy Duffy came out and go plodding off down Sunset Ship laughing and joking. I said to the two Duranies behind me, "Is this weird or what?" The clock ticks painfully, slowly by and the line grows longer and longer. A group of people that looked like rock star wannabes begin to gather in a group outside the door, I assumed they must be these so-called people on the "guest list". It's finally 9pm and the door swings open. A bloke comes out holding a clip board with sheets and sheets of names on it. "Oh shit", I think to myself. "Anyone on the guest list?", he says. The crowd that were gathered outside move forward some get in, most don't. He looks like he's pissed off with it, then turns to the line of fans and says, "Okay, get out your ID's," and then starts to let us in. Victory is sweet!

The Viper Room isn't small - it's fucking tiny! ('Room" is the keyword, it only holds 250!). The stage is a small half moon affair about three foot off the ground. I go to the bar and get a drink, then walk over to the stage. There right in front of me are Steve's guitars close enough to pick up and strum - this is going to be fucking brilliant! The support band (PJ Olsson) play their set, then we have to listen to some crap dance music. At twelve o'clock the Neurotic Outsiders finally move through the crowd and step up on to the stage. 'Never mind the bollocks here's the Neurotic Outsiders", some bloke announces, and bang were off with 'Nasty Ho'.

Steve leans over and offers me his cig, but some bird next to me reaches out and takes it - no problem, I don't smoke. He looked his tanned and healthy self dressed in jeans, teddy boy shoes, and a T-shirt that read "Don't be a Dickhead". The sound was brilliant. Taylor and Sorum pounded their instruments so hard I thought my teeth were going to fall out. Steve and Duff's guitars were deafeningly loud too, but sharp and clear. It was really freaky standing so friggin' close, it was a bit like having the Neurotic Outsiders play for you in your front room. 'Silly Thing' is next, one of my all time favourites. They continued at break neck force, hardly pausing between each song. The set was shorter than the set they played in 96, and unfortunately there were no new songs, I had hoped they would've played 'Elected' from the Alice Cooper tribute or the unreleased 'So Safe Inside'... However, the classic covers were still played, great versions of songs like, 'I Wanna Be Your Dog', 'Black Leather', 'Janie Jones', and 'New Rose', which was a big favourite with the crowd. The opening chords of 'Bodies' are played, and Ian Astbury from The Cult gets up to take the mike, "C'mon nowwww!" he says and proceeds to go totally fucking crazy, throwing himself all over the place, at one point he nearly sent Steve crashing into Matt's drums! He sang it really well and finally ended up crashing onto the floor. Then Cult guitarist Billy Duffy got up, picked up Steve's glitter blue Gibson and played The Cult's 'Wild Flower'. Ian Astbury continued to go even madder and suddenly hurled himself into the audience scaring the shit out of them - brilliant. They finished by playing a blinding version of 'Love Removal Machine'. There had been rumours that Lenny Kravitz was going to play too, but he didn't show... It was about an hour long all in all, but seemed much longer. John Taylor thanked everyone for being a great crowd, and then a club official apologised for the guest list situation and said it wouldn't happen again. As the band got off the stage they were immediately engulfed by fans. I'd have liked to talk to them, but they looked exhausted and so was I. It was definitely a gig I'll never forget, well worth putting myself out for. The Viper Room's size, and everything else that went with it, only made it all the more memorable. Hopefully this wasn't a brief reunion, but the first of many more to come. God Save The Neurotic Outsiders.

Review by Rob Banks

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