Concert review: Ronnie Radke’s Falling in Reverse goes it alone

Ronnie Radke strips down the sound at Hard Rock Live Saturday night.
Photo: Bill Hughes
Max Plenke

Three stars

Falling in Reverse November 2, Hard Rock Live

I’ve never witnessed a meet-and-greet line crawl from the street, around a corner, up two flights of stairs, and then snake around an entire venue. I didn’t think I’d see it at the Hard Rock Cafe before dinnertime, nor did I think it would be for Falling in Reverse, the comeback ensemble of former Escape the Fate frontman and perpetual prodigal son, Ronnie Radke.

The show landed on the Strip two months before Falling in Reverse kicks off the Bury the Hatchet Tour, on which Radke and crew will embark on 24 dates with Escape the Fate beginning in January. And while this should be acknowledged as one of the more impressively engineered make-up tours in the current hard rock universe—the bands’ years of media catfighting and the warring sides of both are well documented—it’s actually rivaled by the reason I’m here tonight: a $36 meet and greet slash acoustic set, wrapped and ribboned as “An Evening with Falling in Reverse—Unplugged & Uncensored.”

Familiarity with Radke removed any surprise when he’d announce a song title, then explain it was either about doing drugs, feuds with enemies or prison, or an amalgam of the three. Acoustically speaking, it was a little off-putting; these songs, and the musicians who play them, aren’t necessarily built for nylon strings and amps smaller than flatbed trucks.

But in that it was endearing. It was naked in the sense that a botched note couldn’t just dissolve into its accompanying gazillion-watt light show, turning these rock stars into just five guys and a few guitars. It is, of course, a vehicle for the coming Hatchet tour and a completely transparent PR move. But that didn’t mean Radke couldn’t make a couple noble moves beyond standard hype. The first was playing one of his Escape the Fate days’ hits, “Not Good Enough for Truth in Cliché.” And the other, opting out of the impossibly terrible single “Alone”—the absence of which no fan was mourning on the walk out the door.

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