Author Topic: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen  (Read 4389 times)

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Offline pdurbin22

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James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« on: July 07, 2015, 04:11:19 PM »
James is killing it these days - not just for a man in his early 50's but for any singer period.  His transformation from "Once in a Livetime" to "Score" is unbelievable, and he's been fantastic ever since. 

I started thinking what other frontmen age 50+ are still bringing their A-game:

1) Bruce Dickinson (sure he can't hit every high note, but he's still pretty consistent and a hell of an entertainer)
2) Rob Halford (same as Dickinson; of course not the same as 30 years ago but still pretty damn solid)
3) Brian Johnson (he had some rough years but I'm impressed to hear him actually sounding better with age, and nearing 70)
4) Steven Tyler (his inability to produce new Aerosmith material notwithstanding, the dude is still great)
5) Sammy Hagar (in his late 60's and still light years better than DLR ever was)
6) Geddy Lee (still amazed by what he pulls off live between vocals, bass and keys - they guy is just unstoppable)
7) Paul McCartney (Watching a 70 year old legend belt out "Helter Skelter" 2.5 hours into a 3-hour set?  Doesn't get much cooler than that)
8) Robin Zander (sounds as good as ever)

And had he not passed away 5 years ago, Ronnie James Dio would've been on this list for sure.

Who am I missing? 

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have Ozzy, Axl and DLR. 

Offline bosk1

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 04:21:35 PM »
Klaus Meine.  He has always had an incredibly powerful voice.  He may have lost a lot of that, but is still pretty incredible from what I have seen online.

I would also add Michael Sweet.  He has taken such good care of his voice, and I daresay he sounds better now than he ever did.  He neither looks nor sounds 52.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have Ozzy, Axl and DLR Geoff Tate. 

Fixed.  :D
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Offline IdoSC

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 04:48:00 PM »
Klaus Meine.  He has always had an incredibly powerful voice.  He may have lost a lot of that, but is still pretty incredible from what I have seen online.

I would also add Michael Sweet.  He has taken such good care of his voice, and I daresay he sounds better now than he ever did.  He neither looks nor sounds 52.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have Ozzy, Axl and DLR Geoff Tate. 

Fixed.  :D
I agree on Klaus Meine so much. To me, the difference between his voice on their most famous studio performances is minor since they always tried to make him sound a bit soft either way, so he still sounds impressively powerful for a man that's almost 70 years old (!). There's a huge difference between a 70's live performance of Sails of Charon and his current sound, of course, but that's obviously to be expected (there's that one amazing performance of this song by the way, blows my mind almost as much as '92 JLB every single time).
But man, his vocal range. So incredibly consistent. Rarely screws anything up, always in tone. That man is incredible.

I have to say that JLB impresses me far more than, say, Bruce Dickinson or Rob Halford. They're all amazing for keeping their tone and sound so late in their career, but James' ability to nail most of the notes, from the highest to the lowest, and hold his breath for as long as he needs every time, impresses me far more than, say, the way Dickinson has to force himself to alter the rhythms so often (with all due respect, and there's PLENTY). I just really think James goes above and beyond most other vocalists to maintain his health and voice over the past few years, and it shows so beautifully on stage...except for some off-nights here and there.

Offline SeRoX

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2015, 05:00:04 PM »
On the opposite end of the spectrum we have Ozzy, Axl and DLR Geoff Tate. 
Fixed.  :D

The very first name came to my mind when I read this line.  :lol

Yeah, I always put JLB in another place other than the rest of metal/rock singers. His timbre is unique. Sure, due to this kind of music he has some hard times trough the years but it's amazing to see him in a good shape. In better shape actually considering his 2004/09 times.

I agree the list OP has made with the exception of Bruce D. Sadly, he is just a frontman for me, not a singer. His last Istanbul performance was acomplete disaster that I didn't want to witness.
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Offline jjrock88

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2015, 06:12:25 PM »
Michael Sweet really stands out to me.  He does sound better than ever

Offline TAC

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2015, 06:13:44 PM »
Biff Byford :metal

He sounds better than back in the day.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline jjrock88

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2015, 06:33:29 PM »
Biff Byford :metal

He sounds better than back in the day.

YES!

Offline bl5150

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2015, 08:20:09 PM »
I agree with pretty much all of the above (for their age) - the one that stands out for me , having seen him live in the not too distant past , is Tyler.  I am just a casual Aerosmith fan but he was amazing.

The only one I would question is Zander who has been pretty awful the last couple of times I have seen him.
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Offline Skeever

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2015, 08:46:51 PM »
I wouldn't say James was "killing it" every tour since Score, but he does seem very consistent ever since they streamlined the way they do setlists.

Offline Cable

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2015, 09:50:00 PM »
James ultimatum post 6DOIT has helped. He has always kept care of his voice via the warm water and honey, and apparently after 6DOIT was 10 years after his Awake tour food poisoning. That was I guess how long it took to heal unless he took time off. Also factoring in him becoming healthier. I have felt that since the summer break tour during ToT recording, he has been pretty consistent yes.

He is also able to hit old high note's occasionally without screaming. For whatever more rounded full he had back in the day, and the range, he would never from what I heard hit his highest notes without screaming. Now when he goes after one and is able to do it, it's clean.

Geddy Lee's voice has of course deepened, so I cannot put him where other vocalists are. But factoring in what he also does while singing, I never hold it against him. Dude is always in the top rock player discussion.
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Offline McNugg

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2015, 02:12:16 AM »
Michael Kiske definitely deserves a mention.  Yea, he's only 47 but damn some of the highs he can still nail are just insane.  For example, the final long "Freeeeeeee" in I Want Out.  Just crazy.  :metal

Offline Jay.Ess

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2015, 09:00:42 AM »
Ralph Saenz. Can't believe the guy is 50.

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2015, 09:37:03 AM »
James has sounded terrific on recent tours, and part of that is because the band has gotten really smart about picking songs he can sing. They may need to retire certain portions of their catalog soon because they're just impossible to perform live for a vocalist.
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Offline bl5150

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2015, 09:38:27 AM »
Ralph Saenz. Can't believe the guy is 50.

As big a fan as I am of DLR in his prime , Van Halen could tear the roof off with this guy out front.
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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2015, 09:40:47 AM »
Ralph Saenz. Can't believe the guy is 50.

As big a fan as I am of DLR in his prime , Van Halen could tear the roof off with this guy out front.

I had no idea who you were talking about until I googled him and saw who it was. Still has great pipes, even just messing around on camera.
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Offline wasteland

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2015, 11:06:40 AM »
James has sounded terrific on recent tours, and part of that is because the band has gotten really smart about picking songs he can sing. They may need to retire certain portions of their catalog soon because they're just impossible to perform live for a vocalist.

I don't think that's the case. They may have decided to play certain trying songs less frequently or to place them early in the sets, but I don't think that at the current state of things any song is to be considered retired for this reason.
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Offline McNugg

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2015, 11:08:23 AM »
Oh I forgot to add Glenn Hughes.  The man is 62 and can belt out notes better then Geoff Tate could in his late 20's :D  His voice is stronger than ever and shows what you can do if you take care of your voice properly.

Offline pdurbin22

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2015, 11:56:11 AM »
Correct on Glenn Hughes!  Amazed that after years of drug and alcohol abuse he was able to turn himself around and come back so strong. 

Also correct on Geoff Tate.  Queensryche was right to ditch him on so many fronts.  Now only if they could get DeGarmo back...

Offline TheOutlawXanadu

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2015, 12:28:02 PM »
James has sounded terrific on recent tours, and part of that is because the band has gotten really smart about picking songs he can sing. They may need to retire certain portions of their catalog soon because they're just impossible to perform live for a vocalist.

I don't think that's the case. They may have decided to play certain trying songs less frequently or to place them early in the sets, but I don't think that at the current state of things any song is to be considered retired for this reason.

Sadly, there are songs JLB just can't swing well anymore, such as Another Day. That's not a knock on him at all - Those songs are crazy hard to sing, and the dude's into his 50s now. He's still a great vocalist, he just has limitations, unlike his 25 year-old self, who was a straight badass.
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Offline bosk1

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2015, 01:02:56 PM »
I agree. Except that even 25 year-old JLB couldn't really sing Another Day either.  And that's not a knock on James.  The vocal lines are just impossible to duplicate live.
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Offline wasteland

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2015, 04:24:43 PM »
Well, they pulled Another Day for a one off encore performance three years ago, and it wasn't even that bad. For a unreharsed song, and as bosk said a very hard one, tackled after 2 hours of singing, James actually did pretty good.

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Offline KevShmev

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2015, 04:53:46 PM »
With all due respect, there is no way on God's green earth that Rob Halford is still bringing his A game.  Not even close.  Sure, for his age, and given the style he has always had, the fact that he has any voice at all left is something I suppose, but he is major shell of his former self. 

Offline emtee

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2015, 05:18:11 PM »
I would take Michael Sweet over every other "elder" statesman frontman right now if the decision were based only on vocal ability.


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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2015, 05:53:36 PM »
I would take Michael Sweet over every other "elder" statesman frontman right now if the decision were based only on vocal ability.

Nothing against the man at all. Everything that I've read and seen about him seems like he's a really awesome person. But I don't think that he has toured nearly as much as many of the other singers that have been mentioned. I can only imagine what years of extensive touring can do to a vocalist.
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Offline Infinite Cactus

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2015, 07:26:02 PM »
John Corabi, while not touring as much as some of these other guys is still insane, and has retained his signature rasp.

Offline bl5150

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #25 on: July 08, 2015, 07:30:19 PM »
With all due respect, there is no way on God's green earth that Rob Halford is still bringing his A game.  Not even close.  Sure, for his age, and given the style he has always had, the fact that he has any voice at all left is something I suppose, but he is major shell of his former self.

Halford has never been a consistently great technical/live singer but fwiw reports seem to be that he is currently in the best form in many a year  , after a few average years.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 07:48:26 PM by bl5150 »
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2015, 08:45:00 PM »
Not buying it. You don't destroy your voice for decades like he did and then all of a sudden see your voice improve when you are well into your 60s.  That is simply not realistic.  I suspect these reports are by fans with live ear goggles, ya know, the ole "He sounded awesome live," and then you hear a bootleg and it was like someone else was singing.  I have seen similar reports about JLB and Geddy Lee in recent years, and all of those bands have the advantage of being so rocking live that when you are at the live show, it is so easy to get swept up into the euphoria that you think everything looks and sounds awesome.  Been there, done that. :lol :lol

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #27 on: July 08, 2015, 09:04:42 PM »
I agree with pretty much all of the above (for their age) - the one that stands out for me , having seen him live in the not too distant past , is Tyler.  I am just a casual Aerosmith fan but he was amazing.

The only one I would question is Zander who has been pretty awful the last couple of times I have seen him.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2015, 11:26:05 PM »
I have seen similar reports about JLB and Geddy Lee in recent years, and all of those bands have the advantage of being so rocking live that when you are at the live show, it is so easy to get swept up into the euphoria that you think everything looks and sounds awesome.  Been there, done that. :lol :lol

Boston DT show was like that. Bad PA, way too loud, plus adrenaline = "he is perfect!!"
Bootleg recording painted a somewhat different picture.
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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #29 on: July 09, 2015, 12:46:48 AM »
Sorry, but you got to put Ray Alder in there. I know he doesn't hit the high notes anymore, but his emotional range in the lower registers is still fantastic.

Also, dare I say it? John Motherfucking Arch. Are you kidding me? At that age?
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Offline McNugg

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #30 on: July 09, 2015, 01:39:27 AM »
Not buying it. You don't destroy your voice for decades like he did and then all of a sudden see your voice improve when you are well into your 60s.  That is simply not realistic.  I suspect these reports are by fans with live ear goggles, ya know, the ole "He sounded awesome live," and then you hear a bootleg and it was like someone else was singing.  I have seen similar reports about JLB and Geddy Lee in recent years, and all of those bands have the advantage of being so rocking live that when you are at the live show, it is so easy to get swept up into the euphoria that you think everything looks and sounds awesome.  Been there, done that. :lol :lol

*cough*  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pZtS_IcSfM

Offline KevShmev

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #31 on: July 09, 2015, 05:46:28 AM »
Not buying it. You don't destroy your voice for decades like he did and then all of a sudden see your voice improve when you are well into your 60s.  That is simply not realistic.  I suspect these reports are by fans with live ear goggles, ya know, the ole "He sounded awesome live," and then you hear a bootleg and it was like someone else was singing.  I have seen similar reports about JLB and Geddy Lee in recent years, and all of those bands have the advantage of being so rocking live that when you are at the live show, it is so easy to get swept up into the euphoria that you think everything looks and sounds awesome.  Been there, done that. :lol :lol

*cough*  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pZtS_IcSfM

Why are you coughing?  Him talking through much of the song in that deep voice and then shrieking at the end of nearly line didn't impress me at all.  If anything, that video supports my "he is a shell of his former self" statement.

Offline IdoSC

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2015, 07:20:37 AM »
I have seen similar reports about JLB and Geddy Lee in recent years, and all of those bands have the advantage of being so rocking live that when you are at the live show, it is so easy to get swept up into the euphoria that you think everything looks and sounds awesome.  Been there, done that. :lol :lol

Boston DT show was like that. Bad PA, way too loud, plus adrenaline = "he is perfect!!"
Bootleg recording painted a somewhat different picture.
Which Boston show? The one they released as Breaking the Fourth Wall? I thought he sounds pretty good on DVD o-o

Offline TheAtliator

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #33 on: July 09, 2015, 02:20:48 PM »
This thread should not exist without DENNIS DEYOUNG. He's 67, and unlike most of the names mentioned, he's actually at least as good as ever. Tommy Shaw is also a HUGE stand-out in this regard.

Offline MoraWintersoul

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Re: James LaBrie and Other A-List "Elder Statesmen" Frontmen
« Reply #34 on: July 09, 2015, 02:40:58 PM »
Except that even 25 year-old JLB couldn't really sing Another Day either.
This is pretty spotless, man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uMGJFdIGLU

Rob Halford was pretty good in Belgrade in 2011 (not just the live goggles, believe me) but I wouldn't know about the state of his voice right now.

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