Camp HRH, March 10 2017

Incredibly, it’s 42 years since Lita Ford emerged as one fifth of the so-called ‘jailbait on the run’ all-girl combo The Runaways. And if the singer-songwriter cringes at the very thought of her early career then she’s lost none of the charm and charisma that put her up front in the first place.

Rocking the red spandex like it was 1988 all over again, the bitch was back. And she was on a mission to prove a troubled private life had inspired – rather than inhibited – a long overdue revival.

Arriving in Wales on the back of a controversial autobiography and with the deeply affecting Living Like A Runaway album in her locker, Ford overcame early sound problems and initial nerves to settle into a passionate and powerful rhythm.

By her own admission the London-born guitarist was never a singer but after going solo in the early 80s she discovered a way to complement her fret melting hooks with a husky and alluring vocal style. And she’s never lost it.

Back To The Cave proved to be the perfect example: Ford was in full swing by the time she took on the opening track from Lita. Flanked by the supercharged Patrick Kennison on lead guitar, this was the moment that Camp HRH fully embraced one of the icons of female-fronted rock.

A set of two halves, those who nipped out early missed Ford hitting her stride and hammering home her advantage. A quick blast through Cherry Bomb preceded a sassy, sleazy version of Sex Pistols’ Black Leather before Ozzy ‘Howie’ Osbourne – plucked from the crowd in a natty skull suit – stood in for the man himself.

In hindsight Ford might have been better advised to stick with Kennison in the Osbourne role for hit ballad Close My Eyes Forever. Ozzy double Howie did his best but even miming in time proved a tricky proposition.

Set closer and bona fide 80s classic Kiss Me Deadly still sounded killer almost 30 years after it rocketed up the Billboard charts and if Friday’s hotly anticipated headliner was far from faultless she was fun, feisty and looking to the future. And still Living Like A Runaway.

Setlist

Gotta Let Go

Larger Than Life

The Bitch Is Back

(Elton John cover)

Playing With Fire

Relentless

Living Like a Runaway

Hungry

What Do Ya Know About Love

Back to the Cave

Can’t Catch Me

Falling In and Out of Love

Out for Blood

Cherry Bomb

(The Runaways song)

Black Leather

(Sex Pistols cover)

Close My Eyes Forever

Kiss Me Deadly