Due to health concerns, former GREAT WHITE singer Jack Russell was unable to perform at the June 8 concert by his current band, JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE, at Feather Falls Casino & Lodge in Oroville, California. Stepping in for Russell was Andrew Freeman, a member of LAST IN LINE, who had previously fronted GREAT WHITE for a brief period in 2022 after the band parted ways with Mitch Malloy.

Feather Falls Casino & Lodge announced the change on June 4 via social media, explaining that Russell would not be performing due to an ongoing health issue. The statement assured fans that the show would go on with Freeman taking over vocal duties. The band lineup for the night included Robby Lochner on guitar, Dan McNay on bass, Ken Mary on drums, and Tony Montana on guitar and keys. The casino’s director of marketing and entertainment, David Enser, added that the show would not be canceled and that fans would not be disappointed with Freeman as the frontman.

Freeman confirmed his participation on June 6 through a social media post, expressing his honor to fill in for Russell and wishing him a speedy recovery. Freeman’s involvement brought a unique dynamic to the performance, as he is known for his work with LAST IN LINE and has previously been a member of OFFSPRING, LYNCH MOB, and GREAT WHITE.

Russell’s absence from the band dates back to December 2011, when he left GREAT WHITE due to a series of injuries, including a perforated bowel and a shattered pelvis. These injuries were largely attributed to his struggles with alcohol and painkiller addictions, as well as the prednisone drug he was prescribed. In 2012, Russell sued his former bandmates over their continued use of the GREAT WHITE name, leading to a countersuit from guitarist Mark Kendall, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Michael Lardie, and drummer Audie Desbrow. The legal battle was settled in July 2013, allowing Russell to perform under the name JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE while the other members continued as GREAT WHITE.

Freeman’s brief tenure with GREAT WHITE in 2022 was marked by his unique vocal approach, which he described in a March 2023 interview. He aimed to bring out the bluesy elements of the band’s music, drawing inspiration from HUMBLE PIE and LED ZEPPELIN rather than emulating ’80s rock singers. Freeman’s stint with GREAT WHITE followed the departure of Mitch Malloy, who had been with the band since 2018.

The June 8 concert at Feather Falls Casino & Lodge featured a setlist that included all the hits fans expected, along with some DIO classics. The night was kicked off by BULLETBOYS, setting the stage for an evening of rock and roll. Despite the last-minute change, fans were treated to a memorable performance, showcasing Freeman’s versatility and the band’s resilience.

Russell’s health issues have been a recurring challenge throughout his career, but his bandmates and fans continue to support him as he focuses on recovery. The concert at Feather Falls Casino & Lodge was a testament to the enduring spirit of rock and roll, with Freeman stepping up to deliver a powerful performance in Russell’s absence.

As the band moves forward, fans remain hopeful for Russell’s return to the stage. In the meantime, performances like the one on June 8 demonstrate the band’s ability to adapt and continue delivering high-energy shows, keeping the legacy of GREAT WHITE alive.

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