Scott Brown
June 09, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

18 and Life

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Sebastian Bach

We gave it a B+

Those worrying how Sebastian Bach will fare when he replaces Jack Wagner in the title role(s) of Broadway’s cheeseball smash Jekyll & Hyde on June 13 need only visit the Digital Downloads section of House of Blues’ website. In a 1999 recording at HOB Orlando, the former Skid Row frontman alternately belts and warbles his hoary hit ”18 and Life” (www.hob.com, Windows Media), demonstrating just the sort of stylistic schizophrenia the role demands. The extended intro announces Bach’s Great White Way makeover with a cadenza worthy of Les Miz — or at least the touring company — before devolving into atonal shrieks. Of course, it’s possible these vicissitudes are simply the result of a ravaged larynx — after all, he sounds as if he’s gargling tar toward the end. But the phlegmy death rattle is followed by a triumphant vibrato: Jekyll vanquishing Hyde? Or shredded vocal cords finding their comfort zone? If it’s intentional: B+ If it’s not: C-

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