Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Louder, Harder, Faster...
POISON With Vince Neil & Skid Row

Aug 19th 2003, London, Ontario, Canada
John Labatt Center

Review & Photos By Celtic Bob

POISON stage

Another year and another journey across the country to see Poison live in concert (read last year's review here). It is starting to become a yearly addiction for me that I can't kick (or don't want to). This year was not much different than last as I travel across this great land of ours to see artists that I have listened to for years. Again this year I was set up with passes for both Skid Row and Poison (tks. Mark and Laurie).


L-R: Skid Row vocalist JOHNNY SOLINGER and bassist RACHEL BOLAN

From the backstage area we get escorted to the front of the stage just moments before the Skids hit the stage. Lights go down and they get introduced as Skid (Fuckin') Row and the place goes up. Being a fan I was quite curious as to how new singer Solinger was going to handle Bas' vocals on the older songs. Also this was my first time seeing them live so I was psyched. As soon as the intro ended they started into "Slave To The Grind" which was amazing. I totally forgot about the comparisons and got totally into it, which was hard to do while shooting pics. The energy was full on and the band all played perfectly. They mostly played songs from the first 2 albums as well as "Thick Is The Skin" and "New Generation" off the new album. Rachel even took over lead vocal on "Psycho Therapy" which they did on the B SIDES disc. He dedicated it to Joey and Dee Dee. Very cool version. Johnny (who now has my respect as a vocalist) introduced one of the new tunes by saying to goto skidrow.com and download it in CD quality. Also said he didn't want to get in trouble by telling fans to "take/steal" music by downloading it instead of buying it so they are "giving" it to them for free. I personally thought this was pretty cool and now the people that check it out will go and buy the album and support the artists they enjoy. One of my concerns was how well Solinger was going to handle their classic ballads like "I Remember You". Were they going to do the original version or the newer and shittier version? They did the song the way it should be. The ballad that everyone loves. Snake had the acoustic on a stand and did the ever famous intro complete with smoke hanging from the lips (see picture below!). Total RnR. Solinger sang most of this song while walking around the arena amongst the fans. Granted he did an excellent job but personally I would have preferred Sebastian's vocals to the song but.what can we do? All in all they did an excellent job and were spot on. They are quite impressive live and put on an excellent show. They definitely earned more respect from me.

   

 

Next up was Vince Neil. Being a fan of Motley since 1983 I was majorly excited to finally get to see a Cre member live. Despite recent bad press he's been getting Vince was in great shape and handled the songs perfectly. I mean, c'mon give the guy a break. He's not a 20yr old anymore running around the stage like a madman. Yes he has packed on a few pounds but it's not like he's some fuckin' 300 lb bloated guy who can't sing a note. He did only Motley songs which were good in a way that the long-time fans could get to hear them but it was a bit disappointing that he never did any solo material. The guy did some really excellent solo stuff that would have been great to hear live. Hopefully sometime I'll get to see him do some. He had the crowd on 10 from the time he hit the stage until he left. This guy can put on a show and it was no trouble to tell he loves what he does. He did material from the Classic Cre albums and towards the end even played guitar on several songs including my favorite Motley song "Don't Go Away Mad". After the Motley DVD release last year where his vocals were not the greatest and the LIVE cd earlier this year where they were better but not as good as Vince of old. At this show he was right on the money and proved the naysayer's wrong. Hit every note and scream perfectly even in great tunes like "Red Hot" & " Live Wire". He did an amazing job for the whole set. Just like on his recent Live disc he got everyone to raise their right hand in the air and act like they were revving a bike t which started out "Girls Girls Girls". Everyone went fuckin' nuts, I don't think there was a person there that never enjoyed it. It was great to finally see him live now only if he will re-join the Cre and go on the road again and do some more albums we'll all be better off. Yes his solo stuff is great but we still need him back where he belongs. In the CRE.

 

 

Vince is over and here I am backstage waiting for Poison. I am by the rail with the other press members and across the way is Bret meeting with a promoter or someone. Anyhow they go, "OK, time to go in". As we start to walk toward the door to go into the arena Bret starts to walk towards the door as well. He walked into the arena directly in front of me and once into the arena he went left to go onstage and we all went straight to the press pit. Lights are down then the show starts. Rikki, CC and Bobby are onstage playing and lights and flash pots go off then they rip into "Look What The Cat Dragged In" and out comes Bret. This guy is on fuckin' 11 and never stays in place for longer than a split second. This year I was determined to get a good shot of him as I failed in doing so last year. This guy knows how to get the crowd going. He was definitely into the show even more so than when I saw them last year in Toronto (which was an excellent show). The energy and performance from the entire band was top rate. CC. acted insane and is a way better guitarist than he is given credit for. This guy can really play and deserves more respect then he is given. Bobby just seems so intense in his playing. It is hard to describe him. He's not running around as much as Bret and CC but he's far from still.

 

The band do just about everything you'd expect "Talk Dirty To Me", "Something To Believe In" "Unskinny Bop".it's all there. Too bad they never did any original songs off Hollyweird, maybe next time. Much to the surprise of a lot of people they did "Stand" off of NATIVE TONGUE which was great seeing how CC never played on that disc. It was a bit more rockin' than the studio version and came across excellent. There was a guy in the front of the stage videotaping the whole show (For possible dvd release?) and during "Nothing But A Good Time" Bret gets him onstage and gets some audience shots. Also he takes a camera from the side of the stage and films the crowd and band members. Hopefully this will all see the light of day as a full live dvd. The whole show was energy packed with great tunes and pyro. It was a great night of good old RnR. If anyone says that todays bands are better or that 80's bands are crap have clearly never seen them live. Poison will give any newer band a run for their money and still come out on top. I severly doubt the younger bands of today could put off a show with such energy and musicianship as Poison does. They enjoy what they do and it shows. The only drawback to a Poison show is that they don't play long enough. Other than that their shows are the best.

 

 

After the show all of us with passes waited around the side of the stage to meet the band. After about an hour or so they came in and said that was it and the band were not meeting anymore fans. After travelling halfway across Canada for this show I was a bit pissed but could see their side of it a bit. Anyhow after getting outside the arena someone said Bret was signing autographs down by the bus. I go down and security say it's $15 to get in even though I had a Press pass and a VIP pass. I then spot their tour manager who I met earlier the day and the security guard goes over to him for me and he lets me in. I was standing in the line to get my cd signed and I check my cameras and BOTH cameras had died. Batteries in the camera died and the digital one needed to be recharged. Here I was in the line and no chance of getting a photo with Bret (Oh Well!). Anyhow I get up there and tell him who I was and shake his hand and he said (referring to Metal-Rules) "You guys Rock" which was pretty cool. He signed the cd and I left. What a great night for RnR.


Scotti and Celtic Bob