Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

POISON: Hollyweird World Tour 2002
With Cinderella, Faster Pussycat & Winger
Molson Amphithetre
Toronto, ON CANADA, June 28th

Review & Photos by Celtic Bob

Editor's Intro: This month's staff editorial is about why glam metal is indeed a part of the genre of heavy metal. So before any of you e-mail us to make "constructive" comments about why we are, and will continue to, cover glam metal, READ THIS. And now, onto the review!

I've listened to Poison since their first album came out back in '86 after a good friend (ed. note: rumors have it that it just might be EvilG) played me their debut album that he picked up while on a school trip way back then ;). Since then I've always liked them but sort of lost track of them in the late 90's for a short period. This same friend also had Cinderella's first album and he too started that ball rolling. Faster Pussycat was a band that I believe I was the only one that really liked them? Winger was a bit different for me. I had their first album but that was it. I never really got into them although I do like some of their stuff. I picked up the "Very Best Of" this past spring so I could have at least some Winger on disc in my collection. So when I heard about this show I was impressed but never thought I'd get there but as it got closer and the more I thought about it. As luck would have it, the concert was at the beginning of my holidays.

For starters I traveled about halfway across Canada (NF to ON) just to see this show and let me say I was not disappointed. To make this event more memorable I was given tix to the show, backstage passes and a photo pass for Poison (tks Laurie). This is one show that I will not forget. Now onto the review.

After a bit of a small mix-up at the "Will Call" booth I finally made it into the concert but missed a bit of Faster Pussycat's set. I did catch them doing 2 of their biggest songs "Bathroom Wall" and "House of Pain." For the latter Taime came out to the front and sat on a monitor and had a smoke while singing it. Then they did the Betty Blowtorch song entitled "Shut Up & Fuck" which he dedicated to his late wife Bianca. He then removed his shiny black leather pants to reveal the black stockings he was wearing underneath!?! If it was shock value he was going after then it definitely worked. After that song they left the stage and you could see people leave the front stage area. They were there just to see FP!

Up next was Winger. I liked them but was never a Die-Hard Fan. After seeing them perform my opinion of them has changed and they definitely earned my admiration; especially Reb Beach whose guitar playing is astounding! Being unfamiliar with his playing outside of the Winger studio CD's I always thought he was an average guitarist. Man was I wrong! He did a solo that was just mind blowing. He is definitely a guitar player that should be looked to for inspiration. I'd be hard pressed to find a better player out there today. They performed everything you'd expect, from "Blind Revolution Mad" to "Seventeen". It seemed to take Kip a couple of songs to get into it but once he did he really seemed to enjoy it. He can still do the songs and they sound as good as they ever did. Keyboardist Paul Taylor helped out on guitar for a few songs but kept to the left side of the stage so it was hard to see him from where I was. Rhythm guitarist Jon Roth stayed over that way as well and didn't move around much but then again it was Reb & Kip that stole the show so you'd never really notice. All in all for a short set in broad daylight they did a first-rate performance and earned more respect from the people there. Their albums don't do them justice.

Cinderella was the next to hit the stage after a very short stage changeover. Right from the start they had the crowd going. The opened with "Push Push" from their debut NIGHT SONGS album and from then on they owned the crowd. Everyone in attendance seemed to be right into it and was singing along for every song. Tom looked and sounded identical as he did back in the late 80's, he never changed a bit. The bassist Eric on the other hand looked totally different. I'm still not 100% sure if it's him?!? Gone is the long blond hair & clean shaven look of the 80's and it's replaced with shorter black hair and goatee. Their setlist contained everything you'd want to hear from "Save Me" off the debut to "Shelter Me" off HEARTBREAK STATION. Tom even had a hand at playing sax which surprised me so they could be true to the original record. There were no real solo spots here just a straight ahead performance which was admirable to say the least. If you get the chance to see them this summer then by all means do.

 

 

Finally the main reason that most people were there was to see "Glam Metal's Finest." For the first 3 songs I had a photo pass so I could get some pics for this review. I was between the stage and the barrier. It was simply amazing from the first chords of "Look What The Cat Dragged In" until they ended the show with "Nothin' But a Good Time." Bret hit the stage wearing a white fur coat which he never wore for very long as it must've been hot as hell under all those lights. It was not possible to get a good shot of him as this guy is on 11, he never slows down for a second; just pure energy from the get go. Every song that you'd expect was there plus a cover of the KISS song "Rock n Roll All Night" (which they covered on the soundtrack for Less Than Zero years ago).

CC seemed to be having a ball running around the stage like a little kid that had been set free in a candy shop. His guitar playing was incredible and it's good to see him back in the band where he belongs. After he did his solo he sang the song "Emperor's New Clothes" off their latest album and did a tremendous job. This was the only original song off the new album that they did which struck me as kind of funny. Next up was the first of the two slower songs of the evening (Something To Believe In) and there seemed to be a fair few lighters going. I don't think there was a person there that never sang along to this classic. This was followed by "Your Mama Don't Dance" to which Bret introduced Rikki Rockett as "My friend since Jr. High" He then when into a rather decent drum solo which is not my cup of tea personally, but it gave the other band members a bit of a break. During the show Bret Michaels made the statement along the lines of "I'll put my money where my mouth is. For anyone that wants to come to the show on Sunday night in NY I will honour your tickets from tonight." This statement got major applause and seemed like an excellent idea at the time but I never got down there to see them again. They ended the show with a flawless version of "Nothin' But A Good Time" which had everyone on their feet and screaming out the lyrics. There were fireworks on the stage and it was just like a major party for all. There is no band out there that can put on a rock show like Poison. They definitely provide you your money's worth and more besides. Go check them out when the come to your town. You won't be disappointed.

After the concert was over those of us who had after show passes to meet the band were told to go to the left side of the stage. We waited there for a bit then were taken to a backstage area. To the dissatisfaction of many the only member of Poison that came out was Rikki who signed autographs and had pictures taken with just about everyone. CC was seen for a second in this room but then disappeared. Everyone waited but the other members never showed up. While we were waiting 3 members of Winger strolled by and signed a few autographs and had some pics taken. Reb Beach was the only one who came in behind the little metal fence barricade that separated the fans from the security & artists. He seemed to be in a bit of a hurry but he was gracious enough to sign stuff and pose for pics. Definitely a down to earth person. After Reb left everyone figured it was time to go and no-one else was going to show. As we were walking up the ramp to leave we spied Jeff LeBar from Cinderella in another backstage area that was blocked off. After sizing up the situation for a minute a few of us figured out how to get in there and it worked. Met the guy and left him alone to enjoy his "Beverage." All in all it was an outstanding night and well worth the trip. I just hope they play closer to here next time around.

Celtic Bob and Rikki Celtic Bob and Reb (guitar god)

Poison Setlist

Look What The Cat Dragged In
Talk Dirty To Me
Ride The Wind
Squeezebox
I Want Action
CC Guitar Solo
Emperor's New Clothes
Something to Believe In
You're Mama Don't Dance
Drum Solo
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Unskinny Bop
Fallen Angel
Rock n Roll All Night
Nothin But A Good Time

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