w/ Ratt and special guests Vains of Jenna
Live Review and Photos by Celtic Bob
After a lengthily journey to the states to see one of my all-time favorite bands Poison: I arrived mid afternoon to an somewhat empty parking lot. I was psyched to see them again and I was equally excited to see Ratt for the first time ever. This was going to be a great event.
The show opened with a band called Vains of Jenna who played a short set that included a Tom Petty cover. These guys are your trash, glam, Sunset Strip type band. Their image suits their music to the tee. Not a bad band but just not really suited to get the audience pumped for what was about to occur.
Finally Ratt hit the stage with a full blown sonic boom. Warren’s classic guitar sound is there and in your face for the full show as he just lets it rip. Hearing him play those riff’s and solo’s that have been etched in your brain since the mid 80’s is a godsend. It was great to see him and Stephen on stage together. The chemistry between them is something that just seemed to click after all the years apart. Hearing Stephen belt out tunes like “Back For More”, “Round and Round” and “Lack of Communication” was just jaw dropping. His vocals are still great and his onstage energy was full on. For those of us that never had the privilege of seeing them in the glory days can only fathom what it was like. The only thing that was missing was the insane pyro that we saw in the videos. It’s too bad Juan didn’t make the tour as it would have been great to see him there with Blotzer, Pearcy and DeMartini. THAT would have been the ultimate possible reunion seeing how Robbin “King” Crosby is no longer with us. Hope next summer there is another RATT tour and he joins them. While Juan was missed Robbie Crane did a solid job with playing the parts. Robbie was fairly energetic on stage with the head banging and stage moves in full force. Not to be left out here was Robbin’s replacement, former Scream singer John Corabi who was also the singer for Motley Crue for a brief period in the mid 90’s as well as in Ratt while Stephen was out of the picture. Now he just stepped aside to guitar. Onstage he didn’t move around a helluva lot and his backgrounds were low in the mix he did an OK job.
Behind the kit was Bobby Blotzer who has been the staple in the band since the beginning. While the big hair may be gone just watching him was like a flashback as all the moves we saw on video were there. He just beat the living shit out of the drums. His high energy performance was unbelievable just seeing him play and looking like it was almost effortless at times would blow your mind. In a brief solo moment he got the crowd going. After all these years he knows how to get the crowd going. Despite being behind a huge drum kit he made his presence known.
It was easily Warren who stole the show and captured the majority of the attention from his playing to using the classic Kamikaze guitar and the snakeskin one he was a center of attention. While he wasn’t running around like some crazed madman he wasn’t some statue either. He played all the songs with perfection and a guitar tone that only he could do. Just hearing all the Ratt favorites blasting through the towers of amps and speakers was worth the price of admission……….and Poison has yet to take the stage.
The moment many have been waiting for………Poison.
Starting off with the title track off the debut disc the energy was full on and non-stop. After a bit of a heated disagreement last summer onstage between Bobby and Bret many felt that it was the end of the band but lucky for us it wasn’t. Just seeing the chemistry onstage between the two one would never say they had an argument in their lives.
The stage setup was similar to the one they regularly have with a few minor changes. The setup at this venue was an insanely high stage structure which must have been a pain for the first couple of rows. From spending a few songs next to the stage looking up I can only fathom how hard it was for row 1 for the entire show. A foot lower setup would make this venue allot better as nobody goes to a show to see the singer’s nose hairs.
Fast paced and high energy….would you expect anything less? After more than 20 years in the business Poison puts on one of the best live shows ever. Everytime you go to a Poison concert you have a great time and the band gives it their all, and it shows. Hearing your favorite songs like “Talk Dirty To Me” and “Unskinny Bop” intertwined with newer tracks like “I Hate Every Bone In Your Body But Mine” sung by CC and “What I Like About You” off the latest disc POISON’D. There is a good mixture of tunes for all fans with almost all album’s represented. CC was in fine shape and ever entertaining. His guitar sound was loud with a real nice crunch and tone to it. This guy has more energy than the law allows as he is all over the stage but does take the time for the ever present camera in the audience. He has a style and presence that is all his own. Bobby is intense and just watching him you can see how into the songs he is. The emotion on his face shows this…big time. He lays down a solid rhythm that the others need to make this one hell of a show. Working closely with Bobby is Rikki laying out the backbeat.
This year is probably the first time I have heard an excellent drum sound coming from them. Don’t take it wrong…Rikki is good but the drum sound always seemed to lack that punch to the chest for me. This year on both the new disc POISON’D and on this show the drums finally had an amazing kick to them.
During the performance of “What I Like About You” they had the video playing behind them on a giant screen. It was synched up almost perfectly to their performance. A real cool feature for those who never saw the clip and for those in the back who couldn’t see the band very well on stage. Just before they did probably their most well known tune Bret straps on a guitar and says ( referring to his broken hand that was in a Poison green cast): “We’re gonna do Every Rose, broken hand version now” before launching into the track. Despite his slight handicap he carried on as though nothing was ever wrong. The crowd went nuclear singing along with lighters and cell phones in the air. Soon the evening was about to come to a close for concert goer’s as the band ended the show with “Nothin’ But a Good Time” and as usual it was a good time. When Poison hits your neck of the woods you must go as it is a night of pure enjoyment and first class Rock n’ Roll.
More Ratt and Poison shots from the show:
Thanks to Jeff at Albright Entertainment and Janna at Bret Michaels Entertainment