Friday, July 25, 2008
Red Robinson Show Theatre
Coquitlam, BC Canada
***Live Review By Lord of The Wasteland
Ted Nugent is a remarkable character, if you think about it. Considering he hasn’t had anything even close to a hit song in almost thirty years, he still manages to pop up every now and again to keep his name in people’s minds. He has written books, appeared in movies, TV shows and reality series but it is his far-right political leanings and outspoken views on hunting, immigrants, war and other politically-touchy subjects that make the news and let people know that Uncle Ted is still out there.
With his thirteenth studio album, LOVE GRENADE, out for nearly a year, Nugent’s “Rolling Thunder” tour has criss-crossed the globe and just recently landed back on North American shores after a run through Europe. It has been a few years since Nugent last played Vancouver (“Admit it, Vancouver….you fuckin’ missed me!” Nugent joked at one point) and my only previous live experience was when Nugent and his band opened for KISS and Skid Row in Calgary back in 2000. Despite his sixtieth birthday approaching in December and with a new lineup including Greg Smith on bass and Dokken’s “Wild” Mick Brown on drums backing him up, Nugent showed no signs of slowing down, cooling off or changing his ways in front of a packed house in Coquitlam.
The mostly forty- to fifty-year old crowd sat back and enjoyed Nugent’s two-hour set of classics that weighed heavily on his seventies heyday. Tossing any shred of political correctness out the window, Nugent’s stage banter was clever and humorous. Regarding his penchant for hunting, Nugent quipped, “Where I come from, the bears have a Ted problem!” and to introduce “Rawdogs and Warhogs,” he dedicated the song to the military personnel serving overseas and justified the controversial insurgence with a simple disclaimer: “The only good asshole is a dead asshole.” To complement his opinions, various props including machine guns, steer skulls, Canadian and U.S. flags and a grenade with a pink ribbon decorated the stage. With complete disregard for the queasy folks in attendance, a video display during “Fred Bear” showed Nugent slaying wildlife with a crossbow following a rhetoric-filled speech espousing gun-ownership that introduced the epic tale. Anyone doubting Nugent’s musical aptitude certainly had their mouths shut. Besides the one-two punch of “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Stranglehold” featuring two of the most instantly-recognizable guitar riffs in rock and roll history, Nugent’s place as a guitar hero was scattered throughout the set. Nugent sizzled on “Wango Tango” and “Dog Eat Dog” but his solo during the elongated blues jam of “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” left many jaws, including my own, on the floor. Ever the showman, Nugent emerged for the encore of “Great White Buffalo” adorned with an Indian headdress and finished the song by shooting a blazing arrow across the stage into the back of his guitar, naturally a perfect bulls-eye. For their part, the backing band of Brown and Smith—dubbed “The Funk Brothers” by Nugent—did an excellent job, Smith even handling lead vocals on “Hey Baby” and “Need You Bad,” but simply could not help but get swallowed up by the larger-than-life, motormouthed frontman.
Dog Eat Dog
Rawdogs and Warhogs
Need You Bad
Wang Dang Sweet Poontang
Cat Scratch Fever
Great White Buffalo
Say what you will about Ted Nugent—and he could care less what anyone thinks—but the man is a consummate professional, a savvy performer and businessman and he is more than in on the joke. Nugent’s stage banter and views have got him in a lot of hot water over the years but the old showbiz adage that even bad press is good press has kept his over-the-top persona on stage for over forty years. Meanwhile, despite ever-widening gaps between his studio output—Nugent has only released three solo albums since 1988’s IF YOU CAN’T LICK ‘EM, LICK ‘EM—his other business ventures afford him a comfortable living but he can always bask in the timeless rock and roll worship of being the one and only “Motor City Madman.”
***Thanks to Donnie at Great Canadian Casinos for the press pass.
Ted Nugent—Official Site