House of Culture
Live review and photos by Marko Syrjälä
Ted Nugent’s long career as a musician started in the late sixties with Amboy Dukes, but the enormous success did not find him before starting his solo career in the mid-’70s. Since then, Ted Nugent has done several world tours and sold millions of records, but he’s never been in Finland before today. However, Ted Nugent has been in the headlines more for his statements and hunting interest in the past few years than musical deeds. Despite that and the fact that Ted has never been a real big name in Finland and has never sold too many records either, it was more than delighted to discover that House of Culture was utterly sold out tonight.
While the intro tape was still rolling, a still very fit looking Ted, who now was wearing a white cowboy hat, a camouflage suit vest, tight blonde trousers, and pair of brown sneakers, walked on stage and started his set with thundering opening track “Stormtroopin” from his first very solo album. “Wango Tango” from the 1980’s “Scream Dream” came right after that.
At this point of the show, it was a little bit comical and shameful at the same time when it was clear that about 90% of the audience didn’t recognize songs, especially the latter one, at all, and mainly for that reason they stand on their feet and wonder what was coming out from the loudspeakers. When the songs were over, you could hardly hear the applause caused by a few “true fans” on the forefront. Another track, “Snakeskin Cowboys,” from the classic debut, didn’t cause any more incredible reactions and neither didn’t “Free for All,” which was almost shameful because the band was on fire while they were playing that track. Maybe Ted himself recognized the small problem, and he then kept a brief speech about “the attitude.” He talked about politics, jokes about everything, and did some other usual “Ted’s stuff.” I think that he succeeded quite well because he managed to get most people to smile, and when the next track, “Wang Dang Sween Poontang,” started, there was lots of hands-on air, and the whole atmosphere was getting better all the time. Maybe a more senior audience like what we had here tonight needs more time to get warm or something like that?
“Klstrphkme” sounded good, as well as did “Rawdogs and Warthogs,” which unfortunately was the only track from Ted’s latest “Craveman” album. I liked that album a lot, and in my opinion, it was one of the best albums released in 2002. Tonight’s only cover song, “Soul Man,” originally written and performed by Sam & Dave, was an excellent addition to the setlist. Ted’s vocals and guitar playing were in top form. He and the whole trio seemed to have a perfect time on stage, and they had some nice jamming at the end of the song.
“Hey Baby,” which was written by the original Nugent band guitarist Derek St Holmes, continued the series of classic songs from the debut album while “Dog Eat Dog” did the same for “Free for All.” The first real surprise of the evening occurred when Ted announced that they would play a new track. As I mentioned earlier, the last Nugent album came out already in 2002, and nobody, including myself, was sure if there would ever be another one? The new track was called “Still Raising Hell.” It was a usual Nugent rocker, and it sounded pretty much the same kind of stuff as what was heard on “Craveman.” Another surprise followed when Ted announced that they would do another new track right after the first one. “Girlscout Cookies” was a somewhat basic bluesy rocker in the vein of the late ’70s. At this point, Ted announced that a new studio album would see the light of day next spring. Very promising indeed!
It is more than evident at some point, and every gig has its climax. If it doesn’t happen, then there is probably something wrong with the concert. “Motorcity Madhouse” gets very close, but when the ageless opening riff of “Cat Scratch Fever” started, the House of Culture roof almost blew off. “Stranglehold” and the last song and only encore “Great White Buffalo” were great as always, but there is no doubt that the highest culmination was already passed at that point.
After almost two hours, the show was over. It was noticeable that the sound was deafening, and for sure, people who, for some reason or another, didn’t use earplugs did hear Ted’s guitar many days after the event. As I already said before, Ted himself, now 58 years old, was in top form both vocally and playing-wise. I heard that some people said that he has a bizarre sense of humor and does some strange talk on stage. In my opinion, that’s just a part of the show and his personality, and if you are too serious a person to understand that, it’s better if you stay home. Ted is a true patriot. He has his own, American style and what’s the most important is that he certainly has the ATTITUDE!
There have been many different variations on this band’s line-up in years past, and there have been many well-known names like Marco Mendoza and Tommy Aldridge. Still, there is nothing wrong with the current rhythm section, which consists of current Dokken colleagues bassist Barry Sparks (ex- MSG, Uli Jon Roth, Yngwie Malmsteen, etc.) and drummer Mick Brown (ex-Lynch Mob). They both played exceptionally tightly and are also outstanding singers. Barry even did some lead vocals every then and now. Finally, it must be said that the crowd’s average age was quickly more than 40 years old. It proves my belief that being a Ted Nugent fan is more like a lifestyle than a regular fan. Hopefully, Ted will keep his promise and will return to Finland soon without another thirty years wait!!
3. Wango Tango
4. Snakeskin Cowboys
5. Free For All
6. Wang Dang Sweet Poontang
8. Rawdogs & Warthogs
9. Soul Man (Sam & Dave)
10. Hey Baby
11. Dog Eat Dog
12. Still Raising Hell (New)
13. Motorcity Madhouse (Inc: Baby Please Don’t Go(Joe Williams))
14. Cat Scratch Fever
16. Great White Buffalo
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SPECIAL THANKS FOR GIVING US A PHOPASS GOES TO TOMI LINDBLOM FROM EASTWAY
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