Category Archives: Poison

Concert Review: Poison (7/07/11)


Opener: Top of the Orange


The Amphitheater at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama

Bret Michaels just doesn’t stop. It seems like he’s constantly touring. When Poison isn’t touring, he’s doing solo shows and even when Poison is on the road, he finds time to schedule solo shows! Poison is in the middle of a big summer tour with Motley Crue and the New York Dolls but the band has scheduled a number of headlining shows as well on off days. Warrant is opening for them on a number of those shows but unfortunately were not present for this Orange Beach concert.

Top of the Orange

I was hoping there would be someone opening the show but it wasn’t until a week before the show that The Wharf’s Facebook page announced that Mobile, Alabama-based band Top of the Orange would be curtain jerking. I checked a few of their songs out online and they seemed like a decent current-sounding hard rock band with songs that fit in with the rest of whatever rock radio decides to play these days.

Apparently they’ve been making quite a name of themselves in the Gulf Coast area and according to their website they’ve opened for 3 Doors Down, Staind, Shinedown, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin and Theory of a Dead Man among others… Now you can add Poison to that list!

While I didn’t expect Poison to do a 2 hour to 2 1/2 hour set, I certainly didn’t expect Top of the Orange to play so long either. I thought 4 or 5 songs and then it’d be time for Poison but The Orange had played a healthy set. While Top of the Orange won’t be drawing any similarities to a band like Poison and their sound owes more to the ’90s rock scene and bands like Theory of a Deadman and Nickelback that’s what made the experience cool — you get to see a young up ‘n’ coming playing a totally different style than the veteran headliners. Variety is the spice of life!

I know I’m going to completely screw up the set list, but here’s what seems familiar (though I think I’m leaving off a song or two and I know the order isn’t right):

Set list
“Let Me In”
“Truth Be told”
“Cutting Me Off”
“Immigrant Song” (Led Zeppelin cover)
“Who Turned Off the Sun”
“Sex Kitten”
“Why Can’t”


Poison is out on the road this summer with a tour they’re calling “Glam-A-Geddon 25” in honor of the band’s 1986 Look What the Cat Dragged In debut. Odd then that some of the band would wear Open Up and Say… Ahh! t-shirts and that album cover was a part of the stage setup. Could it be they are embarrassed by their debut album’s super glammy cover?

I’d seen Poison once before but it was a good show. Much like Def Leppard, I know they don’t change up the set list much from year to year but these guys are still a fun band and certainly the premier glam metal band and are proud of that fact so to me it was worth taking the time and money to see them again.

As I said, there weren’t too many surprises with the set list. They band went through all their signature songs but actually sounded better than when I saw in 2009 (although I think it was more of a technical issue that day). Compared to when I first saw them, they’ve dropped “Something To Believe In”, which has been played on some of the Motley shows, but added “I Want Action” (which I thought was awesome) and “We’re An American Band”.

Poison started off the show in a cool way, or maybe it was just coincidental — the lights went out, the stage started to glow and then AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” started to play and it played in its entirety as Poison’s skull backdrop was raised on the stage. Seemed like part of the show to me. Both finished about the same time and then a spotlight hits the drum kit and a guy walks out in a jacket, hat and bandanna covering his face and spray paints “Orange” on one kick drum and “Beach” on the other. He takes off the jacket and bandanna and it’s revealed to be none other than Rikki Rockett!

From there the band was on fire — literally! You had green flames, yellow flames, orange flames, pyro, etc. going off at various times throughout the night. Backdrops were changed a couple of times, it was a get stage set up. The entire band was energetic all night long and Bret is really one of the best front men to come out of the ’80s.

I was counting on Setlist.FM to already have the set list up but it’s not there yet. I KNOW these are the songs played but I may have one or two out of order. I’m about 85% sure this is the correct order though!

Set list
“Look What The Cat Dragged In”
“I Want Action”
“We’re An American Band” (Grand Funk Railroad cover)
“Ride The Wind”
“Your Mama Don’t Dance” (Loggins & Messina cover)
C.C.’s Guitar Solo
“Fallen Angel”
“Unskinny Bop”
Rikki’s Drum Solo
“Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
“Talk Dirty To Me”
“Nothin’ But A Good Time”

Just a fun night all around, the venue was not as full as the Def Leppard show but still close to being packed. Top of the Orange got a good reception, it seemed like about a fourth of the audience knew who they were so that helped add to the enjoyment of watching them. Poison was indeed “nothin’ but a good time”. The band has caught a lot of flak over the years from peers and rock fans but I’ve always enjoyed them. They aren’t the best musicians or the most thoughtful lyricists but they always bring fun and a good time to the table and what more do you really need in a rock band?

POISON – Great Big Hits Live! Bootleg

Poison – Great Big Hits Live! Bootleg (2006, Sony BMG Music)

1. “Look What the Cat Dragged In” … 3:56
2. “I Want Action” … 3:40
3. “Something to Believe In” … 6:32
4. “Love on the Rocks” … 3:32
5. “Fallen Angel” … 4:22
6. “Let It Play” … 4:05
7. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” … 4:42
8. “Unskinny Bop” … 3:58
9. “Nothin’ But a Good Time” … 4:22
10. “Talk Dirty to Me” … 3:56

Bret Michaels – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
C.C. DeVille – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Bobby Dall – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rikki Rockett – Drums, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Richie Zito & Poison

Great Big Hits Live! Bootleg is no-frills cheap cash-in product put forth by the record label meant to be sold at supermarkets, pharmacy chains and gas stations all across America. For the extremely low price tag, it’s a really good representation of Poison’s solid live performances and their virtually set in stone setlist.

Poison is never going to win any points for precision, but that’s not what they’re about anyway. This album captures their loose rock ‘n’ roll sound perfectly. There’s always been a certain amount of charm about their slightly sloppy “fun comes first” sound. As Bret once said, “it ain’t perfect, but it’s rock ‘n’ roll!”

All of the live tracks were recorded in Charlotte, North Carolina from the band’s 1999-2000 reunion tour and the album is basically a stripped down version of 2000’s Power to the People album. The only difference is this album leaves off the 5 studio songs Poison had recorded and it also cuts out the live solos.

I picked my copy up at Walgreens on a whim for $6.99.

Buy Great Big Hits Live! Bootleg at

POISON – Crack A Smile… And More!

Poison – Crack A Smile… And More! (2000, Capitol Records)

1. “Best Thing You Ever Had” … 4:19
2. “Shut Up, Make Love” … 3:52
3. “Baby Gets Around a Bit” … 3:37
4. “Cover of the Rolling Stone” … 3:09
5. “Be the One” … 5:39
6. “Mr. Smiley” … 2:43
7. “Sexual Thing” … 3:38
8. “Lay Your Body Down” … 5:28
9. “No Ring, No Gets” … 3:27
10. “That’s the Way I Like It” … 3:40
11. “Tragically Unhip” … 2:54
12. “Doin’ as I Seen on My TV” … 2:53
13. “One More for the Bone” … 3:18
14. “Set You Free” … 3:56
15. “Crack a Smile” [unfinished demo] … 3:46
16. “Face the Hangman” … 3:21
17. “Your Mama Don’t Dance” [live] …  3:13
18. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” [live] … 4:38
19. “Unskinny Bop” [live] … 2:12
20. “Talk Dirty to Me” [live] … 4:06

Bret Michaels – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Blues Saraceno – Guitar, Piano, Backing Vocals
Bobby Dall – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rikki Rockett – Drums, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
C.C. DeVille – Guitar (Tracks 16-20)

Produced by: John Purdell, Duane Baron, Kevin Flaherty, Tom Werman

An album that was considered to be “lost” for sometime. It was recorded over througout 1994 and 1995 (sessions came to halt when Bret Michaels was involved in a serious car accident), but with alternative music all the rage and feel good party rock on the verge of extinction, Capitol Records decided to cut their losses and release a greatest hits in 1996 instead of this. Who knows how this album would’ve done had it been released when it was originally planned to, but perhaps Capitol made the wiser choice going with the hits because that particular collection, called Poison’s Greatest Hits: 1986-1996, has gone double platinum since being released.

Well, after all the bootlegging going on with this album, Capitol finally decided to cash-in when hair bands were making a comeback and finally release it. The album debuted at #131 on the Billboard charts. =( I’m pretty sure if Poison released an album today it would easily crack (no pun intended) the Top 30, given the success of Bret’s Rock of Love show. Hey, if their Poison’d! all-covers album can debut at #32, I *know* a brand new release can at least match that.

There’s not a whole lot on here that matches the band’s glory days, nothing as flashy or as catchy, but it’s still a solid album all the way through. It’s not dark like Native Tongue was, but still retains a bit of that rougher and bluesy sound but still has a fun, light-hearted vibe. “Sexual Thing” and “Lay Your Body Down” come closest to the old days, and were actually included on Greatest Hits, probably for that very same reason.

C.C. DeVille is still absent (he was replaced by Richie Kotzen for Native Tongue) as this was Blues Saraceno’s one and only album with the band.

In response to the bootlegging, Capitol countered by added bonus tracks to this release. That’s where the “…And More!” comes from. EIGHT BONUS TRACKS! Now *that’s* how you do it! The first two songs are outtakes from the Crack A Smile sessions, the song “Crack A Smile” is an “unfinished demo” for the album (Aren’t all demos unfinished?), and then we get an outtake from the Open Up And Say.. Ahh! sessions called “Face the Hangman” and then the other four tracks are from the band’s 1990 appearance on MTV Unplugged.

Overall, the album was definitely worth the purchase price when I got it, given that it’s packed with 20 songs, 8 of which are extras.

Highlights: “Best Thing You Ever Had”, “Baby Gets Around A Bit”, “Be the One”, “Sexual Thing”, “Lay Your Body Down”, “Your Mama Don’t Dance [live], “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” [live], “Unskinny Bop” [live], “Talk Dirty to Me” [live]

POISON – Poison’d!

[A review originally published here June 22, 2007, on The Metal Misfit: A Blog of Pop Culture & Life. I have made some format changes to fit in better with the Metal Excess format, but I have left the review portion untouched.]

Poison – Poison’d! (2007, Capitol Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Little Willy” [Sweet cover] … 3:18
2. “Suffragette City” [David Bowie cover] … 2:57
3. “I Never Cry” [Alice Cooper cover] … 3:33
4. “I Need To Know” [Tom Petty cover] … 2:21
5. “Can’t You See” [The Marshall Tucker Band cover] … 4:57
6. “What I Like About You” [The Romantics cover] … 2:59
7. “Dead Flowers” [Rolling Stones cover] … 4:21
8. “Just What I Needed” [The Cars cover] … 3:36
9. “Rock ‘N Roll All Night” [KISS cover] … 3:35
10. “Squeeze Box” [The Who cover] … 2:30
11. “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim (1986 Demo)” [Jim Croce cover] … 3:06
12. “Your Momma Don’t Dance” [Loggins & Messina cover] … 3:01
13. “We’re An American Band” [Grandfunk Railroad cover] … 3:09
14. “Sexy Back” [Justin Timberlake cover] … 3:34

Bret Michaels – Vocals, Harmonica
C.C. DeVille – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Bobby Dall – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rikki Rockett – Drums, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Don Was (Tracks 1-8, 13, 14), Rick Rubin (Track 9), Thom Panunzio (Track 10), Ric Browde (Track 11), Tom Werman (Track 12)

Summer. It’s that time of year where the so-called “eighties” acts release an album to get some hype going their summer tours. Usually, a greatest hits or live album will do the job so that these bands can promote & sell *something* while on the road, but cover albums are always another standby for bands that don’t feel like writing new songs. Covers albums in general are nothing to get excited about. As I said, they’re either done by a band that doesn’t want to sit down and write original material OR they’re released to fill time while the public awaits original material.

Luckily, Poison delivers with the same good time fun that their original works are known for. Sure, Bret Michael’s voice has gotten a little rougher with time, but so do calluses. That’s life. Even at his vocal peak, Bret was never going to out sing Rob Halford or Jeff Scott Soto, and he does a serviceable job here.

Poison seems quite at home covering “Little Willy” and Bowie’s “Suffragette City”, the first two tracks that get the album off to a great start. I was also pleasantly surprised to see them cover (and do a good job of covering) Alice Cooper’s “I Never Cry”. Bret’s twang has never been more present than on that song. Other top picks include a rockin’ version of “I Need To Know”, “Can’t You See”, “Rock ‘N Roll All Night” (a song I’ve long since only had a mp3 version of), and of course one of their biggest hits… “Your Momma Don’t Dance”.

For all the fun this album brings (it’s a great summertime album to go crusin’ to) I do have a few gripes here. Tracks 9-13 were all previously released songs. I would have much preferred Poison to have picked and recorded some new covers. “‘Rock ‘N Roll All Night” is from 1987’s Less Than Zero movie soundtrack, “‘Squeeze Box”’ comes from the band’s last studio album 2001’s Hollyweird, “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” was released in 2006 as a 1986 demo track with the Poison album reissues, “Your Momma Don’t Dance” was a huge hit for the band from Open Up and Say… Ahhh and “We’re An American Band” comes from last year’s 20th Anniversary greatest hits collection.

“Your Momma Don’t Dance” easily stands out on this album as the best track. It’s everything hair metal was in the 80s, slick and polished and in your face. The newer covers have a more raw and punchy sound, which while it works for some tracks (“Suffragette City”, “I Never Cry”, “I Need To Know”), it feels out of place on 80s pop hits like “What I Like About You” and certainly on The Cars’ “Just What I Needed”.

If you picked up the Wal-Mart version of the album, it included a bonus track featuring a cover of Mr. JT’s “Sexy Back”, which is actually pretty entertaining and fairly heavy sounding (well, heavy for Poison covering a Timberlake song).

Call it 7 out of 10.

POISON – Flesh & Blood

Poison – Flesh & Blood (1990/2006, Capitol Records)

1. “Strange Days of Uncle Jack” [1:40]
2. “Valley of Lost Souls” [3:58]
3. “(Flesh & Blood) Sacrifice” [4:40]
4. “Swampjuice (Soul-O)” [1:25]
5. “Unskinny Bop” [3:48]
6. “Let It Play” [4:21]
7. “Life Goes On” [4:47]
8. “Come Hell or High Water” [5:02]
9. “Ride the Wind” [3:51]
10. “Don’t Give up an Inch” [3:43]
11. “Something to Believe In” [5:28]
12. “Ball and Chain” [4:23]
13. “Life Loves a Tragedy” [5:14]
14. “Poor Boy Blues” [5:19]
15. “Something to Believe In” [Acoustic Version] [6:01]
16. “God Save The Queen” [Instrumental Demo] [2:48]

I should point out that while this album was originally released in 1990, it was also remastered and reissued in 2006 by Capitol Records, with the addition of two b-sides, in order to celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary. The remastered version is the version I own.

Poison was one the first bands I remember being introduced to that got me into the whole “hair metal” scene. A friend of mine owned Greatest Hits 1986-1996 when it initially came out and I borrowed it. I was hooked and had to go score my own copy. Since then, Poison’s been one of my favorite bands.

Funny thing is, I actually never owned this album until a year ago when I picked up the reissue. Most of Poison’s albums have been really good, but I was blown away at just how this one was. They still rock & party on this album, but their sound is a lot more professional here. The musicianship is better and so is the production thanks to Bruce Fairbairn, who produced AC/DC’s The Razor’s Edge (my favorite AC/DC album) and Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation and Pump.

No, this is not the definitive Poison album (I think that award goes to Open Up and Say… Ahh!), but this is my personal favorite from the band.

Highlights: “Strange Days of Uncle Jack” (cool intro), “Valley of Lost Souls”, “(Flesh & Blood) Sacrifice”, “Swampjuice (Soul-O)” (instrumental that sounds like something from Cinderella), “Unskinny Bop”, “Life Goes On”, “Ride the Wind”, “Something to Believe In”

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