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Concert Review: Poison (7/07/11)

Poison

Opener: Top of the Orange

7/07/11

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

Poison

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”
Encore
“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?

Bret Michaels in critical condition

I just came across the sad news while checking my usual news sites…

http://tv.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=495650&affid=100055

Bret Michaels is in critical condition suffering from a brain hemorrhage, his publicist said Friday.

Joann Mignano, Michaels’ New York-based publicist, confirmed a report on People magazine’s website that said the former Poison frontman was rushed to intensive care late Thursday after a severe headache. The report said doctors discovered bleeding at the base of his brain stem.

Mignano said tests are being conducted but did not know where he was being treated.

The 47-year-old glam-rock reality TV star had an emergency appendectomy at a private care facility for diabetics last week after complaining of stomach pains before he was scheduled to perform at Sea World in San Antonio, Texas. Michaels later wrote on his website that though the surgery “has taken its toll,” doctors expected him to make a full recovery.

I knew about his appendectomy so this was pretty shocking to read about even MORE bad news. Awful to hear. I think Bret’s one of the coolest, nicest rock stars out there. I wish him a speedy recovery!

THIS IS ’80s HAIR METAL

This Is ’80s Hair Metal (2003, Deadline Records/Cleopatra Records)

Disc One: STUDIO FUELED
1. “Cherry Pie” by Warrant … 3:05
2. “Someone Like You” by Bang Tango … 4:24
3. “Cum on Feel the Noize” by Quiet Riot … 4:38
4. “Smooth Up” by Bulletboys … 5:03
5. “Pissed” by Dangerous Toys … 4:10
6. “Sex Action” by L.A. Guns … 3:53
7. “Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz” by Pretty Boy Floyd … 4:07
8. “Bathroom Wall” by Faster Pussycat … 4:58
9. “Little Teaser” by Jetboy … 3:14
10. “Love Removal Machine” by Great White … 4:29
11. “Make It Go Away” by Michael Monroe … 3:01
12. “Tooth & Nail” Lynch Mob … 3:24
13. “Mean Street Machine” by King Kobra … 4:24
14. “River Gold” by Hurricane … 4:04
15. “Black Out” by Love/Hate … 2:56

Disc Two: LIVE & DANGEROUS
1. “Gypsy Road” by Cinderella … 3:39
2. “Kiss Me Deadly” by Lita Ford … 4:21
3. “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)” by Great White … 2:38
4. “One More Reason” by L.A. Guns … 3:49
5. “(You Can Still) Rock in America” by Night Ranger … 5:37
6. “Hollywood” by Junkyard … 2:50
7. “Dressed Up Vamp” by Bang Tango … 4:30
8. “Around Again” by Union … 5:53
9. “Teas’n, Pleas’n” by Dangerous Toys … 4:41
10.  “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love” by L.A. Guns … 2:18
11. “Wrathchild” by Paul DiAnno … 2:48
12. “Somebody Save Me” by Cinderella … 2:57
13. “Ramble On” by Great White … 4:36
14. “What You Say” by Saigon Kick … 3:49

Disc Three: POWER BALLADS
1. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Bret Michaels … 4:49
2. “When the Children Cry” by White Lion … 6:17
3. “Headed for a Heartbreak” by Kip Winger … 2:56
4. “Ballad of Jayne” by L.A. Guns … 5:15
5. “House of Pain” by Faster Pussycat … 7:50
6. “Ready for Love” by Great White … 4:40
7. “Sometimes She Cries” by Warrant … 4:38
8. “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (‘Til It’s Gone)” by Cinderella … 5:39
9. “Dream On” by Ronnie James Dio & Yngwie Malmsteen … 4:28
10. “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger … 5:15
11. “Close My Eyes Forever” by Lita Ford … 5:02
12. “Lights” by Tuff … 3:11
13. “Still Lovin’ You” Steve Whiteman & George Lynch … 4:52
14. “Here I Go Again” by Bernie Shaw & Bernie Madsen … 4:01
15. ??? … 3:59

Oddball hair metal compilation that I picked up from FYE shortly after it’s release. I can’t remember how much I paid for it, but I don’t think it was too much. Maybe around $15 or so, which is a good thing because as you can expect from an indie hair metal compilation — these are not the original recordings. In some cases, not even the original artists are used! Ex-Dokken guitarist George Lynch and his band Lynch Mob sub for Dokken on “Tooth & Nail”, Bret Michaels stands in for his own band Poison and then there’s the odd inclusion of Great White’s cover of The Cult’s “Love Removal Machine” (this cover has apparently made its way around many a compilations). Another odd bit is that for some reason, Love/Hate’s “Black Out in the Red Room” is now simply called “Black Out”.

Back to the re-recordings, I actually like some of these versions better than the originals (though I think it’s also possible some of these songs were demos). Working on a small budget and stripped of the overproduction that was common in the ’80s, many of these songs sound fresh, raw and energetic compared to the originals. Disc One is nothing but studio recordings and Warrant’s re-recording of “Cherry Pie” is my favorite track and I think I actually like it better than the original version. Not all of Disc One is as enjoyable though– Joe Leste and Marq Torien struggle to hit their notes on “Someone Like You” and “Smooth Up”, respectively. Then there’s the awful industrialized version of “Bathroom Wall”. Look, why does this industrial garbage version of Faster Pussycat keep getting work on these hair compilations? If Taime Downe doesn’t want to represent the music in an accurate manner, I’m sure most hair metal fans would rather Faster Pussycat is not included at all.

Disc Two is nothing but live songs. The quality (and performances) vary greatly. Disc Three is power ballads, re-recordings again, but there’s some live versions as well. On Disc Three, there is a 15th track that I cannot find any info on (my slipcase/jewel case are in storage), but the song definitely does not belong here. I’ve never heard it before and it sounds like some mellow acoustic rock/pop you’d hear on the pop stations. I’m sure there’s some hair metal connection, but sonically, it’s not there. Anyone know the song title and artist?

Personally, I wouldn’t really say “this is ’80s metal”. Not when there’s so many cover songs (by Great White alone!), re-recordings and original artists are missing. The inclusion of Union alone is enough to strike down that this is a tribute to the ’80s (they didn’t formed until 1997)! Basically, the album is hit-or-miss. It’s an inconsistent three disc set, but despite the shady marketing, I still think this is a decent collection for anyone who is heavily into the hair metal scene. There’s enough gems here to make up for having to dig through the garbage to get to them.

Highlights:
Disc One: “Cherry Pie”, “Pissed”, “Sex Action”, “Love Removal Machine”, “Tooth & Nail”, “Mean Street Machine”
Disc Two: “Gypsy Road”, “(You Can Still) Rock In America”, “Hollywood”, “Ramble On”
Disc Three: “When the Children Cry”, “Ready for Love”, “Dream On”, “Still Lovin’ You”

Buy THIS IS ’80s HAIR METAL at Amazon.com

Concert Review: DEF LEPPARD, POISON, CHEAP TRICK – 7/23/09

Def Leppard, Poison, Cheap Trick

7/24/09

DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI

In the days leading to this show, we weren’t sure how the weather was going to be. For the past two weeks, the days in this region have been cloudy one minute, looking like it’s about to pour, then the sun would come out. They were calling for thunderstorms in the Clarkston area starting at 4PM and lasting through 11PM, but luckily that didn’t happen even though clouds did come and go for awhile right around 7PM when the show started. It wasn’t too hot either (80 degrees is still warmer than I would like though).

I bought another t-shirt. I really wanted to get either a Def Leppard or Poison tour shirt, listing the dates on the back, but my fiancee convinced me to get a really cool winged skull Def Leppard t-shirt. It looks similar to this one, but the graphic is a bit different (and cooler looking) plus it’s a dark brown color. I picked out the pink Poison t-shirt for my girl, who was wanting a Def Leppard shirt but I convinced her girls always look hot in pink.

We got to DTE pretty early, making better time than we made coming here last week, so we stood around the east entrance waiting until they opened the gates (which they were late doing for some reason). The cool thing about arriving so early was that we got there to hear the final few minutes of Def Leppard’s soundcheck.

The show was a sellout, which I figured would be the case thanks to all the MILFs that grew up on Poison & Def Leppard plus because of Bret’s recent rise in popularity as a reality TV show star. We had tried to upgrade our tickets at the box office (in fear of bad weather) so we could get under the pavilion, but there were no tickets left to upgrade to.

Cheap Trick setlist

“She’s Tight”
“I Want You To Want Me”
“These Days”
“Never Had A Lot To Lose”
“Sick Man of Europe”
“Dream Police”
“The Flame”
“Surrender”
“Goodnight”

Oh my! Cheap Trick actually hit the stage at the scheduled showtime of 7PM! Seems like every concert I go to, the show begins 15-20 minutes before the announced starting time. They immediately had the crowd in the palm of their hand. DTE was about half full and filling up rapidly as they hit the stage.

The start of the show was pretty weird. It began with a bunch of sound clips from TV/movies/whatever or people mentioning Cheap Trick or singing their songs and it also had a bit of their song “Transformers (The Fallen Remix)” from the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – The Album soundtrack. This went on for a number of minutes.

I’m 95% sure this is the correct setlist. I know they played “She’s Tight” in there somewhere even though I don’t have it in my notes and my notes also left off what they opened with, so I’m assuming it actually was “She’s Tight”. Regardless, they did a fantastic job and the crowd ate it up. They had one of the cleanest sounds I have ever heard live and Zander’s voice was in fine form and really popped the crowd during “The Flame” (“I will be the flaaaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmme!”). For a song that the band has expressed displeasure with over the years, “The Flame” went over extremely well with the crowd.

I’ve never been a huge Cheap Trick fan, but I can’t imagine any diehards being disappointed with this performance at all.

Poison setlist

“Look What The Cat Dragged In”
“Ride the Wind”
“Your Mama Don’t Dance”
C.C. DeVille solo
“Fallen Angel”
“Something to Believe In”
“Unskinny Bop”
Rikki Rockett solo
“Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
“Talk Dirty to Me”
“Nothin’ But A Good Time”

Poison was as over as water in the desert. As Cheap Trick was winding down their set, DTE was at full capacity and the place came unglued for Poison, especially the ladies. Poison could easily come back next year and sell out at DTE if last night was any indication. This isn’t a knock on Def Leppard, but had the show ended with Poison, I think most people would’ve gone home happy!

There was too much buzz in the mix, which made it hard to listen to at some points, but overall, the band gave it their all and put on a solid show with Bret being the great showman that he is, running and jumping and taking time to talk to the crowd. It’s a great touch when the bands actually remember the venues and cities and talk about their history there. Numerous times Bret mentioned playing in Detroit in the early years, getting their start at Blondie’s, moving up to Harpo’s and then Pine Knob (what it was called before the corporate buyout and name change to DTE Energy in 2002). Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielson also commented on Pine Knob (“…or whatever the fuck they’re calling it!”) and cited Detroit as being the first city to put Cheap Trick on the radio.

I’d love for Poison to finally get their heads on straight and put out a new album so we could get a setlist change. Or at least for them to start pulling some lesser-played songs out of their catalog. These are great songs they play live now, but even if you haven’t seen Poison live before (which I hadn’t), you’ve already heard these songs a million times.

Def Leppard setlist

“Rock Rock (Till You Drop)”
“Rocket”
“Animal”
“Too Late For Love”
“Nine Lives”
“Love Bites”
“Rock On”
“Two Steps Behind” [acoustic]
“Bringin’ On The Heartbreak”
“Switch 625”
“Hysteria”
“Armageddon It”
“Photograph”
“Pour Some Sugar On Me”
“Rock Of Ages”
“Let’s Get Rocked”

AMAZING show from these guys. Just like Cheap Trick, the sound was very clean and they are both tied for the best live sounds I’ve heard yet. I loved the stage set up too and the big video screens they had playing throughout the show.

I was really looking forward to watching Vivian and Phil play and they did not disappoint. Def Leppard is a band of professionals and everyone sounded great all night long. I didn’t think Joe’s voice was that strong anymore in a live setting, but he proved me wrong (only once or twice did I hear his voice strain).

The setlist was great and nearly perfect for a first-timer seeing them live. My only beef is that they skipped over the Euphoria album, which was a surprising success in 1999, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t want to acknowledge it. “Promises” fits in with their classic material and I wish they would have played it. I also would’ve love to have heard “Man Love Like A Man” from Adrenalize. “Rock Rock (Till You Drop)” was a great choice to open the show. “Too Late for Love” was another highlight for me.

This whole tour is definitely one worth seeing. The tickets can be a little pricey (definitely more so than last week’s Judas Priest/Whitesnake show) but it’s money well spent to see these three bands play. All three are great live acts.

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

Band:
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.

www.poisonweb.com
www.myspace.com/poison

Buy Great Big Hits Live! Bootleg at Amazon.com

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
BONUS TRACKS
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

Band:
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]

www.poisonweb.com
www.myspace.com/poison

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
BONUS TRACK
14. “Sexy Back” [Justin Timberlake cover] … 3:34

Band:
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.

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What Dreams May Come…

Last night I had a dream about Metallica searching for a new singer. This whole lead singer search was being filmed as a documentary. James was still in the band, but for some reason, they just wanted someone else to sing the songs.

Bret Michaels jammed with them as part of the auditions and did a pretty darn good job. They weren’t playing thrash, but it was still heavy metal and the new song had a pretty cool groove and was very catchy. Bret was doing a great job on the vocals with a rapid fire delivery. A Bret Michaels fronted Metallica sounded great, but after he left the auditions, Lars & James were talking about how they didn’t think he fit the band’s image.

Also mentioned by Lars & James to have auditioned (but not seen in the dream) were none other than Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley! I think, possibly, Aerosmith as a whole auditioned for the lead singer spot as well, but that’s kinda hazy.

The Killing Road

Everyone have their tickets? The tours are starting to kick off and I’m getting pumped for it. I live fairly close to Detroit and Chicago, so a lot of acts are coming my way.

As it stands right now, I’ll be hitting up Crue Fest on July 15th in Detroit and I CANNOT wait. Motley absolutely killed (With no opening act!) when I saw them in Pensacola, Florida, back on the Carnival of Sin tour and I know they’ll do the same here. I can only imagine it’ll be that much better having four other bands (Buckcherry, Papa Roach, Sixx:A.M., Trapt) playing with them.

Then on top of that, I’ll be getting my tickets to the August 18th ‘Metal Masters’ show (Priest, Heaven and Hell, Motorhead, Testament) in Detroit.

There’s also a Poison/Sebastian Bach/Dokken show on August 8th in Sterling Heights, but I don’t know if my budget will allow for it, but I’d love to go.

POISON – Flesh & Blood

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

Tracklisting:
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]
BONUS TRACKS:
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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