Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Please Pass The Hairspray.

Wanna know how I know that I was in the middle of an '80s flashback last weekend?

I saw three bands on Saturday night, and all of them had at least one guitar with nothing but acute angles.

Yep, revoke my music-listening privileges, come and haul away my hundreds of CDs and pull the plug on my DellPod, because I paid money to see Sebastian Bach, Tesla, and...(still having a hard time admitting to this one)...Poison.

A buddy of mine asked me earlier this summer if I'd be interested in going to that show, and while I snickered every time I heard or said the word...Poison...I kept coming back to Tesla, thinking it might be a plus to add to my ever-growing concerts list a chance to hear "Little Suzi" and "Signs" live.

That, and the fact that it was outdoors, on a hill, in summer, with good friends, a few beverages...

So I agreed to go.

For those of you with musical taste, who don't clog your brains with such information, Sebastian Bach is the former lead singer of the heavy metal band, Skid Row. They had several recognizable hits in the late '80s, and I had the cassette single (remember cassingles?) of their song, "I Remember You."

I really figured he'd be old and worn out, and just mail in a few songs and get off stage.

Not so. Apparently hair rock knows no age limits, because although the sun was still a couple hours away from setting when he came on for his set, Bach and his band put forth a decent effort, and they genuinely worked to get the growing crowd fired up.

I think they might have piped in a few of his high-pitched screams, though, because a few times the mic was nowhere near his mouth and his note was held for several extra seconds. (What a talent!)

He slipped up before he went off stage, too, as he screamed into his mic...

"Get ready for Tesla!! And get ready for Dokken!! And..."

...wait, Dokken?

Must've been a different tour.

Tesla came out next and delivered what I thought they'd deliver...good music, not a lot of flare, but a couple songs worthy of the trip.

They played “Little Suzi” and “Signs” back to back, and if I would've had a prior engagement that night, I could have left and felt I'd gotten my money's worth.

The lead singer referenced the band's heyday when he looked out into the crowd and said that it brought back memories of Alpine Valley. Well...Alpine's hill holds about 40,000 people, and this crowd, although it was sold out, was only about 9,000. But...good effort. Seriously. The crowd on that hill was pretty energized for all the hair metal and glam rock that took place that night.

And then there was the "lead" act. No matter how many times I talk about this concert, I'll never be able to say with a straight face that I saw Poison. Or now that I've seen them, that I actually liked the show! But it's true.

I knew it'd be a fun people-watching crowd, as I'm sure there are a bunch of girls in and around good ol' Greenville, Wisconsin, who think they stand a chance to be on the latest season of A Shot At The Flava of The Rock of Love, or whatever lead singer Bret Michaels' stupid reality show is called.

Truth be told, Poison put on a great show. There, I said it.

Michaels didn't do anything flashy, but he had all the groupies in the front few rows going ga-ga over him. His voice was pretty hoarse between songs, so his mic wasn’t turned up as loud as it should have been during the music.

And this isn't something you want to freely admit, but if you're of a certain age and have spent any amount of time listening to the radio...you know more Poison songs than you think you know.

Drummer Rikki Rockett (I know, I know) is still a pretty good showman on the drum set. They had his drum platform on a scissors lift that raised up and moved forward while he was doing a solo during the show.

And say what you want about guitarist C.C. DeVille (one guitar magazine editor called him the worst guitar soloist of all time)...that skinny little blonde mophead can work a crowd.

Poison did a cover of The Romantics', "What I Like About You," which...I'm sorry, made me laugh. And C.C. DeVille had a five- or ten-minute guitar feature where he was on stage alone and tried to do his best Eddie Van Halen impersonation. And ended his segment with..."Amazing Grace." (I'm sure you saw that one coming, right?)

The pyrotechnics display was probably the best I’ve seen in person, too. The fact that they even brought a pyrotechnics show to Greenville was impressive enough by itself.

So from the time we entered the park to the time we left was about five hours. I saw three bands I never thought I'd add to my long list of concerts, did plenty of people-watching and heard a handful of pretty good songs. All for thirty bucks.

Gotta love summer, don'tcha?

I'm almost tempted to see if Mötley Crüe is going to tour anytime soon.

"Let a man avoid evil deeds
as a man who loves life
avoids poison."


  1. He he! That's awesome. Don't feel too embarrassed. A girlfriend and I went to see Iron Maiden a few years back for no other reason than it was crazy cheap and we were certain it would be a trainwreck. And it was.

    But I had *quite* the little crush on Sebastian Bach when I was a kid, so I would totally go and see him live. (Assuming it's cheap, of course.)

  2. Now be honest, when Tesla started up and I turned to you and said “Coming At You Live!!!”, you thought to yourself, what is this idiot talking about, of course they’re live…they’re right in front of me.

    But I tell ya, not hearing that song in years (it’s not on the one “best of” Tesla CD I have) it still all came back to me as soon as they struck those chords!!! Good times...good times!!!

    And I could not agree more about Bach. He was on an ill fated VH1 show about a “super band” a couple years ago and portrayed as quite the prima-donna. So I too was surprised that he didn’t mail it in from Greenville, WI (by the way, I think Bach holds the one show records for saying Greenville that night). He can still wail. And I’m glad he knew who he was playing to and didn’t go too heavy on new solo stuff and instead played all the good ole’ Skid Row songs.

    Poison was Poison. While they let Rikki and CC solo, it’s all about Brett. I too thought they did a good job but I could have done without the stage set up that saw Michaels several times being the center of attention up on the upper portion about the drum riser. But again, good job (and yeah, that was the warmest pyro I’d ever felt!!!).

    I most was looking forward to seeing Tesla and they did not disappoint. Jeff Keith has that raw voice about him and it just works with what and how Tesla plays. I thought they did a great job. I’d love to see them again sometime (but I’m not driving to Winter Park, CO next Saturday.).

    How about some knucklehead chucking an open beer up on stage and they don’t miss a beat. And who’d have known they’re named after Austrian born American scientist/inventor Nikola Tesla? Pure madness….or genius?

    I am glad you decided to come along and you had a good time (despite the beer sponsorship…don’t worry, we’ll pump you full of Miller Lite this Saturday!!!).

    Now some umbrage needs be taken. I fully expected that I’d be the only one to comment on this post (I knew the Smooth Nation would be reading it mind you…you little voyeur Smooth!!!) unless Gerber made a rare appearance. But I certainly didn’t expect to read someone cracking on THE most influential heavy metal band of all time who was carrying the flag for the British invasion of said genre.

    What up mrs. white? :)

    I’ve grown up (a little…ok very little…ok growing up has nothing to do with maturity level…) and you’re more apt to find me listening to Big Head Todd & Monsters, James Taylor, Matt Nathanson or Edwin McCain nowadays, but every now and then I put on my first love, Iron Maiden.

    And when I mentioned earlier that Bach could still wail, he doesn’t hold a candle to Bruce Dickenson (although as a man secure in his masculinity Sebastian is still better looking today than Bruce ever was…). Iron Maiden was the first to incorporate orchestral scores into their music which was unheard of for heavy metal. They were formed in 1975 and are still going. And c’mon, their drummers name is Nicko McBrain. Which in itself is enough, but Nick Faldo asked him to give a pep talk to this years European Rider Cup team. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

    One more thing buddy…to quote you…

    “I saw three bands on Saturday night, and all of them had at least one guitar with nothing but acute angles.”…That is gold Vach, gold!!!

  3. Mrs. White...Thank you for providing comment material that just might be more embarrassing than anything I wrote in the post itself. :O)

    Just teasin'...but from a girl who's responsible for giving me The National, I did not expect to hear that you hit up an Iron Maiden show. Or that you were once ga-ga over Sebastian Bach.

    I applaud your adventurous spirit. And I think I'm kinda the same way...I'll go see just about anything, if it doesn't kill my wallet too badly, just for the experience.

    TheKid...I don't mean to take sides (OK, yes I do), but I couldn't agree more with Mrs. White's use of the word "trainwreck" to describe an Iron Maiden show. And I've never even been close to one.

    Next time they're in the area, though, for about ten bucks, let me know...and I'll go with you.

    I admit that I knew even before I set foot on the hill that I'd like the show more than I was letting on. And yes...when you said, "Coming At You Live," it registered after a couple seconds that that was the name of the song.

    Let me get this straight...Iron Maiden's drummer is going to give an inspirational speech to a golf team?? That's a trivial tidbit you don't hear every day.

    "...and the Ryder Cup comes back to the USA!!"

    SBW...That's all I could ask for. (whew!)