Prior to the days of M3, Rock on the Range, or other hair metal festivals, the only way an 80’s rocker could get their live hair metal fix was when the Poison tour would come through town. Poison started touring in 1999 with the Glam Slam Metal Jam tour, taking other 80’s hair bands out with them. There were usually 3 other bands on the bill performing prior to Poison. That particular year saw Cinderella, Faster Pussycat, and Winger as the acts prior to Poison.
As I have mentioned in some previous concert reviews, sometimes recollections can be a little fuzzy, or nonexistent. This is one such case. I vaguely remember seeing Faster Pussycat’s performance. I don’t recall anything about Winger’s set. That’s not to say they were bad performances, it’s just that I can’t remember much, if anything, about them. By 2002, I was seeing Poison for the fourth year in a row and all of their concerts from that time period seem to blend together. It’s hard to recall what the opening acts performed. Heck, I can barely remember who they were, let alone what they sounded like or played.
Cinderella was the co-headliner that year. It was the second time that I was seeing them perform, the first being in 2000 when they went outon the road with Poison. Cinderella gave a solid performance and I was impressed by how great they sounded. Tom Keifer’s vocals were in fine shape and the rest of the band was tight. Their set included the mega hits that we had all hoped and expected. Cinderella did not disappoint. “Night Songs,” “Comin’ Home,” “Shelter Me,” and the power ballad “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Til It’s Gone)” were all played to the delight of myself and the crowd. Most of the audience would say that Cinderella had the best performance of the night and it was hard to argue that. However, being a huge Poison fan, I was anticipating nothing but excellence from them.
Poison had recently released a new album, Hollyweird, and I was interested in hearing some of those songs in the live setting. Hollyweird wasn’t their best album, but I thought it was a solid record and there were some songs that were going to be great live. Unfortunately, Poison decided that their cover of “Squeeze Box” and the worst song on the album (the CC Deville led “Emperor’s New Clothes”) were the songs to perform. That was a bad decision on their part. I never thought that CC Deville was a great singer and I think the decision to let him perform a song where he sang lead vocals was meant to serve his ego. CC is a great guitarist, but he is not a front man. Leave the vocals to Bret Michaels, please!
Poison did mix up the set a bit by performing “Talk Dirty To Me” as the second song of the night instead of at the end of the set. That was a nice surprise. The rest of the set was filled with all of the hits. “I Want Action,” “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” “Something To Believe In,” and of course, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn.” In the slot normally reserved for “Talk Dirty To Me,” Poison closed with their fantastic cover of the classic KISS song, “Rock And Roll All Nite.” They even pulled fans onstage with them to dance and sing the song. That was quite a cool moment to witness.
The one song encore was the expected “Nothing But A Good Time” and it was fabulous! I absolutely loved seeing this band in concert and they gave another wonderful performance. New songs, classic hits, and a shakeup of the setlist led to a wonderful evening of hard rock.
Unfortunately Poison no longer tours and that’s a real shame. I would love to have the opportunity to see these guys live again. I would especially love it if they would headline the M3 rock festival. I know that Bret Michaels did a solo performance there a few years ago, but it just wasn’t the same. I want to see Poison in all their glory. Until that happens, I will have to relive the memories of nights like this one.
Somebody Save Me
The Last Mile
Fallin’ Apart At The Seams
Don’t Know What You Got Til It’s Gone
Look What The Cat Dragged In
Talk Dirty To Me
Ride The Wind
I Want Action
Emperor’s New Clothes
Something To Believe In
Your Mama Don’t Dance
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Rock And Roll All Nite
Nothin’ Bit A Good Time