Check out Poison Tickets here.
TORONTO – Maybe 20 years in the music business has made hair-metal pioneers Poison experts at faking it.
Or maybe — and this seems the more likely scenario, based on last night’s spectacle at the Molson Amphitheatre — maybe they just really, really love to rock and effing ROLL, baby.
Because last night’s show, the umpteenth time Bret Michaels, C.C. DeVille, Bobby Dall and Rikki Rockett have touched down here in the Middling Smoke, was nothing if not sincere.
Big, loud, nostalgic and over-the-top, but sincere. The concert bowl and its 5,500 souls existed inside an irony-free bubble, where every
pyrotechnic blast and flickering laser and twirled drumstick and power ballad and guitar solo was pure, legit and unapologetically old school.
“You can never have enough cowbell!” crowed Michaels, relishing Poison’s cover of Grand Funk Railroad’s We’re An American Band as he laid into Blue Oyster Cultist Gene Frenkle’s signature instrument with gusto. And later: “I’ll tell you something, Toronto. I’ve been wanting to get back here since the KISS tour in 2004. It’s been way too long!”
The crowd? They agreed. Yeah, the band’s hair isn’t as teased (or plentiful) as it was in their ’80s heyday, and the make-up has been toned way down, and there wasn’t a stitch of spandex in sight. But despite smog and humidex warnings advising the elderly to stay indoors, Poison showed up prepared to rock.
Cheesy? Maybe, but not as much as you might expect. Fun? Oh, hell yeah. If you can’t have fun at a Poison show, you’re probably sans pulse. Sympathies to your family.
Opening with Look What The Cat Dragged In — with lasers! And fire! — the band spooled out every hit and demi-hit in their library, including I Want Action, Ride The Wind, I Won’t Forget You and the almost-worth-the-price of admission coupling of Every Rose Has Its Thorn and Unskinny Bop.
The crowd, surprisingly youngish but peppered
with bleached-blond veteran rockers whose tattoos
probably seemed like a good idea at the time, lapped up every note.
The big screen behind drummer Rockett alternated appropriately between old music video footage of the band in their lipstick-lathered heyday (no shunning origins here) and video montages of album cover art, Sunset Strip scenes and big-boobied women cupping their chests.
And while the boys have been around a long while (and guitarist DeVille might be best known to some young’uns as that guy from Season 6 of The Surreal World), they haven’t lost any of their musical chops.
At the start of the night, after California’s Endeverafter warmed up an already sweltering crowd, Poison’s fellow ’80s glam-rockers Cinderella got their licks in.
Though it was sweet to hear Nobody’s Fool again, frontman Tom Keifer’s voice has been rendered a little over-raspy by years of hard livin’ and hard rockin’, and a muddy sound mix didn’t help.
But like someone once said, every rose has its thorn. And for the most part, it was a night of sweet-scented, old school party rock. No faking.
Poison Tour Dates
Poison Tickets August 22 – Orlando FL – Hard Rock Live
Poison Tickets August 23 – Myrtle Beach SC – Hard Rock Live
Poison Tickets August 25 – Atlanta GA – HiFi Buys Amphitheatre
Poison Tickets August 26 – Memphis TN – Mud Island Ampitheatre
Poison Tickets August 27 – Little Rock AR – Riverfest Amphitheatre
Poison Tickets August 29 – St. Paul MN – Minnesota State Fair
Steve Tilley/Toronto Sun
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