Poison & Ratt @ PNC Bank Arts Center (7/28/2007)

Poison’s annual Summer tour was hitting the region and this time brought Ratt and Vains of Jenna along for the fun. This was a Glam Slam event if there ever was one and we were sure to bring the larger than life festivities to the readers on the site. To see a lot of photos from this gig and learn the scoop just scroll past the logo below.

Logo - Poison
Artist: Poison
Venue: PNC Bank Arts Center (Holmdel, NJ)
Opener: Ratt, Vains Of Jenna
Date: 7/28/2007
Label: EMI Capitol Records

You know that the summer is in full swing when the heat of a Rock & Roll show that could only come care of a band like Poison drops by your town. When we last saw them, the Kings of Glam Rock were celebrating their 20th Anniversary and supporting the shows with a greatest hits compilation called “20 Years Of Rock”. They rocked the States with Cinderella as their direct support and it was really a good time that would be hard to top going forward – until now. Shortly before the tour was set to begin Poison released an album of re-worked Rock classics entitled “Poison’d” and like the title implies, this was select tunes that were given a distinct Poison flair. The release would include several new compositions as well as some already established ones from over the course of their career. As the tour was being set up they announced that they would be joined by Ratt and this was bound to make the celebration all the hotter. The original plan was also to have White Lion opening the show but there were some conflicts that led to Vains Of Jenna being the final choice for the tour. In one sense I found this the better option because Mike Tramp is the only original member of White Lion at this stage, and VOJ would bring something new to the fans that would attend this concert. As I made my way into the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ and tried to find friends for a little pre-game cooking and catchup I found out that Bret Michaels was in the parking lot row just next to me. I quickly went to investigate and found the singer talking with the fans and tossing the football around. He was being very pleasant and appreciative of the fans being at the show and he made time to pose for some photos and even sign a couple of CD’s before he had to run inside and get ready. I felt that it was a very cool way for the show to begin and it really seemed to make a difference to those fans who managed to be in that part of the parking lot. It wasn’t long before I realized I had to go inside myself so here’s how the show went down that night.

Vains Of Jenna: I lost track of the time when it came to VOJ coming on but lucky for me I would arrive just as the first chords were being strummed. I was totally new to the group as well so I was pretty excited about hearing completely new music that I had no clue about at all. Their debut album is called “Lit Up/Let Down” and comes care of Filthy Note Records (a label formed by media personality Bam Margera), and tonight they would be playing a number of tracks from it. I was finding the band very easy to get into with their brand of Rock & Roll that had a strong Glam, Sleaze Punk aspect to it. I admit that I was a little surprised to find out that they hailed from Sweden since most of the bands that I have been following from this region have been much heavier and darker. It just goes to show you that the Hard Rock genre will be whatever those who play it decides that it should be. Vains Of Jenna are certainly and energetic bunch of guys across the board and their lead singer Lizzy DeVine was really getting the audience moving and active from the very beginning. As I glanced around the venue and saw that it was not yet full I felt that a lot of people who would have enjoyed them really missed out on something good by choosing to remain in the Parking Lot or by arriving late. The band made a smart choice by including the classic Tom Petty song “Refugee” in their set as it gave the audience present something they were a little more familiar with to sing along to and it sounded great as well. This band has a lot of the vibe that made eighties Hard Rock and Metal so special to millions of people. I look forward to seeing them again and definitely will be picking up their album in the near future.

Ratt: I have to admit that I was really excited about Ratt being a part of this summer tour because I had always loved their songs and felt that when compared to the many groups that launched from the Sunset Strip so long ago, that they were one of the best. The group has had an on and off status over the past couple of years with some members continuing under the Ratt name with different members while others pursued solo adventures and simply played a lot of Ratt music during their set. Tonight the band consisted of three fifths of the classic lineup with lead singer Stephen Pearcy back on the microphone after years of being away from the band with guitarist Warren DeMartini and drummer Bobby Blotzer also in the roster. Bass would be handled by Robby Crane and second guitar was John Corabi. I’m not sure why Juan Croucier didn’t sign on for this tour as it would have made sense for him to do it but Crane showed that he would be able to do a solid job of the work. Given the bands and music’s loss of guitarist Robbin Crosby back in 2002 it was great to find the talented Corabi raising the axe in his name. Corabi is best known for replacing Vince Neil in Motley Crue and for his work with Bruce Kulick in Union but tonight he would prove his versatility in yet another classic band. The Ratt set was incredible and the band hit the stage like a returning king to say the least. They were heavier than I recalled them ever being and very, very tight as players. The newer members fit right in to the mix and as he delivered the songs, you could tell that Pearcy seemed a little surprised at the reception that was coming from the crowd. The audience participation was extremely high for songs like “Back For More” and it was so much the case that Pearcy held the microphone over the crowd on a number of occasions.

The appearance of Ratt would coincide with the Rhino Entertainment release of both a “Best Of” CD compilation and a DVD of all their videos. These are two items that the Hard Rock Eighties enthusiast should be looking into for their collections. I was loving every tune that they did tonight and found little flaw in the set or sound. Warren DeMartini was fluid and melodic tonight and showed why he has remained one of the original guitar heroes from the Glam Metal movement until today. Blotzer was crushing his drums and making me more of a fan of his style than I would have ever taken from albums alone. Overall, Ratt was an exciting performance tonight and had everyone on their feet from the moment they began until they reached the show stopping hit of “Round And Round”. I liked that the band made sure to include some of my personal favorites like “You’re In Love” as well as “You Think You’re Tough” in the set tonight as it made their time onstage all the more appealing to me as both fan and a reviewer. Perhaps next time around we will find the Ratt pack headlining a concert of their own with some other eighties groups as their openers. One can only hope as this performance was better than I would have ever expected it to be and in talking to people around me I was no alone in this view. Great job guys.

Poison: Having seen them in concert a few times now I am finding that there isn’t much more that you can say about a Poison show except that it is the perfect cure for the workaday week doldrums and an event that allows you to leave most normal drama behind. The rousing good time that the guys offer up is truly difficult to match by any other band and when it comes to delivering that good ole’ Rock & Roll vibe I am convinced that Poison could teach many about how to let loose on the stage. It’s been twenty-one years since the boys had begun their quest to conquer the world via Rock & Roll, and this time around they would be celebrating the release of “Poison’d”. Given the band has a number of covers in their set already tonight’s show would find a few more such numbers in the set mixed in with their established classics. I admit that some real winners could be found on this CD. The guys hit the ground running with their standard opener “Look What The Cat Dragged In” as Bret rose from a platform in the back of the stage while C.C. and Bobby went crazy on either side of Rikki’s see-through custom Rockett Drums kit. It was on as far as New Jersey was concerned and you could feel the levels of positive energy flowing off the stage into the crowd. The band was even tighter than I remembered them being for last year’s tour and they were nothing but smiles as the show progressed. Bret himself is a consummate showman and does not keep himself in one spot once he is down on the main stage area. He runs all about and waves to people and points way up to the back seats with a beaming smile that makes the female members of the audience melt. No matter where you are sitting/standing he manages to make you feel that it is directed right at you.

If you have ever seen Poison perform you don’t need me to tell you that this is a high energy good time with everyone in the audience on their feet singing and holding their hands into the air. You have to believe that this feels really good to the band onstage as well and makes them work all the more harder. Poison generally sticks to a standard set of their hits from the back catalog but when there is a new album they manage to fit a few songs into the established numbers for good measure. The would start their delivery of the new covers with The Romantics “What I Like About You”, and I admit that I did not like this on the album, yet in the live sense it was so much better. It just happens like that sometimes I guess with songs kicking a lot more ass in concert than they seem to do on the album. C.C. would take a few minutes to solo and show he is much more of a guitarist than he is often given credit for before he took the microphone to sing “I Hate Every Bone In Your Body (But Mine)”. It’s a fun song but as soon as it ends the mood changes a bit as Bret delivers “Something To Believe In” and it’s the song that you find the lighters lit and cell phones held up for during every second of. The next cover they would present was the Marshall Tucker Band’s “Cant You See” and this tune was just perfect for the Bluesy side that Poison has shown that they have in them from time to time. Before long it would come to their rendition of the Tom Petty classic “I Need To Know” and you can be sure that Mr. Petty’s accountants loved that the tour found two of his legendary songs as part of the set for two of the bands. They did this one good as well and I was glad to find how they came across in this fashion. Rikki would do a drum solo and during it would reach into the KISS book of showmanship as his riser rolled to the front of the stage and then rose some twenty feet into the air as flash pots and sparklers went off behind him. He’s a better drummer than he is often able to show in the Poison tunes and these custom drums sure sounded great tonight. The remainder of the set would be standards that no Poison show would be the same without and I am always glad they include “Cry Tough” and “Fallen Angel” as they remain among my own favorite tunes from the back catalog. The crowd was set to explode during “Talk Dirty To Me”, which has been the bands signature tune for a long time but it would not end until they came back onstage to slam out “Nothin’ But A Good Time”. As far as the bands set goes this particular number remains one of the best that they do in concert and it really pulls out all the pyrotechnic stops to make sure that the audience is left breathless and hoping that next year’s tour comes around faster than it probably will.

As the closed out the night amidst explosions of confetti Michaels thanked everyone for the twenty-one years of support and love and said they would see us next year. He also told everyone to watch his reality program “Rock of Love” which airs on VH1. The program finds the singer trying to find true love by choosing from a number of contestants. All of them are of course stunning Rock and Roll women which should definitely make for some interesting viewing. The total celebration ended with the venue speakers blasting out some Lynryd Skynrd and everyone in the place was singing and smiling as they made their exit and headed home. The crowd was nothing but smiles so you know this was a show that really did the trick for many. Good luck on the show Bret, and we will see you guys next year for sure.

Ratt Set List:
1. Dangerous But Worth The Risk
2. You Think You’re Tough
3. Wanted Man
4. Slip Of The Lip
5. Way Cool Jr.
6. Nobody Rides For Free
7. Back For More
8. Loving You Is A Dirty Job
9. Lack Of Communication
10. Lay It Down
11. You’re In Love
12. Body Talk
13. Round And Round

Poison Set List

1. Look What The Cat Dragged In
2. I Want Action
3. Ride The Wind
4. I Wont Forget You
5. What I Like About You
6. CC DeVille Guitar Solo
7. I Hate Every Bone In Your Body (But Mine)
8. Something To Believe In
9. Cant You See
10. Your Momma Don’t Dance
11. I Need To Know
12. Rikki Rocket Drum Solo
13. Unskinny Bop
14. Every Rose Has It’s Thorn
15. Cry Tough
16. Fallen Angel
17. Talk Dirty To Me
18. Nothin’ But A Good Time

Official Website: www.poisonweb.com
Official Website: www.therattpack.com
Official Website: www.vainsofjenna.com

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