CONCERT REVIEW: Poison and Cheap Trick (Hard Rock Live Event Center / Hollywood, FL) 7.1.18

July 5, 2018 by: admin

Bret Michaels

Hard Rock Live Event Center / Hollywood,  FL

Story: Christopher Long / Photos: Jennifer Hughes

Hosted by renowned TV / radio personality and all-round classic rock connoisseur, Eddie Trunk, the double-whammy combo performance of Poison and Cheap Trick packed all the punch and crunch of a pop / rock-type sporting event.

Robin Zander

The 3,500-seat Hard Rock Live Event Center was at half-capacity when Cheap Trick took the stage precisely at 7pm. However, by the end of the 55-minute set, the scene would be completely SRO. From the first chords of the band’s show-opening standard,”Hello There,” Cheap Trick’s front-of-house audio mix was crisp and clear. And with the addition of the iconic, typewriter-style logo beaming across the enormous rear stage video screen, the CT show looked as amazing as it sounded.

Rick Nielsen

Sporting a snazzy ensemble that resembled a fabric version of the cover of his band’s latest album, We’re All Alright, superstar frontman Robin Zander was in top vocal form as he led his crew through recent selections, including “You Got it Going On” (2017) and “The Summer Looks Good on You” (2018), as well as such signature staples as “California Man,” “If You Want My Love,” “Southern Girls” and “Ain’t That a Shame.” Dressed in a stylish, shiny black suit, co-founding guitarist, Rick Nielsen, proved as animated and entertaining as ever, brandishing his array of trademark guitars — from his vintage black and yellow checkerboard Hamer to his classic “Uncle Rick” double-neck to his infamous five-necker. Displaying an impressive assortment of 12-string Gretsch basses, co-founder, Tom Petersson maintained uncompromising mystique — hidden under a Canadian Mountie-style hat, and behind dark shades and bandit-type kerchief.

Tom Petersson

Newer recruit, drummer Daxx Nielsen, chugged along famously, guiding the band through the show’s chart-busting home stretch of “The Flame,” “I Want You to Want Me,” “Dream Police” and “Surrender,” while touring rhythm guitarist Robin Zander Jr. contributed his fair share of heavy lifting from his relegated real estate tucked away in a darkened corner directly behind Petersson.

C.C. DeVille

For those listening with their ears, the bulk of Poison’s show was marred by a miserable audio mix — a nearly inaudible wall-o-mush. However, for those listening with their eyes, the production was a splendid treat. Dazzling, multi-colored electronic images swirled and twirled across numerous onstage video screens, while the state-of-the-art light show beamed as boldly and brightly as any other big-name headliner’s on the road today.

Bobby Dall

Frontman Bret Michaels’ glistening guns appeared appetizing — begging to be unpeeled from his sweat-soaked, regulation, Poison T-shirt. Although much of his typical in-between-song banter can often seem less than sincere, Michaels’ onstage call tonight for “no politics” and his passionate plea for everyone to just come together for a unified rock and roll party was a welcomed breath of fresh air, given today’s volatile socio-political landscape. Draped in fabulous flowing black garb from head-to-toe, guitar hero and master songwriter, C.C. DeVille projected a fresh and alluring sense of intrigue. Long acknowledged as the most solid and disciplined musical factor in the Poison equation, bassist Bobby Dall’s recently adopted lumberjack look was considerably less impressive than his new glittery green guitar. As for Rikki Rockett, even when his drums weren’t in the front-of-house mix (as was the case for a good bit of tonight’s show), the man still sparkled like a diamond from start to finish.

Rikki Rockett

Simply put, Poison is an American pop / rock treasure — an iconic brand. And as with all tried, true and trusted brands (e.g., Apple, Levi’s, Starbucks, P.F. Chang’s, etc.) the customer expects a certain level of consistent quality from the Poison experience. Hence, tonight, the self-proclaimed “Glam Slam Kings of Noise” delivered (as always) exactly what their fans have come to expect for the last 30+ plus years — a raucous, world-class, 72-minute spectacle packed with hit after predictable hit, all woven together by lengthy banter and glossed to perfection with retina-burning visuals, heart-stopping pyro effects and non-stop energy. Nothin’ but a good time, for sure!

-Christopher Long
(July 2018)

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