Verizon Wireless Music Center in suburban Indianapolis, Indiana, USA was graced with a tour stop by Poison and Cinderella, both celebrating their respective 20-year anniversaries since the release of their debut albums in 1986. For the veteran Metalheadz out there who were fortunate enough to see Metal bands in the USA enjoy unprecedented popularity in the 80’s and early 90’s, the release of Look What The Cat Dragged In and Night Songs, respectively, by these Hair/Glam Metal heavyweights likely felt as if it was “just yesterday,” as this blast from the past rolled into town with a renewed level of vigor and enthusiasm. Like the anniversary, the crowd of about 10,000 was generally 20 years older than what would have been seen in 1986 (sans as many hot babes in the audience), but like the bands, the crowd greeted these incredible performers with easily as much fervor as what may have been encountered back in the day, making for a magnificently electric, if not “moving,” concert environment.
Headlining the evening, Poison hit the stage with a bang (literally) and their conventional opener, “Look What The Cat Dragged In,” to a crowd roar that rattled the venue’s collective eardrums in similar fashion to standing 10 meters away from a 747’s wing engines. Poison pulled out all of the stops for this show, constantly keeping the audience fully engaged with a massive array of pyrotechnics and with a huge video screen in back of the stage (showing everything from prior album covers, to scantily clad women ready to … uh hem … party, to old video footage of the band – you name it).
The band belted out 11 of their best-known songs, the new “single” off of their latest release, The Best Of Poison: 20 Years Of Rock greatest hits CD, a cover of the classic Grand Funk Railroad staple, “We’re An American Band,” and “I Hate Every Bone In Your Body But Mine,” sung by none other than one of the most underrated guitarists in Metal, C.C. DeVille. There were SO many highlights during this show, but the most memorable of all had to be:
- Bret Michaels’ initial address to the audience after the 2nd song, “I Want Action,” when he clearly was moved by the audience’s welcome and delivered a heart-felt extended “thank you” to all of the fans out there for making Poison possible for so long.
- Michaels’ providing the insights and stories behind their mega-hit power ballads “Something To Believe In” and “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – again, quite moving dissertations, if not apropos.
- The harmonica intro for “Your Mama Don’t Dance” by Michaels.
- The crowd in general … this outdoor venue can squeeze in about 20,000 fans, so 10,000 in attendance means it was roughly half full, but if you had your eyes closed, you’d swear it was jam packed. The crowd was into the show full tilt from the first note, and never ever let up, giving the clear message that Metal is indeed alive in Indianapolis!
Look What The Cat Dragged In * I Want Action * We’re An American Band * I Won’t Forget You * Ride The Wind * I Hate Every Bone In Your Body But Mine * Something To Believe In * Your Mama Don’t Dance * Fallen Angel * Every Rose Has Its Thorn * Unskinny Bop * Nothin’ But A Good Time * Talk Dirty To Me
Coming on stage while the sun was still up was Tom Keifer, Eric Brittingham, Jeff LaBar, and Fred Coury from Cinderella to a very warm welcome by this hungry Indianapolis crowd. The band was dressed comfortably and rather plainly, except for Keifer who entered sporting a long scarf and huge sunglasses. He quickly dispelled any questions about whether or not his vocal chord damage in the past would prevent him from performing at top level via the opening number, “Fallin’ Apart At The Seams.” In sum, Keifer put in a truly gutsy performance and sounded just about as good as he did back in the 80’s. The audience seemed to recognize the effort that Keifer had to conjure up to make this performance “top notch,” and the vibe within the crowd seemed to just grow and grow with each song played.
Although nowhere near the stage show of the Poison set, Cinderella still had some very well-placed pyrotechnics included during the concert, and Keifer’s and LaBar’s stage antics were fun to watch as well. Mostly, though, what the audience witnessed was an immensely talented group of individuals having the time of their lives, feeding off of the audience’s energy, all the while cranking out quality song after song after song.
Each number solicited a strong audience response, but the huge highlight of the set came during “Nobody’s Fool,” when the line “… I SCREEEEEEEEAM” came up. Keifer simply let it all hang out during this line, and sang these 2 words from the bottom of his heart and soul … then collapsed to the floor. The band stopped playing at this moment in respect to Keifer, and the fact that he had gone through so much in the past after his vocal chord rupture to just be able to talk, not to mention sing at this level. The audience recognized this respectful pause as well, and gave Keifer and the band a roaring ovation in appreciation for the effort.
All in all, an outstanding 60-minute set by a group of talented rockers that noticeably enjoy each other’s company, and deserve every moment of accolades received during this 20-year celebration tour. Well done, chaps …
Fallin’ Apart At The Seams * Push Push * Somebody Save Me * Night Songs * Hot & Bothered * Last Train * Coming Home * Shelter Me * Nobody’s Fool * Gypsy Road * Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till It’s Gone) * Shake Me
Starting things off on this evening was a new band from California, cleverly called Endeverafter. With a leader (Michael Grant) looking a lot like a young Stephen Tyler of Aerosmith on stage (when he keeps his sunglasses on), and the rest of the band looking like early 80’s Iron Maiden fans that decided to take up an instrument, the band hit the stage to a very uncertain crowd reaction. Many in the audience weren’t even aware that a 3rd band was on the ticket, and unfortunately, there may have only been a few handful of people who had ever heard of Endeverafter prior to this show.
Nonetheless, the band ROCKED! Endeverafter’s sound is pretty similar to Aerosmith’s aggressive Hard Rock (Raunch Rock) sound of the 70’s, around the time of the Toys In The Attic release. As of the date of the show, Endeverafter hadn’t yet released an album, but it appears they have been signed by Sony Records, so obviously “somebody” feels this band has potential. On this night, that certainly appeared to be the case. The band sounded tight, and Grant appears to have what it takes to be a charismatic front man, both vocally and from a lead guitar perspective.
The only “flaw” in the band’s performance on this stop was that Grant tried on several occasions to get the audience to sing along to a few songs, and kept referring to the crowd, who basically sat on their hands for the entire set, as a bunch of “crazy mother f*#kers.” Again, since nobody in the audience knew they were going to play, and essentially nobody had ever heard a song by this band in the past, trying to get people to sing along to “foreign” songs was a mistake. Those requests fell flat on their face each time, and made the bands’ efforts appear foolish. It would have been a better idea for Endeverafter to just relish the opportunity of opening up for 2 great, established acts, play their tunes with force and confidence, and let the chips fall where they may. Still, a faux paux or two from a new band is not uncommon, and these mistakes certainly don’t take away from the fact that these guys appear to be on to a “good” thing … keep an eye out for this band. If they play their cards right, you’ll be hearing more from them very soon!