Poison, Cheap Trick and Pop Evil
“Nothin’ But A Good Time Tour”
Five Points Amphitheater, Irvine, CA 5/18/18
Review and Pictures: Diane Lynn
As I drove up to the venue it hadn’t dawned on me that I was actually on the grounds of the old El Toro Marine Base. Five Points Amphitheater was built shortly after Irvine Meadows was torn down. The fact that this was an old military base was fitting since Bret Michaels, singer for tonight’s headliner, is a strong supporter of all branches of our military and is always giving a shout-out to our troops while on stage, so kicking off the “Nothin’ But a Good Time“ tour at this venue felt like the perfect choice.
Poison decided to bring Cheap Trick along for this one as well as Pop Evil who will be performing on some of the first part of the tour.
Although the official start of summer is still a few weeks away it sure felt like a summer concert night from back in the day. Everywhere you looked people were dressed in their 80’s best. Old and new Poison concert tees, faded jeans & high heels and high hair for the girls (and a few of the guys too). Fans young and old were streaming in for a Nothin’ But a Good Time!
First up was Pop Evil. I’ve mentioned before about having an opening band blow you away, well this is one of those bands. I had only heard maybe two or three songs from Pop Evil and I definitely liked them so I was very eager to hear more. But what blew me away was that every song on their short set was killer!
This is a five piece that originated in Muskegon, Michigan back in 2001 with Leigh Kakaty as the band’s founding member. The have put out five studio albums since their creation with the fifth album, the self-titled “Pop Evil”, just being released this past February.
Current Line Up:
Leigh Kakaty – lead vocals (2001–present)
Dave Grahs – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2001–present)
Matt DiRito – bass, backing vocals (2007–present)
Nick Fuelling – lead guitar, backing vocals (2012–present)
Hayley Cramer – drums (2016-present)
Pop Evil put on a fantastic set. It was fast paced and animated, for lack of a better word. They definitely set the tone for a rockin night! Look them up if you haven’t already. Their live show is definitely worth going to see so check out their schedule for show dates near you!
“Hello there ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to ROCK!”
Cheap Trick didn’t start things off slow; they had it turned up from the minute they walked out on stage.
I think the last time I saw Cheap Trick was the summer of 1980 at the “Summer Blow Out” at the L.A. Coliseum, so I was particularly excited to see them again AND getting to photograph them was an added bonus for me. Although I would be missing Bun E. Carlo, the cigarette smoking, tie wearing drummer no longer with the band, I did think it was pretty cool that Rick Nielsen’s son, Daxx Nielsen was now behind the kit. Another addition to Cheap Trick is Robin Zander’s son, Robin Taylor Zander, who was playing rhythm guitar.
The first thing I noticed on the smoke filled stage after being brought into the pit was the mic stand for Rick Nielson. His legendary mic stand filled with colorful guitar pics was glowing as the single stage light shined directly down on it. I knew this was going to be a great show and it was all that and MORE!
After the band came out to roaring applause they took their places, the lights went out and you heard the distinct voice of Robin Zander “Hello there, are you ready to ROCK?” The excitement from the crowd was almost deafening and for a moment it was 1980 all over again!
The set list included all of the hits from way back when. Surprisingly they did not include their new single “The Summer Looks Good on You” which was actually released the same day as the show. Maybe they wanted to give it some air time before including on the set list?! Nevertheless, they played all of their hits pretty much flawlessly and the fans were loving every minute! The voice of the iconic singer has held up very well over the years. There were a few notes that were maybe not sang as high as they were originally done but that’s to be expected; after all it has been well over forty years for Cheap Trick.
Robin Zander – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Rick Nielsen – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Tom Petersson – Bass, Backing Vocals
Daxx Nielsen – Drums
Robin Taylor Zander – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Their hour long set was classic hit after hit with a Velvet Underground cover thrown in.
Ain’t That a Shame
Baby Loves to Rock
Long Time Coming
You Got It Going On
I’m Waiting For the Man (Velvet Underground cover)
I Want You To Want Me
Robin, Rick and Tom all took to the stage like the seasoned veterans they are. Robin sporting what seemed to be a black version of the Dream Police hat; this one with a black glittery sheriff’s star on the front. Rick wearing one of his famous large billed baseball hats and Tom wearing a wide brim, felt hat and scarf tied around his neck. He looked a bit like a Wild West gun slinger, only it was a beautiful five string bass he had in his hands.
Every time I turned around it seemed Rick was playing a different guitar, my favorite was the orange Hamer Guitar with flames and the phrase “Gonna Raise Hell!” written on the neck.
There were smiles all around while they played. Maybe the “smile” tee shirt Robin was wearing was a subliminal message, although that’s doubtful, the grins from the guys were genuine. They were having a great time up there and the feeling was mutual from the crowd.
It looks like Cheap Trick are set to play a few dates with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joan Jett and will be doing a few stops with Def Leppard and Journey. If you’re an 80’s die hard and would love to enjoy a blast from the past then check out their website for tour dates, you should also check out their new songs, they are equally as good!
OMG – Look What The Cat Dragged In!
The glam boys of the 80’s are back and although they might be wearing a lot less make up, they still know how to rock and bring the ladies to their knees!
Kicking off their “Nothin’ But A Good Time” tour in So Cal, Poison are rockin like they did back in 1986 when they hit the airwaves and had the pop metal/glam rock fans wanting More, More, More! Bret Michaels is obviously the driving force behind Poison, even without his Poison-brothers he’s out hitting the stages singing their classic hits. But when he’s with the original lineup; it just makes it so much sweeter!
One of the first surprise moments had to be from CC DeVille. I was looking for the bleach blonde, puffed out hair, but instead it’s very long, straight and golden brown. Now this may seem trivial but that look was iconic for CC, even after they toned down the make-up, his hair was still a fixture on stage. But I have to say the change looked good on him and it didn’t settle him down one bit! CC Deville is still a show stopping, lead guitarist who knows how to get the crowd going. He covers the stage, making eye contact with just about everyone in the front row as he passes from left to right.
The other surprise was Bobby Dall. He has a totally casual appearance, wearing a pair of worn jeans and a checkered shirt; the most non-rocker – rocker in the band. There’s even a touch of gray on what were once jet black locks. Our glam boys of the 80’s may have aged a little bit but they still put on one hell of a show! Drummer Rikki Rockett was still tearing it up behind the kit. He didn’t look all that much different to me, maybe a little toned down version of what I remember. He was rockin some very cool orange’ish hair; maybe he hasn’t left the glam as far behind has CC and Bobby.
Bret Michaels has kept himself in the lime light a bit more than the others with TV reality shows and touring with side projects was still looking pretty fit, wearing his signature headband, tight worn jeans and a vintage Poison concert tee. His smile and ability to keep the crowd going hasn’t wavered. Security was having a tough job keeping the crowd back from the stage once Poison came on; all the ladies making an effort to get as close to the guys as they could. I may have even spotted a familiar face up front, one of the leading ladies from Bret’s reality show Rock Of Love 1 was there enjoying the tunes. At one point after spotting his friend from the past he pointed and gave her a big smile in acknowledgment.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 32 years since poison came out of no-where and joined the ranks alongside Motley Crue and others to revive the Glam Rock scene. Even today they pack venues, bringing fans out in droves. Poison put on a full stage production. This was the first headlining tour for the band in quite a while and they were pulling out all the stops! Once the lights went down, their classic green logo was slashed on a huge screen at the back of the stage, and then a video started to playing which showed a cartoon version of the boys rolling up in a red sports car. They even added some nostalgia with a Tower Records store promoting the very first Poison record.
The set opener was “Look What The Cat Dragged In”, pushing right into “I Want Action” and after that it was just hit after hit, leaving “Talk Dirty To Me” for the solo encore.
The stage setting and lighting was spectacular and they played video on the giant screen behind them just about the entire show; showing classic shots of the boys from back in the day to vintage reels of burlesque dancers from the 50’s and 60’s during the song “Your Mama Don’t Dance”. It was a well put together production and although there was a lot going on with the lighting and video you never lost touch with the band. They were still captivating and entertaining. They could have played all night and the fans would have wanted more (more..more!)
Bret Michaels – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Rikki Rockett – drums, percussion, vocals
Bobby Dall – bass, backing vocals
C.C. DeVille – lead guitar, backing vocals
Look What the Cat Dragged In
I Want Action
Ride the Wind
I Won’t Forget You
Your Mama Don’t Dance
(Loggins & Messina cover)
C.C. DeVille Guitar Solo
Something to Believe In
Drum Solo (with ‘Pink Panther Theme’ jam with Bobby Dall)
Every Rose Has It’s Thorn
Nothin’ but a Good Time
Talk Dirty To Me
If you’re wanting to see Poison on this tour you better check their show schedule quick, they are selling out fast.