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Larry Petro Reviews The Sludge Extravaganza Featuring Poison in Houston

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Thursday, July 31, 2003 @ 10:42 AM

Petro Reports in on the Metal

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The annual Poison Tour joins forces with the Metal-Sludge Extravaganza Tour for one night only in The Woodlands, Texas on July 19th, 2003

Originally I hadn't intended on doing a review of this show, but after perusing through the most recent half-assed 'review' of Poison in L.A., I decided that it was time for a REAL review, so here it is for what it's worth.

I remember when I first started going to concerts back in the early ‘80s while I was living in Oklahoma City. It seemed that every concert I attended there was always someone there that had a concert shirt of that same tour from Texas and the thing I remembered the most about those shirts was that they were specially printed with some sort of statement about Texas on them. I remember thinking to myself, 'Man, I wish I could get a shirt like that.” You know, most states didn't get limited edition shirts like that back then, or even now for that matter. Well, now that I live in Texas I have noticed that this nice state of ours does still get the occasional special that other states don't get. The Poison tour a couple of summers ago was one of those special times; Each of the Texas show dates featured 3-4 more bands than the entire rest of the tour, which I thought was very cool. More bands for the same money, can't really beat that. Well, this summer's annual Poison jaunt once again held a special surprise exclusively for the Houston area. For one night only the Poison tour and the Metal-Sludge Extravanganza tour met up in, yep, Houston, Texas. And this is my review.

It was a typical summer afternoon in The Woodlands, Texas just north of the Houston area: 95+ degrees hot and so muggy you wring the moisture out of the air. I arrived at the Woodlands Pavilion just a few minutes before 2 as the Ticketmaster website listed the show as starting at 2 p.m. Well, after arriving I realized that the show would not be starting until 3 and, as luck would have it, the will-call window did not have most of Poison's guest list on hand and therefore I had to wait, and wait, and wait, and wait until about 2:55 when the final remains of their complements finally showed up. Now this would not have normally been too bad having to wait, but as I mentioned, it was hot and here I am wearing my BLACK KNAC.COM Pure Rock Patrol T-shirt. Needless to say by the time I finally got in, I was in serious need of liquid replenishment and really could have used another shirt!
Luckily show openers Pretty Boy Floyd did not start their set until about 3:15.

Pretty Boy Floyd

This was the only band at the show that I had never had the opportunity to see live and therefore was very eager to catch their set. At this point, there were only a few hundred people in attendance but that did not stop the boys in PBF from putting on a great set. Though only given about 20-30 minutes to play, they managed to pack as many of their known songs in as they could. Sole remaining member Steve 'Sex' Summers was in top form and tried desperately to work the crowd. Unfortunately for him, a good portion of those in attendance didn't recognize the majority of the band's material, but alas, he did not let that dissuade him. The band played with a decent amount of energy and songs they played included “Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz,” 'I Wanna Be With You,” and set closer “Rock-N-Roll is Gonna Set the Night on Fire.” They also played their version of the Crue classic “Toast of the Town,” which was included on the reissue of the Electric Toys CD. It was cool to finally see them live, albeit a brief one.

Enuff Z'Nuff

After a brief changeover it was Enuff Z'Nuff's turn to take the stage. Now I have seen EZN before on one of the prior Poison tours, but this was the first time that I had seen them since lead vocalist Donnie Vie left the group. I wondered to myself how the band was going to sound, but I must say honestly that I was very surprised at how the band sounded with Monaco leading the band in vocals. He did a superb job of handling the duties throughout their set, consisting of hits such as “Fly High Michelle,” “Baby Loves You,” “New Thing” and “She Wants More.” The biggest surprise of the entire afternoon occurred during EZN's set. After concluding the EZN portion for their set, they were joined onstage by none other than Steven Adler, ex-Guns ‘N Roses drummer! He took Ricky's spot on drums and before they could play a note, a additional mysterious player also came onstage wearing a full head stocking and a KFC bucket on his head. Buckethead? Although that was my first thought, I believe now that it was simply Brent Muscat from Faster Pussycat in a Buckethead outfit, but then again, who knows for sure? Anyhow, Steven jammed with the band first on a cover of the Beatles' “Come Together” before another unknown person took over vocals for the cover of AC/DC's “Sin City.” This unknown person turned out to be Chad Stewart of Faster Pussycat. Steve Summers of PBF also joined them onstage for “Knockin on Heavin's Door,” which got the best response from the crowd. Steven looked really good and we got to hang and chat with him a bit after his performance where he mentioned that he had had a stroke recently. But he played like the Steven Adler of old on this day.

Faster Pussycat

I would have to say that Faster Pussycat was probably the biggest disappointment of the day. Now granted, they have been playing alot of shows consecutively on their MSX tour, but they just seemed to be a little lethargic when they took the stage. One good thing was that they managed to drop those horrible Nazi-style outfits they had worn the last time they were here and basically looked gothed-out for this show. Guitarist Brent Muscat was wearing a patch of black eyeliner around his right eye that looked as if someone had punched the shit out of him before their set. I was really expecting good things from them, but I didn't readily recognize any of the tunes up until about the 4th or 5th one when they did “Don't Change That Song.” But they managed to uptempo it a bit for the remainder of the show with some of their classics like “Bathroom Wall.” Unfortunately I didn't see most of their set as I was busy chatting with the guys in PBF and Steven Adler, but I did hear them. Personally I thought they played a hell of a lot better the last time they played here at The 19th Hole with L.A. Guns a year or two ago, but that's just me.

Skid Row

Say what you want about these guys being a pile of shit without Baz at the helm, but in my opinion they stole the show on this particular night. Right from the very beginning when they opened with “Slave to the Grind,” they served notice that they were taking Texas by storm. Their fire, passion and energy outpaced everyone up to that point, and with the exception of Poison themselves, Skid Row gave the crowd the most fun of the day. They were absolute animals onstage moving around every which way and back. The set was comprised of the best Skid Row classics like “18 and Life,” “I Remember You” and “Youth Gone Wild.” They did 2 versions of “I Remember You,” the first being the punk version which wasn't too off the wall, but then played the original version later on in the set, as well as the song “Get the Fuck Out” and the new song,”Thick is the Skin.” If the rest of the new album sounds like that one did, it is going to be a must-have in your collection. Johnny Solinger and his bandmates have caught their share of criticism for continuing the band without Sebastian Bach, but if you closed your eyes during their show you would NOT have been able to tell the difference. In fact, I feel that Johnny has a WAY better stage presence than Baz ever did. And he's from Texas so that makes him cool in my book. All in all, a big two thumbs up to Skid Row!

Vince Neil

What can I say about Vince? Well, for starters, he seems to have lost a little of the mass of weight he had been carrying around the past few years. I say a little because he still looked a little pudgy around the face. He changed things up a bit from past performances by not starting with “Shout at the Devil.” He kept “In the Beginning” as the opener, but when the sounds died away the band cranked into “Live Wire” and the show was off and running. Having seen Vince numerous times, I was hoping that he would attempt to sing more of the words to his songs this time around, as he has gotten in the habit of only singing a few line of each verse in the past which is really annoying. He made a pretty good effort during the first song or two, but from then on he seemed to be getting very winded and by show's end was back to being the old Vince, only singing the most important lines of each song. Now he did say that they would be playing some songs (plural) that had not been heard in some time, but I honestly only remember one tune, “Too Young to Fall in Love.” He did the gratuitous Crue classics like “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Looks That Kill,” “Wildside,” “Dr. Feelgood,” “Same 'ole Situation,” “Teaser” and “Kickstart My Heart” as well as “You're Invited But Your Friend Can't Come” from his Exposed CD. It was good from a Crue standpoint, but a little lacking in passion. One side note, however, was guitarist Jason Hook who did an outstanding job nailing down the solos all night.


Okay, now is where the rants can begin. I am amazed at how many people still slam Poison. This is the 4th summer in a row for me to see them play and sure, they do pretty much the same show every time they tour, so fucking what? Kiss has been doing it for the past 10 years or so. Listen, true fans of the band really couldn't care less if they put out new material or not, they want to hear the Poison favorites. So, as with every year, they started with the trademark “Look What the Cat Dragged In” which is still a great opening tune, even after all these years. From there they played “Squeeze Box” before adding in a song that they said they haven't played live before this tour since 1987, “I Won't Forget You.” And of course they played all the Poison hits as well: “Fallen Angel,” “Talk Dirty to Me” and “Nothin’ But a Good Time.”

One interesting incident during their performance was while they did “Something to Believe In.” They started the song once, then stopped before the first chorus so that Bret could have the crowd move a little closer to the stage, something he admittedly has caught hell for in the past. Well, it slightly backfired on him this time. They started the song once again and about half way through the tune, he stops again and says something along the lines of “You know, I'm up here to have a good time and this guy's calling me an asshole,” pointing to a guy in the front of the pit to stage right. 'Well, I'm not gonna let anyone ruin a show for us, so I'll be right back as soon as we take care of this.” He takes off his guitar and proceeds over to the spot where this gentleman was standing. I thought that there would actually be some blood shed in a minute or two, but after bending down and getting in this guy's face (with Big John security behind him the whole time), he pulls this guy up onstage and is talking to him and giving him all kinds of hugs. As it turns out, the throng of people that pushed forward toward the stage at Bret's command had started to crush this guy's wife against the barricade. After pulling him and his wife onstage Bret apologized and said that he indeed was the asshole this time and let the guy and his wife watch the rest of the show from the side of the stage. A very classy move on Bret's part for realizing what was going on before flying off the handle at this guy.

Finally, after about half of Poison's set I had to leave. After being on my feet mostly for the bulk of the 9-hour show, I could take no more. Poison played a great show as always and were as energetic as I have ever seen them. In this fucked up world that we live in today with all the stresses of work, war, and finances this annual show allows us to take a much needed break from the every day and go enjoy ourselves in a party rock atmosphere, and that is exactly what Poison does. They epitomize the very nature and core of Rock-N-Roll: SEX. Where else can you go to a show and see so many women all dolled up in their best outfits parading around for all the guys to oogle over? Poison's show brings a breath of fresh air to any town they play even if the songs are not exactly that fresh -- it didn't seem to matter to the people who were there that night.

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