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Poison Live in Saskatoon

By Tokemaster General, Contributor
Thursday, October 16, 2003 @ 2:04 PM

Poison Live at SaskPlace in Sa

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REVIEW BY: Andrew Depedro, KNAC Ottawa Correspondent (formerly Saskatoon Correspondent)

You have no idea how long I've been waiting for this. To leave Saskatchewan, that is, since this concert didn't fit into my plans until about two weeks earlier. We were lucky to even land this concert at all seeing as just about every other big name in rock/metal either bypassed the West entirely while on tour or cited SARS/mad cow disease/another careless Jean Chretien outburst about Bush's Iraq policy for not wanting to play in Canada at all (I doubt if that could even be a feasible reason and really, I only mentioned it so that I could probably detract the ranting boards from swelling up with caplocked spam chants of "POISON SUCKS/CC IS A CRACKWHORE TRANSVESTITE", etc. But that's a long shot so I can't promise anything). Plus I got bored really quick with a lot of local bands this year and these were sometimes the bands that didn't trudge out their tired Radiohead-meets-nu-metal hybrid, Jesse Cook and Morally Sound being the exceptions to the rule in this case, but the former plays sporadic and often unannounced gigs so I miss out and the latter I've probably seen more times live than the average Slayer fan has seen Slayer live (and seeing as I've never seen Slayer onstage, I'm probably seen as average a Slayer fan as I can be by most standards. Hey, it's not like I'm deliberately avoiding them whenever they tour....).

Having complained about live bands in Saskatoon, I attended the concert with a few members of local band Vagabond (formerly known as Obsidian):

Mike: Vagabond singer and also one-time bouncer at the Wash 'N Slosh who usually got me into their shows for free whenever Vagabond played there. Knows his music well enough for his varied and often accurate opinions. Sample quotes:

"Billy Idol's like the original Sum-41. They should've taken him out on tour!"
"Does anybody give a shit anymore about Duran Duran reforming?"
"CC's like a male Cyndi Lauper almost…"
(well, I did bring beer over....)

Dave: Vagabond guitarist who let me crash at his place on the night of the concert. Also knows his music well enough for his varied and often accurate opinions which would explain his reasons for why he believes St. Anger was the best album The New Pornographers--er, Metallica have put out in years. Actually, I don't think "Frantic" sounds as bad as I had initially thought so that makes two good songs from that album now in my opinion....

Brown Betty: Vagabond tour van older than Hilary Duff whose battery died on us in the parking lot of McDonald's after having played said new Metallica album, making us late for the concert, so if you were hoping for a review on how openers The Headpins and Vince Neil's sets went, you're out of luck.

We finally did make it to SaskPlace after someone helped us recharge Betty's battery only to catch another local band, Butterscotch Pussycat, playing at the venue's backstage lounge. They used to be members of Torch 144, or actually were formerly known as Torch 144. Either way, they still do covers and $45 was probably the most ridiculous amount of money I've ever paid to hear a band do Rolling Stones and Stone Temple Pilots covers. Especially since I've seen the same band for free play those same songs when they opened for Vagabond last summer. Especially since I paid to preferably see Vince Neil sing his own songs instead. Their cover of "Roadhouse Blues" was pretty solid, though, in all fairness...

Poison finally took the stage at maybe a quarter to 10 or so and rather than provide a setlist of the show I'll just break the show down by song since it's much more fun that way:

"Look What The Cat Dragged In": It really does sound like Armored Saint's "Can U Deliver" in places given that one time Diana played both songs back to back on WildSide to spite a particular Air Supply fan who shall remain nameless. Heh.

"Squeeze Box": I recall saying on another music site that this Who cover pretty much changed the rules on the current musical trend of nu-metal bands doing irony-laden covers of terrible ‘80s songs (and hey, weren't we all just waiting for Smile Empty Soul's cover of "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" with baited breath?) I love being right. And speaking of irony, this was the only song they did off of Hollyweird, an album which they should do more songs from live. You mean you prefer The Ataris doing that Don Henley song on the radio every 10 minutes? Don't even bother commenting on this review. You'll just get laughed at.

"Ride The Wind": Pretty decent but didn't deviate much away from the studio version. Bret finally greets the crowd and apologizes for Poison's 10-year delay in returning to Saskatoon. Seeing as I didn't move to Saskatoon until about 4 years ago I wouldn't of known. Besides I thought it was Def Leppard that played Saskatoon 10 years ago and swore that they'd never play there again citing a very unresponsive crowd, although they played the day after this concert...

"I Won't Forget You": The first of three ballads. Thankfully the other two of them were not "Life Goes On." Bret thanks the crowd again.

"Your Mama Don't Dance": Ah. The ‘70s Loggins/Messina classic that was so mediocre neither Poison or Y&T could save it when they covered it back in the ‘80s. Actually, Bret's playing harmonica on the intro and casts it into a whole new vibe, making it not suck. Why didn't he use that on "Open Up..."?

"Stand": Pretty forgettable even with CC on guitar this time. Do you really care to hear about this song? Me neither, so let's move on....

"Fallen Angel": Not bad although CC was all over the place during the whole song, which leads up to....

CC guitar solo: This was one of the highlights of the whole concert that we didn't miss, notably for:

1) The standing audience toasting him with beer during one of his extended solos. Looks like all those rumors about him falling off the wagon again while on tour are exaggerated after all, especially since the venue was serving Kokanee and Pilsner straight from the keg that night...

2) The brief "I love you, Saskatoon, because you keep giving me fuckin' beer!" rant. Or rather, his so-called "annoying" Brooklyn accent, which, as it turns out, isn't annoying after all (seriously, listen to David Beckham speak sometime during an interview. At least CC sounds coherent....).

3) The actual soloing and playing style. I could make out at least two or three Randy Rhoads-style riffs followed by the intro to Van Halen's "Eruption" at one point. The rest had a heavy Michael Schenker influence from the early U.F.O. days. From where I'm standing, and especially given that Vagabond's early covers when they started out included "Lights Out" and "Doctor Doctor," that's pretty good company as far as I'm concerned. CC has good taste.

"Unskinny Bop": Strange that after the CC solo they play a song with a Rikki Rockett drum intro. But it works seeing as they're on the Flesh & Blood material now.

"Something To Believe In": Given the second anniversary of Sept. 11, this song makes sense even if there was no mention of the attacks during the whole concert. Once Poison played this song, they didn't really need to bring it up anyway.

"Every Rose Has Its Thorn": Disco ball is lowered, lighters out, I'm kinda bitter that I'm in a balcony seat and not face down in the lap of that attractive and shapely redhead in the W.A.S.P. T-shirt I saw earlier during intermission (it wasn't Diana DeVille so don't bother asking). A power ballad classic but the mood's not the same when you're not close up. Dave, Mike and the singer from Butterscotch Pussycat show up at the back and we burn one. After I get back from the bathroom, missing the Rikki Rockett drum solo, that is.

"Talk Dirty To Me": They couldn't really leave without doing this song, now could they? Actually, if they omitted this overplayed song and played "Devil Woman" or "Shooting Star" instead, I'd have much rather gone for that. But I've burned a few brain cells on those last few blunts at this point so I don't pay that much attention to the song now.

"Nothin' But A Good Time": The encore and closing song of the night, which sums up the whole concert in general and reminds us why we should be thankful Poison are, indeed, an unabashedly and unashamed chick band.

So, really, in conclusion, Poison didn't so much as win me back as a fan but rather reminded me and a lot of us that night as to why these concerts and this type of music are important to us. And what better way to leave a hard-luck town after four years than by seeing one of the ‘80s most celebrated and equally reviled party bands. At least it wasn't Crowned King again.

Hope the review was worth it. Now Aries_Veil or apocalypticachick can pick up where I'm leaving off.

To Bret Micheals: Rhonda says hello.

To the Poison haters: There's a Lacuna Coil review making its way to KNAC shortly so please don't judge me too harshly.

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