Friday, November 14, 2003 @ 12:16 AM
Bret Michaels Live at The Rech
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REVIEW BY: Carl Spaeth
Bret made his stop in Baltimore on the ‘Songs of Life’ tour at The Recher Theatre in Towson on October 23rd. I was with my brother-in-law and this was our first time going to The Recher, so we were not sure what to expect. The venue holds about 700 and there are two full service bars and a small kitchen serving snacks and appetizers. One unique trait of the theatre is a large fish tank in the back corner holding several tropical fish; not something you see at most rock concerts. Anyway, once inside you immediately realize that this place was an old time movie house. The stage is rather small and tight, but the acoustics were quite good. I would guess that there were about 500 or so fans in attendance for the evening.
There were two opening acts: the Rob Byer Band and American Anthem, which turned out to be Bret's band (which we did not realize at first). The Rob Byer Band came on around 8 PM and played a 30-minute or so set. They had a folk-rock type sound and were quite good. About halfway through the set we noticed they actually were using a live drummer, as we could not see him from where we standing. I never heard of this band before that night, but I thought they did a good job opening up.
Next around 9 PM or so, a band called American Anthem came on. At first glance, I thought one of the guys looked alot like a taller CC DeVille, but I knew that he was not part of the tour. We thought that there was only one opening act per the bill, but these guys came on and opened with Thin Lizzy's "The Boys are Back in Town." That song rocks no matter what, so we stayed to listen to that and then cut out for a short while to go to the bar next door and check out the status of World Series game 5. We watched a couple innings of the game and headed back to the concert around 9:30 or so. American Anthem was finished their set and the crowd just seemed to be waiting for Bret.
Around 10 PM, "Highway to Hell" came on the speakers, so I knew it was time. The same guys from American Anthem came back on stage. It was then we realized that they were Bret's band. They said, “Are you ready to see Bret Michaels?” The crowd cheered and they went into "Nothin' But a Good Time" as Bret walked onto the stage. That song rocked and sounded really great; what a cool tune to open with. Afterwards, Bret greeted the crowd, thanked everyone for coming and said get ready 'cause we're gonna have a party tonight!
He did a good job mixing in solo songs with Poison stuff. I was expecting to hear some Poison stuff that they don't normally play, as well as his new solo songs, of which I hadn't heard yet. From Songs of Life, they played "Menace to Society," "Bittersweet," "Raine," "Loaded Gun" and "Party Rock Band," which were blended into the set in no particular order. I really enjoyed those songs, particularly "Bittersweet" and "Raine." Definitely have a Poison-type feel to those songs, with a little extra punch. Bret played acoustic guitar on "Raine."
About midway through, Bret introduced the group. I remember Cliff and Christy ("Coco") Calabro on guitars, but I forget the names of the bassist and drummer. They all played really well and did a fine job. Christy was on the lead and played all of CC's solos to perfection on the Poison material. Cliff played the second guitar and was the guy who reminded me of CC at first. Bret played acoustic guitar on "Every Rose," "Something to Believe In," "I Won't Forget You" and electric guitar on "Fallen Angel." They played "Good Love" from Open Up and Say Ahh...., on which Bret played some harmonica. That tune sounded really cool and was an excellent new addition to the set. I was hoping to hear more of some of the bluesy stuff, but that was about it. It would have been cool to hear some others from the latest Ballads & Blues compilation like "The Last Song," "Life Loves a Tragedy" or "Poor Boy Blues," but it wasn't meant to be this time around...
They rounded out the Poison material with "Unskinny Bop," "Talk Dirty to Me" and "Your Mama Don't Dance." All in all, 9 Poison tunes in the set. A little before midway through, they played a cover of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," which Bret said, "We're going to try this tonight, but I don't know all the words... so here goes…" and they finished the set with the Stones' "Honky Tonk Woman." I thought Bret said Poison will see you next summer, but then again I have read were they want to take 2004 off to break for a 20th anniversary tour in 2005... I guess we'll see what happens.
The set was about 80 minutes with no encore, since they decided to keep playing a few more songs about the time you would normally break for an encore. We thoroughly enjoyed the show and for $25, it was an even better value. Thanks Bret!!!
Set List (not in order):
Nothin' But a Good Time
I Won't Forget You
Talk Dirty to Me
Every Rose Has It's Thorn
Something to Believe In
Your Mama Don't Dance
Knockin' on Heaven's Door
Honky Tonk Woman
Menace to Society
Party Rock Band