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Poison, Ratt, Dokken, Vains of Jenna in Gilford, New Hampshire

By Debby Rao, Boston Contributor
Monday, August 13, 2007 @ 11:24 PM


At the Meadowbrook Musical Art

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It has been twenty years since Poison opened for Ratt on their first national tour together. Tonight history repeats itself, as the tour of the summer featuring Poison, Ratt, and Sweden's Vains of Jenna rolled into the Meadowbrook Musical Arts Center. Let’s fast-forward to 2007 and the year of Ratt and Roll and Poison'D shall we? Tonight's New Hampshire's musical performance also included Dokken!

Kicking off the festivities: Vains Of Jenna, all decked in their 80's glam-wear, won the audience. Vains Of Jenna have that raw, glam appeal of a young Guns N’ Roses. These boys are in for the music, and their performance was raw, real, and energetic. They are a prodigy of Bam Margera (Unholy Alliance reality show fame) and have that hunger that will make them succeed. It was also inspiring to see them onstage watching Ratt's set. All of the bands on this tour have so much respect for one another. You really don't get that cohesiveness too much in the music business today.

Singer Lizzy Devine reminds me of a young Axl Rose, donning a bandana and no shirt. He spit out words with a punk-infused vocal style, while guitarist Nicki Kin unleashed his raw, Slash-like guitar style. The rhythm section consists brothers JP White on bass and Jacki Stone on drums.

Highlights of the set included the Tom Petty cover song, ”Refugee". The band played 5 original songs including, ”No One's Gonna Do It For Ya", and "Don't Give A Damn." Guitarist Nicki Kin said, “Yeah it's true, we will be out with them all summer, we're really fuckin’ excited about it. It’s going to be a great tour and a great opportunity for us to show everybody what we’re all about. CC (DeVille) saw us last summer at The Cat Club, and he and Bobby Dall saw us at The Viper Room last time we played there. They're really cool guys. We were all influenced by that kind of music and Poison. It’s really big in Sweden right now.” Vains Of Jenna have been on the road touring constantly in support of their debut album, ”Lit Up/Let Down” on the Bam Margera label Filthy Note Records.

It has been nearly three years since the "Hell To Pay" Tour, and Dokken toured New England, and we are really fortunate tonight that Dokken appeared on tonight's bill with Poison and Ratt. Dokken hit the stage at 6:30 P.M. and performed one of the strongest sets of the evening. For any of you, who are still stuck in the 80's, and wish George was still in the band, in my opinion tonight’s Dokken's performance proved that this latest incarnation of Dokken is possibly the strongest the band has ever been since the original line-up featuring Jeff Pilson and George Lynch.

Guitarist Jon Levin has a shredding guitar style reminiscent of early Dokken, but at the same time, Jon has his own style that is fresh and exciting.

Opening with, ”Unchain The Night", Don Dokken took center stage and command of the crowd. Don's vocal style was strong, and had a rich tone that inspired so many of the Dokken's hits in their heyday.

The band rolled, ”Into The Fire” as the venue was pretty full for the early 6:30 P.M. start, proving that there is a demand for 80's music. These songs are more than just nostalgic; they have inspired so many musicians.

Dokken rolled through a vast array of hits that spanned their extensive career. They even performed their hit, ”Dream Warriors". Don yelled to the crowd, “How many of you have been rocking with Dokken since day one? This song is for you." Next, the band then slammed into ”Kiss Of Death".

The highlight of the night for me was when the band performed one of their first hits, ”Alone Again". Don's signature, melodic vocal style took control, as the song sparked a spontaneous sing-along. One of the reasons that Don enjoys performing on the East Coast so much is because the audience here really gets into the music and is not afraid to show their appreciation of the songs. Don enthuses, ”We are so happy to be performing here tonight. It is such a beautiful night for a concert. It is all about the fans. I could be home sitting on my ass in LA, but I am here tonight to perform for the fans. The East Coast audiences love to sing along to the songs. In LA, they think it is not cool to dance or have a good time at a concert. People shouldn't go to a Dokken concert if they don't want to participate and sing along".

Another highlight included the Dokken song that started it all, "Breakin’ The Chains". The set was going strong, but Don didn't want to just feature all the hits. Don said, “Well we have played all of the hits, do you want to hear some metal now?” Immediately the band ripped into, ”Tooth and Nail.”

As the set was coming to a close, Don yelled, “We got to go", as he crooned the classic opening line, ”In my dreams it's still the same, your love is strong, it still remains.” The audience was on there feet, singing along to every word.

Dokken Set List

  • Unchain The Night
  • Into The Fire
  • Dream Warriors
  • Kiss Of Death
  • The Hunter
  • Along Again
  • Breakin The Chains
  • It's Not Love
  • Tooth and Nail
  • In My Dreams - Encore
Ratt hit the stage at 8 P.M. and performed a 75-minute set of all of the hits plus a few surprises. These days, Ratt consists of Stephen Pearcy on vocals, Bobby Blotzer on drums, Robbie Crane on bass, John Corabi on rhythm guitar, and guitarist Warren Demartini. The new version of Ratt is fresh and ready to rock. Stephen Pearcy ruled the stage with his signature prowl and unique, vocal style.

Ratt performed all of their classic hits including, "Wanted Man", "You're In Love", "Lack Of Communication", and "Back For more".

One highlights of the set was ”Way Cool Jr." Ratt has always had a blues vibe to their set and tonight they proved it as bassist Robbie Crane and drummer Bobby Blotzer, along with guitarist Warren Demartini cranked out the funky rhythm.

Singer Stephen Pearcy was pretty impressed with the great response from the audience. He said, “So you're back for more. It has been 20 years since Ratt and Poison did a full-blown tour together. It seems like just yesterday."

It was so refreshing to see Warren Demartini playing the Ratt solos once again. Warren has always been one of the 80's premier guitarists, and he shined tonight.

Tonight's concert brought back so many memories of their heyday. Funny thing though, the songs still sounded great, and the chemistry of all the bands was just as charged as it was back in the day. They say you can't rewrite history, but tonight, at the Meadow Brook Musical Arts Center, the era of the Poison and Ratt tour took on new life, as the 80's bands that started it all performed to their die hard fans, and gained some new ones along the way.

Ratt had everyone on their feet, and dancing to "Lay It Down". Stephen was in a very good mood as yelled this song is for the ladies, it is a ballad and laughed. Well you ought to know me better that that. The band whipped into "Body Talk". I hadn't heard this song in years; great choice. The rhythm section of Robbie Crane and drummer Bobby Blotzer was very tight, as the Ratt drummer layed down the Ratt and Roll the funky drum rolls. Ratt ended the show with the song that started it all, "Round and Round."

Ratt Set list:

  • Sweet Cheater
  • Dangerous But Worth The Risk
  • I'm Insane
  • City To City
  • Wanted Man
  • Slip of the Lip
  • Way Cool Jr.
  • Nobody Rides For Free
  • Back For More
  • Over The Edge
  • Lack Of Communication
  • Lay It Down
  • You're In Love
  • Body Talk
  • Round and Round
Next up, Poison hit the stage at 9:30 P.M. and performed a 90-minute set of all of their classic hits, and even performed a few tunes off of their cover album, Poison’d. Prior to the band taking the state, on the video screen appeared an advertisement of the Brett's new reality TV show, ”Rock Of Love". The segment also included a few clips from the bands new album including, “What I Like About You", and "Can't You See". I would like to say I think it is cool that both CC Deville, who just wrapped up ”The Surreal Life” and Bret Michaels, who is working his ”Rock Of Love", are doing these reality TV shows. It sort of boosts their star power for a whole new generation of fans. Since MTV really doesn't play music videos anymore, we now have these reality shows with the 80's rock stars.

Kicking off the set with their standard, ”Look What The Cat Dragged In". Poison captivated the crowd with their 80's hits. Although, I have been coming to see the band since 1999, it still never gets old. The reason for this is, I think because the band still has the best time onstage and in retrospect this reflects on the audience. Poison's set is all about having a good time, and tonight in New Hampshire, Poison fans surely had, ”Nothing But A Good Time".

Rolling into, ”I Want Action Tonight", Poison were there for the party and took the audience back in time. Highlights of the set included, ”I Won't Forgot You" with Bret playing acoustic guitar.

Other highlights included CC Deville's great performance. CC, who is clean and sober these days, has to be one of the 80's most fun performers to watch onstage. CC performed, ”I Hate Every Bone In My Body But Mine" with much enthusiasm.

I was really looking forward to the show tonight and hoping to hear some of the new cover tunes off of POISON'D. Poison performed my favorite,” Can’t You See", and gave the song a great new rendition. Bret's voice has that special melodic quality that simply won over that song for me. The band also performed, "I Need To Know" by Tom Petty and The Romantics song, ”What I Like About You". It was a nice change of pace, and made the set flow rather nicely.

Poison’s stage show was stripped down and open with a catwalk for the band to go up and dance on occasionally. The band mostly relied on the music, and energetic stage show with just a few flash pods. Poison's performance was energetic, as they performed, all of their hits from their MTV video era including, ”Fallen Angel", "Every Rose Has A Thorn", and "Unskinny Bop".

The rhythm section of bassist Bobby Dall and Rikki Rocket was tight. Bobby smiled a lot onstage, so you knew he was having a great time. Bret Michaels, also dedicated the song, ”Something To Believe In" to the men and women, who are fighting for our freedom.

Tonight's Poison's show had to be one of my favorites so far. The set flowed flawlessly, and the acoustic part of the set and new cover songs made the show a really fun evening. I hope everyone has the opportunity to catch the Poison/Ratt/Vains Of Jenna tour this summer, as two of the top 80's bands take you into the future of Ratt and Roll and Poison’d with "Nothing But A Good Time". Poison Set List

  • Look What The Cat Dragged in
  • I Want Action
  • Ride The Wind
  • I Won’t Forgot You
  • What I Like About You
  • CC Guitar Solo
  • I Hate Every Bone In Your Body But Mine
  • Something To Believe In
  • Can’t You See
  • Your Mama Don’t Dance
  • Rikki Drum solo
  • Unskinny Bop
  • Every Rose Has It’s Thorn
  • Fallen Angel
  • Talk Dirty To Me
Encore

  • Nothing But A Good Time



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