Poison and Ratt Live in Phoenix - w/Photos

By CrpnDeth, Staff Photographer/Writer
Sunday, August 19, 2007 @ 1:52 PM

History Comes Full Circle

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What can you do?

About 21 years ago when I lived in New York, a bunch of high school friends and myself decided we were going to drive down to Utica and catch the Poison and Ratt concert. There was nothing else to do (cow tipping held little comic value anymore) and the night was guaranteed to be loud. Why not?

The newcomer to the scene, Poison, was opening for Ratt who was riding high on what was then their newest release, Danciní Undercover. I really dug the riffs that Warren DeMartini played, and the overall style of the music fit in to the current times. I had heard Poison the summer before when I was in California and they premiered their debut CD, Look What the Cat Dragged In, on KNAC 105.5 FM. Nice album photography by Rob Jones, but I couldnít help but think Shit, they sounded like guys on the radio! WTF?

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Time warp to 21 years later, and feeling a little nostalgic I decided to catch the show Aug 15 here in Phoenix. This time it was Ratt opening for Poison. The high school crowd is long gone except for Steve and I, and to this day we routinely laugh about the night back in New York during our youth.

I walked in to the venue with enough time to grab a beer before Ratt hit the stage. The entire band was lively and energetic. Warren DeMartini hit every lead and every intro flawlessly, giving new strength to the trademark riffs. Bobby Blotzer was thunderous as usual, solid and in your face.

What came as a surprise was the vocal strength of Stephen Pearcy. It was noticeably absent. He didnít hit one high note or squeal the entire night. He didnít botch it, he just didnít attempt it. Most higher harmonies were provided by bassist Robbie Crane. This was especially apparent during songs like Iím Insane, Way Cool Jr. and Body Talk. When Pearcy addressed the crowd, his voice was also noticeably deeper. Believe it or not, I actually liked it better than when Ratt was in their prime and Pearcyís voice was usually nasally sounding.

You have to give the band an A for effort. They didnít slow down one bit (the last note from one song lead straight in to the first note for the next song) and put on an excellent performance.

Click on the thumbnail shots for larger pictures.

Photos © 2007 by LAURI SVENDSEN

Poison was never one of my favorite bands because I was never really in to the light stuff. Look What the Cat Dragged In came out the same year as Master of Puppets. No contest there.

As my Hatesphere and Droid listening buddies stare at me like they are planning an intervention, I do have to admit this Ė Poison is underrated. They put on a hell of a show that the entire crowd participated in. The band is an animated as ever, and the smiles are wide and bright. The energy was endless as the band played their usual catalog of hits (which included What I Like About You from the recently released Poisoníd CD). CC shows just how well he can play when he is clean and healthy and having fun.

One thing that has always bothered me over the years is when one band member uses the bandís time for self promotion. I always got the impression that the statement was ďHey, if this takes off for me Iíll see you losers later!Ē. Such was the case when during Poisonís intro they flashed a promo for Bret Michaelís reality show. Tonightís the Poison show, not the Bret Michaelís show. Iím sure this wasnít his intention, but it could still be the impression people get at times.

Besides, have you seen the show??

I didnít include setlists because they were relatively the same as any other review you may have read by now. The order may have changed slightly, but there are no surprises on either setlist. The show over all was fantastic Ė as long as you werenít looking for anything more than a fun night out with a few friends and a few beers. Both bands are touring without new material (Iíve never considered cover albums Ďnew materialí) and with a catalog as extensive as each band has, you are already well aware that they are always going to play 90% of their hits even when there is new material. Whatís more impressive is the fact that these bands are still on tour and still can draw even though the genre they once ruled is long gone.

Wasn't nuthiní but a good time.

Click on the thumbnail shots for larger pictures.

Photos © 2007 by DAVID SVENDSEN

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