Poison at the Oregon Garden 08/08/2007

Tonight was supposed to be Poison with Ratt as the opening band. Ratt is supposedly one of those classic 80s bands of the same stature as Poison. Maybe where you grew up that was true, but in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania? Not so much. I only know one Ratt song, yes, that one. Ratt decided not to show up, or they were sick, or they heard that one of their "fans" only knew a single song of there's so they were too depressed to play.

Whatever the reason, we got Joe Blow and the No One's instead. That is not the real name of the band but I can't be troubled trying to reconstruct the mumbled garbage that spewed forth from the d00d's mouth. They played some kind of "blues" based "rock" (in quotes because without them, it sounds a lot cooler than it was). Yawn, I took a nap on the lawn until they were done.

The mayor of Silverton came out to introduce the show and went on for about five minutes. He went on about turning off your cell phone to not disturb those around you and started saying something about not getting upset if the people in front of you stand up because this is a rock show. Then the sound guy turned his mic off and he kept talking for another two or three minutes, apparently oblivious to the fact that anyone past the security in front of the stage could not hear him.

It was finally time for Poison to hit the stage. The first thing that struck me was how much louder the opening band's guitar had been. Make all the jokes about C.C. Deville you want. I don't care, he is still the primary reason I picked up a guitar 17 years ago. I wanted more guitar. The opening song was Look What The Cat Dragged In. Once Brett started singing it was a bit of a let down. I haven't seen Poison in a few years and he sounded a bit hoarse and tired. He didn't seem to be able to hold on to the notes quite as long. I didn't really care though, it was still Poison with all four original members. Brett had a cast on his hand and let us know that he had broken it a few nights prior but wasn't going to let that stop him from putting on a show. He still grabbed the guitar for a few songs and I was impressed at his ability to still strum that thing with a cast on. Quite a trooper. As the night went on, the mix got better and Brett's singing improved. He promised they would play all the hits and they did. I can't think of a single hit they did not play. They did throw in two of their cover tunes, What I Like About You and Your Mama Don't Dance. CC sang lead on one song, I Hate Every Bone In Your Body But Mine.

They had a giant projection screen behind them that mostly showed random video clips which sometimes were related to the songs (like the motorcycle rides shown during Ride The Wind) but mostly just showed women shaking their moneymakers. We're not talking modern porn clips but things like black and white clips of bellydancers from the 50s or something. Peculiar.

I was thinking they would Talk Dirty To Me as the encore but they used it as their penultimate song instead. Nothin But A Good Time turned out to be the encore.

It was a trip right back to the 80s with CC taking an extended guitar solo and Rikki Rockett doing the drum solo thang too. CC's hair was teased, Bobby had his long, greasy black hair back, and Rikki was Rikki as always. Brett wore a cowboy hat for the first half of the show, a bandanna for the second half, and BOTH for the encore.

CC switched off between two V's during the show. One was an awesome sparkle flame and the other was a natural finish. They both sounded great and suffered plenty of whammy bar abuse.

It was Rikki Rocket's birthday and during his drum solo you could see his snare drum head had been signed by a ton of people with a birthday cake drawn in the center. His drums were on a moving platform that came right out to the front of the stage. Another minute later and it rose up into the air like an EZ Lift.

Tonight I'm seeing them again at the Douglas County Fair and maybe even getting to meet CC at a local pub after. We'll see what happens.


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