Poison w/Cinderella | UMB Bank Pavilion, St. Louis | 06.16.06

It was refreshing to see Poison's four original members allowing their passion for their music to take center stage.

 

When summer hits St. Louis, two things are certain: the St. Louis Cardinals are kicking butt in the National League Central and '80s hair metal masters, Poison, are coming to town. On this tour, the band brought along another legendary hair metal band, Cinderella-a perfect match, seeing how both bands are from Pennsylvania, they both broke big in 1986, and both have a penchant for producing excellent power ballads. Having seen both of these bands more times than I can shake a can of Aquanet at, I was surprised to see that both have adapted to the times.

Kicking off their set with the usual opening number, the bluesy "Bad Seamstress Blues/Fallin' Apart at the Seams," Cinderella had to delay their set due to a defective banner not falling down properly. Even though it killed the anticipation slightly, the crowd got back into the swing of things once the banner was removed and the band got on with their set. Things took another turn for the worse when bass player Eric Brittingham decided to take out some frustration on his mic that was not working properly. Fortunately, they launched into a couple of scorchers from their blockbuster 1986 album, Night Songs, and the set was back on track. Terrific performances of "Somebody Save Me" and "Night Songs" reminded me of why I fell in love with Cinderella back in their heyday: These boys know how to rock.

Turning their attention to their second release, Long Cold Winter, the group gave the hungry rock crowd something to nibble on with decent performances of "Coming Home," "Gypsy Road," and the sensitive ballad, "Don't Know What You Got ('til It's Gone)." As the show went on, the songs seemed to slow down just a beat. And lead singer Tom Keifer's vocals seemed to be a bit more gravelly than normal-especially noticeable on the ballads when he didn't have the pounding rhythms and screeching guitars to hide behind. Overall, despite technical problems and the fact that the band is not physically aging well, their music is still as powerful today as it was 20 years ago.

Poison, on the other hand-hitting the stage with an oldie but goodie, "Look What the Cat Dragged In"-appeared to have been sealed away in a cryogenic chamber. The inexhaustible amount of energy the band managed to maintain was impressive. Has it really been two decades since Bret Michaels, C.C. DeVille, Bobby Dall, and Rikki Rocket burst onto the music scene creating havoc and mayhem wherever they went?

Giving the people what they want, Poison took this opportunity to do songs they usually don't play live. Shaking the dust off classic tunes "I Won't Forget You," "Ride the Wind," and "Let It Play," Poison impressed with how fresh and fun their songs sounded. Also noteworthy, the band looked like they were actually having fun onstage. With big smiles on their faces, they appeared to have put all the crap they have been through as a band behind them. It was refreshing to see Poison's four original members allowing their passion for their music to take center stage.

The most surprising song of the evening was from the group's 2000 album, Power to the People. DeVille's performance of "I Hate Every Bone in Your Body But Mine" was proof positive that the talented guitarist has fought his demons and returned to remind everybody that he is still alive and kicking. Quite frankly, the band has never looked or sounded better.

The boys were on fire as they ripped and burned through all of their hits-the band is on the road to promote their latest album, The Best of Poison: 20 Years of Rock, after all-including "Nothing But a Good Time," "Every Rose Has It's Thorn," and "Talk Dirty to Me." Whether you love them or hate them, it's undeniable that these boys know how to entertain. It's what they've built their careers on: the ability to put on amazing live shows. And despite this being the seemingly millionth time they've visited our fair city, the band managed to impress by turning in a fresh perspective on their vintage hits.

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