Hard Features

Got Bret?

I caught a Bret Michaels show in Berwick, Pennsylvania at a place called Pepper’s. I was supposed to be on the guest list. But, after standing in line for about 30 minutes, my name was nowhere to be found on either list that they had at the front door. Not a good way to start off the evening. Needless to say, I wasn’t too happy about driving all that way only to find out that I wouldn’t be able to do my job. I was about to chalk this one up to the rock ‘n’ roll experience. But, I figured I had a choice. I could either go back home and forget about it or I could take my phone bill money and pay to get in. After a 15 minute arguement in Burger King with my significant other, we decided to go back to the club and pay to get in. I got my long distance shut off because of my decision. But, this is Bret Michaels we’re talking about here and the last time I saw him live was when Poison was on tour to promote their second release. So, I didn’t want to miss this show. I’m still a little ripped about the whole deal. Not sure what the problem was, but, truth be told, it wasn’t Bret or the people who set this stuff up. We knew that within a day or two after the show. However, I won’t get into that here. What’s done is done, time to move forward.

Being in a bad mood going into a show isn’t a good thing for me because the best thing to pull me out of a slump is alcohol. So, first thing I did was hit the bar and I hit it heavy. I figured, hey, I’m gonna have a good time tonight and damn everything else. I must’ve had way too much of a good time because I had a security guard ask me if I was okay. I was pretty well trashed and I guess it was plain to see. Yeah. But, let it be known…in the ten years that I’ve been doing this sort of thing, I have never thrown up or passed out in a club. That’s what the ride home is for and, believe me, I have a story or two I could tell you about that. Not today though.

There were two opening acts. I believe the first band went by the name We Three Kids and they were pretty good. Any band that does “Fight For Your Right To Party” by The Beastie Boys has my respect. They also did “Highway To Hell” by AC/DC which is always a nice to hear. I always get my rocks off when I hear that one.

Bad Hair Day was up next and I’ve been dying to see them for quite a long time. They’re an 80’s tribute band and, from what I’ve seen, they were pretty damn good. Wouldn’t mind seeing these guys put what they do on record. I’m sure people would snap that up rather quick.

Next up was the star of the show, Bret Michaels. Okay, well, it’s kind of interesting because I wasn’t familiar with his band or his solo material at this time. So, I was looking for the music I was familiar with and, of course, you know he’s gonna do some Poison material, which he did, much to the delight of the crowd. I can’t seem to remember the exact set list. But, I do know he did “Raine,” which was from his solo album, “Songs Of Life,” which I’ll get to in a moment. I know he did “Talk Dirty To Me” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance” and they went over rather well. The one thing about Bret Michaels is, sure, he might have grown as an artist. But, when it comes time to step up on that stage, he does what he does best…and that’s high energy, party all night, balls to the wall, rock and fucking roll! I’ll tell you one thing, I felt like a kid again. This was the kind of music that really started to float my boat at a young age and, to this day, it’s stuff like this that I just can’t live without. I like a little bit of everything. But, at the end of the day, this is what I like come back to, this is where my heart is at and I’ve gotta give Bret credit for carrying the torch high for this style of music. He does a true rock ‘n’ roll fan proud!

Now, I don’t usually throw a CD review into a live review. But, I’ve gotta mention his new disc here, while the feeling is still fresh in my mind. Now, before I even knew about this show, I’ve been listening to “Open Up And Say…AHH!” quite often. That’s my current fix. There’s a real cool vibe that flows through it and that’s what my mood has drawn me to lately. Another reason why I’m gonna talk about “Songs Of Life” here is because this album has that same vibe…times ten. So, I guess you can tell what I’ve been listening to all week, huh? Hey, what can I say, it’s a strong and solid album with a perfect balance of songs.

My favorite track on this release was “Bitterweet.” It’s an upbeat break up song (so to speak) and it’s just so lyrically cool. This song will stick in your head once you hear it. Even my four year old son is walking around singing it…and, yes, he’s got some of the words right.

I’m not sure if I can honestly say that “Stay With Me” is the best ballad that Bret’s ever done. But, as far as the emotional level goes, this one’s in the same league with “Something To Believe In” and “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” It’s just a beautiful song that has number one single written all over it. There’s no doubt about that. Other songs in this style include “Forgiveness” and “One More Day.” But, make no mistake, “Stay With Me” is the best one.

If you’re looking for something that’s close to the Poison material, there’s a lot to choose from. “Menace To Society,” “It’s My Party” and “Party Rock Band” being the ones that really stand out. And if you wanna hear Bret just rip shit up, check out “Loaded Gun” or “War Machine.”

Speaking of Poison, I’m sure a lot of people expect this release to sound like a Poison album. Well, if that’s what you’re looking for, you can get that thought out of your mind right now. While his style is still rock ‘n’ roll, I don’t know, I sense more of a classic Rolling Stones made modern vibe going on here. Bret doesn’t forget where he comes from and he doesn’t stray too far from home. But, he does have his own style going on here and, once you hear this release, that fact will be clear to your ears. One thing I know for sure is that you’re gonna dig this album. Get yourself a copy and crank it up because these are the “Songs Of Life!”

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