POISON 20th ANNIVERSARY SHOW with CINDERELLA and ENDEVERAFTER at Molson Amphitheatre, August 1. Tickets: $42.50. Attendance: 6,500. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Featuring more outfit changes than a Spice Girls show, Poison's tear through the Molson Amphitheatre was a celebration of their second decade as the glam metal band more concerned with showmanship than with technical skill.
With poppy hooks and filler fireworks as distractions, it was easy to overlook the cyclical solos and fuzzy power chords reminiscent of my teenaged neighbour's jam hour, and the pumped-up audience was more than content to Un-Skinny Bop in a hair-metal memory haze till they had to go pay the babysitter.
Openers Cinderella danced across the stage with flaming Vs and doubleneck Gibson SGs, pounding out hard rock classics as the sun went down. Even sexier in his 50s, scratchy-voiced singer Tom Keifer yelled, "You're tearing my fucking heart out, Toronto!" as he fell dramatically to the ground at the end of a solid rendition of 1986 power ballad Nobody's Fool.
Keifer and his bandmates seemed happy to be back together, even for just a brief reunion. Wheeling a baby grand onstage to the hysterics of most audience members, Keifer led the crowd in Don't Know What You Got Till It's Gone, his smoke-soaked voice on its last legs, then returned for the triumphant finale of head-banger favourite Shake Me.
Entering through pyrotechnics to face the 40-something crowd who screamed every word of their all-hits (some misses) set, Poison seemed ecstatic to make like they were 20 years old. A new cover of Grand Funk Railroad's We're An American Band, featured on their current record of greatest hits, sounded hackneyed, but they effortlessly pulled off sentimental faves like Every Rose Has Its Thorn and Something To Believe.
Though he's chopped the coif, Bret Michaels still has enough powerful charisma to distract you from his just-average metal vocals, and his compulsive need to reintroduce lead guitarist C.C. DeVille (rated number-one on the list of worst guitar solos in Guitar World mag) before every solo grew progressively more amusing.
By the end of the night, though, you came away feeling like Cinderella had delivered something far more substantial and timelessly rock 'n' roll romantic than Poison's set of rehash and flash.