Live Gig

Poison and Cheap Trick Deliver a Classic American Rock & Roll Show at PNC Art Center in NJ on June 23rd, 2018


Words and Pictures: Robert Cavuoto


It’s the perfect pairing of two classic American rock bands Poison and Cheap Trick for their Nothin’ But a Good Time Tour; two great bands that have their share of hits and know how to entertain an audience like no other. The excitement to see Poison has escalated over the years, as they were dormant for five prior to opening for Def Leppard in 2017. Now in 2018 the boys back looking relaxed, tan, and better than ever for with this headlining tour.


Even though Poison’s biggest hits were from the 80’s; Bret Michaels (vocal), CC Deville (guitar), Bobby Dall (bass) and Rikki Rockett (drums) played the songs like they were all reborn as not to tarnish their powerful legacy and capture the spirit of when the songs were written. I don’t think I have ever seen a band happier and more grateful to be on stage performing for their fans! They were all energetic with a tremendous amount of on-stage camaraderie. The band’s glam look of the 80’s and 90’s with big hair and spandex has long been replaced with a more modern rock look of jeans, plain shirts, and boots. Don’t let this more mature look fool you, the band hasn’t slowed down and delivered a high octane show in true Poison fashion!

CC Deville was like a cool cat in a cool hat and played like a man possessed; tearing up a down the catwalk never missing a note! Mid-set he took center stage for a blistering solo that showcased his guitar chops for this hungry crowd.

Bret is the ultimate rock frontman; entertaining the crowd, giving high fives to fans, and throwing out smiles to all the girls. He continuously thanked the crowd for coming and paid respect to all the men and women in the armed services. It was a message of hope, love, and peace! He told the audience, “It’s your party New Jersey, let’s have some fun!” and then proceed to turn up the energy.

Rikki is quite the showman behind his kit and dedicated his drum solo to Vinnie Paul of Pantera who had passed away that morning. Bobby is a steadfast and true bassist laying down the backbeat for the songs live and breathe. Each member gave there all to entertain the crowd like no other band could.

The 70 minute set squeezed in all of their hits; “Fallen Angel” “Unskinny Bop,” “Look What the Cat Dragged In,” “Talk Dirty to Me,” “Nothin’ But a Good Time” “Ride the Wind” and closed the show out with “Rock and Roll All Nite” by Kiss.

Cheap Trick

From their checkerboard stage, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Cheap Trick brought back the late-70s and 80s in full force performing many songs from; In Color [1977], Heaven Tonight [1978] and Lap of Luxury [1988]. They opened the show with “Hello There,” and never looked back for their 60-minute set.

Classics like; “The Flame,” “Surrender,” “I Want You to Want Me,” “Dream Police,” and “Big Eyes” were played with an infectious sense of energy that got the crowd singing, dancing, and rocking in aisles. Robin Zander (vocals), Rick Nielsen (guitar), Tom Petersson (bass) and Daxx Nielsen (drums) are a quintessential American rock band whose songs have outlasted the hands of time and sounded just as fresh as they did 40+ years ago and continue to release a new CD every few years. For this tour, the band released a new song; “The Summer Looks Good on You” which was also performed. The best thing about Cheap Trick is their ability to change up some of the songs in the set list night to night. Tonight they performed “He’s A Whore” and “Hot Love” which are not always guaranteed to be in the set list. All the songs were tight, fast-driven and neatly filled with all the band’s trademark riffs with soulful vocals provided by Robin.

Rick is by far one of the most energetic and charismatic guitarists out there. He tossed picks by the handful to fans, performed solos on his checkerboard pedestal, and changed guitars like people change their underwear. His guitar tech must get paid overtime to restringing and tune his arsenal of guitars each night; particularly his five-neck guitar which was used on “Goodnight Now.”

Tom was more laid back and played bass closer to drummer Daxx only moving to the front of the stage to sing backup vocals and when he took lead vocals on Velvet Underground’s, “I’m Waiting for the Man.”

It was truly a great night of Rock & Roll for everyone in attendance and a must-see event as you won’t be disappointed!

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