Poison + Cheap Trick + Pop Evil

Clarkston, Michigan, (June 8, 2018) – Friday nights are meant for partying and fans of rockers Poison, Cheap Trick, and Pop Evil showed up in full force to celebrate on a beautiful early summer evening at DTE Energy Music Theater. Tonight’s triple bill didn’t let anyone down, giving us three sets of fist-pumping, rocking tunes and “Nothin’ But a Good Time“!

Pop Evil © Splice Magazine – Thom Seling. Please do not alter images.

Opening the show with the hardest hitting set of the evening, Michiganders Pop Evil gave their home-state crowd a great performance. Featuring “Boss’s Daughter” from their second LP, 2018’s “Ex Machina” and “100 in a 55” from their 2008 debut, the nine-song set spanned the range of their catalog and got the audience excited with serious fretwork from Dave Grahs and Nick Fuelling.

Drummer Hayley Cramer and Matt DiRito on bass laid down a solid rhythm that fueled the fast-moving freight train of rock. The set wrapped up with a pair of Billboard #1 Mainstream Rock tracks “Waking Lions” and “Trenches“, with vocalist Leigh Kakaty heading up the stairs to the lawn to give those in the cheap seats a front row experience!

Cheap Trick © Splice Magazine – Thom Seling. Please do not alter images.

Middle on the bill, long time Detroit favorites Cheap Trick did what they do best: throw out a strong, consistent live performance of well-loved tunes from their career of over 4 decades. Robin Zander proved he can still hit it and led the band through frenzied opening numbers “Hello There“, “You Got It Going On” and the cover “California Man“, telling the Detroit crowd how much they loved playing “here at Pine Knob, or whatever it’s called!“.

A stellar performance from guitar genius Rick Nielsen brought us through a few more tunes with Tom Petersson on bass, including their newest single “The Summer Looks Good on You” as well as their phenomenal cover of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That A Shame“. Original drummer Bun E. Carlos is no longer touring with the band, however, Nielsen’s son Daxx has proven to be a suitable replacement on the skins, while another offspring, Robin Zander Jr. filled in the additional rhythm guitar work. The set was rounded out with 1988’s chart-topping hit “The Flame“, and of course “I Want You To Want Me“, “Dream Police” and the Cheap Trick at Budokon classic “Surrender.” The show closed, as is typical for Cheap Trick, with “Goodnight Now“, the companion song to their opening number, with Nielsen wielding his famous custom 5-neck Hamer guitar!

Poison © Splice Magazine – Thom Seling. Please do not alter images.

After a brief wait while the roadies set up for the main act, Poison hit the stage with an animated video clip before launching into their classic opener “Look What The Cat Dragged In” from their debut album of the same name. Guitarist C.C. DeVille and bassist Bobby Dall screamed into the intro under a barrage of green lasers, bringing the crowd to their feet. Bret Michaels burst out on the stage, decked out in his trademark muscle shirt and red bandanna, just in time to share a few high fives with the front row before tearing into the first verse. Introducing the third number, Michaels told us the video for 1990’s “Ride The Wind” was shot at ‘the Joe because Detroit fans rock‘,  and how he loved getting into Detroit early enough to get in some biking around the trails at this venue. The crowd went wild as they rollicked through that tune and “Talk Dirty To Me” from their debut album.

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The certified Gold single “Something to Believe In” slowed things down a bit, with Michaels donning one of the many blinged out cowboy hats we’d see this evening. Throughout the set, each band member was given their moment in the spotlight wowing the crowd with a raucous drum solo from cancer survivor Rikki Rockett, a bluesy thumping bass solo version of Henry Mancini’s “Pink Panther Theme” from Bobby Dall and of course some blistering shredding from C.C. DeVille on lead guitar. Asking the crowd to “light it up“, Michaels crooned 1988’s number one single “Every Rose Has Its Thorn“, with the entire pavilion resembling a galaxy of cell phone LEDs. Bret and the boys fulfilled their promise of “Nothin’ But A Good Time” to end the show, before giving us an encore cover of the KISS standard “Rock and Roll All Nite“.

Upon seeing the lineup for this show, I was a little unsure how the three acts would fit together, but by night’s end, it was clear that all of these bands were here to give Detroit music fans an amazing night of rock n’ roll and that’s all that really matters!  Catch the Nothin’ But A Good Time Tour 2018 this summer as they criss-cross the US and Canada, you won’t regret it!


Cheap Trick:

Pop Evil:

DTE Energy Music Theater:

Author: Kate Sumbler

Senior Photojournalist — Portfolio

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