Originally announced in December 2019, this tour was supposed to take place just months later in the summer of 2020. Due to the pandemic, the tour was postponed to 2021. Again, due to the pandemic, the tour was postponed a second time to 2022. But was the 2 year delay worth waiting for? It most definitely was!!!
On Sunday 6/19/22 more than 60k concert-goers descended upon Orlando's Camping World Stadium. Parking lots immediately adjacent to the stadium were scheduled to open at 130p, with main gates opening at 330p, and the show's opening Act (Better Noise Music's "Classless Act") was to kickoff the show at 4p.
But then it rained. It was a freaking monsoon. Just before 3p, it poured and all of the parking lots around the stadium closed their gates, and fans grew immediately concerned as to whether this show for which we had all been waiting was going to possibly be delayed yet a third heart-wrenching time. Myself serving as media for the event had a 315p check-in time. It was going to be impossible to make the cutoff. As I messaged into a group text of all other media outlets with the venue, the venue confidently proclaimed in the text that come rain or shine, this show was going to happen (barring lightning).
As fate would have it, and perhaps with some influence by the gods of rock, the rain began falling lighter and lighter, until it actually seemed like I could get into the venue without getting soaked. Now, only slightly late, I proceeded toward the media entrance with other photographers emerging from other parked cars.
With the lines into the stadium having been delayed, the exits from the media room were inundated with hundreds of people blocking our door toward the stage. Thunderous sounds were coming from overhead and we realized that Class Act had already taken to the stage, but we were all trapped inside the media room. Unable to catch a glimpse or even the sound that caught Tommy Lee's talent-discerning ear, Classless Act would have to be reviewed another day and we all missed out.
As the sound outside silenced, we knew Classless Act had left the stage. By our count, the show was delayed by about 45 minutes. As the crowd which had previously blocked our door dissipated, we escaped the media holding area and headed toward the stage to be ready for Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
So how would the only female singing on the stage tonight fare? Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts commanded immediate attention when they took to that stage. Fans were treated to 'Cherry Bomb' from Joan's former days with The Runaways. A few songs in, they performed 'You Drive Me Wild' which Jett introduced as 'the very first song I ever wrote.' She ends up asking if there were any singers in the audience, for whom she let's out an 'oh yeah', and she goes into 'Do You Wanna Touch Me'.
Kenny Laguna, Jett's longtime producer and music partner, was onstage when he introduced himself as having started the Blackhearts with Joan back in 1979 when they wrote a song about fake friends, as they began 'Fake Friends.'
Fans were treated to 'I Love Rock & Roll' and 'I Hate Myself For Loving You', 2 of the groups more mainstay hits before exiting the stage after performing an amazing 12-song set.
Jett's songs weren't super fast, or over-complicated with instrumental solos. They were straight-forward, steady driving beats, with fan-friendly and relatable lyrics that even after not hearing some of these songs on today's regular radio music rotations, even I remembered the lyrics after all these years to these classics. Watching Joan on stage was mesmerizing, especially considering this musical icon having survived in the industry for more than 40 years. Her voice still had that gritty tonal vocal quality that made me, as a teenager, think that she was a total badass, and now decades later I had this opinion confirmed in person.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' Setlist:
1. Victim of Circumstance
2. Cherry Bomb
3. Light of Day
4. Everyday People
5. You Drive Me Wild
6. Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)
7. Fake Friends
8. Crimson & Clover
9. I Love Rock 'n' Roll
10. (I'm Gonna) Run Away
11. I Hate Myself for Loving You
12. Bad Reputation
So perhaps this is a slightly biased review of Poison. There was a very strong buzz going into this show that Poison was performing extremely well. With that in mind, I tried to remain as neutral as possible... as neutral as I could be, despite the nostalgia inside of me that remembered that Poison was the 3rd concert I had ever watched in my life. Tonight was special though. Bret Michaels and CC Deville are automatically synonymous with Poison's brand, having been with the band since its onset of 1983 and 1985, respectively. But who else is synonymous with this group? Original members Rikki Rockett (drums) and Bobby Dall (bass)... and ALL of them were performing together tonight... literally the same lineup I watched when I saw them live for the first time back in 1991. Bret was naturally charismatic, charming everyone within arm's reach with either an outreached handshake or pointing at them while making direct eye contact. Even with me photographing this show from the pit, I was hoping to get a finger point!
Although the finger point (at me) didn't happen this night, I took a stroll down memory lane when suddenly every video I ever watched of theirs was playing in my mind, recognizing every single song in this 1-hour set. Bret had a tremendous energy about him and did a superb job of drawing the audience into this portion of the show. Vocally, he sounded the same as he did when I heard him 31 years ago. Honestly, he sounded great and his non-stop energy was infectious and the crowd couldn't get enough.
In all transparency, growing up I was never really a fan of CC Deville's. But tonight, that all changed. He came onto that stage and I felt like I was watching rock guitar playing at its finest. Punctuated by an actual guitar solo, Deville's playing tonight was dead-on perfect, note for note, to what I used to hear on the radio. With his long-flowing dark hair, he looked how a lead guitarist was supposed to look, but again: he backed his look up with actual skill as he nimbly worked his fingers up and down that fretboard with absolute ease. With Bret and CC taking turns going up and down the center ramp, it was like watching a tag team of rock legends alternating at just the right moments. It was like someone was juggling plates that were just stacking higher and higher, at some point just when you thought that the plates couldn't go any higher, another alternating plate would raise that ever-climbing bar. On this night that stack of plates was somewhere in the heavens because this part of the concert was rock mastery. Looking into the distance and seeing Rikki Rockett and Bobby Dall: literally, it was the perfect blend of visual and auditory embodiment and musicality.
1. Look What the Cat Dragged In
2. Ride the Wind
3. Talk Dirty to Me
4. Your Mama Don't Dance
(CC Deville guitar solo)
5. Fallen Angel
6. I Want Action
(Rikki Rocket's drum solo)
7. Unskinny Bop
8. Every Rose Has Its Thorn
9. Nothin' But a Good Time
Of tonight's 4 main acts, Motley Crue had the biggest bad-boy reputation. With Tommy's infamous 1995 sex tape, Vince's previous struggles with cocaine, heroin, and alcohol, and all sorts of other rumors about the band, this was the band that made you feel like you were doing something you weren't supposed to whenever you were just watching the hot girls in their music videos.
Tonight, drummer Tommy Lee was the main focus at the start of the set. Why? Upon the conclusion of the 3rd song, Tommy disappeared from behind the drumset and Vince directed him to address the audience. Tommy came out to the front of the stage and delivered a 2-minute F-bomb laced statement that he couldn't continue due to his having fractured 4 ribs seemingly on his right side. With much of the audience already acutely aware of this and realizing that Tommy could have departed at any moment of the show, the 60,000+ at Camping World Stadium erupted in applause and fans cheering when Tommy's face was projected over the twin jumbo screens flanking the stage. If there had to be a monumental ballin' rockstar move, it was epitomized by watching Tommy assault the drums with authority and reckless abandonment while pushing through excruciating pain. If there had to also be a stereotypical 'Tommy' move, it had to be fracturing 4 ribs just before entering into a 35-city tour, and realizing how stupid of a reason he had for breaking his ribs that he still hasn't verbalized publicly as to what caused him to break 4 bones in his body.
Tommy's backup tonight on drums was Tommy Clufetos of Black Sabbath Reunion tour fame. Clufetos' resume of previous bands is extensive and impressive and when you closed your eyes, the drums were technically spot on to their originally recorded album versions. But the essence of 'Crue' when Vince, Tommy (Lee), Nikki Sixx, and Mick Mars was on stage for the 3 songs when Tommy was behind the snare and bass drums. You were reminded of how, despite his craziness, you just always wanted to cheer for the guys like Tommy back in high school. Here was a guy that with every crash of the cymbals you were holding your breath to see how long he could endure the pain before having to tap out. Almost like watching a fighter or Olympian: of course you didn't want to see them hurting or struggling, but seeing them get through it just motivated you to want to be more. To the delight of fans, Tommy (Lee) would return for the 10th song tonight, playing the piano for their unforgettable ballad 'Home Sweet Home.'
1. Wild Side
2. Shout at the Devil
3. Too Fast For Love
4. Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
5. Saints of Los Angeles
6. Live Wire
7. Looks That Kill
8. The Dirt (est. 1981)
9. Medley: Rock and Roll, Part 2 / Smokin' in the Boys Room / White Punks on Dope / Helter Skelter / Anarchy in the UK
10. Home Sweet Home; TNT (Terror N' Tinseltown
11. Dr. Feelgood
12. Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)
13. Girls, Girls, Girls
14. Primal Scream
15. Kickstart My Heart