Opener: Top of the Orange
The Amphitheater at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama
Bret Michaels just doesn’t stop. It seems like he’s constantly touring. When Poison isn’t touring, he’s doing solo shows and even when Poison is on the road, he finds time to schedule solo shows! Poison is in the middle of a big summer tour with Motley Crue and the New York Dolls but the band has scheduled a number of headlining shows as well on off days. Warrant is opening for them on a number of those shows but unfortunately were not present for this Orange Beach concert.
Top of the Orange
I was hoping there would be someone opening the show but it wasn’t until a week before the show that The Wharf’s Facebook page announced that Mobile, Alabama-based band Top of the Orange would be curtain jerking. I checked a few of their songs out online and they seemed like a decent current-sounding hard rock band with songs that fit in with the rest of whatever rock radio decides to play these days.
Apparently they’ve been making quite a name of themselves in the Gulf Coast area and according to their website they’ve opened for 3 Doors Down, Staind, Shinedown, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin and Theory of a Dead Man among others… Now you can add Poison to that list!
While I didn’t expect Poison to do a 2 hour to 2 1/2 hour set, I certainly didn’t expect Top of the Orange to play so long either. I thought 4 or 5 songs and then it’d be time for Poison but The Orange had played a healthy set. While Top of the Orange won’t be drawing any similarities to a band like Poison and their sound owes more to the ’90s rock scene and bands like Theory of a Deadman and Nickelback that’s what made the experience cool — you get to see a young up ‘n’ coming playing a totally different style than the veteran headliners. Variety is the spice of life!
I know I’m going to completely screw up the set list, but here’s what seems familiar (though I think I’m leaving off a song or two and I know the order isn’t right):
“Let Me In”
“Truth Be told”
“Cutting Me Off”
“Immigrant Song” (Led Zeppelin cover)
“Who Turned Off the Sun”
Poison is out on the road this summer with a tour they’re calling “Glam-A-Geddon 25” in honor of the band’s 1986 Look What the Cat Dragged In debut. Odd then that some of the band would wear Open Up and Say… Ahh! t-shirts and that album cover was a part of the stage setup. Could it be they are embarrassed by their debut album’s super glammy cover?
I’d seen Poison once before but it was a good show. Much like Def Leppard, I know they don’t change up the set list much from year to year but these guys are still a fun band and certainly the premier glam metal band and are proud of that fact so to me it was worth taking the time and money to see them again.
As I said, there weren’t too many surprises with the set list. They band went through all their signature songs but actually sounded better than when I saw in 2009 (although I think it was more of a technical issue that day). Compared to when I first saw them, they’ve dropped “Something To Believe In”, which has been played on some of the Motley shows, but added “I Want Action” (which I thought was awesome) and “We’re An American Band”.
Poison started off the show in a cool way, or maybe it was just coincidental — the lights went out, the stage started to glow and then AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” started to play and it played in its entirety as Poison’s skull backdrop was raised on the stage. Seemed like part of the show to me. Both finished about the same time and then a spotlight hits the drum kit and a guy walks out in a jacket, hat and bandanna covering his face and spray paints “Orange” on one kick drum and “Beach” on the other. He takes off the jacket and bandanna and it’s revealed to be none other than Rikki Rockett!
From there the band was on fire — literally! You had green flames, yellow flames, orange flames, pyro, etc. going off at various times throughout the night. Backdrops were changed a couple of times, it was a get stage set up. The entire band was energetic all night long and Bret is really one of the best front men to come out of the ’80s.
I was counting on Setlist.FM to already have the set list up but it’s not there yet. I KNOW these are the songs played but I may have one or two out of order. I’m about 85% sure this is the correct order though!
“Look What The Cat Dragged In”
“I Want Action”
“We’re An American Band” (Grand Funk Railroad cover)
“Ride The Wind”
“Your Mama Don’t Dance” (Loggins & Messina cover)
C.C.’s Guitar Solo
Rikki’s Drum Solo
“Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
“Talk Dirty To Me”
“Nothin’ But A Good Time”
Just a fun night all around, the venue was not as full as the Def Leppard show but still close to being packed. Top of the Orange got a good reception, it seemed like about a fourth of the audience knew who they were so that helped add to the enjoyment of watching them. Poison was indeed “nothin’ but a good time”. The band has caught a lot of flak over the years from peers and rock fans but I’ve always enjoyed them. They aren’t the best musicians or the most thoughtful lyricists but they always bring fun and a good time to the table and what more do you really need in a rock band?