Poison, with Slaughter, Dokken and Cinderella
Molson Amphitheatre, June 28, '00
by Martin Popoff

The crowd was truly frightening, I'm sure very nice, blissfully unaware (as opposed to say, the anguished, all-too-aware mopers at the last Satyricon or Dismember show), but man, I'd be bawling out loud after hearing their hard luck stories. It looked like tragedy all around, many bulging off their belt buckles, and those who weren't, plainly suffering from having no knowledge of grean leafy's or citrus, anemic, malnourished, all the odd shapes convening in this big group hug, one from which these bands would turn tail and jiggle their fannies in full retreat back to the bus and then to Detroit if God forbid, doodie called and they had to play guidance counselor.

Right, star trip. These men know no dynamic. They think everything is to be performed on 11, and God luv 'em, I guess. At the ludicrous edge of existence were Dana Strum and C.C. Deville, who writhed and prayed and wrenched the nic-fit bejesus out of their weapons all the time, especially on the ballads. I guess if you've got breathing room, huff and puff. 'Fly To The Angels' saw Slaughter, plainly pleased that they had close to 2000 already in the barn at 5:30 for their set, becoming Klaus Meine doing 'Free Bird' on the Berlin Wall. Mark disassembled the pieces until all the irony inside could be seen wriggling around like unwanted children kicking dust at a trailer park. Blas overplayed everything (every Slaughter song is apparently ripe for double bass drum assault), but once my mild disgust cleared, I quietly said to myself, "yeah, but, but, but, that's part of their sound. By the way, what am I doing here. I could be working!" Their new guitarist had a Zakk Wylde air to him, as did Dokken's Reb Beach, who also threw a little Richie Kotzen in for casual and skinny effect. Don . . . hadn't seen him since the Screaming For Vengeance tour in Spokane Wash., but I must say, he sounded good but had some questionable moves. Air drumming: I do it too, but it looks dumb on a lead singer.

Cinderella were the danger boys I guess, signaled by the black hair and those absconded soul influences and their always present air of hard drugs. Whatever. They were OK, and the crowd dug it (like I say, each band had their sorry army), and they had a backdrop which provided the second "metal is back" moment after the crowd size. Oh yeah, Poison headlined. They had ramps, mostly short hair (the lone band of the night to hang onto that post-grunge, try to fit in metal look), a disco ball, acoustic guitars and a frontman who has stolen pretty much every Steven Tyler move in the book. C.C. is Tommy Lee. His brain-damaged rap before his vocal on 'I Hate Every Bone In Your Body (But Mine)' was too much: "F***in' Toronto! Everybody having a f***in' good time?! They finally let me sing a Poison song! Do you wanna hear me sing?! Would you like to hear C.C. sing a Poison song?!? Hear C.C. sing a song. Here, in a minute, will be C.C. singing a Poison song! This is a Poison song, and I am C.C., who, as will become evident when you see that Bret is not on stage, will be the vocalist for the next selection." Or something like that.

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