As Bret Michaels would say, the crowd was “fired up” this Wednesday night at the Erie County Fair.
Opening the Rock Fest was Lita Ford, who played with such passion and energy it was clear to see that she really enjoyed her time on stage. Alongside Lita was her band, consisting of drummer Bobby Rock, bassist Marty O’Brien and Patrick Kennison on guitar, who all contributed to the high energy feel of their set. Lita played a healthy variety of songs ranging from her 80’s hits, to covers and came back around with songs off her 2012 release Living Like A Runaway. In the middle of her set Bobby Rock did a great drum solo which had the crowd watching in awe and cheering extensively once it was brought to a close. She performed an excellent cover of Elton John’s hit “The Bitch Is Back”, and my only complaint was that she didn’t play “Falling In and Out of Love”, a definite favorite of mine. However putting my minor complaint aside, I was very impressed with her rendition of “Close My Eyes Forever” featuring her guitarist on guest vocals. Initially I was leery since Ozzy’s part can be so hard to perform, but Patrick Kennison did the part justice and the song was definitely a highlight of her set. She closed with “Kiss Me Deadly”, a crowd favorite that brought everyone to their feet.
Up next was Warrant, who completely blew me away. Robert Mason does such an amazing job singing for the band and can perform the entire set impeccably. In my opinion, Warrant is one of the best, if not the best band that you can see perform without their original singer. Mason stands alongside all four other original Warrant members, who seemingly have not changed a bit. The guitar still shreds, the bass and drums still boom throughout the venue and it really felt like a performance fresh out of 1989. They played all their old school hits such as “Big Talk”, “Heaven”, “Sure Feels Good” and of course their arguably most notable song, “Cherry Pie” and paired that with one song off their latest album Rockaholic –“Sex Ain’t Love”. The band delivered a fun, high energy performance that had the crowd singing along throughout the entirety of their set and provided a great 1980’s welcome to the headliner of the night, original Poison member Bret Michaels.
Closing out the night was Bret Michaels who performed an immensely high energy show, and I honestly think the only time he wasn’t running around the stage was during “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”. Bret played only Poison songs, aside from a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”, in which he brought out some of the Bret Michaels Band crew to help him perform it. The songs he played varied from 1986’s “Look What The Cat Dragged In” to Flesh and Blood‘s “Unskinny Bop”, and I could tell I was not the only one who was pleased with the fact that he only played Poison songs. The crowd was on their feet- jumping, dancing and singing while Bret and his band brought them back to the 80’s. Towards the end of the set Bret announced that he’s hoping to tour alongside Def Leppard next year with Poison’s original lineup, which caused a massive roar from the crowd. The entire night Bret would not stop saying how “fired up” he was, and it was true. Rarely have I seen a front man jump around as much as he did- from harmonica solos to rapping in the middle of a song, Bret did it all and with gusto.