BRET MICHAELS rocked Lava Cantina in The Colony Wednesday night, October 4. I loved with this venue from the moment I walked in the door. It’s a rock n’ roll themed Creole-Mexican fusion restaurant that doubles as a premier concert venue seating over 1500 guests. There is an upstairs balcony area that is partially covered with a great view looking down to the outside patio where the main stage is located. The main floor has both tables, booths and a huge bar with an indoor stage actually located behind the bar.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and for the first time, I had the pleasure of meeting April Samuels, Drummer for Dallas based, local heavy metal band, METAL SHOP and also a breast cancer survivor herself. April is now an advocate for breast cancer awareness and her Breast Cancer Can Stick It Foundation was on-site with a merchandising booth full of swag to help raise money for the cause. Justin Ross was the opening band and is a mixture of country music intertwined with good southern rock-n-roll who plays an array of originals. This was my first time to hearing Justin and you can rest assured it won’t be my last! Super impressive band.
As band members Pete Evick (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Rob Jozwiak (Keys/Vocals), Eric Brittingham (Bass Guitarist/Vocals) and Mike “The Mad Man” Bailey on Drums, take the stage, Bret runs on fully charged up and says “Everybody raise your hands, raise them up! Texas, are we ready to party tonight? Are we ready to take it back to old school POISON?”
As smoke stacks shot up in the air on the side of the stage, the girls went wild as they opened with “Talk Dirty To Me.” Michaels then told the crowd, “I’m fired up tonight! It is an honor to be back in Texas at The Colony! This is a party and a celebration! Thank you for being with us here tonight. This entire show is dedicated to all of our friends in Las Vegas right now. All politics and prejudice aside, tonight we party as Americans, as friends, to have a great time and make this awesome here tonight!”
And if you have ever seen BRET MICHAELS perform live, you know it’s not your ordinary concert, it’s full-on party mode. The second song, one that jump started his career with POISON off their debut album released in 1986, title track “Look What The Cat Dragged In” was next, followed by “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance” with the sexy hunk playing his harmonica. Michaels was dressed in his usual tight fitting jeans, a black “Bret Michaels” t-shirt (the back said “Life without music sucks.” No argument here!),a red bandanna and wearing his patriotic cowboy hat bearing the inscription, Texas Strong. As the tempo dropped, he grabbed his acoustic guitar and played “Something To Believe In”, and then he kicked back into high gear with “Unskinny Bop”, a ginormous crowd pleaser that includes audience participation, which led into a drum solo by Bailey.
Yes, the band was pumped up and cranking out the POISON hits but the set was shorter than anticipated. Pete Evick, lead guitarist for over a decade with BMB is smooth, his riffs along with his facial expressions are priceless and his smile is endless. He and Brittingham together both took center stage throughout the night while Bret stayed back and let them shine. All three would move back and forth to each end with Bret shaking hands and wooing the girls. Their energy and spontaneity is contagious, Michaels is in fine form and these guys have more charisma than most which only reiterates their love and passion of performing and it screams par-tay from beginning to end.
The band followed up with “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” and one of my all time favorites, which describes the night perfectly, “Nothing But A Good Time”. For the encore, they came back and played KISS’ “Rock and Roll All Nite.” The band members tossed out guitar picks and drumsticks and the guys were determined that a lady who was wheelchair bound received several items that were handed to her. A live auction ensued with proceeds benefitting the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
What a thrill watching fans try and out bid one another for memorabilia! Stefanie Nichols from Driscoll was the highest bidder on another of Bret’s cowboy hats with $2500. She was so excited, afterwards when she met him she actually forgot to get it autographed so she had to return and ask, which wasn’t a problem.
Michaels informed the crowd they would return to Lava Cantina this December and they were bringing all the pyrotechnics back with them. With that said, if you weren’t able to catch this concert be prepared to bring your friends to party at the next one this winter and be witness to a show that’s bound to be explosive. While the night was one big party and celebration, it certainly rose above the norm as far as giving back. Michaels gave a dedication to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, gave to a disabled fan, and gave to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. But most of all, BRET MICHAELS and his band gave their all!
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: JANICE SPICER