Tanya Tucker/Trace Adkins/David Kersh
August 4, 1997
Jackson County Fair, Jackson, MI
David Kersh opened this show, and it was quite a surprise from his mellow radio hits ("Goodnight Sweetheart," etc.). His was definitely a high energy show, with a lot of uptempo honky tonk numbers, along with everything from AC/DC and Metallica to a revved up cover of Faron Young's "Hello Walls." On the strength of his live performance, this guy's gonna be huge!
Trace Adkins followed, with a mix of tracks from his debut and forthcoming albums. His strong baritone is every bit as impressive live as it is on his recordings, and, though he didn't quite match Kersh's energy, Trace was equally impressive.
Shortly after 11:00, Tanya took the stage in a skimpy leather outfit and her trademark Texas twang. She ran through hit after hit and had the crowd eating out of her hands. Her voice was in fine form, and her band was outstanding, as well. There were not as many of her "older" hits as I would've liked, but for Tanya to cover them all, we'd have been there 'til morning.
An outstanding mid-Michigan show, and well worth wading through the corn dogs for.
July 12, 1997
DeVos Hall, Grand Rapids, MI
When Sammy announced to his 2500 Hagar fanatics, "Now that was a rock and roll concert" following his two and a half hour show at the sold out DeVos Hall, he couldn't have said it any better because rock shows like this one come around infrequently, if ever. However, Sammy chose to perform in the more intimate surrounds of theaters on this, his first solo tour in 11 years, to give a chance forthe true fans to be closer to the "Red Rocker."
Sammy also set sights to prove (as he puts it) that he still is one of the best frontmen/entertainers in rock -- a goal which seems oh, so easy. Sammy always feels a oneness with his fans. How many others would actually wear the shirts people throw onstage? or drape a banner around their waists? As for an inflatable doll that makes its way onto the stage... you dance with it, of course.
Starting minutes before hitting the stage, the chanting was so loud and continuous throughout the show that Sammy couldn't get rid of the huge smile on his face, saying "You guys are just too much." Later, when talking about his friendship with Nugent, he asked, "So, do you think I can take him? I'm smaller and fast enough that I could get in quick and bite his ear." If it was a cheap shot for laughs, it served its purpose well.
At the middle of the set, when Sammy and the band were "supposed to take a break," as they were suggested to do, he proclaimed, while making a batch of his "Wabo-rita" (of which he passed a couple of cups into the audience to go around), "I don't know how to take a break." So, in turn, they performed acoustic/honed down versions of "On the Other Hand," "Let Me Take You Home," and "Right Now," which he described a special moment writing with Eddie at three in the morning.
With over 25 years of recording career behind him, Sammy covered the 25 song selections the best he could, though everyone would have enjoyed another hour's worth. Covering some great new songs from his MARCHING TO MARS, which closed the set with some lucky fans onstage singing back up, the new highlights would have to be "Salvation on Sand Hill," "Kama" (about his daughter), and "The Yogi's So High," which was beyond the Hagar we're used to. Highlights we came expecting and received at full throttle were "Bad Motor Scooter," "There's Only One Way to Rock," "Why Can't This Be Love," "Eagles Fly" (the encore), and "Heavy Metal," to close out the set.
If there was one other point that Sammy didn't have much of a hard time proving, it was that Eddie Van Halen got rid of a great thing. But Sammy's back where he belongs, as the "Red Rocker," once again.
Testament/Stuck Mojo/Strapping Young Lad
August 8, 1997
The Rocker, Grand Rapids, MI
Strapping Young Lad opened this show with a performance that was far heavier than their recordings imply. Gritty, nasty riffing with a hard-core fury, and attitude to spare.
Stuck Mojo followed, and if you haven't seen this band, you are DEFINITELY missing out. Hot power metal with rapping vocals and axework to spare. Stuck Mojo is an energetic and exciting band on stage and stole this show.
Still sweating from the previous performances, Testament hit the stage in anti-climactic fashion -- not bad, but predictable, and a set list that could've benefitted from changing tempos. The songs had a tendency to run together as the night went on, bringing the performance down a few notches.
August 12, 1997
State Theater, Detroit, MI
The Misfits opened, and what's up with that? This band used to kick ass, and now it's a bunch of pathetic posing with plenty of volume and absolutely no substance. Even songs I love, I hated. Hopefully, this band will go away. What a waste.
Megadeth proved the PA had nothing to do with the Misfits' shortcomings, as Mustaine and company melted the place. Dishing out live renditions of their latest offering along with several cuts from COUNTDOWN and YOUTHANASIA. Alas, the only disappointment Megadeth provided was an obvious absence of early cuts, and using the Pistols as an encore, when they've got originals that rip "Anarchy" to shreds... oh, well, some of us are just plain greedy, I guess.
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