March 24, 2011
Lucky Star Casino
Clinton, OK USA
Review by Robbie Pratt
Photos by Robbie Pratt
Bret Michaels - Bret Michaels, BulletBoys
Bret Michaels has spent so much time in Sooner country the past few years you'd think the state would make him an honorary citizen. With an appearance at the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, March 24, and another show with Poison May 30 at Rocklahoma in Pryor, that makes three Oklahoma appearances in five months. Michaels, however, can be forgiven for the multiple dates he's scheduled. Anybody who can survive the harrowing health scares he's endured the past two years can tour whenever he wants, wherever he wants, and if Big Red country is his chosen home away from home, then so be it.
This will be the last time the Poison front man sports a bandana and cowboy hat before hooking up with Rikki, Bobby and C.C. to celebrate their 25th Anniversary. (A stunning reality many in the media have yet to fathom, even to this day). But considering the show opens in Dallas June 7 with Motley Crue and the iconic New York Dolls, (it's only a hop, skip and a jump down south I-35, or 75), there's no telling how many hearty Bret fans will make the pilgrimage. For those who don't, the show at the Lucky Star Casino was indelibly etched in their minds as to why the singer has become a fan throughout the state.
The show opened with the Bullet Boys going 'smooth up in ya' with vocalist Marq Torien leading the way. This band has definitely had its share of ups and downs since its album debut 23 years ago. The fact they're still on the road, doing their thing, is a testament to the staying power one album can do for a band's career. Torian & Co. put on a great performance; a perfect warm-up act for the show to follow.
When you think about it, Bret Michaels has done a 360 with his life since his Rock of Love days. The venerable front man not only won Celebrity Apprentice, he finally decided to settle down with the mother of his two children, Kristi Gibson. His recent health scares the past two years have also changed him as well. When the singer found out an 8-year old child had been murdered recently, he promptly offered to raffle off a guitar during the show, to raise money for the burial expenses the family was having a hard time coming up with. Throughout the evening, Michaels implored the audience to give generously. By the end of the night, over $2800 had been raised by the crowd, including a generous donation from the casino itself.
Michaels wasn't about to let a tragedy stand in the way of the crowd having 'nothin' but a good time.' He sprinkled his show with hits not only from his solo and band career, but another unexpected surprise as well. The singer informed the crowd he had recently been given an honorary membership into Lynyrd Skynyrd, and promptly launched into "Sweet Home Alabama" to celebrate the news. The crowd sang every word with him. Michaels had a stellar cast of musicians backing him up. They included Pete Evick, guitar; Ray Scheuring, bass; Rob Jozwiak, piano; and Chuck Fanslau, drums. Not only did they rock the building playing precise Poison music, they did justice to Michaels' solo material was well.
Every place Michaels performs, he makes sure to point out to the crowd a cause near and dear to his heart - the Diabetes Foundation. He also makes it a point to thank the men and women of the military who put their lives on the line every day to keep this country safe. The crowds take notice when he speaks, and cheer him every time. As the singer rocked the night away with Poison material and rock solid music from his solo career, no one was let down when the curtain call was finally made.
As the crowd shuffled out of the building, Bret was preparing himself for a trip down to Dallas to assist in fund raising efforts for the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure breast foundation. When 13,000 runners crossed the finish line of the Rock n' Roll Marathon Saturday morning, Bret would be there to serenade them in true hard rock fashion. Yeah, I like the new Bret Michaels. The 'poison' arrows that used to dominate his life have now been replaced by Cupid's darts. It's been quite a journey for the Pennsylvania native from his glam days of make-up and hair spray to responsible family man. This Rose may have finally lost those prickly thorns, but not his heart.