I was at a summer barbecue this past weekend, listening to good music and enjoying cold beer. Like most conversations that happen around me, the talk turned to music. A group of us started discussing concerts that we’ve been to, or plan to attend this summer. One of the guys mentioned that he just saw Def Leppard with Lita Ford and Poison. He told me what a great time he had and how he was surprised that Poison was still around. That got me to thinking. When did Poison get stuck as an opening act?
In the early 00s, Poison was headlining a glam festival every year. They would hit the road with Warrant, Cinderella, Sebastian Bach…the list was endless. They even put out an album of brand new material in 2002, Hollyweird. And while it wasn’t their best record, it was cool that Poison was recording new music for the fans that wanted it. Then, something strange happened. In 2004, Poison (apparently) couldn’t afford to go out on a headline tour, so they decided to open for Kiss. And while that was a cool concept for one tour, it never should have become the status quo.
In 2006 Poison went on a co-headlining tour with Cinderella. In 2007, they hit the road with Ratt in support of their terrible covers album, Poison’D. After a 2008 headlining tour with Dokken and Sebastian Bach, the band spent 2009 opening for Def Leppard. In 2010, Poison did not tour at all. The next year they opened for Motley Crue, and this year, they are out opening for Def Leppard once again. This is a band that ten years ago was headlining sold out concerts. Sure, they were in sheds across America, but they were still headlining to 12,000 people. That’s quite a feat! And now, they have been pushed to an opening act, exactly what they were at the start of their career. How can the band be all right with this?
I am sure that the money they earn makes it easier to swallow their pride and open, but what the band should be doing is working on new material and preparing themselves to be headliners once again. Even without new music, if Poison would decide to perform some different songs live, they could be headliners once again. The biggest issue that I have with Poison is that they play the same set list year after year after year. Why not try and mix it up by performing a few tracks from Crack A Smile, or HollyWeird. Why not play something from Native Tongue other than “Stand?” Why not perform a few of the studio tracks from the live albums? Of course Poison is always going to play “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Talk Dirty To Me,” and “Nothing But A Good Time.” I understand that. But why not shake it up with “Cover Of A Rolling Stone” instead of “We’re An American Band?” Pull out “No Ring No Gets” and lose “Ride The Wind.” Yes, I love “Ride The Wind” too, but I’d much rather hear a song that I’ve never heard the band perform live.
And if Poison is worried about not being able to carry the load themselves, then gather up another band or two and have them come out with you for support. Warrant (with Robert Mason) would be a great choice. Night Ranger has been incredible on the road, and they would make a great pairing with Poison. If Kix could be talked into doing a summer tour, a Kix/Poison concert would sell like hotcakes. And there is always Cinderella, a very popular draw.
As for opening acts, there are a ton of classic bands out there that would fit this bill. Great White, Lynch Mob, Mike Tramp, Enuff Z’Nuff, and Bang Tango are all available. They would all be a great addition to the tour. It could even be one of the best tours of the summer if done correctly. It’s just a shame to see the once mighty Poison, one of the best live acts of the 80s circuit, to be used as an opening band, when they could clearly be out on their own. I can only hope that the band will hear my plea. Also, a new album of original material would be nice. Please don’t leave us with Poison’D as your final studio album. That would be a disgrace.
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