Clean performance 

click to enlarge POISON: Rock and roll on good behavior.
  • POISON: Rock and roll on good behavior.

Riverfest Amphitheatre
Aug. 27

Poison is the true definition of clean and sober rock ’n’ roll. The set the band played Sunday at Riverfest Amphitheatre in headlining “20 Years of Rock ’n’ Roll” with Cinderella, is EXACTLY the same each and every gig. The songs sound like the albums, the words are correct and the show is put on in hard-rocking fashion. You get what you pay for with Poison — Little Rock, Memphis, Wisconsin, Chicago, it’s all the same.

It is like watching a well-rehearsed play. But isn’t that why a Poison fan buys the ticket? There isn’t the drunk falling around, falling down and slurring words and making mistakes that you might see at a, say, Motley Crue show. Nice, clean, bubble gum rock ’n’ roll. This is the way most girls like it. We aren’t talking Bon Jovi near-pop here, but close.

On a night that drew about 3,000 fans, all of Poison’s songs were great and back stage the pleasantness continued. The band was very sweet to all of the ladies. The guys were patient about photos and signing. We were given drumsticks, guitar picks, photos, drum skins — the band autographed all of it. There was no smoking back stage and no drinking.

If you want reliable rock, this is the band. “Talk Dirty To Me” was the last song played, but that wasn’t happening after the show. These guys are polite and then it’s get on the bus. It is thank you, and good night! While we got to see Bret Michaels after shows in Chicago and Wisconsin, he didn’t hang out in Little Rock Sunday. I am sure it has been a long hot summer for them.

The new single is a cover of the Grand Funk Railroad hit “American Band,” and Poison’s version still pays tribute to Little Rock and “sweet sweet Connie.”

As for Cinderella, this was the last stop for these boys on the tour, and they’ve done a great job all summer. When we saw them at Rock Fest in Wisconsin, they went on at 4 p.m., and that was too hot and too early. The Little Rock performance, in which Cinderella didn’t go on until dark, was much better.

I really wish critics and people who don’t listen to this music would get a clue. “Hair Band” doesn’t really describe their music. Their entire catalog of work is all based on blues; the blues riffs and the undercurrent are there.

The energy level of the band Sunday was way up, and they put on a good show. They closed with the usual “Shake Me,” and were friendly with the crowd throughout. Singer Tom Keifer mentioned problems with his voice, but he has sounded that way throughout the entire tour. He also apologized during the show at Chicago’s Tinley Park (June 21).

— Matt Smith

EDITOR’S NOTE: Matt Smith, who owns the Market Street Cinema, has followed Poison, Cinderella and a number of other heavy rock acts on tours throughout the summer.



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