Results tagged ‘ Bret Michaels ’

Looking Back at the Rays 2010 Concert Series…Part 2

 


 

So after a few days getting over a slight bit of misfortune of food poisoning eating some I relish…a hot dog, Ironically, it was my last hot dog of the year at a local High School football game against a bitter inner-city rival that took me down…Figures, thanks Northeast H S.


No more stalling, time to get this final edition of the Rays 2010 Concert Photos underway. One of the greatest thing I like about music is that the first few song of the musician’s sets are sometimes pre-programmed to get the crowd into a rising energy so that the concert can take a particular flow throughout the night.

The first seven concerts of the 2010 Rays Friday Fest and Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series definitely set of tone for the final second half. From John Fogerty to Barenaked Ladies, the Rays concert events began and uphill turn that never ended to the last event of the year, Bret Michaels. Each of the 14 concerts this year left a special mark with me. I was lucky to take photos during 12 of the 14 Rays concerts and get in tune with practicing my concert photography.

 

I am not a professional photographer, and my little Fuji S5100 has seen better days (Thanks drunken Yankee fan), but I think I do the best with what I got. Sure would love a $ 4,000+ Canon or Nikon camera body and a lens as long as my arm, but that is not in the slim, money-less budget right now. Now back to the awesome years in Rays music.


 

 

Vanilla Ice did not attract as many to the Trop’s infield as I might have thought for his concert, but it was the most high energy event of the year. Vanilla Ice has changed his modes operandi to push more towards the hard guitar and drumbeats that pumped through the crowd like a large heartbeat. Combine that with the (I thought) whimsical idea of Vanilla Ice trying to get the photographers’ wet, and you get a audience/photog participation event. This was the first of three straight Friday Fest concerts that would hit all spectrums of the music World, and it hit on all levels.


Sure most in the front photo pit with me that day did not totally see eye-to-eye with the whole water and expensive cameras’ bit, but I was laughing and having a good time dodging the 20 ounces of unexpected water, and a few time Vanilla Ice looked down and smiled at me that I seemed to have understood it was part of his method…or his madness. It was tied for my favorite Rays concert offering of the season, and a great way to push off the second half of the concert schedule.

 

Of course there was one concert missing from this list this season, and I want to send out good vibes hoping that GoGo’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin recovers perfectly from her ACL injury sustained when she fell while hiking near her home in California. With up to a year recovery time for such an injury, hopefully we can again see the GoGo’s possibly perform in the future. It is a great concert event that I have not missed (even in Jannus Landing) since the band first started coming to the Tampa Bay area.


 

 

Los Lobos is one of those bands that I do not think would have ever hit y musical tastes if not for their great rendition of the classic Ritchie Valens “La Bamba“. I also would not have known that recent Oscar winner T-Bone Burnett produced their first album “How Will the Wolf Survive” and one of the songs from that album is playing over the opening credits to the Sean Penn/Robert DeNiro classic “Colors“.


My first tastes in live music were preserved in a small beachside bar in Maderia Beach, Florida that a certain well known Florida ocean troubadour used to frequent named Jimmy Buffett when he came up to see his band pal Mike Utley.

I got used to hearing tunes that flowed with the waves and just seemed to roll in the ears and settle for a while to sit and ponder things. I got the same vibe from this Friday Fest concert by Los Lobos. It might have been more refined to a South Texas border town that a beach resort on the Gulf of Mexico, but the whole time I was wishing for a boat drink…or a shot of Avion (thanks Entourage).


 

 

The next Rays Friday Fest event featured a band that to this point had to be the most audience involved and totally choreographed dancers of the Rays concert series. Felt kind of eerie at first covering the Village People concert more for the fact of having to remember what I wore back then, and seeing myself again with long curly hair, but I took one for the team here.

Seriously, it was a great event in that we got to see most of the original members of the band still out there supporting their music and dancing their well known routines. But it did seem a bit unusual to me to see rhinestones and glitter on a construction worker…just saying.


It was another high energy night and a great moment if you are fond of the 1970’s or even want to remember back that far. I even found a bit of glitter all over me camera when I took it out of my backpack when I got home. As a nice sidebar to this concert, after I posted my concert review, the Indian from the Village People actually Direct Messaged me on Twitter with a cordial thank you for covering the event. It was a great time in my life, so maybe I should thank him again for helping remember some great moments in my life sans the platform shoes.

 

 

Train really did roll in to the Trop for the next concert event. This is one of those bands right now that are right on the cusp and thoughts of so many in the music World because of their song “Hey Soul Sister” plus the million of samplings of the song in countless commercials and advertisements Worldwide right now.


Train front man Pat Monahan also did one of the coolest things I have ever seen done ( so far) during a concert when he posted two pictures of the crowd during their song “If It’s Love” that I still have as my desktop background on my aging laptop. Monahan also became the second performer to do an infield sprint around the Trop when he started an impromptu walkabout from the stage to the area near the Visitor’s dugout.

Reminded me a lot of the same run M C Hammer had done two years earlier, but Monahan seemed more at ease strolling amongst the 4,000+ fans on the Rays Field Turf.


 

 

Allison Iraherta was not originally suppose to open for Adam Lambert, but Orianthi had to pull out of the opening act gig after some family situations. Iraherta still looks a bit nervous and wooden on stage, but her music more than makes up for any sense of clumsiness or irrational movements on stage. But the raspy voice of this young woman definitely makes you remember her voice and her music.


She has one of those resounding voices that brings back memories of past singers like Janis Joplin or even Joan Baez. Iraherta will definitely be on that “one to watch” list, and opening for Lambert will get you some extra exposure she desperately needs to get noticed beyond her huge American Idol triumphs. In time the stage set will mellow out and become more fined, and with that the star in the center of the stage belting out those tunes will shine brighter.

 

 

What can you say about Adam Lambert’s concert. Well, I guess my concert review was good enough to still be placed on his International website and with that came over 78 comments within 24 hours. Got to tell you I always know bands have their followers, but this guy definitely has an army ready, willing and able to carry out his wishes. But the concert was even more amazing to me than the response by his followers. It really was stage musical to me. Set with great costumes, gyrating dancers and spectacular musicians playing some incredible music.


For effect, this concert was tied for the best concert event (with Vanilla Ice) of the year for me. It has a little bit of everything to it. And the wildest part is that one of my photos was also popped on the Lambert website and I took it from over 100 yards away since this is one of the two concerts I did not get approved for ahead of time…how ironic is that.

But it was a fantastic journey of music performed by Lambert, and his dancers brought a great melding of it all together into something worthy of the Broadway stage. Some might say it is more of a stage show than a concert, but I remind you that David Bowie and countless other have done just the same thing for a long, long time.


 

 

Last, but definitely not least is the Rays Saturday Night Concert I was waiting for all year. The climax at the end where I got to see another artists that every time he comes into the Tampa Bay area as a solo artist, I am in the crowd. The last time was in a more fan-friendly environment of Ruth Eckerd Hall, but no matter where you put him, Bret Michaels is all about the music and a good time.


When the announcement was originally made near the end of May, it might have seemed to ambitious or even ill advised for Michaels to throw himself back into his musical tour so early after his health situations, but that is one of things that endears you to him…his strength, fan commitment and his desire to do what he loves to do….sing to the masses.

Some might say the night was not as energetic or the usual ” Bret Michaels” show. But to me it was a celebrate of his music and a way for all of us to send some healing vibes and also sing a few classic tunes that always stick in our minds. Michaels even did the Country version of “Every Rose Has Its Thorns“, and it was taken in by the crowd like it was the original. For myself, it was the perfect ending to the Rays 2010 concert series. I was taken photos of a rock icon who had taken a dirty and dangerous road of medical problems and whisked them away like road dust to sing.


 

Some say these Rays concerts were devised for the pure sake of escalating Rays attendance figures and bolstering their overall yearly numbers while most of the Major League Baseball teams were experiencing up to 6-10 percent decreases in their yearly attendance numbers.

Sure that reasoning is true, but I kind of look at it another way. It is also a way for the Rays entire staff and the Rays Republic to collectively celebrate this great team we have here, and also enjoy some great music.


Thank You Rays for this year’s Concert Series. Looking forward to another killer schedule in 2011.

Nothin’ But a Good Time with Bret Michaels

 

 

Saturday evening way before the Tampa Bay Rays took on the Seattle Mariners, the Rays Republic saw the resurging brilliance of a man who has waged his fair share of War in the battlefields of Rock and Roll and come out better for the journey. At a time when most ex-hair band lead singers are lounging somewhere else resting on their follicle ladened 1980’s laurels, sitting in isolation while continuous residual checks op into their mailboxes, this guy is still loving the Rock Star lifestyle one stanza at a time.

 

Men and women all over this big blue marble have lived vicariously through this rock icon’s adventures for a long time starting with his first exposure to the vice and decay of the rock and roll lifestyle that can chew you up and spit you out as candy while getting his first taste of this sweet as the front man for the iconic glam metal band Poison.


 

Here is a guy who has sold out tons of venues like Tropicana Field as both a solo act and as a lead singer, but he was doing something we all wanted to do before the game…He was throwing in front of the Rays dugout with Bullpen Coach Bobby Ramos, and tossing a mighty fine and tight fastball. The guy who could do almost anything just wanted to throw some soft toss, then get ready to pop the top off Tropicana Field with a slew of cover songs and songs we all know by heart.


 
Pat Manfredo

That is one of the things that makes all of us want to meet or take a photo with the guy. He is one of the most genuinely honest and down to earth guys in Rock and Roll, and he made time to toss a few fastballs, then sign a few autographs before heading to his hidden suite just to the left of the Rays Press Box.

 
Pat Manfredo

Even when he gave an A Capella rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame that will surely be posted on Youtube soon, It was all Bret Michaels as we have come to know this hometown guy from Butler, Pennsylvania. If he wasn’t a rock legend and icon, he would be that troubadour possibly playing in a neighborhood tavern cranking out his original tunes and filling the place during the weekend.


 

And if it wasn’t for the huge stage and the megawatts of surging heat and power from the banks of amplifiers and gear, you almost felt like it was a small time guy doing a show for his 30,000+ friends and family that shuffled into the Trop. Even before Michaels hit the stage I was down talking with his drummer ( Chuck Vanslau ) before Michaels hit’s the stage for his Rays /Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series action.



 

I remarked to Vanslau that I had seen Michaels perform a few years ago at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida as a solo act right after his second “Rock of Love adventure and was excited to see how the show had progressed. Vanslau remarked that ” I should pop my seatbelt on and get in a comfortable position because, this plane was going to fly high, fast and leave no prisoners”.


 

And that is exactly the way this show took off from Michaels first note. It got into a sweet and fats climb as Michaels visited some of his Poison past by starting off with “Talk Dirty to Me“, then proceeding to “Look What The Cat Dragged In that was full of energy and strutting around the stage that made Michaels one of the greatest front men in the glam metal era. Both songs were pushed to the limits by Michaels vocals and the pulse set high and furious by Vanslau, Pete Evick (lead guitar) and Rays Schering (bass guitar).


 

Just as the fever was beginning to climb, Michaels next went into the Southern Anthem, “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. The rendition by Michaels honored the Southern classic and was met with arousing banter of singing from the assembled crowd with their glittered wristbands high in the air holding cellphone and recording the moment. Always a stirring moment when you see people using their cellphones as imitation lighters in the air to signal their approval for a song.


 

Michaels then brought it back a bit with the songs “Go That Farfrom his fourth solos album Rock My World andSomething To Believe Infrom Poison’s “Flesh & Blood album released in June 1990 that gave the now sweating crowd a few moments to collect themselves and soothe out with a few ballads before Michaels was to again take crowd on another ride in his 13 song set.


 

Immediately after “Something To Believe In“, Michaels again raised the stakes by taking a few moments to thank the crowd for the well wishes and note Michaels has received over the past months, then got quickly into propelling the rhythm sky high again by doing “Unskinny Bop and raising the crowd vocal responses and dancing to a top tier again. Michaels then injected the audience with his newest single, “Nothing To Lose that brought the energy level down a notch but still had that flowing and cohesive meandering stream that is all Bret Michaels.


 

The song was from his just released “Custom Built” solo album and again had cell pones and the crowd swaying both in the stadium and down near the stage in great unison. And just when you thought it was safe to stay within that gentle flow, Michaels again hits another cover, this time turning the classic Loggins & Messina song “Your Mama Don’t Dance, And Your Daddy Don’t Rock and Roll” to a whole different level by throwing in a little bit of Michaels spice and herbs to enhance the classic and make it his own.



 

Then Michaels showing a little raspy sound to his voice took a short breather while Vanslau did a great drum solos and again Michaels, who stayed on stage just beyond the lights gathering in the energy Vanslau was producing and went straight into another great cover of the Sublime song “What I Got” which is also on his “Custom Built” album and his version tonight produced some of the greatest guitar licks of the night from Evick and Schering and proved once and for all that a great front man like Michaels can take any classic song and turn it into his own.


 

And just as you were coming up for a gulp of air after singing another great song, Michaels let you not only get a fast breather, but pulled out his acoustic guitar and did his greatest song, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorns” that had most of the stadium singing along with Michaels again and taking another huge visit down memory lane. This is definitely one of those iconic songs that everyone has attached someone to, or have an emotional attachment to, and Michaels again had the afterglow of a sea of cellphone screens beckoning his voice high into the rafters.


 

Michaels then started his last ascent into the high energy mode of his concert by thrusting out another vintage Michaels moment when he reached back into the archives for “Fallen Angel” from Poison’s second album “Open Up and Say…Ahh!“, then Michaels pulled the show into a last frenzied moment with the always popular and always thumping Poison song ” Nothin’ But A Good Time” also from the May 1988 “Open Up And Say…Ahh!” album.

 

This last song put the crowd over the top emotionally and you could see that Michaels and the assembled crowd by the stage were both spent reliving some of the great moments of all over lives in this concert. As Michaels was summing up the night on stage, he let the crowd know he would love to come back again in 2011 and do it all again. This statement brought up a thunderous applause from the crowd and you know more than a few Rays executives might just take him up on that in 2011.

 

As the crowd moved towards the Trop’s exits, Michaels stayed behind the Rays stage talking and meeting some of the assembled people backstage. But that was not the end of his night. Michaels ended his night the same way he began it before the 7:10 start on Saturday night.

 

After so many of the crowd had left the turf of the Trop, Michaels made his way back between the barricades that sat between the Rays dugout and the back end of the clay infield and again donned a glove and threw a last few pitches before Michaels and his band had to head to the airport for a flight to New York.

 

Ahhh, the life of a Rock Star, jetting from city to city being admired by millions, adored by men and women alike and the last thing you wanted to do before leaving Tropicana Field was throw a baseball around again. Bret, I became a fan all over again just by that moment.


 

Post Script:


After posting this blog post, before the Rays Sunday afternoon game, a member of the Rays brought me a gift down to my seat on the Rightfield corner. I did not open it immediately, but when I did, it totally shocked me that inside was a custom designed Rays hat from Team Diva, who also designs Bret Michaels headgear. I had remarked earlier in the year to someone in the front office that maybe we could get a custom made Cowboy hat for Michaels to wear on stage.

 

 By the way, look up to the picture of Michaels singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame“, does the Cowboy hat on his head look familiar at all? Instead, I wore the custom made Cowboy hat from the third to eighth inning of the Rays game. It is a cherished possession now adorned in blue sharpie with Bret Michaels autograph. I have to paraphrase Michaels and tell you, “It don’t get better than this!”

 
 

Bret Michaels to Rock the Trop

 
 
Jonasbrotherfan4@Flickr.com

*** Country star Dierks Bentley Rays/Hess Express Concert has been rescheduled for June 12,2010 after the Rays battle the Florida Marlins.
Rock and Jazz band the Barenaked Ladies also being added to Rays/Hess Express Concert series on Saturday, June 26 after the Arizona Diamondbacks game.


Bret Michaels has been having his own shares of ups and downs lately both on television and also in his personal life. I think any one of us who have been watching this season’s installment of the “Celebrity Apprentice” have been a bit transformed to see that the former Poison front man is as versatile and as passionate as he is about his Diabetes charity as he is about his music.


And I have to admit full circle here that I am stoked that he will bring his solo show to Tropicana Field on Saturday, September 25,2010 as a member of the Rays famous Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series. I have seen him in concert as a member of Poison, as a solo act right after the conclusion of his first season of VH-1’s “Rock of Love” franchise, plus seen him at an outdoor venue in Texas last Fall.

The man is a ball of uncontrollable energy on stage, and hopefully by the September date, Michaels will have regained enough of his past poise and vocal talents to have the crowd singing with him all night long. And the guy does it the right way in concert stopping and telling tales and exploits you usually do not get to see or hear in the “plain Jane” rock concert formats we have become a custom to nowadays. Michaels seems to take the audience on a journey with him from his Poison high points (Talk Dirty to Me), to some of his low moments in his own life (Every Rose Has its Thorns).

There are not many people in this world who can take on the title “Rock Troubadour” like Michaels who can incorporate his rocking out tunes with his well known solo ballads. I can guarantee you a night of fun and adventure you did not expect unless you have experienced his solo concert the last time he played at Ruth Eckerd Hall in 2008. But we also hope that he will have fully regained his energy level and his endurance by this date.

Most people know of the simultaneous family situations that came upon Michaels in the last few months from his daughter Raine being tested for possible childrens diabetes, to Michaels own health going south and suffering a brain hemorrhage on April 21st while sitting on his home couch. Michaels felt an increasing amount of pressure and pain, which was caused by a build up of blood at the base of his brain stem region.


Only a week before Michaels had undergone an emergency appendectomy was on the road to recovery at home. But the prognosis on Michaels has been simply positive since his emergency surgery to relieve that blood and pressure and he is getting ready to start physical therapy with hopes of hitting the road by the end of May again on his Concert Tour.

I really have to say if you can get tickets to this event, please do because Michaels is incredible on stage both as a singer and a storyteller. And even if you think the hair is fake and the many Cowboy hats a bit.. hokey, the guy gives you everything he has on stage and is well worth the price of admission.


Got to say, I was not always a favorite of this glam rock icon back in his Poison days, but through his Reality Television revelation, I got to see that Michaels is just a working father who also loves the ladies and his occasional adult beverage on the side. After his first season of “Rock of Love”  I bought tickets to the Ruth Eckerd Hall show in the middle of the third row back, and got to see the guy really reel in the audience and pulsate from their energy. Truly have to say if you want to mix Rays baseball with some kicking music, this is the Rays Concert series event you can not miss…..Honestly!

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