Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Yes, you would be correct

(Pants has the shorter, less self-indulgent version of the event)

You're probably wondering, "Is that Bret Michaels of Poison up on that screen? Did you see Poison in concert? In middle of New Jersey?"

Yes, yes yes.

And now you're wondering, "Is he singing 'Something To Believe In' or 'Every Rose Has Its Thorn'?"

I'm pretty sure it's the former. But before we flashback to Sunday evening, let's go all the way back to 1990, when yours truly arrived in this country. Up until then, I really wasn't into music or movies or whatever forms of entertainment that required electricity. But after I arrived in the States, I was armed with a boom box and MTV, and dove head first and knee deep into the muck of the low arts.

In 1990/91, if you were a very impressionable boy in his formative years looking for direction, there were two Poisons - the one that taught you about the dangers of a big butt and a smile, and the effeminate hair metal band. I embraced them both. The great thing about Poison the band was that it scared the shit out of my mother, what with the loud guitars, the hair, the wagging tongues and the tattoo cover art of Flesh and Blood (young readerrs may not know this, but there was a time when only degenerates had tattoos, and nice boys and girls didn't have tribal arm bands or tramp stamps). I didn't know what an unskinny bop was, and I didn't care.

My hair metal phase didn't last long. Eventually, my friends lent me Public Enemy and A Tribe Called Quest CDs and I haven't looked back. Plus, black people scared my mother more than loud white people. Metal was swiftly discarded in favor for the minivan pumping (no lie - when my friend Kevin got his driver's license, he inherited his mom's white Oldsmobile Silhouette, which he outfitted with a ghetto-certified sub-woofer. Our private school classmates didn't know quite what to make of it).

Still, I look back fondly on the screechy guitars and the screechier yet vocals of yore. That doesn't mean I want to go back to it the same way I wish McDonald's would bring back the fried apple pies. But like awful first kisses and teenage poetry, heavy metal was a part of me, however small. I'm not proud of it, but that was who I was.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon. I was contemplating staying in bed all day after a Friday night that was more action packed than I had initially remembered (oh, the memories that come back when you upload photos from your digicam) and a Saturday crawling (figuratively speaking) through Williamsburg. Monkeypants called me up, asking me if I wanted to go see Poison and Cinderella in the middle of nowhere in New Jersey.

I hesitated. "Hey, if you can't get rid of the tickets, let me know," I responded.

I was tired. I had to work early Monday. The concert was in New Jersey. These were bands I hadn't listened to intentionally in 14 years. The concert was in New Jersey. But something in my heart kept saying "Go go go!"

"Fuck it, I'll go."

After an hour train ride through scenic New Jersey and catching the shuttle bus (an old school bus painted white) we arrived at the PNC Bank Arts Center. The concert had already started (we seriously misjudged the travel time) and Cinderella was on stage.

It was quite a fucking scene. Really, every time I leave New York, I'm reminded how removed it is from the rest of the country, for better or worse. And I hate to sound like the elitist provincial liberal New Yorker that I am, but I need the cultural shock of stepping off the island and going someplace

Mullets and fake boobery were everywhere. And oh, the smell, the mix of urine, beer, sweat and miscellaneous New Jersey smell. But most of all, the place was seriously rocking. Fathers and sons, middle aged couples, kids who aren't old enough to remember Poison's last hit were rocking out, pumping fists and singing along. Serious rock and roll. I loved it.

Pants pretty much has the bases covered but I'll just say that Bret Michaels sounded great, C.C. is just C.C., and they were absolute professionals about putting on a show.

I would post a video of "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" but I found out that the video on my digicam is useless because all you hear is noise. So all I can offer you are still images.

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