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Rock The Bayou Recap [9/03/2008 09:57:00 AM]:
Well, it has been 24 hours, sufficient enough to reflect on the experience that was Rock The Bayou 2008. This was the inaugural event for the Houston version of the highly successful Rocklahoma. A 4-day musical orgy featuring the bands that flooded MTV screens with images of L.A. bands knee deep in spandex and hair spray. While it has been almost two decades since many of these acts had their “glory days” this was no tribute, it was a celebration.

If there is one word that you could use to sum the show it would be honest. All the performaces I saw were bands bent on giving a truly great performance and not merely aping what made them popular way back when. The sincerity was even evident when the out put was horrible. Monday night’s headliner was Poison frontman and skank wrangler/reality show object Bret Michaels. He came out and gave every thing he had. Unfortunately his effort could not mask that his set was that of a basic cover band. Everyone there just wanted to him do Posion songs and be done with it. Sadly, the bandana cowboy decided that he needed to inflict his version of “Sweet Home Alabama” upon us. It was as bland as one could imagine and yet he was all smiles and honestly thought that is was great. Unfortunately that was to be followed by “Your Mama Don’t Dance” and “That’s What I Like About You” complete with the bands smiles. My companion eNeysa noticed that every acoustic song that Bret does sounds like “Every Rose Has A Thorn”. This theory was proven when we heard “Something To Believe In” and by the time he broke out “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” It sounded like “Every Door Believes In Heaven”. Yet, the band was having a great time and when you see a band onstage enjoying themselves, you cannot help but enjoy them.

Twisted Sister preceded Bret and they tore up the place. They did the unthinkable and played there big hit right off the bat, breaking out with “We’re Not Going To Take It”. Led by the fitter than he was in 1985 Dee Snider, the band blazed through their 45 minute set punctuated by Snider’s banter. He is the epitome of a great frontman. A dynamic presence with great repertoire and a distinctive voice. He is so funny and engaging that you don’t mind jumping in the air and looking like a jackass. Out of all the weekends acts, Twisted were the only ones to still have all original members. The reason is simple; they still enjoy playing with each other. Although someone needs to tell guitarist JJ French that his stage wig looks ridiculous. I think balding homeless guys would refuse to wear that thing.

We also went on Saturday mainly to see the triumphant return of Lita Ford. Now most people only know her from the ice licking video “Kiss Me Deadly”. But to many teenage boys in the 80’s, she was a VERY important figure. She has not performed live in over a decade, instead opting to start a family and move to some Caribbean island.


She showed no signs of rust and came out wielding a guitar in the shape of a Stoli bottle. Like always, she is the only guitarist in her band and she still rips. They tore through some of her better known songs until something very dreaded happened and I am not taking about her son bringing her some vodka. That was actually kind of cool. What I am talking about is a drum solo followed by a keyboard solo. While the drum solo was predictable, even with stickless drumming, the keyboard solo was mind numbing. What made it even more curious was that the band had come back onstage during it. Apparently the keyboardist was so wrapped up in it that he became oblivious to them. Even Lita remarked “Why don’t you just played the whole album?” She delivered it with a smile that was only matched by the keyboardist’s as he was coming down from his ivory tinkling high. The only drawback to Lita’s set was Rod Ryan’s annoying intro. This douche bag mother fucker was basically verbally jacking off as he it. What was even more puzzling is that this microphone monkey is from Buzz 94.5. This “station’ is called Houston’s New Rock Alternative so naturally you would want one of these Clear Channel hacks at a show spotlighting 80’s bands. What a putz.

Closing out Saturday night was the Red Rocker himself, Sammy Hagar. When the curtain dropped it revealed his backing band the Waboritas with several dozen fans on a stage behind the drummer. Curiously, they all seemed to have the same margarita glass so I guess if you bought one of those $30 margaritas you got to go onstage. There seemed to be no screening process since one lady screamed that she wanted to fuck Sammy when she had the mic. Another, let’s be kind and call her a cougar, a very old cougar albeit, showed the audience her mommy bags. Actually her grandmommy bags to be more accurate. Undaunted Sammy played and danced giving us his everything. His shows are of a great bar band on a very big stage. The lone mishap was his attempted cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”. It was really hackish and upset eNeysa so much that I had to buy her several SoCo and Diet Coke’s to calm her down.

On one of the side stages we saw Vain. Some may remember their song “Beat the Bullet” but it was only a minor hit. This band had some extraordinaire bad luck. The first album did well and as they were about to release their second, the label went under. They were trapped in record label hell and until Seattle happened. Undaunted they released several excellent albums overseas. Saturday night they played a set like they were kids trying to impress A&R guys on the Sunset Strip.

I am sure that the five bands I mentioned were not the exception. Concert goers were treated to many great performances regardless if the were actually any good. That was what these bands represented, great shows and having fun. Giving a good performance and making sure the audience had a good time is a must. If you didn’t the fans would let you know. All the bands seemed to deliver and making Rock the Bayou a success.

Hopefully the promoters will do this again next year. With some extra time to promote, add in Tesla, Whitesnake, Winger and Sebastian Bach to the bill, pray that there is not hurricane and we can do this allover again.

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