Bret Michaels brought his solo tour dubbed the Nothing But a Good Vibe Tour to the Chicagoland area last month. Thursday night Bret and his solo band performed to a crowd at the newly renovated Des Plaines theater. Friday night Bret brought his traditional Christmas show to the Arcada, which was also newly renovated during the Covid-19 pandemic. Michaels and Company have played the Arcada for more than a decade now and have been keeping up the Christmas show tradition since December of 2017.
Over 900 eager fans were excited to keep this tradition alive, especially after missing out on a 2020 show thanks to Covid. The excitement in the air that night was contagious and was even felt when the opening band, Bad Medicine, took the stage. Bad Medicine is a local Chicagoland band that is known for their killer Bon Jovi covers. They have been opening for Bret since 2016 and have done an amazing job warming up the crowd. They normally have 5 members, but due to scheduling conflicts, it was just their singer and guitar player, who had to use just their voices and two acoustic guitars to warm the crowd up. However, front-man Joe Frasca was able to get all 900+ people in the building to belt out the lyrics to quintessential 80's hair metal hits such as "Livin' on a Prayer" and "Wanted Dead or Alive".
However, the throwback to the 80's didn't stop there as the front-man of one of the most popular 80's hair bands had yet to take the stage. Once Bret took the stage, it felt like time was turned back 35 years to Poison's debut. Michaels was welcomed to the stage by a graphic of his piercing blue eyes and by the AC/DC hit song "Thunderstruck". Rather than "Thunderstruck", most people were awe-struck when Bret ran out on stage donned in his signature bandana and Bret Michaels shirt. The screams of the crowd were almost enough to drown out the intro to "Look what the Cat Dragged In" as Bret and company launched into their set.
Unfortunately, this set was limited to 10 songs as Michaels had an injured neck and probably should not have played in the show at all. However, in true Bret Michaels fashion, he pushed through the pain and gave the audience a night to remember. This setlist touched on a vast majority of Poison's chart-topping songs from the 1980s and 1990s including "Talk Dirty to Me", "Unskinny Bop" & more, however, "Fallen Angel" was shockingly omitted. Songs such as "Something to Believe In" and the hit "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" saw Bret wielding a 12-string acoustic guitar and his signature cowboy hat, which Michaels later auctioned for local charities.
Overall, Bret still put on an amazing show with the help of his uber-talented solo band. This consisted of BMB (Bret Michaels Band) veteran, Pete Evick on guitar, BMB veteran Rob Jozwiak, bass player Norman (Stormin' Norman) Voss, & Meri (Proud Meri) Schaefer on the drums. Norman was filling in for Cinderella bass player, Eric Brittingham on tour, and Meri was filling in for longtime drummer, Mike Bailey. Both fit into the band like they had been there since its inception. In fact, their energy helped to pump up the crowd even more! Whether it was Norm's massive stage presence and acrobatics (the nickname Stormin' Norman truly fits), or Meri's captivating drum skills, the band put on a show to remember. Between the crowd's energy, Bret's energy, & the band's energy, the audience truly got a treat. Hopefully, this Christmas tradition will continue for years to come!
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