Heating Up St. Petersburg with Poison and Pop Evil

By on July 3, 2018

Brett Michaels-Poison (Photo-Travis Failey)

Poison, Pop Evil and PitBull Toddler

There’s a new player in the Tampa area concert venue scene. Al Lang Stadium and the home of the Tampa Bay Rowdies played host to thousands of attendees for the Poison, Pop Evil and PitBull Toddler show on Friday night. It was the first concert of the “Summer Concert Series” developed by Bill Edwards. Upcoming shows include 3 Doors Down with Collective Soul and Lauren Hill.

C.C. Deville-Poison (Photo-Travis Failey)

After raining for most of the day, the precipitation died down but the heat and humidity was unbearable for some. The heavy gauge plastic field covering also became very slick with some people slipping to the ground. There was plenty of affordable food and drinks available and security did a good job.

Josh Maloney-Pitbull Toddler (Photo-Travis Failey)

One of the top cover bands in the area, Pitbull Toddler started off the night with songs from Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Guns and Roses.  The band consists of vocalist Josh Maloney, guitarists Chicago Pete Larios & John Brennan with the Bone’s Mike Calta and Greg “Galvin” handling the rhythm section.

Galvin-Pitbull Toddler (Photo-Travis Failey)

These guys always put on a good show and bring a party type atmosphere with their on-stage performances and were a perfect opener while the crowd was getting settled in.

Leigh Kakaty-Pop Evil (Photo-Travis Failey)

As the sun was setting, Pop Evil’s singer Leigh Kakaty strutted onto the stage as drummer Hayley Cramer hit the kit. Cramer is the most recent addition to Pop Evil and joined the band just prior to the World Loudest Month two years ago, replacing fan favorite Chachi Riot.

Hayley Cramer-Pop Evil (Photo-Travis Failey)

If you listen to Sirius X/M Octane or 98 Rock locally, you know that Pop Evil has been on a chart topping ride and they are out their fifth studio, self-titled album, which was released last February. There were people in the stands that were not very familiar with Pop Evil, but they were after their 10 song, highly energy set that started with “Boss’ Daughter.”

Leigh Kakaty-Pop Evil (Photo-Travis Failey)

Throughout their set that also included “Deal With The Devil” and “100 in a 55,”It was evident that Pop Evil was on top of their game. Kakaty has never sounded better and I have seen them live them numerous times over the last 5 years. Bassist Matt Dirito and guitarists Nick Fuelling and Dave Grahs also provided a visual performance with Cramer performing drumstick gymnastics behind the kit.

Leigh Kakaty& Nick Fuelling-Pop Evil (Photo-Travis Failey)

It was unfortunate that during “ Taking it All” a fan was injured during the front of the stage but the EMTs got her away from the stage and started treating her immediately. It looked like she was having a temperature issue from the heat.

Leigh Kakaty & Matt DiRito-Pop Evil (Photo-Travis Failey)

Pop Evil picked back up where they left off with their three biggest songs in “Footsteps” “Waking Lions” and “Trenches.” During “Waking Lions,” Kakaty brought out a young boy who could have been his son to sing the chorus with him.

Rikki Rocket-Poison (Photo-Travis Failey)

After Pop Evil finished their incredible set, Poison’s drummer, Ricky Rocket, appeared on stage, waiving his drumsticks from on top of his riser and greeted the fans in the crowd.  Bassist Bobby Dall and guitarist C.C. Deville joined Rocket on stage and broke into the title track from their debut album, Look What The Cat Dragged In. The smoke cannons went off and singer Brett Michaels hit the stage, wearing his trademark bandana over his golden mane, and shook hands with a few fans near the stage.

Brett Michaels-Poison (Photo-Travis Failey)

Poison kept the place rocking with “I Want Action,” which is also from their debut album, and in fact, Poison’s entire set consisted of songs from their first three albums. In addition, Poison also threw in a couple of covers during the set, including the Loggins and Messina track, “Your Momma Don’t Dance.” That song got a ton of airplay when Poison released it on their second album, Open Up And Say Ahh in 1988.  Brett Michaels busted out his harmonica during the track and C.C Deville joined him for a jam session on the catwalk.

Poison (Photo-Travis Failey)

Michaels then asked the crowd to light up the park with their cell phones and lighters as a salute to the military. He asked several military members to join him on stage and shake hands with the crowd because they are the “true rock stars.”

Michaels, now donning a red, white and blue cowboy hat, grabbed his acoustic guitar and started one of Poison’s biggest hit, “Something to Believe In.”

C.C. Deville-Poison (Photo-Travis Failey)

The crowd was in full party mode after the aforementioned “Your Momma Don’t Dance” but the show hit a bit of a lull when C.C. Deville performed a 5 minute guitar solo.  The guitar solo included a few notes from Eddie Van Halen’s “Eruption,” which the crowd enjoyed. Afterwards the full band returned to the stage to perform two more big hits, “Fallen Angel” and “Unskinny Bop.”

Brett Michaels-Poison (Photo-Travis Failey)

Brett Michaels introduced Rikki Rocket, and the band left the stage while Rocket performed a drum solo.  At the conclusion of the drum solo, bassist Bobby Dall was the next one up to perform a solo. Looking through the crowd, I witnessed a bunch of fans who had their hands on their hips, and the previously achieved “party mode” had subsided considerably.

Bobby Dall-Poison (Photo-Travis Failey)

 After Dall finished the third solo of the 14 song set, Brett Michaels introduced Poison’s biggest hit of their career, the rock ballad, “Every Rose Has It Thorn.”  Public displays of affection were a plenty and I even saw some tears running down a few fan’s cheeks.

C.C. Deville-Poison (Photo-Travis Failey)

The fun meter registered back to High as the tempo of the show once again hit a fever pitch when Michaels introduced “Nothin’ But a Good Time.” Fans were dancing in the slippery aisles at AL Lang Stadium in Saint Pete.

Poison (Photo-Travis Failey)

Poison closed out the hot summer night party with the Kiss classic, “Rock & Roll All Night.” After they completed their set, Michaels once again shook hands with some fans as “You Shook Me all Night Long” by AC/DC played over the loud speakers.

C.C. Deville-Poison (Photo-Travis Failey)

Poison put on a great show like they’ve been doing for three decades. After the show, I talked to some fans who really enjoyed the show, but disliked the addition of the extended 3 solos. Dan stated “Poison has a big catalogue, why bog the show down with 3 solos?” Jenny from Clearwater said, “Fans want to hear songs, not solos.”  Lastly, Joey an 11 year old from Tampa with his mom said, “Solos are boring.”

Hayley Cramer-Pop Evil (Photo-Travis Failey)

Brett Michaels-Poison (Photo-Travis Failey)

While the Poison & Pop Evil tour has concluded for the summer, I’m sure both bands will be back out on the road and in your town sometime soon. With Pop Evil continuing to dominate modern Rock Radio, the sky is the limit for that talented band, and as for Poison, clearly the hits that they have created. transcend generations. As long as Brett Michaels can front the band, the fans will always be ready to join him for “Nothin’ but a Good Time.”

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