House Of Blues, Orlando • August 5, 1999
I enjoy going to concerts, irrespective of the band playing – unless the band is notoriously known to suck at playing live. I enthuse all the more when the show features a good guitarist. So, naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to see Ted Nugent play live at the House of Blues, Orlando on the seventh of August, even though I had not heard of any of Nugent’s music other than the radio staple “Cat Scratch Fever.” I also heard that he was politically a rightist in a weird sort of way, and his show could be quite a spectacle. So I was quite pumped about going to the show.
After a little delay of schedules the opening band, Chlorine came on stage. This is a four-piece band with tons of energy and stage presence; they were a very exciting band to see play live. I could feel my blood rising to my head when the lead singer/guitarist screamed and stepped up to the microphone for the opening number. They played their radio-popular “Don’t Even Care” and some other tunes from their latest release, Primer . But the crowd really got into the show when they covered a couple of popular tunes, including Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.” About Chlorine’s performance: The guitarist was impressive. He pulled off some memorable riffs with his slide and harmonics. Despite their little out-of-date alternative tone, I liked Chlorine for their strong guitar work, enthusiasm, and their tight live performance as a band.
Then Ted Nugent, aka the Motor City Madman, went on-stage. Nuge, as he was introduced, came out donning a cowboy-hat, a fox tail tucked in the back of his jeans, and slinging a white Gibson… complete with an evil grin and a hard stare, the whites of his eyes popping out. I thought it was funny.
On the stage, there were articles like stuffed bears, skulls, etc., which I suppose were to indicate of Nugent’s inclination towards hunting. I started getting an impression that this show was more of an expression of his attitude and less of musical entertainment, when he went on repeatedly that his Gibson guitars were made in the USA, and that anyone who did not speak English should leave the USA. Musically, Mr. Nugent was good, though. He shredded on his guitar mercilessly for nearly two hours. The drummer is a real madman: a few minutes into his drum solo, he threw away the sticks and began flailing with his bare hands. Actually, he was pretty cool with his double bass drums and quite a sizable drum set. (I would have been impressed with this guy, but, you know, I am too pampered after listening to drummers like Neil Peart.) The crowd participated vociferously in songs titled “Kiss My Ass” and “Wang Dang Poontang.”
It was funny when Nugent started playing some old soul and R&B style songs (from the woman standing next to me, I gathered, they were old James Brown tunes) and kept insisting that he was just another black man. Towards the end of the show, Nugent took a bow and arrow, lit the arrow from the fire at the front of the stage, and shot a Gibson guitar. The crowd was thrilled, but I thought, “man, he just ruined a $2,000 guitar!” The band came back and played “Cat Scratch Fever” for an encore, much to the delight of the audience. ◼