with Cinderella, Dokken, and Slaughter

Hard Rock Live, Orlando, FL o September 3, 2000

Even though I immersed myself in punk and what they now call indie rock, I couldn[base ‘]t escape the “me” generation, large hair, colorful men[base ‘]s makeup, and commercially vapid music arena rock of the 1980s. And on this night, I still couldn[base ‘]t get away.

The first of four acts to go on was Slaughter. They strummed rock tunes as though they were twenty years younger [^] energetic, fun, and a little off key. When they mixed in the traditional slow rock ballads, up went the lighters and down came women[base ‘]s spandex tops. Slaughter capped off the set by inviting their road crew onstage. Have you ever been to a show where the opening acts perform an encore? Well, Slaughter wasn[base ‘]t the last of the evening.

Dokken, who have been in the business for more than twenty years, played to a less than enthusiastic crowd. Their disappointing and uninspired set was emphasized with high-pitched vocals and fan blowing hair. Yet, they played an encore.

Next up: pretty boys Cinderella. They rushed through the usual hits, “Night Songs” and “Nobody[base ‘]s Fool,” and even jolted everyone with an acoustic set. Cinderella played the third encore by an opening band that night, with the piano-driven “Don[base ‘]t Know What You Got ‘Til It[base ‘]s Gone.”

When Poison took the stage, everyone was ready for the flashy, guitar-solo filled ’80s rock they grew up with. Brett Michaels flaunted on stage, and went through four — yes, four — wardrobe changes. Guitarist C.C. Deville and bassist Bobby Dahl floated on the elaborate stage, trading places between Deville[base ‘]s excessive soloing and Michaels[base ‘] oh-we-are-so-glad-to-end-this-tour-in-Orlando plays to the audience. Hits “Unskinny Bop” and yet another rock ballad, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” picked up the crowd [^] along with a few shirts and flickering lighters.

Not only was the show an excuse for members — band and audience — to revisit the days when puffy, feathered hair and bandannas were all the rage, it was also a chance to explore the darker side of rock and roll: mediocrity.

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