Penny Road Pub, South Barrington, IL • January 27, 2001
Fortunately, because guitarist C.C. DeVille was also Poison’s principal songwriter, he rarely took a back seat to frontman and sex symbol, Bret Michaels. But after performing a two-hour set of his own Beatlesque material from his new band, “Sam 7,” his publicist calls them (which included “I Was Framed” and “I Wanna Be Famous”), C.C. allowed fans – some drunken, some simply high off the fact that DeVille, once a rock god in the pantheon of ’80s arena (“hair”/glam) bands, was finally within their reach – to storm the stage and scream (off key, mind you) lead vocals on “Nothin’ But a Good Time” and “Unskinny Bop” while he played guitar. I was disappointed that they didn’t perform Poison’s megahit, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” but then I realized that would’ve brought the party to a screeching halt.
After finishing the set, he spent the rest of the evening in the basement (Penny Road has two bars, two floors, and two stages, with the smaller one being downstairs), jamming on guitar with a local rock cover band, Wally’s Garage, for 45 minutes. Oddly enough, he played with a virtuosity that never did show up during his own set, leading the band away from their own tunes already in progress, no less – Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself,” Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” and haphazardly into some songs they didn’t seem to know, like the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” (“Heeeeyyyyyy,” DeVille proclaimed in his nasally, Jerry Lewis• Nutty Professor-like voice, “does anybody know ‘Under My Tum [sic]?’”).
But he provided the band with a night to remember, showing rock stars don’t necessarily have to have big egos to make a big impression. ◼