with Laura Wilde
House of Blues, Orlando, FL • August 19, 2013
If the street-smart 1976 Lita Ford had met the cheesecake 1988 Lita Ford back in 1990 and they fell in love, got married and then gave birth to a daughter in the changing room at Hot Topic, that baby likely would have grown up to become Laura Wilde. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, the 23-year-old guitar ace wowed the 1,500+ House of Blues crowd with her combination of Zack Wylde-inspired chops and Hannah Montana-like charm. Along with her three-piece male backing band, Wilde took the stage at 8:40pm and laid down a rock solid, thirty-minute opening set that included tracks from her 2012 debut record, Sold My Soul as well as a spirited remake of the AC/DC classic, “Jailbreak.” Rock and roll just might have a future after all.
Following a twenty-minute stage set switch-over and a mind-numbing third airing of Edgar Winter’s “Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo” blasting from the front-of-house sound system, it finally was time for the night’s main attraction.
“I love this shit!” declared “Motor City Madman,” Ted Nugent, as he stormed the stage at 9:30. Kicking off his 90-minute, no-holds-barred, mega-decibel assault with the lethal triple threat combo of “Gonzo,” “Just What the Doctor Ordered,” and “Wango Tango,” Nugent and company wasted no time in delivering exactly what his flock had ordered – a non-stop cavalcade of cock rock classics sandwiched between random rants and disconnected diatribes.
Providing longtime Nugent followers with an injection of aural B-12, the recent return of original sideman Derek St. Holmes on guitar and vocals added an undeniable fresh factor to the band, the show and the set list, which included many near-forgotten gems, including “Turn it Up,” “Got to Live it Up” and “Queen of the Forest.”
“I must be 65 fucking years old!” confessed “Uncle” Ted at the halfway point. However, despite Nugent’s and St. Holmes’ white goatees, one certainly wouldn’t have guessed it, as the band’s energetic performance was top-notch.
With the obligatory wall-o-amps looming across the stage – adorned with an assortment of cattle skulls, state-of-art lighting effects, and drummer Mick Brown’s impressive and flashy-looking kit – the Nugent production looked every bit as intense as it sounded. Gonzo, indeed!
“We crave the groove,” was one of Nugent’s numerous mantras throughout the show, leading into and out of such FM radio staples as “Free for All,” and “Stormtroopin’.”
“Do you feel the love?” was another oft-repeated message. Not only was Nugent offering love tonight, he also was inviting – “inviting” – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to give him oral sex. Never at a loss for words, the ever-controversial iconic rocker was a source of encouragement as well – “encouraging” gun owners to defend their Second Amendment rights and to “shoot the mother fuckers dead,” if “they come to take your guns.” Additionally, the show made for an experience that was both educational and inspirational as Nugent apprised his troops that the French are “soulless pieces of shit,” “what the world needs is more dead assholes” and that “killing shit is good.” Wow, now that’s some good old fashioned Dee-Troit lovin’!
But merely preaching the Gospel according to Ted does not a complete rock show make, and in that regard, the Nuge had much more to offer – leading the charge through such additional nuggets as “Hey Baby” and “Fred Bear.”
Dedicated to the “pretty girls” in the house, Nugent and St. Holmes delivered a blistering guitar duel during “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” – the infamous ditty that segued in and out of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Red House.”
“It’s all Gospel – it’s all rhythm and blues. Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry taught us everything we know,” Nugent reminded fans near the end of his set. “And I wrote the sexiest guitar lick in the world,” he further proclaimed as he introduced his signature anthem, “Cat Scratch Fever,” leading into the show-closing, eight-minute epic “Stranglehold.”
With the sound of heavy artillery echoing into the night and the distinct fragrance of gun powder permeating the air, the Ted Nugent love fest had come to a mutually satisfying conclusion. Hey baby, got a smoke?