Review/photos – Thomas S. Orwat, Jr.
Hamburg, NY – The always entertaining and somewhat controversial rock icon, Ted Nugent, returned to the Erie County Fairgrounds to play in front of just under 2500 loyal and rowdy fans, on this overcast summer evening. Nugent, who turns 64 years of age in December, was truly on top of his game all evening long. Whether it was his flawless and effortless sonic execution of his trademark Gibson Byrdland guitar, or his sometimes hilarious, sometimes controversial, in between song banter, Nugent is still one of the most entertaining performers in rock music today.
Nugent and the Nugerian rebels, the name he refers to his top notch, back up band (which consists of Derek St. Holmes – guitar/vocals, Greg Smith – bass/vocals and “Wild” Mick Brown – drums) played an intense 90 minute set, that included many of the standard Nugent classics, such as “Stormtroopin,” “Free For All” and of course his biggest hit – “Cat Scratch Fever.” But, surprisingly missing, from the set, was the fan favorite, “The Great White Buffalo.” This was especially a bit odd, considering this tour is called, “The Great White Buffalo” tour. Anyway, Nugent and band still delivered in a big way.
The evening kicked of with “Wango Tango,” in which Nugent quickly set the tone for the evening. A few songs later, Nugent explained to the crowd (like he revealed to us in our pre-concert interview) that this was the PG-13 version of his show, because it was being held at a county fair. “What? You don’t believe me?” he asked. He then removed the ‘PG-13′ sign that was taped up to his monitor and showed the audience. “See what I mean?” he announced. The PG-13 demand however, did not stop him from still being somewhat offensive. He stated, “I love when kids come to my shows. I want to give all of them, and the skinny girls, free machine guns. And we can have all the fat girls load ’em.” He also joked at the Canadian fans and said, “You wanted to come here to see what Freedom is like, didn’t you?”
Nugent also took the time to call out his favorite target, President Obama. Nugent ranted, “Freedom ain’t free. There’s a US solider in a box that died for the US constitution, and you should be ashamed of yourself, Obama.” He then demanded to the audience, “In November, it is our duty to get the criminals out of the White House. Vote American in November.” Nugent then played an intense and pissed off version of “Stranglehold,” adding “And here is the soundtrack to getting back our country.” After the song, Nugent and the band, put on US Army helmets and reenacted the raising the Flag on Iwo Jima. This was a touching and very creative ending to the concert.
Additional highlights included Derek St. Holmes taking lead vocals on the lost Nugent track, “Turn it Up” and also the Jimi Hendrix classic “Red House,” in which Nugent dazzled the awestruck audience with some brilliant fret work. Greg Smith’s lead vocals on “Need You Bad,” also is worthy of mention.
As a Ted Nugent concert veteran, I’ve been to over twenty Nugent concerts since 1978, and I can honestly say that Nugent has never disappointed on any of his shows. This one however, was truly one of the best, by the best. When it comes to performing, Nugent is still in a class all of his own.
For more on Ted Nugent, please visit www.tednugent.com