Review by John Jeffrey, Photos by Thomas S Orwat, Jr.
Akron, NY – God bless Ted Nugent! Whether you agree or disagree with his views, you have to respect an artist who isn’t afraid to speak his mind, especially when some of his opinions are extremely controversial, like what he thinks about our current governmental regime. Nugent’s sold out show at Brauns Concert Cove Sunday night is proof that he is still adored by his fans. Although his predominantly male fan base is getting up there in age, it was nice to see a few younger faces sprinkled in the crowd enjoying the show just the same.
Opening the show was the Melbourne, Australia born and bred Laura Wilde. Having seen her and her band open for Nugent last year at the Erie County Fairgrounds, it was surprising to see what a difference a year makes. Last year, Wilde was clearly carrying the flag for Heavy Metal, as she rocked out head to toe in all black, Rob Halford-esque attire. This year, the leather and studs were gone, and in its place, she and her band were dressed like they just wandered out of the NYC club scene. The group’s sound went hand-in-hand with their look, and although their performance was solid, unfortunately, none of their songs really stood out. Wilde did her best to entertain and interact with the audience, but the crowd did not seem too interested. It wasn’t until they performed a cover of AC/DC’s “Jailbreak” near the end of the set when the crowd seemed to show a little bit of life.
“Uncle Ted” took the stage around 9pm, which is a relatively early start by comparison to the recent start times by the headlining acts who have recently performed at Braun’s. Taking a look at his 2013 “Black Power” tour stage, you kind of get the idea that Ted was going for a more stripped down/bare bones look. And bones is exactly what you got! Gone from the stage were the scattered gun artillery and rows of Les Paul guitars, and in their place were cow skulls with glowing red eyes, placed on each side of Mick Brown’s drum kit.
Opening the show with the fan-favorite “Gonzo”, Nugent delivered a complete 70’s era staged set. If you haven’t seen “the Nuge” in a while, or if this was the first time ever seeing him live, you might say he performed the perfect set list. However, if you’ve been a longtime fan and have seen him perform over the past few years, you were probably hoping that he changed up the show a bit. With the exception of a couple of songs, he played a near-identical set list a year prior, at the Fair. While it’s easy for groups to fall into the trap of playing repetitive “greatest hits” set lists, perhaps Ted could rotate some more deep cuts in and out of the set, or maybe satiate some of his fans from the 80’s by pulling out some Damn Yankees.
Regardless of what songs they play, not enough could be said about the chemistry between Ted Nugent and co-vocalist/guitarist Derek St. Holmes. With Derek being back in the band for a few years now, I could not imagine a lineup without him in it.
Whether you’re a fan of his politics or not, if you’re a fan of true rock and roll music, seeing Ted Nugent live is a must. Whether it’s in front of 20,000 or 200 people, Ted Nugent delivers. Period.
Just What the Doctor Ordered
Turn it Up
Wang Dang Sweet Poontang
I Can’t Quit you Baby
Live it Up
Queen of the Forest
Cat Scratch Fever
Great White Buffalo
Special Thanks to Ross Catalino, Linda Peterson and Dana Kaiser.