BY THOMAS S. ORWAT, JR.
North Tonawanda – The controversial, freedom-loving rock legend, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Ted Nugent played two sold-out shows at the beautiful 1100-capacity Riviera Theatre last Sunday and Monday nights. The jammed packed audience was treated to Nugent’s typical over-the-top performance, which was nothing short of spectacular. The 74-year-old guitarist from Redford, Michigan has obviously benefited from living a clean life, he performed and looked like someone 30 years younger than his age.
There was some controversy surrounding this show. Some misinformed individuals felt that it was inappropriate for Nugent to play in the Buffalo, NY area due to the recent horrific, racially motivated murder of 10 innocent people at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, NY on May 14th. As a result, many of the local TV news stations were on hand to cover this event. But there were no protests outside before the show.
The people objecting this show mistakenly colored Nugent as a gun-loving, radical racist. While he does believe we all have to right to bear arms, he is not by any means a radical racist. I’m sure that he was disgusted by these senseless killings, just like the rest of us. It’s a shame that some folks don’t check the facts before shooting their mouths off.
Nugent is currently touring to support a new record, entitled “Detroit Muscle” which like all of his past releases is filled with amazing guitar riffs, well-crafted songs and clever lyrics. Nothing new here, just high-quality material from Mr. Nugent. Like he always says “Nothing but the best, for the best.
On this evening, Nugent played a high intensity 14-song set. He declared. “This is my most important concert ever!” He then explained “My next concert will be even more important.” Nugent also commented that this was his 6822nd concert that he has performed.
Nugent was flanked by an incredible backing band, which consists of veteran bass player Greg Smith and drummer Jason M Hartless. That duo provided the non-stop, thunderous backbeat to Nugent’s relentless attack of his Gibson Byrdland guitars, which created such a satisfying sonic ear candy. It’s unbelievable that just three people can create such a pleasing racket.
When it was bassist Greg Smith to take lead vocals for “Need You Bad” and “Hey Baby” he knocked it out of the park, with his smooth, melodic vocals.
There was never a dull moment during this show, however, some of the highlights included a performance of the rarely played Nugent song “Good Friends and a Bottle of Wine” from his 1978 release ‘Weekend Warriors.’
Also, Nugent poured all of his power, passion and soul into delivering a goose-bump worthy performance of his classic hit “Fred Bear.”
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Ted Nugent is one of the most dynamic performers in the history of rock music. He is a true national treasure and if you get the chance to see him perform, go out and buy tickets immediately, you will not be disappointed. Like Nugent stated during the show, “I wake up every morning, knowing that I make all the great people happy.” www.tednugent.com
Opening this show was the outlaw modern country artist Rick Monroe and the Hitmen. This 4-piece band did an amazing job winning over a very fickle audience. Their attention-grabbing performance included their recent hit “World’s Gone Crazy,” a cover of the Foo Fighters “Best of Me” and a unique country flavored rendition of the Motorhead classic “Ace of Spade.” You will be hearing a lot more from Rick Monroe and the Hitmen in the future. www.rickmonroe.com
Ted Nugent setlist 08-15-2022
The Star-Spangled Banner
Motor City Madhouse
Come and Take It
Good Friends and a Bottle of Wine
Cat Scratch Fever
The Great White Buffalo
Check out my recent interviews with Rick Monroe and Ted Nugent below.