Ted Nugent wsg/ REO Speedwagon & Styx
(DTE Energy Theatre, Clarkston, MI – June 28th, 2012)
With a title that could have been taken directly from Stevie Wonder's 'Hotter Than July,' tonight on a late June night at the DTE Energy Theatre in Clarkston, MI the heat index was pushing an incredible, sizzling 99 degrees.
REO Speedwagon takes the stage first. Lead singer Kevin Cronin and the Wagon were primed, ripped and ready to bring more heat. And the crowd was more than ready to rock. 'Don't Let Him Go' was first on the docket followed by their mega hit 'Take It On The Run' and 'Keep Pushing.' Cronin tells us that the next song was left off the set-list for a while "... because we thought it was irrelevant at the time!" Continuing, he adds, "What people need to do today is continue to talk to one another, BUT listen a lot more!" Thus bringing the meaningful 'Golden Country' to the fore.
After a roar from the crowd, Cronin reminds us that Uncle Ted is the "... self-professed greatest love song writer of all time" with hits like 'Cat Scratch Fever,' however Cronin adds, "I think we get a spot in the top ten with this next song." 'Can't Fight This Feeling' adds just a little more heat to the night, but the crowd doesn't seem to mind. Followed closely is 'Time For Me To Fly' which has the lively lot of party revelers standing and singing along. Fast forward into 'Back On The Road Again,' before a short pause in the action whilst Cronin composes himself and informs us, "Now it's time for some classic rock artillery!" We're soon made aware of what the secret weapon would be unleashed on us when we're given direction to place our arms out to our side in a hokey pokey-type position. And, making sure we have enough room to move, it is now that 'Roll With The Changes' is set free on our sweat-soaked souls!
Oh yeah, the Wagon hasn't lost a step. Directly rolling into 'Keep On Loving You,' before REO leaves us they hit us once more with 'Riding The Storm Out.' Let's see, late June, 99 degrees, AND REO Speedwagon! Yeah, it doesn't get much hotter than this!
After a short pause Tommy Shaw, James "JY " Young, Todd Sucherman, Lawrence Gowan and Ricky Phillips; better known as STYX take the stage to continue the classic rock onslaught on our senses. 'Blue Collar Man' greets the sun-soaked crowd as Tommy yells "We're playin' DTE," as they then roll into the epic 'Grand Illusion.' After this Shaw welcomes us all, "Hello Detroit, we got some work to do. You know who comes on next," referring to Ted Nugent. 'Too Much Time On My Hands' nestles in our ears next as Tommy then informs us he lived here in Michigan for over 10 years.
Joining Shaw and the gang on stage at this point is Chuck Panozzo, an original band member. 'Fooling Yourself (the Angry Young Man)' and 'Miss America' are next, then comes a short piano solo from Lawrence Gowan (which covers Eric Clapton's 'Layla' and Elton John's 'Pinball Wizard') and thrills the crowd no end. When the band rejoins Gowan on stage they all launch into 'Come Sail Away,' 'Rockin The Paradise' and 'Renegade.' And so, as they left the stage they had done their job in preparing us for the in-your-face upcoming performance we all came to see - from our beloved Uncle Ted.
OK, it's 9:41pm and only 89 degrees so things are cooling right?! WRONG!! Taking the stage is none other than the Motor City Mad Man himself, the self-proclaimed savior of the Constitution, the Voice of The People, yes the one and only Uncle Ted Nugent. Greeting us the only way he can, with a strong, loudly screamed "Kick out the jams, motherf**kers," after a few guitar licks (like no other I've ever heard), Ted is quick to remind us that "Everything's gonna be alright 'cause Uncle Ted is BACK in town."
As he roars into 'Just What The Doctor Ordered,' the classic 'Wango Tango,' 'Turn It Up,' the always-brilliant 'Free For All' and then 'Stormtroopers,' 'Wang Dang Sweet Poontang,' 'Live It Up,' 'Hey Baby,' the uber-classic 'Fred Bear,' the powerhaus 'Cat Scratch Fever' and lastly wrapped it with 'Stranglehold' bring his set to a close. Sprinkled in-between songs Ted gives us his unsolicited views on certain political policies while reminding us not to forget where we came from. That freedom isn't free and to give thanks to the men and women of the armed forces for doing what needs to be done.
Say what you want about Ted's views, but a couple of things are more than clear: 1) The man is Patriotic, and 2) Uncle Ted can rocks like no other!
Reviewed by: Ray Trevino
Photos by: Jennifer Shumney