After battling traffic for much of our three-and-a-half-hour drive from Connecticut, we arrived at Massachusetts’ Xfinity Center around 4:45pm. The parking lots were open, and the fans were already tailgating getting ready for the main event. Bret Michaels brought his Parti-Gras tour to town with Jefferson Starship and Night Ranger opening the night along with a bunch of guest artists to top off the party. The sounds of 80’s rock bands could be heard coming from the fans cars that were in the parking lot. Many people were dressed like it was still 1987, with their aqua-net hairdos, spandex, boots, bandanas, concert shirts, and probably a mullet or two.
The first band to take the stage was Jefferson Starship. I wasn’t sure what to expect from them, as I only knew a few of their hit songs from having heard my father play them when I was a kid. That being said, I was thoroughly entertained by their musical ability and stage presence. I had recently seen several other 70’s rock bands that were less than fun to watch. Cathy Richardson and David Freiberg’s vocal duets are stunning and passionate. Jude has an awesome stage presence, utilizing most of the stage and catwalk while performing his lead guitar duties. They started the night off with “Find Your Way Back” and then played fan favorite “Sara”. The crowd was singing along to most of their songs including the next cover of Albert Hammond‘s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”. They played several more Jefferson Airplane and Starship covers and ended the night with a cover of The Great Society’s “Somebody to Love”.
Jefferson Starship is:
David Freiberg – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Donny Baldwin – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Chris Smith – Keyboards, Bass
Cathy Richardson – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Jude Gold – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
1.Find Your Way Back
2.Sara (Starship cover)
3.Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now (Albert Hammond cover)
4.White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane cover)
5.We Built This City (Starship cover)
7.Somebody to Love (The Great Society cover)
Night Ranger is always a crowd favorite, but up until a few years back I only knew them for their radio friendly hits until I saw them at M3 Rock Festival and was blown away! Such showman and talented performers keep the fans on their feet for the entire set. They hit the stage running with “(You Can Still) Rock in America” and the crowd was already singing along. Brad Gillis slays the guitar and has his rockstar poses down to a science making it easy to do my job capturing the moment. Kerri and Brad frequent the front of the catwalk together making for some great shots. Through their short 8-song set, they included 2 Damn Yankee songs, to the fans delight. And if you have ever been to one of their shows, you will anticipate when everyone gets up around Kelly’s drum kit and lends a hand, and this performance was no exception. Jack Blades vocals have stood the test of time and he is a first-class front man. Eric Levy holds down the fort on keyboards, which is great, as many 80’s bands use tracks for the keyboard and piano parts. It keeps it true to the era. They end the night with their hits, “Sister Christian” and “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”. Night Ranger is a must see for me whenever they come to town.
Night Ranger is:
Kelly Keagy – Drums, Percussion, Lead and Backing Vocals
Brad Gillis – Lead and Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jack Blades – Bass, Lead and Backing Vocals, Rhythm and Acoustic Guitar
Eric Levy – Keyboards, Synthesizers, Piano, Backing Vocals
Kerri Kelly – Lead and Rhythm Guitars, Backing Vocals
1.(You Can Still) Rock in America
2.Sing Me Away
3.Coming of Age (Damn Yankees cover)
4.Night Ranger (including group drum solo)
5.High Enough (Damn Yankees cover)
6.When You Close Your Eyes
8.Don’t Tell Me You Love Me
Bret Michaels brought his Parti-gras Tour to Massachusetts with some friends in tow. Rick Harrison, from the hit television show Pawn Stars, was on hand to get the party started. Bret came on stage all smiles and radiating positivity. He is one performer who truly feeds off of the crowds’ energy, and Massachusetts brought truckloads of it. Bret let everyone know that the night would be full of nothing but hit songs. Kicking off the night with 3 crowd favorite Poison songs, “Talk Dirty to Me”, my personal favorite “Ride The Wind”, and then “Look What the Cat Dragged in”. This set the tone for one kick ass 80’s style rock party. Bret let the crowd know that he was there as a fan of music and was having a fantastic time. Die-hard fans were able to purchase a VIP package which included allowing them to stand and watch the entire performance from side stage.
Next, Mark McGrath took front and center stage to perform the Sugar Ray song, “Every Morning”. The crowd loved it. Bret got back on the mic to perform the Poison cover of Loggins and Messina‘s “Your Momma Don’t Dance”. Throughout the night former Journey vocalist Steve Augeri stepped in to lead spot to perform 3 of Journey’s fan favorites. His vocal abilities are incredible and such a treat to hear live!
As is tradition with Bret Michaels, that during the song “Something to Believe in”, he invites all veterans to come out on stage and up to the front of the catwalk so the fans can thank them for their service. Such a touching moment, and wonderful thing to do for our veterans. Once they were escorted off the stage, Bret continues to finish the song with an emotional ending. The fans had their lighters and cell phone lights out and swaying for numerous songs, when Bret asked to “light this place up”. Throughout the night Bret points at the fans and shakes their hands. At the end of the set, Bret invites all of the guest artists onto the stage to perform Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”. Such an amazing way to end the night!
If you want to relive your 80’s with a rock and roll party, The Bret Michaels PartiGras Tour is the best way to do it. From the amazing Jefferson Starship to the awesome stage presence of Night Ranger, to all the special guests that are invited to perform, this is one show not to be missed. The tour runs through August 6th, however Bret let us know he is planning to bring it back next year.
Bret Michaels Band is:
Bret Michaels – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Pete Evick – Guitar
Norman Voss – Bass
Meri Schaefer – Drums, Backing Vocals
Rob Jozwiak – Keyboards
Dean Cramer – Guitar
Becci Clark – Background Vocals
1.Talk Dirty to Me (Poison song)
2.Ride the Wind (Poison song)
3.Look What the Cat Dragged In (Poison song)
4.Every Morning (Sung by Mark McGrath) (Sugar Ray cover)
5.Your Momma Don’t Dance (Loggins and Messina cover)
6.Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) (Sung by Steve Augeri) (Journey cover)
7.Something to Believe in (Poison song)
8.Unskinny Bop (Poison song)
9.Don’t Stop Believin’ (Sung by Steve Augeri) (Journey cover)
10.Any Way You Want It (Sung by Steve Augeri) (Journey cover)
11.Every Rose Has It’s Thorn (Poison cover)
12.Fly (Sung by Mark McGrath) (Sugar Ray cover)
13.Nothin’ but a Good Time (Poison cover)
14.Sweet Home Alabama (Performed by all artists) (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
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