Labor Day started a little bit early for some Sunday night at the Goodyear Hall. The venue saw the return of four head banging acts from the ‘80s and early ‘90s as Firehouse, Warrant, Ratt and Bret Michaels invaded one of the newest concert venues in the area.
The Elevation Group, a Beachwood based promoter, is doing a tremendous job bringing in acts to downtown Akron. The beautiful and more intimate Goodyear Theater will play host to some top names this fall. The adjacent Goodyear Hall is a larger venue (3,500 seat capacity) with general admission/standing room on the floor with a few hundred seats available in the second tier.
Firehouse got things off to a great start with a short yet powerful set. Led by vocalist C.J. Snare, the band opened with “Shake and Tumble” followed by the hit “All She Wrote.” Snare said this show was kind of a homecoming for them because two guys in their crew, including bassist Allen McKenzie are from the area.
Two of the bands biggest hits “When I Look into Your Eyes” and the top 5 smash “Love of a Lifetime” had couples slow dancing on the floor. They picked things back up as they closed their 35 minute set with the rocker “Don’t Treat Me Bad.”
Warrant was the next band on tap. Although original singer and Brimfield native Janie Lane is missed, vocalist Robert Mason does a fine job fronting the band that is still comprised of the four original members that played on all of Warrants multi-platinum albums.
Mason thanked the crowd after the second song and said that he wanted to get the talking out of the way so they could stick to the time schedule. Even with that, the band did not play some of the songs that were on the stage set list.
The songs they did play however, sounded great. From the rockers like “Big Talk” and “Down Boys” to the ballads “I Saw Red” and “Heaven,” the band was firing on all cylinders.
They ended the set with their biggest hit “Cherry Pie” which became a huge sing-a-long.
The third band of the evening was Ratt. Drummer Bobby Blotzer is the only original member of this touring band. He has put together some good musicians and the young lead singer does have a voice that is very similar to original singer Steven Pearcy.
Blotzer came out drumming to James Brown’s “Living in America.” The rest of the band joined him to pump out all of the Ratt classics. After some technical difficulties on “Back for More,” the band found its groove and knocked out “Lovin’ You’s a Dirty Job” and “I Want a Woman.”
The bluesy “Way Cool Jr.” saw the band improvise a bit as the guitarists threw in the “Pink Panther Theme” and a snippet of ZZ Top’s “La Grange.”
Their set ended with the song that put the band on the map and their video in heavy rotation “Round and Round.”
Headliner Bret Michaels came out and promised the crowd that he didn’t have anywhere to go and that they were going to party all night.
Michaels brings energy and charisma that every good front man should have. Slapping hands and interacting with the crowd seems second nature to him.
His set started off with a double shot of Poison classics “Talk Dirty to Me” and “Look What the Cat Dragged In.” He then went into a couple of cover songs “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance.”
Michaels is also a quite the philanthropist as he has raised millions of dollars for Juvenile Diabetes and the Wounded Warrior Foundation over the years. 100% of the proceeds from the meet and greets that he sells goes to those two worth- while causes.
Half way through his set he asked all of those in attendance to break out their cell phones and “light this place up” for the veterans as he played “Something to Believe In.”
Other Poison hits “Unskinny Bop,” “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and “Nothin’ but a Good Time” rounded out his set.
Those songs usually end the show, but Michaels was clearly having a good time. He said that he wasn’t promising anything, but he was working on bringing Bobby, C.C. and Rikki, the original guys from Poison back next year along with Def Leppard. That got a huge response from the near sell-out crowd.
He then ended the show with the Kiss classic “Rock and Roll All Night.”
It was a great night of rock and roll indeed.