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 Poison, Cheap Trick and Pop Evil

When: Friday, June 15, 7 p.m. 
Where: Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, 72 Meadowbrook Lane, Gilford
Tickets: $35.75 to $85.75 at banknhpavilion.com 




Nothin’ but a good time
Poison and Cheap Trick hit Bank of NH Pavilion

06/07/18



 By Michael Witthaus

mwitthaus@hippopress.com
 
When Poison bass player Bobby Dall was a teenage rock fan at his first festival show, the lineup  included Cheap Trick. He remembers the event well. 
“They were the ones that actually blew me away,” Dall said of the future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers in a recent phone interview. “They were just amazing.”
These days, the circle has turned. Now Dall’s group is topping the bill while out on tour with Cheap Trick. The two bands play back to back and have shared the stage a few times. After their first album was released 1986, Poison was the opening act for a few dates headlined by then MTV darlings Ratt. 
“If you count that, we’ve done four tours together,” Dall said. “They’re great guys; I have nothing but compliments to say to them.”
With a lineup rounded out by alt metal rockers Pop Evil, the current summer-long run stops in Gilford on June 15. 
There was a time when bands like Poison were seen as a passing fad, but a catalog of hits and solid instincts finds them out and still packing venues 35 years after Dall met singer Bret Michaels and drummer Rikki Rockett when the three were still  playing in Pennsylvania cover bands. After a move to Southern California, the original quartet swapped their guitarist for CC Deville — Slash auditioned but didn’t get the gig.
They hit the L.A. club circuit hard. Two albums in, Poison was headlining, and brushing off anyone labeling them just another hair metal band, while cranking out hit after hit. To date, the band has sold 45 million albums worldwide, 15 million in the U.S. 
But when a wave of alternative acts like Nirvana and Pearl Jam rose to prominence, management advised them to lay low. For a big chunk of the 1990s, they were invisible. 
“I never let it personally bother me; I knew it was a cyclical business, and once we came back, it’s been right where we left off,” Dall said. “The Rolling Stones are the biggest rock and roll band in the world, which proves if you can keep the original members, you’ll have longevity.”
Most Poison shows begin with “Look What The Cat Dragged In,” the title cut from their 1986 debut. The choice serves two purpose, Dall said. 
“It’s a big rock song, and also the best type to get your sound dialed in,” he said. “No matter how many times you soundcheck … when you throw in 10,000 to 15,000 people, everything changes from a sonic point.”
Dall names “Ride the Wind” as his personal favorite Poison song to play, but adds that it tends to change every night. 
“It’s  gonna be the one that gets the most reaction, and it always depends on the city,” he said. “It’s a greatest hits set [so] there’s not a song the audience doesn’t know.”
It’s true — from “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” to “Unskinny Bop” and “Talk Dirty to Me,” every one’s a hard rock sing-along. 
“That depth of catalog,” Dall said, “lets us keep on decade after decade.”
Not that there aren’t thoughts of cooking up a batch of originals to follow up 2002’s Hollyweird, their last studio LP.  
“I can’t speak for every member of the band … [but] I know I would like to make new music,” Dall said. “But I’m not gonna lie to you and say something is in process when it’s not. It has a lot to do with all the band members and their personal lives. … It is somewhat frustrating. I would love to do it, but it’s not going to happen this year.”
Because Bret Michaels has a solo career much of the year, the band’s tours are seasonal. When Dall’s not on the road, he tends to pursue business interests and doesn’t seek out other projects. “Musically, Poison is enough for me,” he said. “If there’s a year the band isn’t going to tour, I find other things to fill my time.” 
How long it does it take Poison to find its mark after months away from the stage? 
“You know, we pretty much hit it running, but it does take a few shows to get into a full stride,” Dall said. “We did eight to nine days of rehearsal, and as we go along we’ll change the show up a little bit. It takes about a week or two.”  





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