Headliner: Bret Michaels 10.17.2015

By Greg Cohen

Bret Michaels stormed into the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fair on October 17, 2015 to open the Fair’s 2015 concert series.  The stop was part of Michael’s True Grit Tour presented by Overstock.com and sponsored by Petsmart.  The tour is in support of Michaels’ most recent album, True Grit, which was released in May 2015.

Experience matters and it was clear from Michaels’ performance just how experienced he was at engaging the crowd in, and as part of, the show.  Michaels was constantly pointing at people and inviting the crowd to sing along throughout the show.  Michaels’ clearly appreciated the home town crowd in Phoenix and played to it nicely.  Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Michaels has spent time living and filming a reality TV show in Scottsdale, AZ but now lives in Calabasas, CA.  In remarks early in the set Michaels commented about how much he enjoyed playing in front of his home town fans.  Michaels also expressed appreciation for the medical professionals who helped to save his life after he suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2010 and was treated at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.

The Bret Michaels Band is currently composed of Pete Evick (guitarist and musical director) , Bart Harris (bass), Rob Jozwiak (keyboard) and Mike Baily (drummer).  The band appeared to truly enjoy playing together with terrific chemistry between Evick and Harris at the front of the stage.

The set list included both old and new material, starting off with Look What the Cat Dragged In from Poison’s first studio album of the same name from August 1986.  By the third song, however, Michaels was into newer material, singing a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama, which Michaels released on his solo album Jammin’ with Friends in June 2013.

Photos © 2015 Greg Cohen

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