The Wonder Twins recently hit DTE Energy Music Theatre to relive some childhood joys and horrors with Poison, which celebrated 25 years of big hair/lesbian coifs, leather trou and glittering guitars, wearing more makeup than a gang of tranny hookers.
D'Anne: It's been a dream of mine to go to a straight-up hair metal show. Too bad I had to wait until Poison's 25th anniversary show to do it.
Laura: Poison is a band I used to love as a child. In fact, I had a C.C. DeVille button on the lapel of my jean jacket. Right next to my Richard Marx pin.
D'Anne: I remember that. There was pink light behind him. C.C.'s teased blond hair looked like cotton candy.
Laura: You were the real hair metal fan, though. The Metal Edge magazine pinups you put up in our room basically all looked like women with teased hair, sleeve tattoos and hairy chests. No wonder I suffered night terrors.
D'Anne: I don't think it's really a mystery why I thought dudes who looked like ladies were hot.
Laura: Well, my love of Poison really sprang from a place of bad taste. By the time you were into all those cock-rock bands, I was over it. I never actually went through a "hair metal phase" like you.
D'Anne: I would try to defend myself, but I can't. My affinity for late '80s, early '90s hair metal is my cross to bear. Also not really a "phase" since I still love it.
Laura: The first thing we did when we got to DTE Energy Theatre was buy a giant frozen margarita in a souvenir plastic cup shaped like a guitar. For $12. Totally worth it.
D'Anne: Well, you wanted to fit in. Though you definitely did with your rockin' orange Fashion Bug T-shirt.
Laura: For the record, I asked you to bring me a T-shirt and a hoodie so I could change before the show since I had to leave right from work.
D'Anne: And for the record I forgot. And it turns out there's a perfectly good Fashion Bug in a nearly abandoned strip mall close to your place of employ.
Laura: At which you hurriedly purchased me a T-shirt that was too big for me and had a small stain on it.
D'Anne: It was on clearance and, like you said, the stain was small. And of course I was in a hurry. Warrant and Poison wait for no one.
Laura: Yeah, well, you also forgot a blanket. You completely failed at properly preparing for a show at an outdoor venue.
D'Anne: I offered to buy you a blanket at the Salvation Army. You declined.
Laura: I didn't want to risk getting smallpox from a used blanket. I was already worried about catching an airborne STD being surrounded by Warrant and Poison fans.
D'Anne: Wow. Nice. The turnout for this show was really incredible considering Poison was just here with Mötley Crüe. And to be fair, a Poison-Warrant lineup isn't nearly as compelling.
Laura: True. And Warrant was terrible.
D'Anne: I dug Warrant back in the day. I even liked their third record, Dog Eat Dog, when most people had already forgotten about them. But man, do they suck now without frontman Jani Lane. I was not expecting such a sad, pathetic display.
Laura: The thing is, when your lead singer quits, you are no longer a band. The end. That's just the way things are.
D'Anne: Their new singer, Robert Mason, was once singer in the Lynch Mob. Which just adds a layer of really unfortunate irony to Warrant's song "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
Laura: I am sure it bruises the egos of the original members, but I don't think the crowd at DTE really noticed the singer switch. The people sitting around us at least seemed plenty hammered by the time Warrant took the stage. There were many, many empty plastic guitar cups strewn about.
D'Anne: Well, I noticed.
Laura: I felt both horror and pity when fake Jani Lane announced, "This next song is the single from our new record, Rockaholic. It's called, 'Life Is a Song.'" There is so much delusion in that statement, it's hard to know where to start.
D'Anne: It was a very terrible song. Definitely something I would only use as a metaphor for my existence at my most bleak and boring.
Laura: Rockaholic is definitely going to put Warrant back on the map. Especially with that sweet-ass distribution deal they have where the record will be sold exclusively at Sunoco gas stations and out of some dude's trunk in a Wal-Mart parking lot.
D'Anne: Thankfully, Poison was much less disappointing.
Laura: Yes. But to be fair, Warrant had set the bar very low. And from the reception even the music that played in between sets got from the crowd, it was obvious these people were pretty easy to please.
D'Anne: It was pretty ballsy of Poison to basically bring themselves out on stage to Guns N' Roses "Welcome to the Jungle."
Laura: Axl Rose would have pulled a total Axl Rose on their asses. For the unaware, the Poison guys were always considered total posers on the Sunset Strip. And nobody hated them more than Guns N' Roses.
D'Anne: But as soon as Rikki Rocket sauntered onstage and spray painted "Rock City" on his bass drum heads, the crowd was lovin' every second.
Laura: I always thought he looked the most like a lady back during their Look What the Cat Dragged In days. And he still does — only now he's a total lesbian. He has one of the most lesbian haircuts I've ever seen. Come to think of it, his name is pretty lesbian too.
D'Anne: Lots of old hair metal dudes have lesbian haircuts now. They went from one extreme to the other in the coiffure department. Though C.C. DeVille still has a pretty poofy do, and Bret Michaels isn't afraid to rock the hair extensions.
Laura: C.C. looks virtually the same. Although now his skin looks papery-thin with a grayish cast.
D'Anne: You were digging his guitar solos.
Laura: No. This is a false. His guitar solos were all the same. Regardless of song. "Talk Dirty to Me" and "Unskinny Bop"? The same solo. After 25 years of professional cock-rocking, I expect more.
D'Anne: I don't think people go to a Poison show expecting to see Jimmy Page. They go because they "don't need nothin' but a good time." And say what you want about how Poison has aged or how a song like "Unskinny Bop" sounds especially lame played by 50-year-old men, the audience was clearly having a blast.
Laura: "Unskinny Bop" doesn't sound especially lame played by 50-year-old men. It sounds especially lame played by anyone. That song is the worst.
D'Anne: Fine. But Poison isn't a band one should turn to for deeply thought-out lyrics. I think the most profound thing any Poison fan has learned from their music is that "every cowboy sings a sad, sad song."
Laura: True. It's Poison's fault that I always picture Gene Autry secretly crying every time he sings, "Here Comes Santa Claus."
D'Anne: You're letting Bret Michaels have way too much control over your life, Laura.
D'Anne: Though you can't say he isn't a good marketer — that man was totally wearing his own merch.
Laura: Very true. At most shows, you don't wanna be "that guy" who wears the shirt of the band you're going to see. But at a Poison show, you're "that guy" if you don't wear the shirt. The lawn was a sea of Poison shirts.
Laura: Well, clearly one of the best ways to cherish and remember the Poison 25-year anniversary tour is to stock up on merch. And there was a lot to choose from: Everything from T-shirts and shot glasses to travel mugs and even a laptop case.
D'Anne: Well, congrats, Poison: like it (me!) or not (my dumb sister!) it's clear America won't forget you, baby.