Chris Loomis

Ted Nugent @ City National Grove – 6/30/11

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The MotorCity Madman Ted Nugent came stormtroopin through Anaheim, CA on Thursday night June 30 as part of the “I Still Believe” 2011 tour. This summer Uncle Ted’s band mates (better known as his funk brothers) include original Nugent co-vocalist/guitarist  Derek St.Holmes, bass player Greg Smith (who has previously played with Alice Cooper, Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult, etc) and Wild Mick Brown from  80’s rockers Dokken on drums.

Performing in front of a sold out show to 1700 very enthusiastic Nugent fans of all ages, the band hit the stage at City National Grove at about 9:00pm opening the show with one of the many Nugent classics heard this night “Free for All” and then right into “Stormtroopin”. Ted encompasses everything a great entertainer should be. He is first and foremost a very talented guitar player, he has a great sense of humor, he is very intelligent, he has fun on stage and his music is catchy, funky and rockin. Mr. Nugent has without a doubt been drinking from the fountain-of-youth as at the age of 62 he still looks great and delivers a very active, spirited and animated performance. The addition of Derek St. Holmes, who is the voice of such Nugent classics as Stranglehold, Hey Baby and Just What the Doctor Ordered to name a few, to the touring lineup adds a very classic feel to the show. Seeing and hearing Derek on lead vocals allows for many of the songs to be heard as they were recorded back in the day – and Derek is no slouch on guitar either. The crowd was certainly very excited to see Derek onstage again with Nugent based on reactions to him taking the mic. The rhythm section of Greg Smith and Mick Brown completes the live sound and adds the funk element to Ted and Derek’s guitar mastery.

The 2 hr 10 min show was jam packed with all the songs you want to hear Ted play (although his entire catalog is certainly worthy of playing live). All the elements you would expect and have seen over the years were part of this show – Ted’s political rants and personal opinions of President Obama in between songs, Salutes to the US armed forces and silly guitar faces while Ted is jamming on his high-energy guitar rock. During the song “Hey Baby” is when the crowd really let loose and started dancing and moving to the funk. Prior to the start of this song Ted had made a hilarious comment on how he feels guilty because he has already used all the good guitar riffs – classic Ted Nugent humor.

The highlights of the show were “Fred Bear” with video of Ted’s favorite hunting footage playing on each side of the stage, “Stranglehold” with Derek on lead vocals and the encore of “Great White Buffalo”. The encore had Ted onstage in a full Indian Chief Headdress and at the end of this song displaying his archery skills by sacrificing his guitar by hanging it on his stack of amps and shooting a burning arrow dead center into the guitar body. The night ended with all four members of the band putting on a military combat helmet and bowing to the crowd in unison. Ted then ran off stage and returned holding a giant American flag and then all the band members joined Ted in recreating the infamous Iwo Jima flag raising photograph. One other item worth mentioning is the stage setup filled with guns, guitars, hunting equipment and American flags – what’s more Rock n Roll than that? The stack of amps on each side of the stage were scattered with various guitars from Ted’s collection hanging from the amps – probably 8-10 guitars on each side – A nice touch to make the vibe of the live show that much better and providing a nice background for live photos of the band.

If you are even just a casual fan of Ted Nugent, make it a priority to catch him on tour during the summer of 2011. The current tour across the US runs through the first week in September – check out for all the latest Ted Nugent tour dates.

Setlist: Free for All / Stormtroopin / Wango Tango / Just What the Doctor Ordered / Wang Dang Sweet Poontang / Need You Bad / Turn it Up / Weekend Warriors / Baby Please Don’t Go / Raw Dogs & War Hogs / Dog Eat Dog / Hey Baby / Fred Bear / I Still Believe / Motor City Madhouse / Cat Scratch Fever / Stranglehold / ENCORE:  Great White Buffalo

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