The Bret Michaels Band – The Electric Factory – Philadelphia, PA – November 25, 2016
The Bret Michaels Band took the stage along with Octane and Mach22 at the Electric Factory Saturday night for what would turn out to be an event to remember. The rainy evening did not deter fans from showing their support for these artists. They came in many forms and ages, ranging from millennials to the original Poison die-hards. No matter how wide the scale, everyone in the arena shared a common feeling, and appreciation for the spectacle of watching an iconic figure like Michaels perform hits that are deep rooted in our minds and hearts.
The Electric Factory has a capacity close to 3,000 and gaps in this audience were few and far between. It also happens to be my favorite arena in the city for rock concerts. The architecture seemingly enhanced the experience. It has a ceiling much higher than comparable venues like Union Transfer or the TLA. All the barriers were pushed flush against the stage allowing the artists to interact with audience members several feet back. The sounds was intense at times and left a lasting ringing in my ears after the show.
The first band to hit the stage was Mach22. Early this year the Philly-based rock group won a contest to perform as the opener for Guns N’ Roses at Lincoln Financial Field, so no strangers to opening for greats. Mach22’s style that era mixed with many old and new rock sounds. Lamont Caldwell, the lead singer, built up the crowd nicely and finished with an intense moment of screams and fury in which his shirt was completely torn off. The set included original music, along with some old school classic covers of artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Octane took the stage next, another Philly-based band, with an immediate emphasis on supporting local artists. Their set also included some covers of old classic rock which continued to set the mood for the upcoming Bret Michaels Band. Even the original Octane songs like “Gasoline” brought back the sounds of 90’s rock and grudge. They set the stage nicely for the old school rock vibes about to come.
Bret Michaels built the most anticipation of the night, sending some of the band up to draw applause while playing the entire Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle.” After minutes of building restlessness in the crowd, Michaels came out to smoke machines and did not disappoint. His energy was high and people fed off of it. His theme of the night was “Fired Up” which he repeated several times, and demonstrated in physical excitement. The set included everything you could want to hear, the Poison classics, Bret’s singles and collaborations with bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd on “Sweet Home Alabama.”
Towards the end of the set every member of the band performed a solo, each last about 3 minutes. Mike Bailey on Drums had the first and longest, with everyone else leaving the stage for a moment. “Pistol” Pete Evick seriously destroyed on the electric guitar and his solo was a crowd pleaser, playing with the guitar behind his back at times. Eric Brittingham on bass also has his moment to shine and again impressed us musically and physically, doing the classic 360 guitar swing. The biggest moment was of undoubtedly the drop into “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” there was an excited feeling about everyone and Bret carried that emotion throughout the night.
Michaels finished with some words on diabetes and how it affects his life. Finally the hats that he had worn during the show were signed and auctioned off right on the spot. One sold for $350, with the proceeds going to support charitable diabetes foundations. After a career that wore so many different faces, Bret Michaels seems to have stayed true with his red bandana and cowboy hat. Once more, his energy and passion seemed to be as “Fired up” as ever.
Copyright ©2016 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: November 27, 2016.
Photos by Nick Bergmann © 2016