Few acts in rock and roll take the notion of starting things off with a bang quite so literally as Poison. Last night at the Capital Centre, the band was barely 12 bars into its opening number, "Look What the Cat Dragged In," before a half-dozen flash pots exploded to introduce singer Brett Michaels.
As the show progressed, so did the pyrotechnics, building from the shower of sparklers during "You Can look but You Can't Touch" to towers of flame at the end of "Unskinny Bop." All that, in addition to the band's usual megawatt light show and elaborate staging.
Dazzling as the specials effects were, they paled in comparison with the band itself. Poison may not be the most profound rockers around -- apart from some remember-the-veterans sentiment in "Something to Believe In," few tunes touched on anything deeper then good times and fast women -- but they certainly are among the most committed.
That, not the fireworks and fancy dancing, made Poison's performance memorable. Not since the glory days of Van Halen has a band so convincingly combined a party-hearty attitude with high voltage rock and roll. From "I Want Action" to "Unskinny Bop," the quartet made sure its audience had nothing but a good time.
Warrant, which opened the show, tried for a similar blend of heavy rock and light-hearted spirit, with less success. It wasn't that the band lacked firepower; it simply would have been better served by more songs and less chatter.