Classic rock acts are soaring this summer, with many coming to Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre: Slayer, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Chicago and REO Speedwagon, Styx and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Poison and Cheap Trick get things started this weekend.
And though these groups aren’t at the top of music charts, their concert legacies speak for themselves.
“Rock ’n’ roll is here to stay. I hate to tell you, but it ain’t ever going away,” says Poison bassist Bobby Dall, interviewed last week as rehearsals came to an end. “Our numbers increase every year. If you have a catalog with enough depth, your career is sustainable and will always be large.”
After several years off the road, the Bret Michaels-led group jumped back into touring in 2017 with Def Leppard and Tesla.
“It was fun, a fantastic tour that sold out, jam-packed,” Dall says. “We couldn’t have asked for a better package.”
That tour was so successful that Poison is hitting the road again this summer for its “Nothin’ But a Good Time Tour” with Cheap Trick.
“This year we’re headlining,” Dall says. “We’re out longer, and we’re doing more. I don’t care if we’re headlining or opening — when we play a show, we’re there to please the fans. That’s always the attitude of the band.
“We’re about escapism — about the good time. I always say if you leave a Poison show without a smile on your face, you need therapy.”
Dall doesn’t want to give away too much about what fans can expect, but he says the band will play all its hits, “squeezing as many as we can into the time frame. The problem is we have too many hits. So we just have to play them all.”
Banging out all those hits, he says, “is better than sex. The adrenaline rush of being on a stage and being a rock band is just incredible. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Though he says he loves the whole show, the band’s 1990 song “Ride the Wind” is his favorite to play live.
“The interaction of the crowd makes it so wonderful,” he says. “The day the fans stop coming, that’s the day to cry.
Having Cheap Trick in the mix is a bit of a throwback for Poison. “We love the guys in Cheap Trick. We go a long way back with them, and we grew up with them as kids. Cheap Trick was on one of our original tours when it was Ratt, Cheap Trick and Poison. Cheap Trick went off and did their own thing, and we stayed on the tour for another year.”
Cheap Trick — though it represents a different era of rock — was available and made for a nice touring package.
Pop Evil is also on the tour but will miss the St. Louis show; Cinderella’s Tom Keifer will fill in. Dall says Poison and Cinderella played many shows together in the past.
Poison recorded its 2008 album “Live, Raw & Uncut” at the former Verizon Wireless Amphitheater (now Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre) in 2007. And Dall has family in St. Louis.
Along with Dall and Michaels, Poison also includes Rikki Rockett and C.C. DeVille.
The band doesn’t have any plans to make new music; the focus is on the tour — and on the classics.
Though Dall says he’d love to record new music, he says not all the members agree. “I don’t want to point any fingers.” Some of the members won’t commit to scheduling time to record an album.
“But it would be fantastic, Dall says. “I’m absolutely for it. It’s a matter of getting these four members to get three or four months of their lives set aside to record.”
What Poison, Cheap Trick, Cinderella’s Tom Keifer • When 7 p.m. Saturday • Where Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, 14141 Riverport Drive, Maryland Heights • How much $18-$250 • More info 314-298-7389; livenation.com
"We're about escapism — about the good time. I always say if you leave a Poison show without a smile on your face, you need therapy."