Bret Michaels, frontman of the iconic ’80s Hair Metal outfit Poison, organized one hell of a tour for the summer of ’89, I mean ’23. With a star-studded lineup, Michaels brings an “all killer, no filler night of hit songs” to select cities around the United States. The Parti-Gras tour features ’70s rock group Jefferson Starship, ’80s arena rock band Night Ranger, as well as Bret Michaels and a motley crew of other notable frontmen and celebrities.
Bret Michaels – Night Ranger – Jefferson Starship
Xfinity Center, Mansfield – 21 July 2023
Words And Photography: Shannon Wilk
Opening the night in Mansfield, MA, were Jefferson Starship. Formed in 1974 by members of Jefferson Airplane, the group brings pop-rock hits we all know and love to the Xfinity Center stage. With only one original member, vocalist David Freiberg, remaining, the music is kept alive by him and his group of talented cohorts.
Freiberg fronts the band alongside Cathy Richardson, the duo belting out tunes for the evening. Being an offspring of Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship’s set included hits of their own as well as that of Jefferson Airplane and Starship.
From Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now to We Built This City, the crowd began singing every word at a deafening volume, making Jefferson Starship the perfect act to get the crowd awake and singing for the remainder of the show.
All the way from the Bay Area, the second act of the Parti Gras tour, Night Ranger. The group opens their set with frontman Jack Blades up on a riser by the back of the stage, holding his bass high in the air as the crowd cheers.
Opening the set with anthemic (You Can Still) Rock In America, from their 1983 release Midnight Madness, immediately gets the crowd hooked. Anyone who hasn’t seen Night Ranger is in for a treat as they are one of only a few bands from the era that still bring an energetic performance in addition to sounding just like their classic records.
Not only does the packed amphitheatre get to hear all their favourite Night Ranger tunes, but they also get two songs from Blades’ supergroup Damn Yankees, which featured Tommy Shaw of Styx, Ted Nugent and Michael Cartellone of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Guitarist Keri Kelli takes a drumstick from Kelly Keagy and begins playing his guitar with it, something I have yet to see from a band. Going with the “all killer hits, no filler” mantra of the Parti Gras tour, Night Ranger’s eight-song set showcases their radio-friendly, chart-topping songs like Sister Christian, Don’t Tell Me You Love Me, When You Close Your Eyes and more. After leaving for the night, one of my remarks was, “I wish I had an ounce of the energy that Jack Blades has.”
You can read the Bret Michaels report here.