Those who want to pull U.S. troops out of the world’s war zones may have a reasonable alternative — sending Ted Nugent in to take care of things.
The fi ghting will end in a week. At the outside.
The camoufl agewearing Motor City Madman came to conquer Thursday night at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, the first of a two-show Oakland County stand. In the course of two hours, he shocked, awed and won the hearts and minds of an abundantly rowdy crowd, which, of course, didn’t need much convincing but was happy enough to be reminded of Nugent’s rock ’n’ roll potency just the same.
So, say what you will about Nugent’s outspoken conservatism (which he kept to a blessed minimum Thursday) and profanity-laden disdain for “anybody who doesn’t feel freedom.” With a guitar in his hands, some amps behind him and an explosive rhythm section (bassist Barry Sparks and drummer Mick Brown) alongside, it was all too easy to surrender to his hard-rocking shrapnel.
Surrounded by enough (literal) machine-gun fi repower to exercise a coup on Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties, Nugent and company started the night with an electrifi ed “The Star-Spangled Banner” before launching into the crunchy groove of “Stormtroopin’ ” and then lacing a bit of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” into “Wango Tango.” He pulled out anthems like arrows from a quiver, delivering each — “Snakeskin Cowboy” “Free For All,” “Dog Eat Dog,” “Stranglehold,” “Cat Scratch Fever” — with ferocious energy, extending most with guitar solos or vocal vamps.
He introduced “Hey Baby” (sung by Sparks) with a bit of Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man” and also played a pair of new rockers — the double-entendre “Girl Scout Cookies” and the chest-thumping “Still Raizin Hell” — that are slated for a new album he plans to release next year.
No stranger to hyperbole, Nugent barked out plenty of kudos for his bandmates — and himself.
But, there were genuine tributes to members of the armed forces who attended Thursday’s show, as well as to the hometown “blood brothers” who Nugent said “make me play better.”
That was certainly something everyone could agree on Thursday night, even without any of the onstage weaponry pointed at them.
Nugent and opening act Alex Winston perform again at 8 p.m. Friday (August 18th)at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University, Rochester Hills. Tickets are $39.50 pavilion, $15 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit
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