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POP MUSIC REVIEW : The Poison Brew: Glitz and Glitter at Long Beach

June 19, 1989|JANISS GARZA

There are those who view Poison as all flash and no substance, but perhaps the secret behind the hard-rock group's success--it has had two multimillion-selling albums--is that its flash is its substance. The Los Angeles quartet filled its Friday Long Beach Arena show--the last of its tour--with garishly colored lights, more fireworks than the Fourth of July, and loads of upbeat, party-down attitude. The Spandex-clad young girls, who composed a good three-fourths of the near-full house, couldn't have asked for anything more.

However, those who did want more than glitz and glitter were bound to be a bit disappointed. Outside of its hits, which include remakes such as Loggins & Messina's "Your Mama Don't Dance," there were few good songs to be had, and Poison's musical abilities are mediocre at best. This was never more evident than during drummer Rikki Rockett's and guitarist C. C. DeVille's pointless solos. With their lighthearted, slightly zany personas, these Gypsy-like rockers form an entertaining, fun-filled unit, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

A few months of life on the road has seasoned the second-billed Bulletboys. They still sound way too much like early Van Halen, but singer Marq Torien's brash presence has gained polish. Bret Michaels, Poison's frontman, had better keep on his toes--it won't be long before Torien provides some stiff competition.

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