City National Grove of Anaheim
Last night, Ted Nugent sauntered on stage at the Grove of Anaheim to showcase another set of serious, six string firepower. Considering the amount of classic rock reverence we have in OC, it was clear from the outset that the entire venue had been placed under the control of the Motor City Madman. First off, this show had one of the most strict camera policies I've ever seen. Fans were not even allowed to have their phone out to take pictures and if security saw you, they were booting people out. But even though some may have considered the anti-phone policy a little over-the-top, it was a relief to not have to look over a sea of glowing, three-inch screens just to see the Nugent do his thing.
Though Detroit's iconic guitar hero was obviously the star of the show, every single person on that stage seemed to put out as much work and energy as the bossman himself. In fact, rhythm guitarist Derek St. Holmes and bassist Greg Smith did a lot of the vocals as Uncle Ted rocked out on the guitar. Nugent used the vocal spot from his bandmates to wander off a bit and showcase his skill set in person as his fingers danced on the frets in between shouts from his headset mic which he still uses without fail.
As always, Nugent dug deep into the song book to pull out a respectable array of classics and deep tracks appreciated by a crowd that seemed overwhelmingly age 30-and-up. Of course at the end of the show, songs like “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Strangle Hold” were played. The band moved around on stage but it was not like they were running around, they were simply walking around but the energy that was coming from them was fantastic. It is not always about how much you do on stage, but how you do it, and the amount of zeal with which you play every note. In fact, compared to some recent shows with younger bands, it's safe to say that most of those acts could still afford to take notes from the Nuge on how to play a loud over-the-top show.
In between some of the songs, Uncle Ted was giving out some of his one-of-a-kind words of wisdom. As we all know, Nugent is a huge hunter, fairly conservative, and a huge supporter of our American Troops. Whether you agree with his politics or not, he does care about America and sure as hell shows everyone what it is like to be a proud statesman. It is always nice to have someone who is a strong force supporting our troops because it is not something that is scene very often. In all honesty, Nugent is pretty funny on stage and he really gives zero fucks about whether or not you like what he has to say. This is something of course the rock legend has been known for through out the years but it is another thing to see it in person.
One of the high lights of the night came when his band started to play “Red House,” a classic track from The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Over the years, I have seen various countless Experience covers and this was by far the best attempt I have heard. It sounded fantastic. The band had kept it close to how it sounded originally but they had also made it their own song, which is rare in a cover. But then again, with Nugent at the helm, things always tend to turn out wild, raw and just right.
The Crowd: Late 30's and older, mostly the good ol' boy type, a.k.a. people who love America and you can tell they do. There was a handful of people in their 20's. But like me, it looked like they'd come with their parents.
Advice From Uncle Ted:” I hunt my own venison and I make it into jerky. I send it out to our troops overseas. Did you know they send out tofu overseas? That stuff will rot out your insides!”
Personal Bias: This was one of those bucket list concerts I was definitely glad to attend. Not disappointed in the least.
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