Vince Neil and Bret Michaels Headline Hair Nation Music Festival
Vince Neil and Bret Michaels Headline Hair Nation Music Festival
by Allie Jorgen
The Final Farewell Rock Show at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, rocked the house with the SirusXM Hair Nation Music Festival, featuring Vince Neil and Bret Michaels as the headliners for this historical event.
With so many Hard Rock and Heavy Metal venues closing in Los Angeles and Orange County, it is truly sad to add The Irvine Meadows Amphitheater to that list. The Hair Nation Music Festival was the last Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music event to be hosted at Irvine Meadows and was a kick ass and somber end to a venue that featured so many amazing bands that who played at this venue throughout their careers. This was the First Annual, Loud, Wild, and Debaucherous Rock and Roll Party known as The Hair Nation Music Festival courtesy of SirusXM Radio.
The day was complete with music, costumes and partying as everyone traveled back in time to the Glam Era of the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.
A bittersweet day of memories, magic and mayhem as the Hair Nation Music Festival erupted upon the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, in Irvine CA. with a full day of 1980’s Rock and Metal on two stages.
As you climbed up the hill and passed under the entrance banner to the venue, you were instantly greeted with the electric atmosphere of the “Festival Stage” which included the “Batttle of the Bands runner up” Electric Hound Band, Odin, Gabbie Rae, Circus Of Power, Bang Tango, Pretty Boy Floyd, and headliner, LA Guns; everyone was ready to “Rock All Day” and “Party All Night”. Many people in attendance were very serious about paying complete and total homage to the 1980 Sunset Strip era of Music as they were dressed in some fantastic costumes and clothing from that era.
The first band to hit the Festival Stage was the Electric Hound Band who were the runners up for the Best of the Bands contest that brought 2 unsigned bands to the Hair Nation Stages. The band hit the stage hard with a sound they call vintage modern rock that got the audience and Festival Stage party in motion.
Next was “Odin” an 80’s band with a serious cult following and the fans who were in attendance were eager to see their heroes, who had not hit the stage in over 30 years. The crowd followed every move from front man Randy “O” and gave an emphatic response when he said “I was thinking about the show last night and wondering if anyone would show up to see us play live, it has been so long, and here you are, all you amazing people thank you so much, for making this day incredible”; I thank you and Odin thanks you!.
Next up was newcomer Gabbie Rae who is always a fan favorite, with her great vocals, 80’s covers and her originals mixed in. Gabbie is currently working on a new all original music LP due out later this year that will be worth checking out.
The Festival Stage continued to Rock the Crowd with Circus of Power, Bang Tango, Pretty Boy Floyd and LA Guns who all kicked some serious ass. Many in attendance had said they were here especially for LA Guns as that band was one of their favorites from that era.
As we made our way through the awesome crowd, amazing merchandise booths and incredible beer and food vendors, we were transported back to the era of sex drugs and rock roll with everyone enjoying this party put together by SiriusXM Radio, Hair Nation and Live Nation.
Meanwhile, The “Main Stage” already had their party underway and this party included scantily clad dancers at either side of the stage giving one the feel that they were at The Whsiky A Go Go or Gazzari’s on the Sunset Strip back in the day!!!.
The fact that this was the last Rock Show to ever be performed at Irvine Meadows, impelled everyone to party that much harder to become part of this amazing and historical event.
Just as we arrived at the main stage “Bullet Boys” were taking the stage, and the crowd had already witnessed The Aviators, (the winner of the Best of Bands contest), Tuff, Vain, Britny Fox, Junkyard and Enuff Z’ Enuff. Bullet Boys performed a non-stop set of their classics and when original member and frontman Marq Torien unleashed “Smooth Up In Ya” The crowd went wild and sang along to every word.
Next up, the All Female Metal Band that opened a lot of doors for so many female Metal/Rock bands today, “Vixen”. Front woman Janet Gardner commanded the stage with her cat like prowess and her voice was in absolute perfect form. Their set included the non-stop Vixen hits Edge of a Broken Heart and How much Love. Then Janet asked the entire crowd to sing along to the fan favorite “Cryin”; all in attendance were more than eager to join in and they knew every word!
Faster Pussycat came on next performing their hits and highlighting their set with a stellar version of “House of Pain”. This was a band that was still dripping in the debauchery of the 80’s and the crowd was into every nasty deed that these guys could dish out.
Next up was the Birthday Girl, Lita Ford and her amazing band. From the second they hit the stage to the end of their set, they grabbed you by the throat and rocked you hard. With the crowd singing along to every song, you could hardly hear the band over the amphitheater choir. Her set included the song co-written by Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, “Catch Me If You Can” and the Runaway’s song Cherry Bomb which was recently featured in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. At one point Lita shouted out, bring out the double neck” as she introduced the incredible duet; “Close Your Eyes”. The song was originally made famous by Lita and Ozzy Osbourne and on this day was performed with Lita’s very own Guitar Player Patrick Kenninson who sang the Ozzy Osborne parts. The crowd went wild and this version was as good if not better then the original. The final song of the night was “Kiss Me Deadly” as the crowd was on their feet screaming every word.
Their set concluded with the tour manager and Eddie Trunk presenting Lita with a Birthday Cake and the entire crowd of Irvine Meadows singing Happy Birthday Lita! What an awesome birthday surprise!
The Host of the evening was Eddie Trunk, who after appearing on stage to give Lita Ford her birthday cake continued to announce each band with brief anecdotes and a bit of history, Eddie Trunk style.
Slaughter hit the stage with original bassist Dana Strum, crazy new drummer Zoltan Chaney, and guitarist Jeff “Blando” Bland who has been with the band since 1998.
Slaughter played a number of their super hits like Up All Night (Sleep All Day), Fly to the Angels, and Spend My Life. At one point in the show Mark Slaughter went into the crowd to have selfies taken with fans in the audience which caused a massive surge of fans hopping through the isles and jumping over the seats to get their selfie with Mark Slaughter. Crazy Fun!!! Slaughter proved why they were one of the top musical forces in the Hair Band era playing those big hits as tight as ever, you don’t want to miss these guys when they come to town.
Then Eddie Trunk introduced the man he referred to as the Guitar Maestro “Yngwie Malmsteen”.
Yngwie and his new band exploded on stage with their shredding signature neoclassical style of metal. Yngwie was lit up as usual with his blistering speed on the fret board and proceeded to treat the audience to his incredible guitar prowess, demonstrating why Eddie Trunk dubbed him the “guitar maestro”. If you’re a fan of neoclassical metal, long instrumentals and blistering/shred guitar solos, Yngwie is one of the best and delivers the goods giving the listener a musical feast they will not soon forget.
Kix absolutely kicked ass!
Eddie Trunk then announced a band from the East Coast, “Kix” telling the audience; “If you have never seen Kix live you are in for a high energy explosion!”
Front man Steve Whiteman is one of the best in the business, still moving on stage like a wild man and showing everyone how it’s really done! Whiteman ran out on the stage and never stopped running around during the entire set. He told the audience how great it was to be a part of this Hair Nation event as the band played many of their hits like, Wheels in Motion, Cold Shower and Girl Money.
Whiteman had the entire audience transfixed with his energy, persona and storytelling; which is absolutely one of the best aspects of a Kix show. Before many of their songs Whiteman gave some insight to the origin of the song or perhaps just a funny anecdote he related to the song’s title. This is one must see band!
Bret Michaels, exploded on stage with Poison songs Talk Dirty To Me and Look What the Cat Dragged In demonstrating why he is one of the best front men in the business. After amazing versions of Sweet Home Alabama and Your Mama Don’t Dance, Bret talked about a subject that is near and dear to him, the veterans and all the men and women who serve our country, giving us our freedom and ability to keep rockin’ with great events like Hair Nation.
As a show of appreciation to our veterans, he asked the massive Irvine Meadows crowd to hold up their cell phone lights in honor of the men and woman who work and fight so hard for our freedom. As you turned around to look at the massive Irvine Meadows Crowd, you could see the entire amphitheater was lit up by individual lights that continued to shine and stayed on during the entire song Something To Believe In – which was recorded on video to be sent to the armed forces to share in this awesome night. What An Amazing Sight!
Bret Michael Band Set List:
Talk Dirty to Me (Poison song)
Look What the Cat Dragged In- (Poison song)
Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
Your Mama Don’t Dance (Loggins & Messina cover)
Tribute to the Armed Forces – Something to Believe In (Poison song)
Unskinny Bop ((Poison song)
Every Rose Has Its Thorn ((Poison song)
Nothin’ but a Good Time (Poison song)
Then the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater sound system blasted AC/CD’S “For Those About To Rock” at full volume which was the perfect setup for the rock and roll carnage that was about to hit the stage.
Vince Neil and his band were about to bring Irvine Meadows to their knees. Vince presented a full set of MÖTLEY CRÜE material with a serious double punch of Doctor Feel Good and Looks That Kill to open the set. They continued with Home Sweet Home where Vince also paid tribute to our armed forces and all the amazing men and women who have dedicated their lives to our country, by having the entire venue show a force of unity in the lighting of their cell phones and singing along to “Home Sweet Home”.
Vince then went into S.O.S. “Same Old Situation” before he left the stage in the capable hands of guitarist Jeff “Blando” Bland who took everyone on a journey with a blistering interpretation of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Of Love where he handled both guitar and vocal parts of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Not only were all the guitar parts spot on but his vocals were also superb.
Vince finished out the night with Kick Start My Heart, Girls, Girls, Girls and Wild Side which made for a perfect end to this; the first annual Hair Nation Music Festival.
We look forward to next year to see what Eddie Truck and SiriusXM will pull out of their collective hats, and the lucky venue where this great event will be held.
LINKS To The Hair Nation Photo Galleries