Photos & Review: CHEAP TRICK & POISON with Pop Evil

Photos & Review: CHEAP TRICK & POISON with Pop Evil


FivePoint Amphitheatre

Irvine, California

May 18, 2018

Writing and Photography by

If, like us, you lament the closing of our beloved Irvine Meadows, then we can happily report that you can place your bets on someplace new to spend a lovely summer night outdoors watching live music in Irvine – and that’s the FivePoint Amphitheatre at the Orange County Great Park.  If you are patient enough to maneuver your way through the streets of the old El Toro Marine Corps Air Station until you hit the venue (there is a more direct route than the street signs were indicating), the ample parking and easy-to-get-to box office will have you raising the stakes on a good night. And when they double down with back-to-back headliners on the bill, you go all in!  On Friday night, that’s exactly what happened when KLOS helped stack the deck on this winning combination – CHEAP TRICK and POISON on one bill – JACKPOT! 

And if you want to ante up – you too can catch up with the NOTHING BUT A GOOD TIME TOUR sometime this summer – but this was their OPENING NIGHT! How lucky were we?!?

The evening’s first band, a young group named POP EVIL (from North Muskegon, Michigan), started off the shenanigans and had the early crowd up on their feet from the start. Drummer Hayley Cramer (she rocks!) set the pace as guitarists Nick Fuelling and Dave Grahs, bassist Matt DiRito, and vocalist Leigh Kakaty all churned out a great set to warm up the fans.

And once CHEAP TRICK took the stage, all bets were off.  For those of us who were raised on the radio, we are quickly reminded that fictional ticket scalper Mike Damone was indeed correct:  How can we forget about “the magnetism of Robin Zander” or “the charisma of Rick Nielsen!”   Cheap Trick still rocks our world!  Taking the early evening slot most of the time lately (maybe they like the last of the natural light on these longer pre-summer days, or maybe they just like an earlier bedtime), the band’s fans ran to the front and over-crowded the stage area the entire Cheap Trick set! Front man Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen, bassist Tom Petersson (an amazing musician and the man with the best smile), and touring drummer Daxx  Nielsen (yes, he’s Rick’s son – original drummer Bun E. Carlos retired from touring in 2010) rocked through a thirteen-song set that included some of their biggest hits, a few rare tracks, and a couple of covers.  So much fun to see these guys still doing what they love to do – and doing it SO WELL!

After a quick set change, it was time for POISON to take over!  This was the first time in many, many years that we have seen the band together – and what a thrill it was!  As the first notes played, some fun cartoons of the band – highlighting their days on the Sunset Strip – were projected on the big screen above.  And then the real guys took the stage!  Singer and sometimes guitarist Bret Michaels, bassist Bobby Dall, drummer Rikki Rockett, and ultimate rock-gawd guitarist C.C. DeVille – looking rather chic and pretty kick-ass with his new hairdo and a mighty top hat!  The fans were THRILLED to watch their once glam-boy-band legends back on stage as the more mature and very accomplished (and often underrated) rock stars that they are.  Breaking out all their classics (every single song on the set list was from their first three albums released between 1986 and 1990) – the boys were back and back with a vengeance.

The fans – most of whom were listening with middle-aged ears and dancing with middle-aged feet, yet surely feeling the music through their 20-something souls – seemed to be having nothing but a good time!

And although the new FivePoint Amphitheatre held its own – as temporary or permanent it may be (we leave that to the music gods – a.k.a. the zoning board of Orange County  – to decide), we couldn’t help but hear the echoes of ghosts past making their way over from their hallowed ground a few miles to the West at the site of the old Irvine Meadows.  May those great many musical memories remain with us forever. 

SPOTTED IN THE CROWD:  KLOS’s own DJ FRANKIE DIVITA and her lovely family (it was her son’s first real rock concert!), as well as musician and engineer BRIAN KEHEW (Moog Cookbook, Recording the Beatles, keyboard tech for The Who), musician JIM LASPESA (The Muffs, Green Jelly, Brian Wilson ), guitarist BRENT WOODS  (Wildside, Chevy Metal, Vince Neil) , SHANT KEUILIAN – owner-operator of the infamous ARCHIE’S ICE CREAM truck (always parked back stage – lucky rock stars!), and yoga guru and awesome rock-spouse RAVINDER PILSON (Bikrim Yoga Santa Clarita)!


Hello There

Big Eyes

California Man

Ain’t That A Shame
Baby Loves to Rock

Long Time Coming
You Got It Going On

I’m Waiting For the Man
The Flame
I Want You To Want Me
Dream Police

Goodnight Now


Look What the Cat Dragged In

I Want Action

Ride The Wind

Cry Tough

I Won’t Forget You

Your Mamma Don’t Dance

Fallen Angel

Something To Believe In

Unskinny Bop

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Nothin’ But A Good Time


Talk Dirty To Me



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