Lights, sound and music. That is what you prepare for when you go to Ridgefest. The rides and food are a plus, but the concerts are what you anticipate. This year one of Rock and Roll’s legends made their mark on stage. The lead singer of Poison and the show Rock of Love, Bret Michaels seriously rocked Chicago’s South Side and PPLA was there to experience it!
Walking into the festival were crowds of people with lawn chairs, towels and blankets listening to the other bands and patiently waiting for night to fall and be dazzled by Michaels’ band. “I love Bret Michaels!” said Greg Miller, a huge fan, “This is like my twelfth time seeing him here just in Chicago.”
It was only a week before this show that Michaels was in town with his band Poison at the Allstate Arena. It was a second chance for people to see him in concert in their hometown. It wasn’t until 8:30 p.m. that Michaels showed up on his tour bus. He stepped out with his patriotic dark blue jeans and a T-shirt. That was the only cue the crowd needed to go absolutely crazy. More and more people were getting the needed ‘purple passes’ to watch him walk by and jump right on stage.
After this interesting introduction to the festival, it was time for the show. The sound of the bass guitar and drums filled the air. Michaels’ intense voice echoed over the speakers and music began to play. A natural showman, it only took one song for the audience to get involved in the show.
Having such a big name at a fest like this on the South Side is a truly a big deal. Many of the people in the audience grew up with Poison but even the superfans were in awe of his performance. It was a banner night as his set list included “Your Momma Don’t Dance and Your Daddy Don’t Rock and Roll”, “Nothing But A Good Time”, and a new song “Get Your Rock On.” Fans cheered and screamed, taking pictures with their camera phones and recording video.
Every child in the audience had a moment where they wanted to be a rock star looking up at Michaels walking down the catwalk stage, pointing at his fans and touching hands. His smiles kept the feeling for good vibes alive. His enthusiasm on stage is what makes the concert such a great show.
Not only is he a good performer, he is also a good-hearted person. Michaels has a camp called Camp Too Sweet for children and young adults that have diabetes. The camp is run by a non-profit health care organization called the Carilion Clinic. He has supported this cause for many of years, going on the show Celebrity Apprentice to raise money for the cause and also sold his 1969 Camaro that was shown on the hit show MTV Cribs. That night at Ridgefest, he sold the guitar that he was playing on stage for the camp.
As the show came to a close, Michaels immediately ran backstage, took pictures with some of his lifelong fans, and left on his tour bus. The concert is now just a memory to many people, but the experience will last forever at Ridgefest.
Bret Michaels will be in Los Angeles this weekend on Friday August 3rd at the Ventury County Fair. For a full schedule of tour dates or to buy tickets visit here.
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