By: Robert Cavuoto
From the stage at the Mayo Center in Morristown NJ, Wildman Ted Nugent yelled down to the audience “Do I know how to piss people off well?” The crowd answered with a thunderous applause, with a resounding “yes.” Though that statement rings true with regard to Ted’s irreverent political rhetoric and unbridled candor, he’s also known in the Rock n Roll community as an icon and guitar god.
Tonight Uncle Ted let his guitar to the talking…most of the time. The concert is exactly what you would expect from him; part open mic, part spoken word, part stand-up comedy, and 110% kick ass high energy Rock-N-Roll with no excuses.
The Motor City Madman whipped the crowd into a frenzy, pulling out all his classic hits from his 30 plus years in Rock n Roll, including his opening song, “Free For All,” where Uncle Ted reminds us that “freedom isn’t free” and we need to thank the uniformed men and woman who protect us every day.
With his trademark Gibson Brydland guitar and his band mates by his side, Derek St Holmes (guitar/vocals), Greg Smith (bass) and Mick Brown of Dokken fame on drums, the fearsome foursome flayed and then grilled the audience with a killer 90 minute set. Highlights of the night included “Stranglehold” with its searing guitar lead where Ted gets the high decibel feedback needed to bring it to life.
Ted told me backstage that the Brydland has its own agenda; it’s a porous hollow jazz guitar with a spruce top, which causes tons of resonance and feedback even at minimal volume. A threshold of feedback that scares most guitarists, and to watch him during that lead as he Louise and Clark’s it, looking for just the right spot on stage to get that amazing feedback, overtones and dissidence, is a sight to behold.
He went on to say that it’s not controllable at first and rather than fight it or be intimated by it, he works it. Getting two notes to sound at once with harmonious overtones and dissonance in a way that brings to the forefront Ted’s mastery of the instrument and unique tonal characteristics.
The fan favorite as you would expect was “Cat Scratch Fever,” where Ted told his fans it was the number one riff in America and then proceeded to crush us with it!
Derek St Holmes, who is back again with Ted for this I Still Believe Tour, provided the memorable lead vocals on “Dog Eat Dog” and “Just What the Doctor Ordered,” sung exactly how you remembered it from the original recordings. With so many great songs, I asked Derek how on earth do they pick the set, he told me that the songs are selected by him and the band based on which are the coolest to play live. With songs like “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang,” “Stormtroppin” and “Wango Tango” how could they go wrong?
To end the night on an even higher note, Braveman-Caveman Ted Nugent comes out for “Great White Buffalo” in full Native American Headdress. I Still Believe…do you?
I don’t know who was having more fun tonight, Ted or the audience, and if there is any doubt in your mind that Ted is an outstanding musician, showman, and guitarist, go see him this summer when he comes out to your neck of the woods. I’m sure he will make you eat your words…raw!