After 2 weeks of scorching hell like weather in Vegas it was great to start off July at an outdoor venue with something more tolerable, as the temps hovered around 100 degrees for the start of tonight's Sunset Station concert. Kicking things off was Derek Day, a talented young guitar player out of Los Angeles. This guitarist performs with a fire that was noticed by virtuoso Steve Vai, who actually asked Day to open for him on a few stops of his tour. Between gigs Day can be found performing on the streets of Hollywood Blvd and the Third Street Promenade, and he also become a regular at the famous Ultimate Jam Nights at Lucky's produced by Quiet Riot bassist Chuck Wright. Watch for more from Derek Day, he is a star on the rise.
The crowd came ready for the headliner of the night Ted Nugent, and even at the age of 69 is a very dynamic larger than life performer. The theme of the night was patriotism and kick ass American Rock n Roll as we neared the fourth of July weekend. Ted opened with a rousing rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" and then went straight into "Baby Please Don't Go", and this had the largely older crowd on their feet cheering a man many have seen perform since the mid 60's. Nugent rarely stops between songs as he plays wild guitar riffs, and lets the crowd know his take on everything from politics to his personal views on life. His passion and energy for life is infectious, and he kept reminding the crowd that "freedom is not free, and we all should celebrate each and every day like it was Independence Day".
Nugent launched into "Gonzo" followed by "Free For All", and after a few more songs Ted started getting to the heart of his show and more classic hits. At the beginning of "Fred Bear", Nugent told a tale of how his father instilled values in him and about his decision to buy his first bow and arrow, and the hunting lessons his father and Fred Bear taught him about nature. Nugent also told the crowd that "the answer to the American Dream was actually pretty simple: 1.Get A Job. 2. Live Within Your Means and 3.Save a little Something For A Rainy Day". Nugent also pointed out and thanked the members of the military who were in attendance and gave a personal shoutout to each group. Each branch of the military was represented at this show, and he screamed "freedom" over and over reminding people that we have freedom because of those brave people.
The show came toward the end with "Cat Scratch Fever" followed by the crowd fav "Stranglehold", and the band exited the stage, only to return a few minutes later to the delight of the crowd and the opening chords of "The Great White Buffalo". This seems to be one of Nugent's personal favorites, as the the song is half storytelling and half incredible guitar playing, and Nugent once again told the crowd to "celebrate freedom and to never take it for granted" As the band made their final exit from the stage and the house music began to play I was reminded at what a legendary performer Nugent is to have remained in the spotlight for more than 50 years, and though you may not agree with his political views, there is no denying Nugent is an American who has a passion for life like very few others.