Bret Michaels Concert for 50 Legs is a Party with a Purpose
On February 26th, Ruth Eckerd Hall had a very different kind of show than I had photographed before. There were rock star bands, surprise guests, rock music fans, t-shirts, and merchandise, but what was special about this show was that it was for charity. A very special Clearwater charity called 50 Legs! Founded by amputee Steve Chamberland in 2011, Steve has raised money to help people who need prosthetics. 50 Legs was one of the first charities to help the Boston Marathon bombing victims. They have helped people of all walks of life, from servicemen and women to babies born with missing limbs, to receive prosthetics.
Bret Michaels was told about 50 Legs and saw photos and decided he wanted to help 50 Legs; a concert seemed like the natural thing for Michaels to do. Bret donated proceeds from the show. Ruth Eckerd Hall, one of Clearwater’s premiere music venues, booked the night, and it was on! Bret invited his good friends, rock band “Warrant” to kick off the show. Founder Steve Chamberland was introduced to the audience, and Tampa Bay resident pro-wrestling legend Hulk Hogan introduced the Bret Michaels Band and was clearly moved by the reason for the concert as 50 Legs amputees sat watching side stage.
Warrant played their list of hit tunes, including “I Saw Red,” “Sometimes She Cries,” the number one hit “Heaven,” and what has become a signature song for the band, “Cherry Pie,” which is a fun audience sing-along. Ex-Lynch Mob frontman Robert Mason is doing lead vocals, and he has some great sounding pipes. They got the crowd ready for Bret to take the stage. Noah Galloway, decorated soldier and “Dancing with the Stars” favorite, also appeared to support the cause. Galloway lost his arm and leg in combat and has become a popular motivational speaker.
Bret Michaels has been playing around the Tampa Bay area for years and has his legions of fans of both Poison and his solo band, and they were in attendance. Opening with the first Poison hit “Talk Dirty to Me” and “Look What the Cat Dragged In” from the 1987 hit album of the same name, everyone was out of their seats! A cover of the Loggins & Messina hit, “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” is on the setlist. Bret goes acoustic with a salute to his dad and “Something to Believe In.” All the 50 Legs guests come to the front of the stage as Bret shakes hands and hugs them in an emotional scene, and he introduces them as the “real rock stars.” It’s back to dancing and Poison’s “Unskinny Bop,” and you will NOT hear at any Bret Michaels concert, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn.” Bret finished the night with a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” Many items were auctioned to benefit 50 Legs, including a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey autographed by Bret, and Hulk Hogan donated one of his signed wrestling belts.
Bret said they are ready for “The Stadium Tour” this summer with Poison, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Central Florida fans can catch the tour in Orlando at Camping World Stadium on June 19th!
Vicky Sullivan Photos
50 Legs, Amputees, Bret Michaels, charity, Concert, Events, Florida, fundraising, Hulk Hogan, live music, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Soldier, Steve Chamberland, Vicky Sullivan