For the past 10 years Ruth Eckerd Hall has been presenting the Rays Summer Concert Series with such artists as Hall & Oates, Miranda Lambert, Goo Goo Dolls and others. Saturday night it was rocker Bret Michaels turn up to bat.
The lead singer of Poison and reality TV star, has amassed a fan base that consists of 80’s rockers, every age group of women and millennials who have either grown up listening to Michaels music or prefer 80’s music to their own generation’s offerings.
FYI, Michaels is an avid sports fan, publicly rooting for his hometown’s teams including the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose spring training home McKechnie Field is located in Bradenton. Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen and Michaels are good friends. Bret was excited to be playing for the Tampa Rays crowd at The Trop.
Michaels came out around 9:15 p.m. to a crowd both on the field and in the stands singing Poison favorite, “Talk Dirty to Me”. The set list was a mix of Poison 80’s megahits that included “Nothing But a Good Time” and “Something to Believe In” during which Bret thanks veterans and service men & women. Of course no show is complete without the ballad of ballads “Every Rose Has It Thorn”. No snob or stranger to cover tunes Bret and band threw in “Your Mama Don’t Dance”, “Sweet Home Alabama” and the KISS anthem “Rock & Roll All Night”.
The Bret Michaels Band has some talented musicians that keep things moving even when Bret isn’t on stage. Pete Evick is Bret’s right hand man on guitar. Recent addition to the band is original Cinderella bassist Eric Brittingham! Rob Jozwiak on keyboards and drummer Mike Bailey round it out.
The show lasted around 75 minutes, then Bret stayed on stage another 45 min. signing autographs, taking selfies and thanking people for coming out. Bret Michaels knows who his team is and appreciates them! Bret will be back in December for a show at Ruth Eckerd Hall!
The next Rays Summer Concert Series will be on July 30th with country artist Hunter Hayes when the Yankees come to town to take on the Rays.
Photos by Vicky Sullivan, Rock The Lens Photography