Trademark Rock 'n Rants from Ted Nugent
By David Malachowski, Special to the Times Union
CLIFTON PARK - Having recently played his 6,000th live show, at age 59, one of rock's original wild men, guitarist Ted Nugent, brought his Wango Tango to Northern Lights Wednesday and there was never a dull moment.
He's written books ("God, Guns & Rock n' Roll" and "Kill It and Grill It") had a reality show ("Surviving Nugent: the Ted Commandments"), is on the NRA board of directors and has sold millions of records.
And Nugent has his own line of beef jerky called Gonzo Meat Biltong.
A man of strong opinion, Nugent's overheated rhetoric has frequently put him in the middle of controversy, something he seems to wallow in. Wednesday night was no exception.
In Clifton Park, still in possession of his trademark long locks and Gibson Byrdland guitar, a spry looking Nugent wore a cowboy hat when he took the stage screaming. He dove into a bombastic take on "Star Spangled Banner" albeit without the nuance of the Hendrix version.
And it was loud.
Nugent brought along a formidable band featuring former Dokken drummer Mick Brown and bassist Greg Smith, and it certainly sounded like much more than three people.
Old favorite "Wango Tango" was almost primitive in its simplicity. Nugent offered a blazing solo, and he was just getting warmed up. "Uncle Ted reporting for duty!" he screamed and hit the machine gun lick of "Stormtroopin'." In the same vein, "Dog Eat Dog" was as subtle as a plane crash.
His guitar work was simply exceptional. His technique, tone and inventiveness unparalleled. The only down side was when he talked. He felt the need to imply one of the presidential candidates wasn't "American enough" to be president. Later he shared "If I hear the words `animal' and `rights' in the same sentence, I'm gonna kill 200 more things!" The clincher was at the end of the show, when he came out brandishing what appeared to be automatic weapons, yelling "Freedom!" as he held them high.
Soon the wicked "Weekend Warriors" and slide powered "Love Grenade" turned up the heat, but the real wild card was a biting cover of "Soul Man." A "song for my hunting buddies," "Fred Bear" was a bit hollow and aimless, but that was soon forgot as the signature lick of "Cat Scratch Fever" came out of the wall of amplifiers, and the jam-packed house went nuts.
Nugent rocked, and played his behind off. Now if we could only get him to shut up.
Surviving Nugent indeed.
Concert review -- TED NUGENT
When: 8:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Northern Lights, Route 146, Clifton Park
Length: Nugent played two hours
Highlights: Nugent's ``Storm- troopin','' ``Wango Tango,'' ``Cat Scratch Fever''
Crowd: Wall to wall middle-aged rockers.
David Malachowski is a local freelance writer from Woodstock and a regular contributor to the Times Union.