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Sunday, November 22, 2009

DVD Review: Ted Nugent - Motor City Mayhem: 6000th concert

Ted Nugent - Motor City Mayhem: 6000th Concert
2009 Eagle Vision
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Uncle Ted is a straight-up knucklehead, there's no getting around it. I can't say I'm a fan of The Nuge's 12 guage politics, but I'll never take his stature of supremo rocker away from him. One thing's for sure, nobody outside of the CIA is keeping tabs on the 9/11 bombing trials in New York closer than Ted Nugent. God help any potential infiltrator of the United States, because Nugent alone will stir up a hornet's nest of pro-Americana the likes no one has seen since the bicentennial in 1976.

The funny thing about Ted Nugent is he believes he's right, not just right-wing. His confidence in his stance as a Commie-crushing, deer-spearing backwoods bone snapper equals his confidence behind his six strings of raunch. Surpassing a jaw-dropping 6000 live shows now, Uncle Ted has ordained himself America's ambassador of trad rock and blues, much less bowhunter par excellence. It's a wonder Bass Pro Shops hasn't given the Nuge the same kind of backing for their field department as they do Bill Dance for the stream.

The only opportunity I've gotten to see Ted Nugent live was in the late eighties as opener for Kiss. Uncle Ted was still our cousin only at this point when he was supporting his '88 If You Can't Lick 'Em, Lick 'Em album, complete with his famed raccoon tail dangling from his rectum like an elongated fuzzy turd affixed to spandex. At that point, Nugent had yet to commune with the land, shotgun shells and a red-white-and-blue bowstring, much less anything on four legs to gnaw on after he snuffed it. My only criterion with hunters is, eat what you kill, which Nugent likewise professes adamantly.

That bit of proseltyzing out of the way, Ted Nugent enjoyed quite a run in support of his 2007 return to the rawk scene, Love Grenade. Garnishing not one DVD out of his road haunt with Dokken's Mick Brown on the skins and journeyman bassist Greg Smith (also affiliated with Dokken, Alice Cooper, Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult, Vinnie Moore, Joe Lynn Turner and Wendy O. Williams) but two, Ted Nugent serves up a romp 'n stomp 4th of July bash which so happens to mark his landmark 6000th concert.

Following his Sweden Rocks DVD from last year, Uncle Ted dishes out Motor City Mayhem: 6000th Concert, an Independence Day special from 2008 which sees him whisking through his standard staples which would never be remiss of a Nuge show, such as "Cat Scratch Fever," "Wango Tango," "Wang Tang Sweet Poontang," "Free For All" and "Dog Eat Dog." This time Ted sports a bushy fox tail from his jeans-clad ass, as well as his crawdad vest and swill-festered cowboy hat.

The atmosphere of Motor City Mayhem: 6000th Concert, is all party, beginning from the swimsuit model jumping out of a stage cake in the concert's opening, and continuing on with various guests who impacted Ted over the course of his career. Amongst those included is his guitar mentor Joe Podorsik, who grooves some spit-laden honky tonk onstage with the Nuge.

As Brown and Smith provide a reliable rhythm section for Ted (the man geeks on these guys like they're the finest he's ever worked with) to slink and tug on his Strats with excitable emphasis, Nugent also brings out more Detroit disciples onstage such as drummer Johnny Bee, who joins Ted in a cover of "Jenny Take a Ride." Also coming out for Ted's 6000th gala is his vintage era rhythm guitarist Derek St. James, who chimes in on "Cat Scratch Fever," "Hey, Baby" (a Motown song St. James is credited with writing) and the marathon sex rock classic, "Stranglehold."

Nugent's stage is heaped with large video monitors, a prop hand grenade, tommy-gun-esque rifles and a backdrop showing a caricature Ted giving the finger from an omnipresent hoisted middle finger ala Monty Python with a crowd of hoisted fuck-you's prodding beneath. Meanwhile, Ted himself revels in the moment of playing on the 4th of July by constantly yelling "Freedom!" like Mel Gibson as William Wallace in Braveheart. Ted wastes no opportunity to grease his audience by summoning their patriotism from their Michigan-beating hearts. At one point, Ted is so lost in the moment he refers to his soapbox phrase as "freedom shit." Suffice it to say, a moment-drowned Ted Nugent constantly coaxing would-be NRA supporters into his proverbial front line tends to wear on the nerves just a bit. I mean, this is rock 'n roll, isn't it?

Fortunately, Nugent rocks and rolls better than most as he tackles a handful of classic cover tunes such as "Bo Diddley," "Soul Man," "Baby Please Don't Go" and of course, "Jenny Takes a Ride." His indulgent round of covers, in addition to many longhand jam sessions does slow Motor City Mayhem: 6000th Concert, quite a bit, however.

As effortless as Nugent rapes his high note strings and jerks out some seriously good solos, the show certainly takes on an air of minor pomposity. Ted constantly works his crowd over with mock self-effacing stage banter. At one point, he almost commands his attendees to thank him point-blank for continuing his career.

A lot of this effrontery is downright amusing, while the Nuge seizes the opportunity during his encore to pimp his values and beliefs about hunting with the drawn-out "Fred Bear." Prior to that, Nugent rips into "Great White Buffalo," complete with a native headdress (which was likewise seen on Sweden Rocks) and a mondo bizarro moment where Ted props his dummy guitar on the stage and shoots a "poetic" arrow into its back, where he's written "Great White Buffalo" on the back base. His devotion to hunting goes too far at times, particularly when Ted is trying to draw appeasement from the Native American community with "Great White Buffalo" and "Geronimo and Me" beforehand. It's not so much insulting as it is hopeless that Ted approaches these topics knowing he's as much of a proud white boy hick these days as indisputed rock god.

In all, Motor City Mayhem: 6000th Concert, is a wild and crazy affair delivered by someone who would give his right nut to be played by Rush Limbaugh instead of The Pretenders as a soundbyte on his radio program. Bopping and booming, Motor City Mayhem: 6000th Concert, shows a Ted Nugent very much in love with the stage as he is in camo gear while an eight-point buck comes astray within his target sight...

A far-distant prospect from his early-years obsession with writing songs about jailbait..

Rating: ***1/2


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