Time for another TED NUGENT live release. "Motor City Mayhem", the follow-up to last year's "Sweden Rocks", is a better all-around DVD (also available on Blu-ray and CD) and goes a long way toward harnessing the essence of a NUGENT live performance. This one is a no-brainer for fans of the Motor City Madman.
Then again, we're talking about 20,000 fans packed into the DTE Energy Music Center outside Detroit; hence, "Motor City Mayhem". This was more than just a typically rabid hometown show for Uncle Ted though. This was his 6,000th show performed on July 4, 2008. And we all know that Star Spangled Ted is all about American independence and the celebration thereof; I'll spare you the jingoist rhetoric that flows from the Mouth of the North during this two-hour set.
Beginning with a giant fake cake, complete with pop-out hot babe, Ted kicks off the festivities with "The Star Spangled Banner", followed by the always-raucous "Motor City Madhouse" and "Wango Tango", both of which feature jam-tastic detours. With blood/funk brothers Mick Brown and Greg Smith ably holding down the rhythm section and providing backing vocals (Smith also sings lead on "Need You Bad"), Ted tears through the classics like "Free For All", "Dog Eat Dog", "Stormtroopin'", "Weekend Warrior" (Smith should have sung on this one too), and "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang", as well as newer songs "Love Grenade" and "Geronimo and Me". The band's bluesy and soulful interpretations of "Soul Man" and "Bo Diddley/Lay with Me" are fantastic as well.
But the real DVD treats come by way of the special guests. Ted first brings out Joe Podorsek, his guitar teacher from 1958 to perform one of the first songs he learned all those years ago, "Honky Tonk". The old man has still got it; and I'm not talking about Ted. Next up was the legendary Johnny "Bee" Badanjek (MITCH RYDER AND THE DETROIT WHEELS, THE ROCKETS) who plays drums on Detroit favorite "Jenny Take a Ride". Then comes the evening's highlight (yes, even better than the performances of "Great White Buffalo" and "Fred Bear"), an appearance by original TED NUGENT band vocalist/guitarist Derek St. Holmes, who performs on "Cat Scratch Fever", "Hey Baby", and "Stranglehold". His is the voice heard on the self-titled debut, "Free For All", "Cat Scratch Fever", and "Double Live Gonzo" — collectively, Ted's golden age — and nobody will ever better his lead vocals on "Hey Baby" and "Stranglehold". It was a magic moment in an evening of magic moments.
The short of it is that "Motor City Mayhem" is a mandatory DVD for new and old fans alike. We'll chat again when the DVD celebrating the 7,000th show is released. Don't be surprised if it happens.