Bret Michaels is proof that while you can take the rock star out of Pennsylvania, you can't take the Keystone State out of the rock star.
The Poison singer and frontman, who grew up in Mechanicsburg, brought his solo tour to Penn's Peak Sunday night before a crowd of 1,000 that gave him a warm welcome back.
Wearing a black Brett Michaels Band tank top and his trademark bandanna under a white cowboy hat, Michaels, at 46, looked fit and ready to rock as he took the stage, after the strains of Guns'n'Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" heralded his entrance.
Backed by a loud four-piece band, Michaels ripped into "Talk Dirty to Me" and performed a heavily Poison-flavored 12 song set that kept the energy level at a fever pitch and the audience on its feet.
The star of three seasons of VH-1's Rock of Love with Bret Michaels reality series, Michaels thanked his fans for making the show the cable-channel's top ranked offering. He is also the subject of a new episode of Behind the Music, and as it was mentioned on that show, no one works harder or enjoys being a rock star more that Bret; his enthusiasm is infectious.
There was an underlying theme of homecoming throughout the evening. Michaels mentioned his father was in attendance at The Peak (missing a Steelers' game in the process). He cranked out a version of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama", inserting some Pa. references.
A rendition of Poison's "Something to Believe In" was dedicated to U.S. troops serving overseas, for which Michaels has performed, with a mention of "bring them home" added.
Bret has recorded solo albums, the latest being Rock My World, and he performed "Bittersweet" a heavy duty rocker not far from Poison's melodic glam metal sound, as well as the theme song from his Rock of Love series.
In addition to the Skynyrd cover, Bret and company fired off some amped up Bob Dylan ("Knockin' On Heaven's Door")and Bret played a harmonica opening for Loggins and Messina's "Your Mama Don't Dance", which Poison has also mined for a hit.
The rest were tried and true Poison hits. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" featured the obligatory sing along, although Bret added a personal touch by demonstrating the four notes he learned to play from a $12.50 guitar lesson his dad once bought for him as the song ended.
While his sidemen didn't have the polish of Poison, they made up for it in rock'n'roll thunder, slamming through "Look What the Cat Dragged In" and "Unskinny Bop", highlighted by a soaring rendition of "Fallen Angel".
As one might expect, the encore was "Nothin' But a Good Time", which is what Bret Michaels delivers every time he steps on the stage.
Rock on, Bret.