My Gibson SG was about to be smashed. That’s what it looked like as I glanced over at photographer Chris DeVargas’ computer while he was scrolling through images for our Rock of Vegas (“Never Gonna Stop”) photo shoot. The electric guitar I purchased nearly 15 years ago at Sam Ash in King of Prussia, Penn., was about to meet its end at the hands of a model from Los Angeles, and there was nothing I could do but watch in horror as he began to channel his inner Pete Townshend, who, at Woodstock, also famously smashed an SG. Chris clicked ahead a few shots. Click, click, click. And then, just when I couldn’t look anymore, the model pulled the guitar back. My SG was spared. It lives to rock another day.
Fremont Street Experience’s annual summer concert series has returned downtown, this time bringing some of the more memorable rock acts of the 1980s. Variously known as hair metal or arena rock, these were acts never meant for close lyrical inspection, and it’s unlikely any of them appeared on any best-dressed lists during their heyday. These were bands who were looking for, as Poison once sang, “nothin’ but a good time.” And with Rock of Ages in theaters (and soon to be staged at The Venetian), Bret Michaels back on TV, Vince Neil in the tabloids and songs like “Sister Christian,” “Cherry Pie” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” certified pop culture staples, the time is right for this type of rock.
This week, it’s all about Asia—the “Heat of the Moment” guys, who were all stars in their own right before forming the supergroup in 1981. John Payne, who fronted Asia for 15 years during the ’90s and 2000s, leads this edition of the group, an offshoot of the original band, which reunited onstage half a decade ago. Sound confusing? It is. We suggest settling down with a beer in a football-shaped cup and just singing along. “I never meant to be … so bad … to you!”