Ted Nugent – 08/25/13
Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK
Words/Photos by Steven Anthony
After a handful of decades in the music industry, Ted Nugent has still not stopped. He continues trucking on, bathing in whatever spotlight he can find by drumming up political controversy, spouting out the kind of quotables that make news editors daydream of potential headlines. At his show in Oklahoma City last night, however, the Motor City Madman didn’t spend too much time preaching his beliefs, instead choosing to power through a 90-minute set packed with his biggest hits.
That’s not to say that the Nuge didn’t spout off a number of brief rants — no, quite the opposite. He had no problem telling the crowd to hold on to their guns in case “they” (the government) decides to come take them. That got a lot of cheers… this is Oklahoma we’re talking about. Ted even apologized to the military service members across the world for the fact that while they’ve been serving, Americans have “become so stupid, Barack Obama was elected into office.” Cue more cheers. Repeat similar ideas about Hillary Clinton and a number of other democrat politicians. Predictable, yet obviously in tune with the majority of his fanbase. Oh, by the way, this summer’s tour is called the “Black Power Tour.” Yep.
The ranting, in total, took up less than five minutes of the show’s total length. The rest of it was filled Nugent’s signature material, from Cat Scratch Fever and Turn It Up to Gonzo and Wango Tango. Regardless of one’s political leanings and beliefs, it’s hard to deny that Nugent’s written some solid material throughout his life, and he and his band deliver the goods live. It’s impossible to deny how powerful the groove of Stranglehold is, even though Nugent introduced it as “the theme song for taking America back.” You so crazy, Uncle Ted.
Ted interjected several times during the show to reiterate just how much he loves hunting. He told stories of shipping venison jerky over to Afghanistan, to make the soldiers “kill more assholes.” Insert applause. Hell, his parting words on stage weren’t “thank you” or “see you next time,” but “God bless, have a great hunting season.” He’s consistent, and damn if the crowd didn’t eat it up. He also noted that “every song” he’s ever written is about hunting and love. Together. Hove? Lunting?
Ted also spoke at length about his black music heroes, the inspiration behind the tour’s “Black Power” name. Initially the tour name seems like nothing but a way to acquire more controversy and headline filler, but Nugent’s band is certainly well-versed in the blues. During an extended blues segment at the end of Wang Dang Sweet Poontang found the band venturing into Jimi Hendrix’ Red House, seemingly lost on the crowd but played to near perfection. Nugent also spent some time name checking the musicians he has looked up to his entire life.
Politics and one-liners aside, Nugent puts on a solid show. It’s hard to fault a man for sticking to his guns so consistently (pun intended), even though his ideas are certainly off-putting to a lot of people who could find themselves enjoying some solid 70s rock. Maybe you agree with Nugent’s standpoints — if so, bully for you. If you don’t but happen to be in the mood to hear perfect live renditions of Cat Scratch Fever and Stranglehold, it might be worth shrugging off Ted’s quotes just to hear the show. The choice is certainly yours, but as someone who is about as far away from Ted’s ideals as possible, I can’t deny the man put on an entertaining show.