Backstage after his triumphant PNC Park performance in August, Bret Michaels already was brainstorming something bigger.
The Butler-bred rock star imagined a concert tour like no other, where he'd be the ringleader for bands playing their big '80s and '90s hits to amphitheater crowds singing along loudly.
That dream moves toward reality in 2023, when Michaels' 12-night Parti Gras tour hits the road, making stop No. 2 on July 15 at The Pavilion at Star Lake in Burgettstown.
"I asked them to give me a Saturday there. And they found me a great date," Michaels said, knowing his friends, family and fellow Yinzers might need an extra weekend night to recuperate.
Michaels convinced Night Ranger, Mark McGrath, Jefferson Starship and Steve Augeri, Journey's singer from 1998 to 2006, to join in the nightly fun.
"It's going to be great," Michaels said in a phone interview 12 hours after the tour announcement. "As I created and produced this Parti Gras, the premise was I'm thinking about how my whole family was out at Star Lake when we were filming the (VH1) show 'Life as I Know It.' Everyone was back there barbecuing, hanging out, tailgating, and it was just a really great day. And after the last couple of years we've been through, I said as we get good again, I'm ready to throw this mega-party."
First came the completion of the stadium tour, where Michaels and Joan Jett psyched up crowds as support acts for co-headliners Motley Crue and Def Leppard.
Anyone who witnessed his tour's Pittsburgh performance will tell you Michaels was an absolute delight. Michaels bounded onto the stage like he was shot out of a cannon, grinning and whirling a Terrible Towel as he commenced with a thrilling, satisfying run through his hits with glam-metal band Poison.
"You know when you say a perfect moment in time?" Michaels reminisced. "That was the perfect awesomeness of passion meeting years of play and seeing family and friends. "I couldn't have been more grateful."
First kicking around the idea for his 2023 tour backstage on the stadium tour's Philly date, "we finalized the idea in Pittsburgh," Michaels said.
He came up with the Parti Gras name, which he first evoked when serving as an honorary parade participant at New Orleans' Mardi Gras.
Expect beads, bikes, barbecue and bandannas at Michaels' Parti Gras.
"It's Jimmy Buffett-meets-Kiss-meets-Pitbull-meets Poison. People want to come out ― rain or shine ― and party," Michaels said. "But I wanted to make something unique, where I personally call the bands myself ― people I like, who can play hit after hit song ― and have them join me on stage."
Close your eyes, and let Michaels set the scene for what Star Lake spectators can expect:
"So, all of a sudden, you've got Jefferson Starship kicking (butt). We went through all their hits today, when I was on the phone with every single member going through what songs they're doing. Then speaking with Jack Blades of Night Ranger, I said, 'Look, just nail them with the hits.' I hit the stage about 9:15-ish and it is a spectacular show. I designed the stage myself and made sure every band has a ton of room. And then we come out and I've got three or four Poison songs, and the next thing you know I'm like, 'Look, I want to sing one of my favorite Journey songs, but rather than me sing it, how about I let Steve (Augeri) sing it?' Boom, we go into 'Don't Stop Believin', and 'Stone in Love.' Then all of a sudden he goes, 'I wanna sing a song I love, I wanna do (Poison's) "Unskinny Bop" and why don't I get the real singer to do it,' and then he throws the mic to me and I'm singing 'Unskinny.' We go back and forth; and then Mark McGrath's on stage doing "Fly." At the end of the night Night Ranger comes back out. Starship comes back out. I just want to make this a good time, and everyone's 1,000 percent in."
Deejays will keep the music pumping between sets, and there will be a "Dress Like Bret Karaoke Contest" in the amphitheater with the winner joining Michaels and others on stage for Poison's "Nuthin' But a Good Time."
In a corporate-run concert world, the concept is refreshingly loose.
"How about this: Let's call it a Pittsburgh circus of awesomeness," Michaels said.
"It's either going to be the hottest show ever, or the hottest mess ever. Either way, you're going to hear a ton of hits and sing till you're hoarse."
Aliquippa doc seeks dough
An indie filmmaker originally from Hopewell Township is developing a scripted, 12-episode TV series called "The War Fields" profiling Aliquippa High football coach Mike Warfield.
"The series covers 36 years; it begins in 1986 with Mike quarterbacking the Quips and culminates in 2021 with Mike coaching the Quips to their fourth state title," writer-producer Dean Kostlich, of Sixth Street Entertainment, said. "However, it is much more than a series about football. This is a story about a man who has repeatedly answered the call of his hometown. From the gridiron of The Pit to the Beaver County Sheriff's Department, to the Pennsylvania State Police, to the DEA and eventually to head coach of the Quips. It's a story that mirrors Aliquippa itself: The resolve to overcome the seemingly impossible, the love of tradition, family and friends, and above all the power of hope. From the darkest of nights, comes the light. The hope of one man, one town, and one team."
Kostlich aims to film the majority of the series in Aliquippa.
"The authenticity of the people and our singularly unique place cannot be duplicated.," he said via email. "We'll feature the storefronts, the brick-paved streets, the churches and all the legacy and tradition this former steel powerhouse town has to offer. Through the telling of Mike's journey, we'll all be able to find a bit of our own."
Last Monday, Kostlich launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo.com that runs for 30 days.
"The funds raised will be allocated in two specific ways: To help procure the necessary contracts, licenses and clearances, and for the creation of our 'Pitch Deck,' which is a digital representation of our series that will be used to market 'The War Fields' to investors," Kostlich said. "There will be several 'perks' offered for contributions including T-shirts, hoodies, product placement opportunities, the featuring and inclusion of specific businesses and locations, and a VIP day on-set during the filming."
Follow the series' progress at facebook.com/sixthstreetentertainment and instagram@sixthstreetentertainment.
Scott Tady is The Times' entertainment editor, reached at email@example.com
This article originally appeared on Beaver County Times: Tady: Bret Michaels tells Yinzers why they won't want to miss his Parti Gras