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Bret Michaels performs in Biloxi

Bret Michaels
Bret Michaels
cnn.com

Not too far from Huntsville, rock star Bret Michaels’ "comeback" started Friday night at the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, MS as well as the debut of his new single from an upcoming album. But Michaels mainly used the spotlight to give thanks.


"Tonight we’re going to throw a party," Michaels told the sold-out crowd at Hard Rock Live as they used the floor and balcony as their personal trampoline. "I’m thankful to be alive."


That set the evening’s tone as Michaels, fresh off winning Donald Trump’s "Celebrity Apprentice" — and more important, a brain hemorrhage, a minor stroke and subsequent heart issues — demonstrated just how ready he was to get back on the road.


Backed up by the Bret Michaels Band, the singer moved swiftly through a single set that included his former band’s most popular songs, such as "Talk Dirty to Me" and "Every Rose Has its Thorn." He even sang Bob Dylan’s "Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door," the Guns n’ Roses version, which was apropos, considering Michaels appeared on stage for the first time to that band’s breakout hit, "Welcome to the Jungle."


Limping with an admitted "hitch in my left giddy up," Michaels was not his usual, athletic, stage self, but he was obviously happy to be resuming his tour that came to a halt in April when the singer faced the toughest health issues of his life — which is a lot to say, considering he’s a lifelong diabetic.


Throughout it all, Michaels reminded the audience that their concert footage would be a key part of the first episode of his new series, "Bret Michaels: Life as I Know It," which kicks off with a teaser on VH1 Monday night in advance of the July 7 release of his new album, "Custom Built."


In the middle of what must be a tumultuous time in his life, Michaels seemed to rise above the issues in his life, smiling constantly while participating in what he called his "life’s dream" — rock ’n’ roll.


"Biloxi, Mississippi, this is what I needed right here," he said at the show’s end.


 

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