RICHMOND, CA – East Brother Light Station is on a magical little island located between San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay and can readily be seen as you are crossing the Richmond San Rafael Bridge.
East Brother Island is the home of East Brother Light Station, which has been turned into a quaint and elegant bed and breakfast inn, entertaining 100’s of guests each year since 1980. Room rates are $315 to $425, depending on the room and day of the week. As a non-profit 501 c3, all money raised is used to sustain the island and its facilities.
The hallmark of the island is the completely restored Victorian home attached to the lighthouse, making this a light station and not your typical lighthouse. A lighthouse is singular structure. A light station is a combination of the lighthouse and outbuildings such as the keeper’s living quarters, fuel house, boathouse, and fog-signaling building.
East Brother Light Station is located only 30 minutes, and a short boat ride, from San Francisco, offering up some of the best views of the San Francisco Bay. On a clear night you can see the San Francisco skyline and during the day, Mount Tamalpais – or Mount Tam for you locals. West Brother Island is a stone throw away with two similar islands called the Sisters off in the distance.
Our trip started out as all trips do to the island – we met our hosts for the weekend, Bryan and Stephanie Wesolek, who hail from San Diego, at the San Pablo Point Yacht Harbor at 4 p.m.
The harbor is about a 10 minute drive from the Richmond side of the Richmond San Rafael Bridge. You take the exit just before the toll plaza and that’s when the adventure begins. No seriously!!! The road to the harbor is in disrepair with plenty of potholes to attract your tires as you navigate your way to the harbor.
After the hair-raising drive you find yourself in the middle of San Pablo Point Yacht Harbor. What? Really, a yacht harbor? As you peruse the moored vessels in the harbor, you quickly realize there’s not a whole lotta yachts happening in the yacht harbor. There are a number of house boats and what I would call “retired yachts” docked in the harbor.
Captain Bryan and his wife Stephanie showed up just before 4 p.m., greeting their guests as if we were longtime friends. The pair offered to carry our luggage down the short ramp to the newly outfitted boat that was ready to take us to the island.
The boat was sporting two new 90 horsepower engines and we were on the island in less than 10 minutes, which was a relief for people like me who tend to get motion sickness at the drop of a hat, or the rocking of a boat. I didn’t feel queasy in the least. The longest leg of the trip was the ride through the harbor as resident dogs barked and howled and pelicans bid us farewell into the open bay waters.
When we arrived at the island it was an extremely low tide and everyone had to climb a ladder up onto the island. Depending on the tide, the climb can be anywhere from 4 to 12 feet. Anyone thinking about bringing an elderly guest should be cautioned. Also, the island cannot accommodate wheelchairs due to the climb and kids are only allowed during the day.
The first thing people notice as they disembark is the large dome in the center of the island. This is a cistern which collects water for use on the island. It is the only source of water on the island. During the rainy season water is collected in the cistern via the concrete and roofs, which are all setup to drain directly into the cistern, which can hold up to 50,000 gallons. The island was contemplating the purchase of water due to the drought we have been experiencing in California, but the last round of heavy storms that swept through the Bay Area put them at capacity.
The tour of the island started immediately as Bryan and Stephanie showed each guest to their room. There are five rooms available, with each room named after their view. Four of the rooms are located within the lighthouse itself and one room is located in the original Fog Signal Building. We were in the Marin Room located on the second floor of the main building. We had a great view of Marin County and West Brother Island, which was teeming with wildlife.
Within 20 minutes each guest was offered champagne and hors d’oeuvres as Bryan started talking about the long history of the island and Stephanie headed to the kitchen to prepare dinner.
Bryan and Stephanie had only been the caretakers of the island since October, but they both had an immense knowledge of the island and its history. Bryan’s passionate explanation of the island’s history and the surrounding area was captivating, giving guests the feeling that he lived through the early days. The caretakers of the island usually cycle through every two years.
Afterwards guests were allowed to roam the island and we could even climb into the completely functional lighthouse, which was quite blinding if you happened to look at the lens at just the wrong moment. There were plenty of books and information on the history of the island and the San Francisco Bay in general.
Dinner was spectacular as Stephanie flexed her culinary muscles. The multi-coarse gourmet dinner, complete with wine, would easily fetch any restaurant a 5-star rating. The exciting part of dinner, besides the food, was the company and the conversations with all the other guests and how they discovered East Brother Light Station.
The working foghorn on the island sounds every 20 seconds during the months of October through May and is a medium-pitched electric horn. Some guests didn’t even hear it through the night and others found it “soothing.” If you are a light sleeper be warned.
Our hosts were accommodating in every way. In fact, when Bryan found out we were early risers he was up and had coffee ready for us by 5:30 a.m., typically coffee is served much later. Thanks Bryan!!
After breakfast, which earned another 5-stars, guests headed over to the Walter Fanning building to get a tour of the fog horn. Bryan discussed at length the various lenses used throughout the life of the lighthouse and went into great detail about the original steam driven foghorn and how it was eventually converted to an air-compressed unit.
When it came time to power up the foghorn, Bryan enlisted the help of some of the guests to fire-up the engines, with levers, pulleys and buttons needing to be engaged. When the foghorn sounded, everyone in the area could hear it and anyone on the island could feel it as the sound reverberated throughout one’s body.
Many people who stay, come back on their volunteer days which are usually the second Saturday of the month. Sign up early because slots are limited and fill up quickly. You can find more information here.
We had a wonderful time on the island with the other guests and our hosts Bryan and Stephanie. I’d like to thank both of them for their great food and company.
I highly recommend this Bay Area getaway to anyone interested in escaping the daily grind.
Order Stunning Prints – We recommend the metal prints!!
Check out these LittlePlanets of East Brother Island!!
CARMEL, INDIANA – Last Sunday night (August 3) at the Palladium in Carmel, legendary guitarist Peter Frampton lost his composure after a concert goer refused to stop taking video of his performance.
We’ve all been there. You’ve been patiently waiting to see your favorite band perform, and when the moment finally arrives, everyone around you stands up. You also stand up so you can at least get a glimpse of the performer and cheer them on, but wait! All of a sudden there are phones popping up all around you, as fans start taking pictures or video. Worse, there’s an iPad or two.
You’d have to be taller than basketball legend Manute Bol to see over the sea of hardware!
You won’t have that worry at a Peter Frampton concert.
Before Frampton’s show that fateful night, fans were informed that there would be no flash photography or video allowed. However, that didn’t stop one couple who were armed with a camera and smartphone, as the pair continued to shoot videos and snap photos throughout the concert – worse, they were asked to stop by security as wells as Frampton himself.
According to Onstage Magazine, Frampton was gesturing to the couple to stop as he was “frantically” looking for security. He became frustrated and turned his back on audience members and continued playing to try and make a point.
When someone from the venue finally told the couple to stop, they did, but that didn’t last long.
At one point the man flipped Frampton off and turned to the audience and yelled, “Deadbeats!”
During “Do You Feel Like We do,” Frampton had had enough and stormed off stage, only to reappear in the audience. As he approached the offending couple he asked to see the pictures they had been taking. When the couple handed him their cell phone he spun around and flung the phone as far as he could towards the back of the stage. Fans erupted in cheers.
Frampton tweeted later that the cell phone survived the incident. Fans also tweeted in support of his behavior.
While I believe the couple got what was coming to them, I have to disagree with Frampton’s stance on cell phone usage and his behavior. Yes, I would have been cheering him on too, but that doesn’t excuse that type of behavior, not to mention there are laws out there protecting even stupid people and their phones.
I know some artists consider it distracting to themselves and fans that paid good money to be there, but what about those people standing next to you with their beer raised high, as they dance around splashing the golden liquid all over everyone except themselves? I don’t see anyone trying to stop them and that’s annoying as hell!
What about that time when you looked around and everyone in the venue is seated except for the jerks in front of you and all you get to see is their plumbers butt!
Other artists consider their images sacred and will do anything and everything to protect their images from would be photo takers. They fear that someone may actually make some coin off of those precious photos. There’s simply no money being made on those pictures, unless there happens to be a wardrobe malfunction, or you get a great video of someone like Peter Frampton chucking someone’s phone backstage. Now that would be priceless.
If Frampton is serious he needs to have his peeps trolling the venue for offenders. I recently witnessed a fight break out when one artist, who will remain nameless, had his management team out in the audience shutting people down, only to have a fight breakout – yes some people will fight back when you grab their cell phone. Frampton was lucky.
Then there are those artists who embrace the technology and take selfies of themselves and the audience, or encourage fans to take their pictures and post them on social networking sites. And my favorite – having everyone with a cell phone turn them on at the same time – Those are the moments fans will cherish and remember, and it makes for a pretty cool picture.
At the end of the day there will always be inconsiderate people out there, especially at a concert. Expect it, plan for it, but don’t react to it – they love it when you do that.
By the way, the rude and inconsiderate couple may actually make some serious coin from their photos, all thanks to Frampton himself.
LINCOLN, CA – New Edition pulled out all the stops as they performed to a sellout crowd at Thunder Valley Casino’s Summer Concert Series on Friday in support of their 2014 Reunion Tour.
The boy band that, for good or bad, paved the way for other boy bands such as New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men and Backstreet Boys, came to Thunder Valley Casino armed with original band members Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Bobby Brown, Ronnie DeVoe, and Ralph Tresvant. Longtime member, Johnny Gill joined the group as well. Gill was brought in to fill the void left after Brown decided to pursue a solo career back in 1985.
As the sun started to descend and the mercury level was still north of the century mark, all six members of New Edition made a dramatic entrance as they walked out to center stage. The color for the night was white as the stairs they descended were painted white along with a white flowing curtain in back and on both sides of the stage, making for some great lighting affects as the night took over.
New Edition started their set off with “Once in a Lifetime Groove” and “N.E. Heartbreak” with everyone in the audience on their feet.
After their first two songs, Bell, Bivins and Devoe took over the stage as their own successful group known as Bell Biv Devoe, singing their hits “B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)?,” “When Will I See You Smile Again?” and “Do Me!”
Brown followed the energetic trio with his original hits “Don’t be Cruel,” “On Your Own” and “Good Enough.” Brown fell short with his vocals and it almost felt as if he was simply going through the motions, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind.
Brown, ex-husband of the late singer Whitney Houston, has had a troubled past and it appears he is continuing to battle his demons. He started out the tour earlier this year only to drop out to recover from an “undisclosed medical issue.”
In a statement, the 45-year-old Brown said, “I apologize to the fans of New Edition. I really wanted to be with my brothers, but presently I am unable to give fans what they typically expect from New Edition.”
The unexpected departure of Brown followed a show in Mississippi when Brown, who was visibly winded during a performance of “If It Isn’t Love,” abruptly left the stage before the end of the song.
He recently came back to the tour to play the final six shows of the Reunion tour.
Tresvant turned things around with the ladies as he took center stage with his shirt open and performed his hit “Sensitivity,” followed by “When I need Somebody” and “Money Can’t Buy You Love.” He finished his set with “Stone Cold Gentleman” and “Sex-O.” During his set Tresvant brought a couple of lucky ladies on stage to sing to.
Not to be left out, Johnny Gill popped up on stage and performed a number of his hits including, “Fairweather Friend,” “There U Go,” “My Body” and finishing up with “Transition.” Gill was tossing out roses during his solo performance.
The original five members followed Johnny and performed a number of songs including “Candy Girl” and “Telephone Man.”
They ended the show with Brown’s “My Prerogative,” Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison” and New Edition’s “If It isn’t Love.”
LINCOLN, CA – VH1’s ‘That Metal Show’ paid a visit to Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s outdoor amphitheater on Friday with Eddie Trunk, Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine emceeing the most headbanging event in the history of Thunder Valley’s Summer Concert Series.
Headlining the show was legendary heavy metal band Anthrax. They were joined by Living Colour, Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour) and Sacramento’s own Burn Halo.
It was an epic beginning with Burn Halo taking front and center stage as the temperature hovered at the 110 degree mark.
Leading the charge were founding members James Hart (vocals) and Joey Roxx (guitar), with newest members Ryan Frost (guitar), Chris Bishop (bass), Johnny Badbones (drums).
Burn Halo tore it up for about 30 minutes as Hart flexed his guttural death growl and performed their latest single “Wolves of War.” For those that missed Burn Halo’s performance you’ll get a chance to see them as they perform at this year’s Monster Energy’s Aftershock in Sacramento’s Discovery Park in September.
Following Burn Halo was the multi-talented Corey Taylor who has fronted not one, but two bands, written a couple of books and has a fantasy comic book series entitled “House of Gold & Bones,” titled after Stone Sour’s albums ‘House of Gold & Bones Part 1’ and ‘House of Gold & Bones Part 2.’
Taylor was joined on stage by – nobody. Armed with a guitar and his smooth vocals Taylor showed fans what heavy metal was like unplugged, as he kicked off his acoustical set with Stone Sour’s “Bother.” He followed up with a haunting cover of Chris Isaaks “Wicked Games,” with many of the women cheering him on.
It was obvious at the onset why fans refer to Taylor as “The Great Big Mouth,” as he mesmerized the crowd with his guttural sound one minute, and his smokey smooth vocals the next.
Taylor ended his performance with a medley of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and the Misfits explaining to the audience, “Somebody told me you can’t go from Johnny Cash to Elvis Presley to the Misfits and I said, ‘F#ck you, I’ll make it work’.” He started off with Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” followed by Elvis Presley’s “Mystery Train,” finishing off with the Misfit’s “American Nightmare,” leaving the audience on their feet. Talyor definitely garnered some new fans and, according to some, won the night with his performance – Just don’t let any Anthrax fans hear you say that!
Living Colour followed with their fusion of jazz, funk, hip hop, hard rock, and heavy metal. Lead singer Corey Glover was joined by Vernon Reid (guitar), Will Calhoun (drums) and Doug Wimbish (bass).
Glover was exceptional as the group weaved through their various hits throughout the years including a few covers.
Living Colour mixed it up as they performed everything from a funky tune like “Type,” to heavy metal with the likes of “Go Away,” and then on to a more traditional rock song with “Ignorance is bliss.” They ended their set with a blistering rendition of James Browns “Sex Machine.”
As the stage grew dark and the fog moved in on the stage, red lights flickered on, lighting the way for Anthrax to take the stage as the crowd roared in anticipation of the legendary band.
Lead singer Joey Belladonna was joined by Scott Ian (guitar), Frank Bello (bass), Charlie Benante (drums) and the newest addition Jonathan Donais (guitar).
Anthrax, one of the pioneers of Thrash Metal, started their set appropriately with “Caught in a Mosh,” as head-bangers united, bobbing their heads and shaking their fists. They followed up with “Got the Time.”
Just prior to starting up “Indian,” Belladonna started telling the crowd to get up and dance, as he yelled, “Can we get a f#cking war dance in this sh*t.” Telling fans to move the chairs out of the way, which has got to be the first time Thunder Valley Casino has experienced a mosh pit at one of their outdoor concerts. I was expecting to see some crowd surfing, but the chairs prevented fans from getting close enough together to successfully pull it off – that was probably a good thing.
A few guards moved in to remove some discarded chairs and then stood at the ready to breakup any potential fights as fans started slamming into each other in the front row.
The 53-year-old Belladonna’s vocals were spot on as he thrashed about the stage with the entire group putting on a high-energy show for fans, ending their set with “I Am the Law” and “Antisocial.”
Many fans were disappointed with the short amount of time Anthrax spent onstage and would have like to have heard some of their early music. Regardless fans loved the show and left wanting more.
LINCOLN, CA – Thunder Valley Casino Resort brought fans a dichotomy of music over the weekend as That Metal Show brought the heavy metal sounds on Anthrax of Friday and then the smooth jazz sound of George Benson and Chris Botti on Saturday.
Grammy Award winning Chris Botti opened the show armed with his trumpet and a stellar crew consisting of Caroline Campbell (violin), Richie Goods (bass), Billy Kilson (drums), Sy Smith (vocals), George Komsky (vocals).
Botti’s set was a continual sea of melodic change as Campbell would jump in with her violin and vocals were changed up with Smith and Komsky.
Smith even played the finger buttons on the trumpet while the 51-year-old Botti was blasting away. Soon after, the pair made their way into the audience where Botti serenaded fans and took a few selfies.
Botti and crew were rewarded with a standing ovation after their performance. Botti could have easily have been the headliner for this show.
George Benson, another Grammy Award winner, was greeted with audience members jumping and cheering on the 71-year-old as he took center stage with his guitar firmly in hand.
The jazz guitarist then went on to perform many of his hits including “Turn Your Love Around,” “Give Me the Night” and “On Broadway.”
Benson’s vocals may not be as smooth as they were compared to his younger days, but the older, gravelly sound blended in nicely for most of his songs, but Benson really shined during his guitar solos.
LINCOLN, CA – The 80s were back at Thunder Valley Casino Resort as the Replay America tour arrived featuring the Go Go’s, Patty Smyth of Scandal, Martha Davis and The Motels and Naked Eyes featuring Pete Byrne.
The show kicked off at 6:30 p.m., a full half hour later than planned. Originally Cutting Crew was to be on the tour, but they had problems getting Visas issued in time to make the tour.
Opening the evening was Naked Eyes with founding member Pete Byrne. Fellow founding member Rob Fisher passed away in the late 90s.
Byrne started his three song set with “In the Name of Love,” followed by “Promises Promises.” When he announced that the next song would be his last, there were some boos from the crowd. Fans were rewarded with Naked Eyes biggest hit “Always Something There to Remind Me.”
During Byrne’s set there were times when you could hear the young voice belting out the lyrics, but for the most part, his vocals were spotty. The crowd didn’t seem to mind as Byrne’s onstage antics brought the crowd to life, despite the hot and humid weather.
Martha Davis and the Motels were up next, starting with “Suddenly Last Summer.” Sax man Marty Jourard joined Davis onstage for “Remember the Nights.” Davis and Jourard did a superb job, but the audience seemed to lose interest. It’s difficult to pull out the sax when the sun is still blazing in the sky. The song is better suited for those intimate, dimly lit, moments.
Davis turned it around as she continued with “Take the L” and finished off her set with “Only The Lonely.”
Patty Smyth took the stage and kicked her set off with “Hands Tied.” Smyth immediately introduced guitarist Keith Mack and then proceeded to take selfies with Mack and the audience as a backdrop.
Smyth continued interacting with fans throughout her set. After her finale “Goodbye to You,” Smyth thanked everyone for being there and said, “Lincoln, California! We love your asses!”
The Go Go’s took the stage as Pink’s “Get the Party Started” was playing in the background. Leading the pack was Belinda Carlisle (vocals), followed by Charlotte Caffey (guitar), Jane Wiedlin (guitar) and Gina Schock (drums) and Abby Davis (bass). Davis replaced original member Kathy Valentine. Valentine recently split from the band after an argument over royalties.
When the Go Go’s hit the stage singing “Vacation,” the audience came to their feet and most fans remained standing throughout their performance.
They followed up with several hits from their album “Beauty and the Beast,” with Wiedlin complaining about Taylor Swift having the market on songs about past boyfriends, when the Go Go’s have been doing it for decades.
Carlisle was able to squeeze one of her solos into the mix singing her 1986 hit “Mad About You.”
The Go Go’s kept the audience fully engaged and at one point Schock left her post behind the drums to invite a number of audience members up onstage as the band performed their cover of the 1960’s hit “Cool Jerk.”
Pandemonium broke out as the band started up “Our Lips are Sealed,” with many audience members believing this was their closing song.
For their encore the Go Go’s played “Johnny are You Queer” and “Head Over Heels.”
Thunder Valley Casino’s Summer Concert Series is in full swing. This Friday That Metal Show, featuring Anthrax, thrashes its way to Thunder Valley and on Saturday George Benson and Chris Botti quiet things down a bit with little bit of jazz.
ROCKLIN, CA – On July 10 Urinetown, the edgy and oft-times hilarious award winning musical, opened at the Finnish Temperance Hall in Rocklin. Presented by the Rocklin Community Theatre the show continues through July 20.
You can still purchase tickets!
The Tony Award winning musical is a tale of love, greed, and revolution. The show is set in a town plagued by a 20-year drought, where water has become so scarce that private toilets have become unthinkable. At the mercy of a single dominating corporation who maintains a monopoly on the town’s public amenities, the destitute citizens must pay towering taxes and fines to carry out their most private and basic of needs. Out of the mass of the pitiable, a hero rises to lead his fellow citizens against the tyrannical regime.
The timing for the show couldn’t be better, as California faces an unprecedented drought. Lucky for the audience, cast member’s timing was perfect as they delivered punch lines, facial expressions, and an occasional “Gasp!” at just the right moment, causing quite a few guffaws to be issued from the crowd.
Director Ryan Adame and crew couldn’t have picked a more stellar cast with Tanner Kane and Olivia Freer leading the charge. Kane filled the role of the dashing Bobby Strong and Freer played the ravishingly beautiful Hope Cladwell.
Opening the show was Officer Lockstock, played by Jordan Mata, and street urchin Little Sally, played by Genevieve Schloesser. The two set the stage as they talk about Urinetown and the results of a 20-year drought. Both Mata and Schloesser added comical relief throughout the performance and the two played well off each other.
Jake Romero played the role of Caldwell B. Cladwell, the evil president and owner of the Urine Good Company and Hanna Hensley played Penelope Pennywise, warden of the poorest and filthiest urinal in town.
While the cast had perfect timing so did the orchestra with musical director Cynthia Cates leading the team. The orchestra consisted of Cynthia Cates (piano), Robbie Wanamaker (drums), Matt Kilbourne (bass), Tim Sanders (reed) and Matt Koutney (trombone).
What stood out for me is the musical talents of each and every cast member. Everyone’s vocals were spot on bringing this performance to a level not generally seen in a small community theater.
You don’t want to miss this show!! You can purchase tickets for their upcoming performances online at Rocklin Community Theatre. Shows are scheduled for this Thursday, July 17, through Sunday, July 20.
The cast of characters included:
|Bobby Strong||Tanner Kane|
|Hope Cladwell||Olivia Freer|
|Caldwell B. Cladwell||Jack Romero|
|Penelope Pennywise||Hannah Hensley|
|Little Sally||Genevieve Schloesser|
|Officer Lockstock||Jordan Mata|
|Officer Barrel||Brett Young|
|Senator Fipp||Emily Masnica|
|Joseph “Old Man” Strong||Aaron Cain|
|Josephine Strong||Claire Quillen|
|Little Becky Two Shoes||Lea Mano|
|Tiny Tom||Tyler Schloesser|
|Soupy Sue||Michaela Rappa|
|Robbie the Stockfish||Cayley Harper|
|Mr. McQueen||Sierra Nevin|
About Rocklin Community Theatre (from their website)
Rocklin Community Theatre is a 501(c)(3) non-profit theatre company.
We produce a yearly season of at least six shows. Our shows feature children, high schoolers, and adults. We produce both musical theatre standards like South Pacific and Oklahoma!, and “new classics” like Jekyll and Hyde and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
In addition to producing a yearly season of shows that showcase local talent, RCT offers classes for children, teens, and adults. Classes focus on skills, like acting, singing, and dancing. Students develop performance abilities, make new friends, and build self-confidence.
Thanks to our partnership with the City of Rocklin, we are privileged to rehearse and perform at the historic Finnish Temperance Hall. Finn Hall has been the home of theatre programs in Rocklin since 1994.
RCT endeavors to help improve the quality of life in our surrounding community. We are actively involved with the Downtown Rocklin redevelopment program and we look for opportunities to create partnerships with downtown area businesses. RCT believes bringing vibrancy back to Downtown Rocklin is essential, and we are thrilled to be a part of the effort.
Although providing a community theatre program is the core of what we do, RCT has a vision for much more. We are always looking for new program opportunities, new sources of financial support, and new ways to partner with the community.
LINCOLN, CA – The legendary country music band Alabama made its way to Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday with special guest, Sacramento’s own, Rachel Steele and her band Road 88.
It was an evening of southern rock infused with a bit of bluegrass, sprinkled with a whole lotta of country as the award winning Alabama reminded fans why they have reigned over country music since the 80s.
Rachel Steele and Road 88 kicked off the concert in fine fashion with a cover of Miranda Lambert’s “Gun Powder & Lead” as temperatures hovered in the mid 90’s. Steele sang a number of original songs including “Drive a Little Faster,” “Nashville” and, my favorite, “The Shot Song.”
Steele was in complete command of the stage and the audience with her band Road 88, consisting of Scott Prentice (guitar/vocals), Charlie McGimsey (drums), Vinnie Panteleoni (bass), Bob Kinney (guitar), Gordon Graft (keys) and Sherry Eidhammer (backup vocals).
Alabama has been together as a group for over 40 years and in 2004 the group decided to part ways and played their “final” concert in Bismark, North Dakota. In 2013 the band reformed for their 40th anniversary and set out on their Back to the Bowery tour, in reference to the Myrtle Beach club where they got their start.
During the bands time apart, Owen stayed active as a solo act and also successfully battled prostate cancer. Cook was performing with his Allstar Goodtime Band, while Gentry was producer for his band Rockit City.
When Alabama took the stage everyone in the packed outdoor amphitheater was on their feet cheering as original band members Randy Owen (lead vocals/guitar), Jeff Cook (lead guitar,violin) and Teddy Gentry (bass), kicked off their 90+ minute set with “If You’re Going to Play in Texas,” with the audience singing along.
They continued on with “Tennessee River,” followed by “Dixieland Delight.” The mostly older crowd remained seated for the majority of their performance, with small clusters of fans standing. During some of their songs people would dash to the aisles to dance to their favorite song.
Two audience members were singled out by Owen when he invited them up onstage so he could sing them “Happy Birthday.” Sue and Kaitlyn made their way to the stage and after Owen finished singing “Happy Brithday,” he asked them if that was good enough. By the looks on their faces it was plenty good enough.
For their encore they performed “Mountain Music,” at which point the crowd exploded to their feet to sing and dance along.
The day started out overcast, keeping temperatures below the century mark. As show time approached, the clouds dissipated and fans moved in, with around 4,500 people packing the sold out show. For over 17 years WorldOne Presents has been bringing their popular Soul Jam shows to the Sacramento region.
V101’s Big Al had the honors of emceeing the show, along with V101 newcomer Pacey Williams. Before the show Thunder Valley Casino personnel threw out an endless number of T-shirts into the crowd, with one T-shirt making a direct hit with a glass of beer – oops! They also tossed out a number of oversized beach balls for fans to hit back and forth during the show.
Kicking off the evening was Tony! Toni! Toné! with front man Amar Khalil leading the pack and original band member Dwayne Wiggins on guitar.
Armed with their high energy and number one hits, Khalil and Wiggins thoroughly entertained the mostly older crowd, with many still filing in to find their seats.
Both Khalil and Wiggins were in fine shape and knew it, as they both wore vests to better show off their guns.
Following Tony! Toni! Toné! was Grammy Award winning Salt-N-Pepa as they stormed the stage with a couple of high energy dancers – adding to their Diva status.
I found Salt-N-Pepa’s set the most entertaining of the night with their good looks, charm and down to earth sex appeal. Both founding members Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton left it all on the stage as their original DJ, Deidra “DJ Spinderella” Roper, cranked out the tunes.
The dynamic duo of Salt-N-Pepa had great chemistry as they worked the crowds and interacted between each other and the dancers while dancing around the stage.
The trio played a number of covers during their performance, but it really didn’t seem to faze fans since Salt-N-Pepa were continually yelling out to the crowd, keeping them engaged throughout their entire set.
Of course, Salt-N-Pepa couldn’t help but end their set with their wildly popular hits “Shoop” and “Push It,” but not before bringing up a couple of gentlemen from the audience to get their groove on with the ladies.
When Keith Sweat made his way out on stage it was pandemonium as all the women in the audience brought their screams up a couple of decibels.
When Sweat started his set he appeared annoyed after his earpiece fell off. He continually was looking towards the side of the stage, making hand gestures and then turning back to the audience while singing.
During his set Sweat made the statement, “Somebody’s gonna get pregnant tonight,” several times, referring to the reputation his mostly romantic songs have among couples. Jen, a longtime fan, told me she consummated four kids while listening to Sweat’s music.
As Sweat was weaving through his hits, including, “Make It Last Forever” and “I’ll Give All My Love to You,” a male dancer was thoroughly entertaining the crowd with his dance moves. The dancer brought a level of energy to the performance that Sweat was lacking.
Sweat’s performance may have been lacking the energy of a Salt-N-Pepa, but the crowd sure didn’t seem to mind as couples were dancing and singing in the aisles.
WorldOne Presents will be bringing more soul and R&B to Thunder Valley Casino on September 13th with The Big Block Party featuring Morris Day and The Time, Sheila E, Guy, and Doug E Fresh.
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LINCOLN, CA – Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s Summer Concert Series got off to a great start Saturday night as Rick Springfield stormed Thunder Valley Casino’s outdoor amphitheater with his hit song ‘Jessie’s Girl,’ along with Eddie Money, who was ‘Playing for Keeps,’ and Loverboy who was simply ‘Lovin Every Minute of It.’
As the Sacramento region saw temperatures heading north of 100 degrees for the first time in 2014, Thunder Valley Casino kicked off their Summer Concert Series in style with thousands of fans filling the outdoor amphitheater to capacity for a 6:30 p.m. start time.
A number of fans heading to their seats were voicing their opinions on the lineup and the sequence of performances. Many people I spoke to thought Rick Springfield didn’t warrant being the headliner of the show and wanted to see Eddie Money as the closer. Those fans were sorely disappointed when Eddie Money opened the show, followed by Loverboy and then finally Rick Springfield.
All three bands brought their A-game with Eddie Money kicking off the season opener with “Baby Hold On” and “Walk on Water,” with the crowd cheering and singing along.
Money was joined by the Eddie Money band consisting of Tommy Girvin (guitar), Lee Beverly (bass), Glenn Symmonds (drums) and Chris Groves (keyboards).
The 65-year-old Money gave a great performance with plenty of audience interaction as he tossed one lucky audience member his tambourine. At one point, Money grabbed Mr. Socks (a stuffed monkey) out of the director’s chair it was sitting in and Money sat down in its place, throwing the monkey to the ground. (Cody, the monitor technician, brings Mr. Socks to all the summer shows. The Thunder Valley crew has taken in Mr. Socks as their mascot.)
Money continued with a number of his hits ending his set with “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Shakin.”
I attempted to contact Money after the show to talk to him about his abuse of stuffed animals, but he couldn’t be reached for comment.
Loverboy followed Money with original band members Mike Reno (lead vocals), Paul Dean (guitar/vocals), Doug Johnson (keyboards) and Matt Frenette (drums). They were joined by their newest member Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve (bass).
Loverboy began their set with “Notorious” and “Lucky Ones,” with Reno shouting out to the audience in between songs.
The 59-year-old Reno sounded excellent and put on a higher energy show than Money, but his performance was lacking the crowd interaction that complements Money’s performance.
While I think Money would have been better suited following Loverboy, I believe Loverboy’s high energy performance proved that they could follow the likes of Money.
Loverboy finished their set with “Turn Me Loose” and “Working for The Weekend.”
Rick Springfield jumped on stage with all the women going wild as he started his set with “Living in Oz,” followed by “I’ve Done Everything for You.” He was joined by George Bernhardt (guitar), George Nastos (bass), Jorge Palacios (Drums) and Brett Tuggle (keys).
The 64-year-old Springfield was all over the stage, acting like he was still in his 20’s rather than his 60’s. He put on quite a show for the ladies in the audience including what appeared to be a group of women from the 1986 Springfield Panty Droppers – at least based on their sign. Most female fans refer to themselves as Ricks Chicks.
Fans were singing along with the majority of songs, including a cover of Katy Perry’s “Roar.”
A number of female fans came prepared with roses. Each time a bouquet made it up on stage, Springfield would grab the roses and thrash his guitar with the buds, spraying petals all over the stage.
Springfield did a great job of audience participation when he jumped off the stage and headed into the arms of waiting fans – much to the delight of the Panty Droppers.
Springfield ended his set with “Jessie’s Girl,” and afterward apologized for cutting his set short due to a curfew.
I know some fans out there will continue to argue that Eddie Money should have headlined the show, but Springfield deserved the slot, especially with his popularity among women and his highly energized performance.
This was a great start to what promises to be a great Summer Concert Series at Thunder Valley Casino.
Next Friday comedian George Lopez performs and Saturday heats up again with V101’s Summer Jam featuring Keith Sweat, Tony! Toni! Tone! and Salt-N-Pepa. Just added to the lineup – Martina McBride and the incomparable Diana Ross! Check out the full schedule at http://thundervalleycasino.com/Entertainment.
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