Bill was backed by the very talented 3 Bottle Band, who has been playing together with Medley for over 35 years. Band members were Gabe Rabben (drums), Jamie Browning (bass/vocals), Tim Lee (keyboards), and Larry Hanson (lead guitar).
This year marks the 51st anniversary of the Righteous Brothers. The second half of the duo, Bobby Hatfield, died of a heart attack back in 2003; Medley now tours with the 3 Bottle Band and his daughter Mckenna.
Kicking off the show was a video showing Medley as he made appearances in various shows throughout his career, including the David Letterman Show and the hit TV series, Cheers. As the video ended, Medley started to sing “A Song for You” while he was still offstage. After about a minute he started to make his way to the stage, providing for a nice dramatic entrance.
The audience was mesmerized with Medley from the start as he continued with “Show Me” and “Soul and Inspiration.” In between songs he would talk about life and joke with the crowd.
The 72 year old Medley’s voice was rough at times, but had a nice coarse sound to it. He even made fun of himself after singing “Unchained Melody,” saying he knew everyone was waiting to see if he could hit the high note, but didn’t. He did follow the joke with a quick high note, which sounded great.
For his hit song, “Time of My Life,” from the movie Dirty Dancing, Medley brought out Mckenna to perform Jennifer Warnes’ part. McKenna did an awesome job and has a very melodic voice with a bit of a country/blues flavor.
McKenna went on to perform solo, singing “Silk Flowers” and “Give Me One Reason.”
After McKenna completed her set, Medley sat down at the keyboards and called on band member Jamie Browning to sing a few songs with him and McKenna. This is where Medley shined, providing the audience a glimpse of what it’s like to jam with one of the best.
Mckenna has just recently started a blog called “A Righteous Fit,” chronicling her daily struggles and successes to keep fit. McKenna says, “Staying in shape is a constant struggle for me. I’m not here because I have all the answers, even though I may have a few tricks- especially when it comes to traveling,” she goes on to say, “But I just want to inspire good health, and have a place to be accountable for my own health.” It was fun following her posts on her trip to Thunder Valley.
I am extremely sad to report that Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, the colorful and flamboyant lead singer for the Ohio Players, died yesterday at the age of 70.
UPDATE: In an official family statement released by Scott Hanover the family said, “Yesterday, Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner passed away quietly in his hometown of Trotwood-Dayton, OH. While his family, friends, colleagues, and fans mourn his passing they celebrate fondly his memory, music, and legacy.”
The statement continued, “Humble yet charismatic, soft spoken and of few words, the weight of his thoughts, lyrics, and music has influenced countless other artists, songs, and trends. He will be missed but not forgotten as his legacy and music lives on. More details and an official historical perspective of his career will soon be forthcoming.
His Facebook page is available to all to post comments, reflections, and testimonials of this wonderful and gifted man: https://www.facebook.com/sugarfootsohioplayers.”
The Ohio Players were originally formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1959, and were known as the Ohio Untouchables. After a brief breakup the band regrouped in 1963 adding Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner on lead guitar and eventually he went on to front the band.
The band’s first big hit single was “Funky Worm”, reaching #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and made the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1973, selling over one million copies.
The band had seven Top 40 hits between 1973 and 1976 including, “Fire,” “Love Rollercoaster” and “Who’d She Coo?”
Recently the master of funk brought the Ohio Players to Thunder Valley Casino Resort (read review). Sugarfoot was helped onstage and appeared frail. However, backstage he was jovial and very friendly to the staff and fans as they lined up to meet the ‘70s icon.
The band started around 10:30 p.m. and the crowd immediately responded by clapping and jumping to their feet, with a number of couples spilling into the aisles to dance.
The San Francisco Bay Area based band got their start in the late 60’s when founding members Emilio Castillo (tenor sax/vocals) and Stephen “Doc” Kupka got together. Joining the two founding members onstage were long standing members Francis “Rocco” Prestia (bass) and Dave Geribaldi (drums), along with Larry Braggs (lead vocals), Roger Smith (keyboards/vocals), Tom E. Politzer (lead tenor sax), Adolfo Acosta, (trumpet/flugelhorn), Jerry Cortez (guitar/vocals), and Sal Cracchiolo (trumpet).
Starting their set with “I Like Your Style” and “Ain’t Nothing Stopping Us Now,” the horn section is obviously the cornerstone of Tower of Power’s musical style, as Castillo, Doc, and Rocco started flexing their horns causing the audience to cheer even louder.
When TOP, as their fans refer to them, started playing their slower songs like “Just When We Start Making it” and “Me and Mrs. Jones,” droves of fans left their seats and headed to the aisles to slow dance.
As the New Year arrived, the band struck up “Auld Lang Syne,” as everyone donned their hats and noise makers (compliments of Thunder Valley), as hundreds of balloons started tumbling to the floor.
It was quite a sight to see, and hear, as some people popped balloons, while others were hitting them back up into the air.
Once things settled down, Tower of Power continued with “Young Man” and “Soul With a
Capital S,” leaving many of their fans wanting more.
Those with any energy left headed to the casino for their 1:30 a.m. drawing, where someone won a share of $25,000, including the grand prize of $10,000.
Tower of Power still has a lot of energy left after all these years. Couple the two founding members with the younger members of the band and they still have a recipe for success.
I Like Your Style
Ain’t Nothing Stopping Us Now
Oil in the Ground
Can’t You See
Come Back Baby
Just When We Start Making it
Maybe It’ll Rub Off
So I Got to Groove
Me and Mrs. Jones
Jame Brown Medley of songs
Hard to Go
Auld Lang Syne
What is Hip
Soul With a Capital S
The Outlaws formed in 1967 and have been playing off and on since that time.
Founding members Henry Paul (lead singer/guitar) and Monte Yoho (drums), were joined by Chris Anderson (guitar), Randy Threet (bass), Dave Robbins (keyboards), and Bill Crain (guitar).
Kicking off their set with “Tomorrow’s Another Night” and “Love Song” it was evident that most of the audience was made up of diehard fans as they started singing along with the band.
They played quite a few new songs from their latest album It’s About Pride.From my past experience when older bands start playing their newer “stuff”, they tend to lose the audience, but that was not the case. Their fans remained engaged throughout their set with most of them on their feet.
There was a problem with Crain’s amp when halfway through “Love Song” his guitar shutdown. After several frantic minutes of changing out the amp, he was able to resume once they started “Hurry Sundown”, one of their newer songs.
Tomorrow’s Another Night
Hidin’ Out in Tennessee (new)
Born to Be Bad (new)
Last Ghost Town (new)
Right Where I Belong (new)
It’s bout Pride (new)
Trail of Tears (new)
What do you get when you mix a bombastic blonde with a quirky group of men? Some might say an odd mix of new and old as Blondie and Devo rollout their Whip It to Shreds Tour, bringing with them some newer material.
With only 13 dates scheduled in the Whip It to Shreds Tour, Sunrise Marketplace was lucky to land the unlikely duo for the last night of the Sunrise at Night Concert Series on Friday.
Over thirty years ago both Blondie and Devo were household names in the music world, as MTV was ramping up to play a steady stream of music videos, California had an actor as Governor, and Madonna was a piece of art, not a piece of work.
Ahh, so much has changed since then, just ask a teenager who Blondie or Devo is. You’ll get one of those looks that make you feel older than dirt – trust me I’ve seen that look.
Neither group is standing on their laurels either as both are out promoting their new work. Blondie with her latest album Panic of Girls and Devo with their album Something for Everybody. Both albums have respectable reviews, but could they possibly invoke trips down memory lane as some of their hits do? Songs like Blondie’s disco-infused “Heart of Glass,” and Devo’s wildly popular “Whip It?” I think not.
Devo started out as a twenty something group of nerdy guys and have “devolved” into a sixty something group of nerdy guys. The weirdest part for me was these guys were awesome! Their sound, their message, their style, played well in the 70’s and 80’s, and it plays well in the 10’s (I guess that’s what you call the 2010’s).
With brothers Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh, and Gerald and Bob Casale, all original band members, Devo kicked off their set with “Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man)” and “Peek-A-Boo!”, wearing plastic masks in what looked like some type of uniform.
During their set they played three songs off their latest album “Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man),” “What We Do,” and “Fresh.” The rest of their songs were their oldies, but goodies.
As is normal for this quirky group of guys, there were numerous wardrobe changes, plenty of videos playing in the background and even popcorn flying through the air. “Whip It” found the group wearing their signature hats as fans went crazy.
After a brief set-change Blondie made their way on stage as original lead singer Deborah Harry came out singing “Dreaming” and “Hanging on the Telephone.” Deborah sounded good and the audience gave her a warm welcome, but I believe they made a fatal mistake, as do most aging bands. They played too many newer songs, losing the audience.
As Blondie continued with “Love Doesn’t Frighten Me” and “D-Day,” both songs from their latest album, the crowd settled down. However, whenever they started in with an old hit like “Call Me,” the crowd would go wild, only to settle back down while the continued on to a new song. They played a total of six new songs, one from 2003, and five from 2011, all unfamiliar to the crowd.
Her encore won the audience back as she closed with “Relax” and “Heart of Glass.”
In my opinion Devo was the better performance with their quirky style. I’m surprised that I’m saying this, but I think Devo should have been the headliner, or close the show, as their tour is being billed as “co-headlining.” In the end Blondie played too many newer songs, while Devo, for the most part, stuck to the sounds that got them where they are today.
This show concludes the Sunrise at Night Concert Series at Sunrise MarketPlace. It all started when Sunrise started to host the Sacramento Capitals and erected a small arena, so the powers to be decided to, dare I say capitalize, on having arena by turning it into an outdoor concert venue.
The Series brought over 10,000 people to Sunrise Marketplace, with 7,000 concert goers coming from outside the area. These were people who normally would not have made the effort to visit the area.
Many of the visitors who had not been to Sunrise Marketplace in quite some time were surprised and impressed with the number of changes to the area. Merchants also saw in increase in sales with close to 50% of attendees visiting and patronizing their favorite stores.
While the concert series got off to a slow start it gained momentum as the season unfolded, ending with full house for their final concert.
Look for an even more exciting concert series next season!
This is the first year with an expanded venue at Sunrise MarketPlace, and my first time visiting. It was spacious with beer, wine, and Margaritas available along with various food choices such as hotdogs. Depending on where you were seated, you could be lazy and have a waiter/waitress get your drinks.
I found the sound lacking on the side bleachers, but still pretty loud. If you’re one of those purists who must have their sound just right, then you may want to get your tickets for the center area.
There really isn’t a bad seat in the house with a great view from pretty much any seat in the amphitheater. There are a few seats around the spotlights that may feel “cramped” if you are sitting right next to the platform, but that area is general admission and you can sit where you want – so don’t sit next to the lights, unless you think that’s Kool.
Many amphitheaters have monitors, or big projector screens for the cheap seats, but with such a small footprint fans didn’t have a problem seeing the action onstage.
Ok enough about the venue and on to the action, and there was plenty of action, with the exception of an overly long set-change.
Just prior to the concert someone came up to me and said he almost didn’t come out to the concert after he found out that Lionel Richie was no longer with The Commodores. Seriously!? Where have you been for the last 30 years!? Richie is gone people, get over it.
The Commodores stormed the stage playing “Too Hot Ta Trot,” followed by “Easy” with most fans on their feet and singing along. As for the great seating, that all goes down the proverbial crapper when everyone in front of you stands up to boogie down.
The three front men for The Commodores put on a high energy show and were in constant motion their entire set. They were founding members Walter Orange, William King, and longtime member J.D. Nicholas.
They headed into their encore with “Brick House,” but deviated in the middle with a bit of audience participation as they were simply jamming and yelling out to the audience with phrases such as “Say Yo Yo,” leading back into, and finishing off the set with, “Brick House.”
Walter Orange was kicking himself after their set. He told me he just wasn’t “feeling it” during his performance. Orange said it doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, it really bothers him because he believes he can bring it up to a whole other level.
The set-change went way too long. According to my calculations, it took over 45 minutes, which is not a good thing for the fans, as some headed towards the door.
Making a very Kool entrance Kool & the Gang, all dressed in white, came out singing “Fresh,” followed by “Tonight.” The crowd was pretty enthusiastic, but appeared to have more energy during The Commodores set. I attribute that to the lengthy intermission.
As they slowed it down with “Joanna” and “Too Hot,” most of the fans were singing the chorus along with the band. However, during the slower moments you could see a number of fans heading towards the door.
Kool & the Gang didn’t really hit their stride until late into their set. The vocals were lacking in the beginning songs, but seemed to smooth out as the night went on.
They really shined with “Get Down on It” leading into their finale with “Celebration,” which had the remaining crowd on their feet dancing and singing.
It was a great concert, but whenever you have 30 minutes, or longer, for a set-change you’re going to lose some people. In this case Kool & the Gang wasn’t able to reenergize a number of their fans. I believe that impacted their performance, since bands and fans alike feed off each other’s energy.
As for the Sunrise at Night Concert Series – What can I say? It’s a nice little venue with an intimate feel and free parking, but more importantly they serve food and have a limited selection of alcohol, just be careful driving home!
Don’t miss Blondie and Devo as they bring their Whip it to Shreds tour to the Sunrise MarketPlace on Friday September 14th.
That’s what fans did at Thunder Valley Casino Resort Friday evening, when it turned into one funkalicious night as old school favorites Morris Day and the Time, S.O.S., Kurtis Blow, and Midnight Star tore it up for over three hours playing to an overflowing and extremely energetic crowd.
As Midnight Star took the stage and started playing “Electricity,” the crowd jumped to their feet and started dancing. There were very few occasions during the three hour show when the audience wasn’t standing.
Last time I saw Midnight Star I felt they were a little flat, but not tonight. They definitely brought their A-game as they continued with “Wet My Whistle” and “Midas Touch.”
Band members consisted of Belinda Lipscomb (vocals), Melvin Gentry (guitar/vocals), Bo Watson (keyboard/vocals) and Bill Simmons (keyboards), Kenneth Gant (bass), and Bobby Lovelace (drums).
As they infuse pure energy into the crowd after ending their set with “No Parking (On the Dance Floor),” many in the crowd headed to the amphitheater bars, or remained standing and dancing to the music in between sets.
Kurtis Blow, The first rapper to ever be signed by a major label, came out blasting “If I Ruled the World” as he fully engaged the audience by saying ‘Say Yo!’ and then pointing the mic to the audience as they all screamed in unison ‘Yo’.
Blow (ha! I said blow.) just wouldn’t shut up as he kept shouting out to the audience as only a true rapper can. In between songs he would continue rapping about being in Sacramento and giving a shout out to the audience. Some of the audience members started mingling more than paying attention to Blow, as a number of people headed to the bar, or bathroom, probably both.
Sounds Of Success (better known as S.O.S.) got everyone’s attention as they started up “Just the Way You Like It” and continued with “The Finest,” as fans were back on their feet dancing and singing. The crowd was on their feet bouncing to the music for the remainder of their set.
Founding member and lead singer Mary Davis was on fire as she blasted through their hits and finished with a flourish with the song that catapulted SOS to stardom back in 1980, “Take Your Time (Do It Right).” Fellow members included original member Abdul Ra’oof (vocals/trumpet), with Celia Georgie (background vocals), Sultan Muhammad (saxophone), Reginald Ward (guitar), Ben Smith (keyboards), Allen Smith (keyboards), and Crystal Martin (drums).
After a brief set change, Prince Classmate and protégé, Morris Day made his way on stage with his personal assistant in tow. As only Day can do, he was continually checking himself in the mirror as he strutted around the stage.
Starting off with “Get It Up” Day had the crowd singing through most of his songs as he worked the crowd with his signature moves, classic sound and his stylish attire.
Decked out in a yellow paisley patterned suit the 53 year old Day continued with “Cool” as his assistant followed him around mimicking his moves as he spelled out the chorus C.O.O.L.
For the fans that still had their butts glued to their seats, band members would shout out for everyone to get on their feet and wave their hands in the air. The band member names I did catch were Ricky “Freeze” Smith (bass), Torrell “Tori” Ruffin (lead guitar), and Jellybean Johnson (drums).
Part way through his set Day explained that he was still cool regardless of sweating. He said it was condensation which cooled him down, meaning that he was still cool. It was at this point he headed off stage to cool down. When Day came back out he flawlessly sang “Gigalos Get Lonely Too,” which had many in the crowd dancing with their significant other.
Towards the end of his performance Day had a large number of fans up onstage to strut their stuff. You could see the excitement in many of their faces as they attempted to groove with the likes of Day.
While a few people left the show early, the amphitheater was still packed as Day completed the night with “Jungle Love,” leaving people dancing in the aisles and wanting more.
This was one of the more high-energy shows at Thunder Valley Casino Resorts Summer Concert Series.
As Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s Summer Concert Series heads into its final stretch, it’s only fitting to have one of the most popular traveling bands of the 80’s lead off the last month of the series.
Styx, like most of their fans, has gone through a number of changes throughout their existence. Most notably was the death of founding member John Panozzo in 1996, followed by the departure of founding member Dennis DeYoung in 1999.
Much like their fans, Styx consists of young and old including founding members Chuck Panozzo (bass) and James “J.Y.” Young (vocals, lead/rhythm guitar). Longtime member Tommy Shaw (vocals, lead/rhythm guitar), and the latest members Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), Todd Sucherman (drums), Ricky Phillips (bass).
Due to health issues Chuck Panozzo only occasionally plays with the band. We were lucky enough to have him come out and play a few songs towards the end of the night.
While not quite a sellout crowd it was still pretty packed, especially for a Thursday night. Let’s face it, anyone who’s a fan of Styx from the 80’s is getting along in years, and may find it difficult to get out on a Thursday night, and then turnaround to schlep off to work the next day. The worst part is, at some point we became responsible, gone are the days of calling in sick the next day. What’s up with that?
As Styx kicked off the show with “Blue Collar Man” and Grand Illusion,” the mostly older crowd was on their feet and cheering.
Styx was firing on all cylinders as they continued with “Too Much Time” and “Lady” as most of the crowd started to settle down in their seats. The front rows remained on their feet the entire show. Not sure how the old geezers did it, must have been a miracle drug from the 70’s or 80’s – I’m just saying.
Everyone’s vocals were crystal as they went from one hit to another. In particular were Shaw and Gowan. Gowan really stole the show with his vocals and his antics on his famous spinning keyboard, as he twirled in circles jumping onto, and off of, his keyboard throughout the night’s performance.
It was a very high energy, and highly entertaining, show as the veterans weaved their way through their numerous hits from the 70’s and 80’s.
The highlight for me was when Gowan came out performing solo on his spinning keyboard. He played a melody of songs including Elton John’s “Pinball Wizard,” the Eurhythmics “Sweet Dreams,” and then Gowan would shout a part of a song, point to the audience for them to finish the verse, and they did, on command. As he started to sing “Come Sail Away,” the audience sang their part and then he started playing the song on the keyboard with the band jumping in at the middle of the song. That’s about the time Panozzo joined the band onstage playing bass.
For their encore they blew the crowd away with “Rockin the Paradise” and “Renegade.”
These guys are pure entertainers and a great bunch of guys as some of them stayed behind to sign album covers that fans had brought to the show.
For all of those that haven’t gotten off of their sorry old ass to see Styx, I would highly suggest you do it before you get any friggin older. The last thing you want to do is make your way to your seat – in a walker!
Starship Guitarist Mark Abrahamian died of an apparent heart attack while he was backstage after a concert Saturday night in Nebraska. He was 46.
The band tweeted, “We are shocked and saddened at the sudden loss of our guitar player Mark Abrahamian. We will miss you, brother. Rest in peace, Mark.”
They added via Facebook, “Mark was a kind, thoughtful and innovative soul. He was also a friend and family member. Mark also happened to be one hell of a guitar player. We are devastated by the loss of our brother and just dealing with it the best we can.”
Abrahamian has been on tour with Starship starring Mickey Thomas since 2000.
The band was scheduled to play a concert Sunday in Orem, Utah, but canceled the show.
Everyone knows them as REO Speedwagon.
Playing to an almost full house at Thunder Valley Casino Resort Saturday, 66 year old founding member Neal Doughty was the first to make it onstage. Leaving their walkers behind the rest of the crew slowly made their way onstage – I know they didn’t have walkers, quite the contrary these guys were in great shape.
As for the name REO Speedwagon, Doughty named the band after a flatbed truck he studied in college called Ransom E. Olds Speed Wagon, commonly referred to as Reo Speed Wagon. Doughty decided to call the band R.E.O. rather than Reo.
Joining Doughty onstage were Kevin Cronin (lead vocals, guitar), Bruce Hall (bass), Dave Amato (lead guitar), Bryan Hitt (drums). They warmed up the audience with “Don’t Let Him Go” and “Music Man,” then kicking it up a notch with “Take It on the Run,” as the audience provided supporting vocals.
At some point during the show the 58 year old Hitt decided to take his shirt off. Most of the audience cheered, but come on!! He’s 58 ““ dude give us a break! At least Steven Tyler stopped the practice some time ago (at least for the most part).
Continuing on with “Keep Pushin’,” “Golden Country,” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” the audience became somewhat subdued, but remained engaged throughout the concert, just not on their feet cheering on the band.
As the band left and came back for their encore, they lost quite a few fans as they headed for the exits. Their encore included “Keep on Lovin’ You,” “Ridin’ the Storm Out,” and ended with “157 Riverside Avenue.” Even more fans started filing out after “Keep on Lovin’ You.”
During their encore the audience was completely engaged with “Keep on Lovin’ You,” but once they started “157 Riverside Avenue,” most of the fans were back in their seats, or headed for the doors. They really should have ended the night with “Keep on Lovin’ You.”
Cronin did an excellent job with vocals and sounds much like he did all those years ago. While his voice is a bit more gravelly, I believe it’s enhanced his sound.
All in all it was a good concert. There were some rough spots in the middle and they could have ended on a better note, but Cronin and crew did a great job keeping the audiences attention with plenty of picks flying through the air.