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.
There was a whole lot of pupu’ing going on at Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday as Hawaiian natives Tia Carrere, Daniel Ho, and the band Kapala entertained fans with some old-fashioned Hawaiian music.
Kicking off the show was Grammy Award winners Tia Carrere and Daniel Ho singing “He Aloha Melee” and “Pupu Hinuhinu.”
Carrere’s performance was flawless, as was Ho’s incredible guitar work. Carrere’s voice was smooth and silky as she continued on with “Me Ke Aloha Pumehana” and “He Nani,” from their award winning album ‘He Nani.’
You may recall Tia Carrere is a veteran actress who has starred in numerous movies and television shows, her most notable role was as rock singer Cassandra in the movie ‘Wayne’s World.’ She’s also the voice of Nani, in the movie and TV series of ‘Lilo and Stitch.’
Carrere has come a long way since her start on the TV series ‘General Hospital,’ not only as an actor, but as a singer. Teaming up with childhood friend Daniel Ho, they have garnered a number of Grammy Awards including best album for ‘Ikena’ and ‘Huana Ke Aloha.’
Daniel Ho has released 18 solo albums and produced over 50 albums. Providing backup vocals for Tia on a number of songs, he played several instruments throughout the night including the piano, ukulele and guitar.
When the band Kapala stormed the stage it was nothing but pure energy as band members Lance Kalanikai Artis, Ashley Kimo Artis, Richard Lanakila Heirakuji, Lopaka Ho’opi’i, Adriano Kawika Larioza and Zanuck Kapala Lindsey, put on a high energy and very entertaining show, kicking off their set with “96795” and “Chigasaki.”
The crowd really got into Kapala’s set as the band made their way through a number of their hits including “Come on Home” and “Palapalai.” Some fans headed to the back of Pano Hall to dance, while others danced at their seats.
It was a great night out, with Carrere and Ho putting on a spectacular show, and Kapala finishing up the night with some high energy tunes.
Thunder Valley Casino Resort did it again Friday night as they packed them in for V101’s Big Valentine’s Day Jam with a stellar lineup including Sacramento’s own Club Nouveau, Zapp, and The Bar-Kay’s.
Thunder Valley Casino’s Pano Hall was at capacity as droves of fans crowded in to see their favorite bands from the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Starting off the show was Club Nouveau performing a number of their hits including “Situation #9,” “Jealousy,” and their No. 1 hit “Lean on Me.” The crowd met them with wild applause as fans were jumping to their feet.
A couple of their songs fell flat for me, but the audience didn’t seem to mind since the majority of the room remained on their feet for most of their performance. Closing with “Lean on Me,” the instrumentals were lacking with the piano getting lost in the mix of things. Founding members Jay King and Vallerie Watson were joined by original member Samuelle Prater.
The logistics for this show were difficult at best with Zapp and The Bar-Kay’s bringing in a large number of instruments with everything from drums and keyboards to Zapp’s Peter Frampton style Talkbox. This may have contributed to the less than stellar performance by Club Nouveau.
Zapp followed Club Nouveau with many of their hits which included “More Bounce to the Ounce,” “Dance Floor” and “Computer Love,” just to name a few. Founding members and brothers Lester Troutman, Terry “Zapp” Troutman and Vontel Troutman were joined by Gregory Jackson and Thomas Troutman.
What can I say about the Zapp band other than they simply killed it. Great colorful props, bright clothes, bright lights, and wonderful sounds, this group of guys had the crowd on their feet during their entire set.
As Zapp finished their set a large number of people headed for the doors. While some came back in for headliner The Bar-Kay’s many didn’t. Apparently a small portion of the fans were there to see Zapp.
As The Bar-Kay’s took the stage the crowd was re-energized and back on their feet. The crowd seemed more subdued for The Bar-Kay’s than for Zapp, but that evaporated mid-way through their set.
Onstage was Larry Dodson (lead singer), James Alexander (bass), Tony Gentry (guitar), Ezra Williams (keyboards), Carlos Sargent (drums), Mark Bynum (keyboards), Darrel Stanley (background vocals), Archie Love (background vocals) and Mike Anderson (guitar).
Bringing on the funk, The Bark-Kay’s performed many of their hits including “Soul Finger,” “Let’s Have Some Fun” and “Hit and Run.”
While The Bar-Kay’s had a stellar performance, at the end of the day Zapp stole the show and clearly should have had top billing.
For a complete listing of upcoming shows visit Thunder Valley Casino Resort.
American Idol’s season 12 is well underway, but what about the top 10 contestants from season 11?
The first round of performances saw Jim Carrey’s daughter, Jane Carrey cut from the competition, as numerous contestants fell ill and collapsed in the auditorium. Contestant Symone Black actually collapsed while on stage and went on to make the cut.
Initially there were to be 12 males and 12 females, but the judges announced plans to add a 13th male semi-finalist between Jermaine Jones, Richie Law, Johnny Keyser and David Leathers Jr. The following week, after the male performances, Jermaine Jones was revealed to be the thirteenth performer, which set the stage for controversy and fueled speculation of a ratings grab.
On March 14, with only 11 contestants remaining, Jermaine Jones was disqualified for concealing arrests and outstanding warrants. Jones denied that he had concealed his previous arrests and says he disclosed them when signing up for Idol. Footage of executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick confronting Jones was shown in what would have been his performance slot.
A police official in the New Jersey town where he had two arrest warrants said, “The case wasn’t big enough to merit going after him in California,” and a New Jersey legislator commented, for the show “to expose, embarrass and interrogate a young man without an attorney in front of 40 million viewers was an outrage.”
Critics accused the show of staging the disqualification in order to boost the already slumping ratings.
Erika Van Pelt
Erika Van Pelt made it into the No. 10 spot and made the requisite rounds on the various talk shows.Van Pelt currently runs her own DJ business (VP Entertainment) and performs part-time with “The Sultans of Swing”, and is a performing partner of “Fairhaven Entertainment” and “Boston Swing.”
In early 2014 Van Pelt will be hosting and performing on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Haiti. She’s also in the process of recording her debut album, according to her Facebook page.
In January Van Pelt wrote on Facebook, “Day 1 in the studio today tracking for the new album! I feel really blessed to be making an indie record, done my way. No label, and all the freedom in the world. I can’t wait for you all to hear it!”
Ninth place winner and jokester was Heejun Han who wooed the judges, and the audience, with his offbeat humor. He generally won the day with a joke, not a song.
Han made a number of appearances after the show, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Live! with Kelly and The Wendy Williams Show. He also performed “God Bless America” to open for the New York Mets.
He appeared as a judge in a K-Pop competition at the New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in September, and currently has no plans for an album. Click for more images
Eighth place winner DeAndre Brackensick hasn’t done much of anything.
The biggest news post-idol was him hooking up with runner-up Jessica Sanchez during the American Idol Live Tour. They could be seen walking hand in hand backstage, just prior to their performances.
Colton Dixon is the contestant who didn’t even try out and ended up in seventh place. If you recall Dixon had tried out for season 10 but failed to make the cut. Season 11 tryouts found his sister trying out with him standing in the wings. The judges insisted that he come out and tryout with his sister standing by. She didn’t make the cut, but he did, and he’s been a busy little Christian ever since.
Following his elimination Dixon appeared on a number of shows including a visit to Access Hollywood where he performed a rendition of “Everything,” by Lifehouse. He was also invited to the White House Correspondents Dinner as a special guest of the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Dixon signed on to Sparrow Records, an imprint of the EMI Christian Music Group, releasing “Never Gone” and “You Are,” both hitting No. 1 on the Christian charts. On January 29 he released his debut album “A Messenger,” sending it to No. 1 on Top Christian Albums and Gospel Albums.
Dixon is currently gearing up to go on tour with Grammy winning Christian rockers Third Day.
Elise Testone landed in sixth place with her gravelly and soulful voice. During her time on Idol she couldn’t get a break, landing in the bottom three most weeks.
She may have had a difficult time winning over audiences, but she didn’t seem to have a problem winning over Idol guitarist Errol Cooney. Rumor has it the two may have hooked up during the American Idol Live Tour, resulting in Cooney’s wife filing for a divorce. Testone has denied doing the deed, but did admit to a close friendship with the guitarist.
Right after Idol, Testone made the rounds on all the talk shows including Good Day L.A.,The Today Show, Anderson, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She also performed with fellow contestant Colton Dixon on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
The voice coach still lives in Charleston, South Carolina and continues to actively perform in the area. She has no formal plans to release an album, but she’s been writing plenty of music.
Fifth place Skylar Laine is another contestant that’s been idle since Idol, announced in November that she has signed with 19 Entertainment and has moved to Nashville, Tennessee to start work on her debut album.
She recently debut an original song called “Settle Down,” written by herself, Chris DeStefano and Anne Preven.
Fourth place Hollie Cavanagh has been pretty quiet since Idol, but has plans to begin recording her debut album early this year. Just recently she posted to her Facebook account, “Busy writing some music in the studio excited !!!”
She’s also started a YouTube channel for all her Holliepops, as she calls her fans, promising to “to keep everyone in the loop of whats going on and soon you’ll see some covers and original music!”
Fans can also keep updated on one of her fan pages.
There is a potential business arrangement that may be in the works for Ledet, who earned the nickname Mantasia, because he reminded Idol fans of past contestant Fantasia. It seems there is a strip club in New York City called Mantasia that is hoping to bring Ledet into the fold to help market their wares. Don’t hold your breath.
Ledet has also been seen at sporting events singing the national anthem.
Jessica Sanchez was the runner up to Phillip Phillips and with the new Idol contract she was not guaranteed an album and a $175,000 advance. Instead she was only entitled to a “developmental” deal with 19 Recordings and no advance.
Sanchez has since signed with Interscope Records and has been performing at various events. She recently was featured on the cover of Mega Magazine, and plans on releasing her debut single this month, with an album later this year.
While visiting the Philippines for the American Idol Live Tour, Sanchez shot a music video for the song “Jump In” with The Black Eyed Peas members. She has also signed up to endorse Jollibee Foods Corporation and Bench, two popular brands in the Philippines.
Sanchez will be returning to television as she takes on a recurring role in the fourth season of Glee.
American Idol winner Phillip Phillips’ boyish charm, good looks and singing ability catapulted his American Idol coronation song, “Home,” to No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, the first time in four years a coronation single from an American Idol winner had reached the top 10.
“Home” went on to be used in the 2012 Summer Olympics, a Clint Eastwood trailer, and a number of commercials. The song has been bouncing in and out of the top 10 and most recently (January 2013) hit No. 6.
His album “The World From the Side of the Moon” debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 charts in November 2012 and has already been certified gold.
Phillips’ will be joining Matchbox Twenty on their North American tour in 2012 and plans to do a solo tour later this summer.
In honor of Black History Month here is a look back at the history of African-American music and how it has influenced musicians today, including some photos of today’s top musicians.
African-American music is a term covering a diverse range of music and musical genres largely developed by black Americans. Jazz, blues, gospel, soul, and more recently rap constitute the principal genres of African-American music.
Their origins arose out of slavery characterizing the lives of black Americans prior to the American Civil War. The earliest forms of African-American music originated from those experiences with field hollers, work songs, improvisation, and blues notes.
Following the Civil War, black musicians began playing European music in military bands, developing new musical styles such as ragtime, which later transformed into jazz. Jazz has been one of the most influential styles in music to date, with a wide-ranging and profound influence over the development of music around the world. The earliest jazz greats included Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington.
The ‘50s saw a harder blues sound and the introduction of doo-wop. Berry Gordy founded Motown records in 1959 which catapulted black music to the forefront of the American music scene. In the ‘60s Motown introduced acts such as The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and The Supremes.
The ‘70s saw an explosion of black artists in the music world with The Jackson 5, Roberta Flack, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, The O’Jays, and Gladys Knight & the Pip, all tearing up the music charts. As music evolved in the ‘70s hip-hop was born and made popular through artists like Kurtis Blow and Run-DMC, while George Clinton and Sly and the Family Stone introduced the world to some funky music.
Throughout the ‘80s, ‘90s, and today the African-American community of musicians grew with big names such as Michael Jackson, Prince, and Lionel Richie. During the ‘80s there was a wave of black female artists with Tina Turner, Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston leading the way for future artists like Beyonce.
African-American music has had a profound influence on all genres of music through the years and will continue to evolve and influence generations of musicians for years to come.
Smokey Robinson was instrumental in the founding of Motown with Berry Gordy in 1959 and one of the most influential artists of his time. Smokey Robinson and The Miracles was the first act to sign on with Motown Records.
Robinson has over 4,000 songs to his credit and has been performing for over 50 years. He’s responsible for such hits as “Second that Emotion,” “You Really Got a Hold on Me,” “Ooh Baby Baby,” “Tears of a Clown” and “Tracks of My Tears.”
George Clinton is considered to be one of the most sampled musicians ever, and is one of the artists responsible for bringing the funky to funky music with his band the Parliament-Funkadelics. Dominating in the ‘70s with over 40 R&B hit singles, including three number ones and three platinum albums.
Clinton is also a notable music producer working on almost all of the albums he performs on, as well as producing albums for Bootsy Collins and Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others.
The Sounds of Success band, better known as SOS is fronted by Mary Davis. They were initially famous for the hit “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” in 1980. They had a string of R&B hits including “Just Be Good to Me,” “Tell Me If You Still Care,” “Borrowed Love,” “No One’s Gonna Love You,” “Just the Way You Like It” and “The Finest.”
SOS still tours today with founding members Mary Davis and Abdul Ra’oof. They are scheduled to perform on the BET Honor’s show scheduled for February 11, 2013. You can get a sneak preview of their performance here.
Kool & the Gang
Kool & the Gang started out as a jazz band, but through the years transformed themselves into one of the leaders in R&B and funk. Arguably their greatest albums were “Light of Worlds” and “Spirit of the Boogie” released in 1974 and 1975 respectively.
Kool & the Gang is responsible for such hits as “Joanna,” “Get Down on It,” “Ladies Night” and probably their most memorable and often played hit “Celebration.”
Leading the way for the rappers of today Kurtis Blow was the first rapper to ever be signed by a major label and is responsible for a number of hits by The Fat Boys and Run DMC. A few of his hits include “If I Ruled the World,” “Christmas Rappin’” and “The Breaks.”
Kurtis is a fully ordained minister and was an active participant in the Artists Against Apartheid record “Sun City”. He’s worked with Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Operation Push and the Rainbow Coalition in Chicago.
Morris Day started out in a band with classmate Prince, who, as everyone knows, left the band to pursue his own style of music. The Time, as the band was known didn’t do much in their early years. It wasn’t until the ‘80s when Day worked with Prince on the movie “Purple Rain.” Eventually The Time was billed as Morris Day and The Time.
Day played the antagonist to Prince in his feature films “Purple Rain” and “Graffiti Bridge,” helping establish Day’s playboy stage presence. He was typically escorted by his valet, “Jerome” (Jerome Benton), winning fans with his exaggerated vanity as he would yell “Jerome bring me my mirror!” This persona was exploited for comic effect on The Time’s records, on songs such as “Chili Sauce” and “If the Kid Can’t Make You Come” from the album Ice Cream Castle.
His greatest and most memorable hit was “Jungle Love.”
The multi-talented Brian McKnight is a singer-songwriter, arranger, producer, and R&B musician. He is also a multi-instrumentalist and can play eight instruments including piano, guitar, bass guitar, percussion, trombone, tuba, flugelhorn and trumpet.
McKnight signed on to Mercury Records and in 1992 released his self-titled debut album which peaked at 58 in the Billboard 200 chart. The album featured the ballad “One Last Cry”. He followed up with two more albums for Mercury with “I Remember You” and “Anytime”. “Anytime” sold over two million copies and was nominated for a Grammy.
When McKnight signed on to the Motown label he released his best-selling and most memorable album “Back at One.”
McKnight has the dubious distinction for a record 16 Grammy nominations without one win.
Gym Class Heroes
Gym Class Heroes formed in 1997 when Travie McCoy met drummer Matt McGinley during their high school gym class. The band’s style includes hip hop, rock, funk, and reggae infused with rap. Their debut album “The Papercut Chronicles” gained the band a strong fan base as they toured promoting the album at festivals such as The Bamboozle and Warped Tour.
Their album “As Cruel as School Children” spawned their hit singles “Cupid’s Chokehold,” reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and “Clothes Off!!” peaking at No. 5 in the United Kingdom.
Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. better known as Lil Wayne is a hip-hop artist and in 1991, at the age of nine, joined Cash Money Records as the youngest member of the label, and half of the duo, The B.G.’z, with fellow New Orleans-based rapper B.G.
Wayne’s debut studio album, “Tha Block Is Hot” was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His next albums, “Lights Out” and “500 Degreez”, were certified Gold.
In 2004 Wayne released the album “Tha Carter” which included the single “Go D.J.” which saw a surge in Wayne’s popularity. Continuing the success of “Tha Carter,” he released “Tha Carter II” in 2005.
“Tha Carter III” which was released in 2008 saw over one million copies sold in the first week, becoming Wayne’s most successful album to date. It included the number-one single “Lollipop”, as well as “A Milli” and “Got Money”, and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.
William Leonard Roberts II, better known as Rick Ross, and sometimes referred to as Ricky Rozay, is one of the more controversial rappers of our time. He founded the record label Maybach Music Group (MMG), on which he released his studio albums “Deeper Than Rap,” “Teflon Don” and “God Forgives, I Don’t.”
In recent news Ross canceled the last leg of his tour (Dec. 2012), citing several reasons as to the cause of the cancelation, including lack of organization on the part of the promoter, and death threats. Gangster Disciples, a street gang that originated from the Chicago area, has been battling with Ross for some time and they’ve posted YouTube videos threatening the rapper.
In January of 2013 Ross crashed his Rolls Royce into a store after several shots were fired at his vehicle. No arrests have been made and no one was hurt in the drive-by.
Thunder Valley Casino announces 2013 Summer Concert Series
General Manager of Thunder Valley Casino Resort, C.J. Graham, announced at a recent press conference the first acts of its much anticipated Summer Concert Series.
“We are thrilled to announce the first round of acts for our fourth annual summer concert series at Thunder Valley,” said Graham, “Our outdoor amphitheater is second to none in the region and as always, we will have a very well-rounded series of big name entertainers.”
Graham added that the amphitheater will be expanded to include 4,800 seats, taking two months to build. He also confirmed that their wildly popular H20 pool party on Sundays will be back and better than ever.
UPDATED February 21, 2013 – in bold
The first acts announced are:
|Frankie Vallie and The Four Season||Saturday, June 1|
|Pat Benatar w/Neil Geraldo and Cheap Trick||Friday, June 7|
|Super Summer Soul Jam click for full line up||Saturday, June 8|
|Doobie Brothers||Friday, June 14|
|Jeff Dunham||Friday, June 21|
|Chicago||Saturday, August 3|
|Bill Engvall||Saturday, August 10|
Thunder Valley Club Members will have the exclusive chance to purchase tickets on-site at Thunder Valley on Feb. 8. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Saturday, Feb. 9.
This year Thunder Valley is introducing a “comprehensive” season pass, with Friday, or Saturday night concert passes, these will be available for purchase on Feb. 8.
You can visit Thunder Valley Casino’s website for a complete list of upcoming shows.
We will continually update this page, so check back for future shows coming to Thunder Valley this summer.
I was first introduced to Hudson’s singing abilities at, of all places, a Doobie Brothers concert at Thunder Valley Casino Resort. Film star and singer, Branscombe Richmond brought Hudson up on stage to sing “Listen to the Music,” along with the Doobie Brothers.
The 15 year-old Hudson is country pop singer from the small town of Wheatland, located in rural Northern California. She’s been singing the national anthem at sporting events and from time to time has been making appearances with singer songwriter Rachel Steele and the band Road 88.
Opening at Toby Keith’s was a big move for the country singer as she was joined by Rachel Steele, and Road 88 band members Scott Prentice (guitar) and Billy Haggard (guitar). She also had a special guest singer Courtney Chapman, but more on that in a minute.
Kicking off their set, Hudson and Steele performed Pistol Annies’ “Hell on Heels” and Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue.” Hudson appeared nervous, but quickly overcame any nerves after “Stuck Like Glue.”
Hudson went on to perform solo, singing Kacey Musgraves’ “Merry Go ‘Round” and Hudson’s original song “Tommy.” She hit her stride as she began “Tommy,” and never looked back, as she performed a number of songs, both solo and with Steele, sounding more like a veteran performer than a 15 year-old up and coming star.
Halfway through her performance Hudson brought her special guest, and close friend, Courtney Chapman onstage to provide vocals. The duo brought the house down with a wonderful rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Mean.” Chapman did a sterling job on vocals and I was looking forward to hearing more from her, but that was not meant to be, as Chapman exited the stage after performing “Mean.”
Hudson has been hinting on her Facebook page that bigger things were coming this summer as she is scheduling more appearance and bringing Chapman along.
“Well I said 2013 would be crazy!” she wrote, “I will be working on stage with several artists working up to this summer. But I would like to introduce you all to Courtney! Courtney will be joining me starting this summer. We will be a new team and I am so lucky!! You will see us out and about together soon getting ready to rock it country style!!”
Looking forward to it!
Madison Hudson is someone to keep an eye on. You can find more information about her and Rachel Steele at the below links.
Visit Madison Hudson on:
Rachel Steele with Road 88 can be found at:
Daniel Emanuel Gokey weighed in at 8 pounds, 11 ounces.
Gokey released the following statement:
“Leyicet and I are overjoyed to welcome the new member of our family. I’m ecstatic to be a first time dad and to have a new little buddy to hang out with. Thankfully, because of what I do, it will also allow me the flexibility to spend a lot of quality time with him. I have so many exciting projects ahead this year but a brand new baby is an amazing way to get the new year started. We feel really blessed!”
The 32-year-old Gokey, whose first wife died in 2008 following an operation for congenital heart disease, married Leyicet, a 26-year-old model, in January 2012. Their engagement and marriage were announced on his charity website, Sophia’s Heart.
The site was created in honor of Gokey’s late wife Sophia. As some of you may recall, in Idol season eight, Gokey shared the tragic story of losing his wife to routine heart surgery. Since then he has dedicated himself to raising money for Sophia’s Heart, reaching out to children and helping them through difficult times, at various stages of their lives.
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
Crap it happened again.
Last year Air Supply stormed into Thunder Valley Casino Resort playing all their hits from the ‘70s and 80’s, pretty much nothing but love songs, and I liked it. It was after that show, back in December of last year, that I started questioning my maleness. Was it time to turn in my man-card?
To prove to myself that I wasn’t playing for the other team, I decided to take in a Chippendales show (review) followed by a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight (review). That didn’t go so well. You can read those reviews and decide for yourself, but in my mind, I think I failed – not that that’s a bad thing, at least that’s what my wife keeps telling me.
Well I got a do over as Air Supply came back to Thunder Valley Casino on Sunday night playing to another sold out crowd.
It all started out quietly enough as founding members Russell Hitchcock (lead vocals) and Graham Russell (guitar/vocals) took the stage with fellow band members Jonni Lightfoot (bass/vocals), Aaron McLain (guitar/vocals), Aviv Cohen (drums), and filling in for Amir Efrat on keyboards Davy Nathan.
They kicked of the night with “Even the Nights are Better” and “Just as I Am,” as their fans greeted them with deafening applause, mixed with the occasional scream.
Midway through the show, Russell went unplugged with “Me and The River,” as Nathan accompanied him on keys. All the other band members, including Hitchcock left the stage.
As Russell finished “Me and The River” he was handed another guitar for his next song, only it wasn’t working. As Nathan, the guitar guy, not to be confused with Nathan the keyboard guy, worked on the problem, Hitchcock came back out on stage and told a joke about an elephant and something about a stocking over his head. It was quite funny, but you had to be there.
Once Russell had his guitar functioning again, Hitchcock appeared stage left, walking straight into a sea of fans. He was handing out hugs and kisses to a number of fans, as he sang “The One That You Love,” with Russell wading into the crowd as well.
That’s when everything changed.
As the crowd was worked into a frenzy Hitchcock and Russell made their way back onstage to play “Lost in Love” and “Making Love Out of Nothing at All,” with the crowd still going wild.
Pandemonium broke out as the band left the stage, with the crowd on their feet clapping and screaming for more. After the requisite wait, the crew jumped back onstage to finish with “Goodbye” and “All Out of Love.”
By the time Air Supply finished their 90 minute set I was passing out hugs and telling everyone I loved them, like there was no tomorrow – Obviously the Mayans were wrong. It was then I realized I’d failed again.
These guys are pure entertainers and make for a great night out.
Even the Nights are Better
Just as I Am
Every Woman in the World
Here I Am
Dance with Me
Power of Love
Me and the River
The One That You Love
Lost in Love
Making Love Out of Nothing at All
All Out of Love