LINCOLN, CA – Huey Lewis and the News performed before a packed house at Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday.
Lewis is currently touring the country in celebration of the 30 year anniversary of their iconic ‘Sports’ album which included mega-hits such as “I Want New Drug,” “The Heart of Rock and Roll” and “Heart and Soul.”
Selling over 10 million records, ‘Sports’ went on to place second only to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ in 1984.
In their usual style, the band stormed the stage while a booming heartbeat played in the background. As the crowd cheered, Lewis arrived onstage singing “The Heart of Rock & Roll,” followed by “Heart and Soul.”
The 64-year-old Lewis weaved his way through the entire ‘Sports’ album as the older audience members sang along.
As he finished side one of the album, he explained to the younger members of the audience, that you had to actually flip the vinyl record over, referring to the original format of the album. However, fans can now get their hands on the ‘Sports 30th Anniversary Edition.‘ The anniversary edition includes re-mastered versions and a second disc with unreleased live versions of the songs.
“We aimed every song on ‘Sports’ to be a hit, so in that sense it’s really a collection of singles,” Lewis told USA Today in an interview, “They were for commercial radio, because that was the only way to success in those days, just before the real boom of MTV. We made no apologies about that mission, and we’re very proud of it in retrospect.”
Original band members on the album were Sean Hopper (keyboards), Bill Gibson (drums), Johnny Colla (sax), Mario Cipollina (bass) and Chris Hayes (guitar).
Performing at Thunder Valley were original members Lewis, Colla, Gibson and Hopper along with John Pierce (bass), Stef Burns (guitar), Marvin McFadden (trumpet) and Rob Sudduth (tenor sax).
There were a few songs that were not familiar to some audience members, so when Lewis completed the album and started playing some of their more recent songs (26-year-old songs and newer), the crowd came to life.
Traditionally Lewis and The News perform a few songs a cappella, but they disappointed on this night as the ‘Sports’ album dominated the performance.
Lewis’ gravelly voice has gotten better with age. There were a couple of songs where he struggled to hit the higher registers, but it didn’t matter – it was Huey Lewis.
Photos: Randy Miramontez
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
Several reasons have been cited over the last few days, including lack of organization on the part of the promoter, as well as rumors of death threats from Gangster Disciples, a street gang that originated from the Chicago area.
The MMG tour included Meek Mills, Wale, and more recently Machine Gun Kelly. The tour was originally scheduled for 23 days, but was extended to Dec. 16.
Representatives for the promoter, Live Nation, have not commented.
The cancelations started with two shows in North Carolina, where the death threats were rumored. Soon after that, the remainder of the shows were canceled.
The Gangster Disciples posted their threats on YouTube about a month ago, warning Ross and everyone who was signed with Mayback Music Group that they were coming after them. Since then a number of videos have surfaced on YouTube threatening the singer.
Their beef started back when Ross was better known as Teflon Don, when he released the single “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast), where he mentioned the gang’s imprisoned leader Larry Hoover.
It doesn’t stop there! Gangster Disciples are also upset, or should I say pissed off, that Ross is using a design similar to their gang symbol on his Black Bar Mitzvah mix-tape.
Oh . . . one more thing. There’s also something about the pressure being on until the gang receives “the check”. Apparently the check is for providing protection for Ross in the way of security/body guards.
Do any of these people have anything better to do?
What’s the worst part about the cancelations?
Machine Gun Kelly is not going to be able to build up his fan base! As the opening act for the MMG Tour, he has stolen the show. Look for him headlining his own show next year, minus all the death threats and other crap that seems to follow Ross around wherever he goes.
Before the tour was canceled, Ross brought the MMG tour to the Sacramento area. You can read the review here.
The sometimes serious, sometimes mysterious, and always mystical Gemini Syndrome has just released a new video of their new track “Pleasure and Pain.” This should placate their fans who are waiting patiently for the release of their new record due out in 2013 – not too much longer!
This band of lyrical geniuses comprised of Aaron Nordstrom (lead vocals), Rich Juzwick (guitar), Mike Salerno (guitar), Alessandro Paveri (bass), Brian Steele Medina (drums) have totally killed it with this video.
“Pleasure and Pain” is a great song with some heavy lyrics and some heavy guitar playing, as Nordstrom pounds out some awe inspiring guttural verses with just the right amount of his softer side, if there is one.
“Pleasure and Pain” is a testament to the talent of Nordstrom’s vocals, and the great guitar work that can be heard throughout the piece by Juzwick and Salerno.
The video really brings “Pleasure and Pain” to life with some fantastic graphics and some nice close-up and gritty footage of band members playing their instruments – not those instruments!!
Have a listen and enjoy the video!
Rick Ross brought his MMG Tour to Sleep Train Arena on Saturday.
This is Rozay’s (Ross’s nickname) first headlining tour as he brought a supporting cast of characters including, Meek Mill (Robert Williams), Wale (Oluboware Victor Akintimehen), Omarion (Omari Ishmael Grandberry), and Machine Gun Kelly (Richard Colson Baker).
Opening the show was MGK storming the stage and daring the fans to have fun as he dove into the crowd on several occasions. Pro-skateboarder Ryan Sheckler was in attendance for MGK’s show and was invited backstage after his performance.
While Rozay and crew put on a great show, MGK is the real story. Bringing his high energy and lightning fast rap, which earned him the nick name Machine Gun Kelly, this kid stole the show. If anyone in attendance didn’t know him before the show, they certainly knew who he was after the show.
Following MGK was Omarion. He was met with a lukewarm reception, which may have been because he was following a blistering performance by MGK. I don’t believe Omarion brought his A-game and luckily only played a brief set.
I thought it was strange as each performer was represented by a cardboard cutout with their name displayed on it, which was being held by a couple of stage-hands. As if the audience needed to be reminded who was onstage. Not sure what that was about.
Wale followed Omarion and was met with cheers and screams. Wale won the crowd over and had fans on their feet. Wale also performed a pretty brief set, saving some time for the big man Rozay.
Meek Mill followed Wale with “Racked Up Shawty” and “Young & Gettin’ It” as the crowd started getting more intense and loud. Was it Wale’s performance, or the wildly good California weed?
When Rozay took the stage it could have been independence day as fireworks were going off all around. The ruler and king of MMG ripped through his hit’s including “Hustlin’ ” and “I’m Not A Star.”
Following Rozay’s lengthy solo set, Wale and Mill joined Rozay onstage to perform a number of songs including “Bag Of Money” and “Tats On My Arm.”
Rozay has put together quite a line-up for his first headlining tour and made a brilliant decision to include Machine Gun Kelly. I’m looking forward to seeing bigger and better things from MGK, including his own headlining act. The kids got talent!
Discovery Park in Sacramento, California, came alive as the first annual Monster Energy Aftershock Music Festival roared into town on Sunday as 13 hard/alternative rock bands played to over 12,000 screaming fans.
Sponsoring the event along with Monster Energy was Sacramento’s own 98 Rock, along with Schecter Guitar Research, Jagermeister, and Arms Division.
There was a large stage for the more mainstream acts and a smaller stage for the lessor known acts, leaving very little downtime between sets, with the exception of Stone Temple Pilots, who closed the show, but more on that later.
People didn’t have far to walk since the two stages were close together, but as the day heated up many fans camped out under some shade towards the center of the park, providing them with the ability to listen to either stage. There was the occasional fan passed out in the middle of the park, but I guess that’s to be expected.
There was plenty of food and drinks to be had, including several popular food trucks from the area. Beer and mixed drinks were also available. The lines for food and drinks were constant, but not too long. The merchant’s booth had constant lines as well with the wait being a little more than for food.
The bands included FallRise, Stepchild, Beware of Darkness, Gemini Syndrome, Theory of a Deadman, Hell or Highwater, Chevelle, Escape the Fate, Bush, Oleander, Deftones, Hollywood Undead, and Stone Temple Pilots.
Leading off the pack was Sacramento’s own Fallrise on the main stage followed by Stepchild on the second stage. Both bands were well received and did an awesome job. They were one of the few lucky bands since there was still some cloud cover keeping the area cooled off.
As the music started ramping up with Beware of Darkness and Gemini Syndrome, so did the crowd as a couple of thousand blossomed into at least four thousand in between bands. As the crowd grew, so did the plume of smoke as many concertgoers lit up their holiest of weed, with some heading into the mosh pit for a little head-banging.
By the time Chevelle hit the main stage there were at least 10,000 energized fans that were ready to rock, as a number of them started crowd surfing. As one person rode the wave into the pit (only to be escorted out) another one would follow. The constant stream of surfers kept security personnel pretty busy for the better part of the day.
Sacramento was well represented with not only Fallrise and Stepchild opening the festival, but helping closeout the event was Oleander and the Deftones. The Deftones also have a new album that will be released in November Koi No Yokan.
The biggest standout of the festival was by far Beware of Darkness, with lead singer Kyle Nicolaides killing it with his raspy vocals, onstage antics, and overall stage presence. They could have easily have been deeper in the lineup as Nicolaides owned the stage. He has a Lady Gaga style about him that is bound to take him to new heights.
The biggest surprise of the festival goes to Bush who kicked some major arse as lead singer Gavin Rossdale put on a very high energy show in 90+ degree weather. The 46 year old, and quite fit, Rossdale ventured out into the crowd making his way to a platform off to the side reserved for the handicap. He was constantly fist-bumping and high-fiving fans as he waded through the ever increasing number of fans. Bush still has what it takes and clearly should have been the headliner of the festival.
The biggest disappointment goes to Stone Temple Pilots as their set was delayed with thousands of fans patiently waiting, but the real disappointed was once they got going. Lead singer Scott Weiland sounded a bit off at the start of their set, but was able to bring it home towards the end. However, due to the long wait and the sound being off, hundreds of fans started heading towards the exits before they even finished their first song “Sin.”
I should add that Theory of a Deadman deserved to be further in the lineup, especially after STP’s performance.
My 13 year old son Aidan said his favorite band (other than Hollywood Undead) was the one with Gandolf as the lead singer – hmmm – that must have been Gemini Syndrome with lead singer Aaron Nordstrom (as Gandolf).
Hat’s off to all the drunken fans that were totally wasted and were passed out on the grass, or on grass – as the case may be. Over fifty cabs awaited those more responsible and well behaved fans that were feeling no pain. I just hope the cabbies had barf bags for the short trip home.
The Aftershock Music Festival was a complete success with thousands of fans coming out to have a good time. This should send a message to organizers that the Sacramento region is hungry for similar events in the future. I’m looking forward to the 2ndannual Aftershock Music Festival in 2013.
Here is a complete list of bands in order of appearance:
Fallrise (main stage)
Sammy Karlin (lead singer)
Matt Thomas (guitar)
Dave Gorman (guitar)
Anthony Grant (bass)
Isaiah Abdul-Rahman (drum)
Stepchild (2nd stage)
Jimmy Alexander – Lead Vocals
Matt Timbers – Lead Vocals
Garrett Voorhees – Guitar
Phil (Skip) Braun – Bass
Brian (Beatdown) Kelly – Drums
Beware of Darkness (main stage)
Kyle Nicolaides (vocals, guitar)
Tony Cupito (drums)
Daniel Curcio (bass)
Gemini Syndrome (2nd stage)
Aaron Nordstrom (lead vocals)
Rich Juzwick (guitar)
Mike Salerno (guitar)
Alessandro Paveri (bass)
Brian Steele Medina (drums)
Theory of a Deadman (main stage)
Tyler Connolly (lead singer)
Dave Brenner (guitar)
Dean Back (bass)
Joey Dandeneau (drums)
Hell or Highwater (2nd stage)
Brandon Saller (lead singer)
Matt Pauling (guitar)
Neal Tiemann (guitar)
Joey Bradford (bass)
Captain Carl (drums)
Chevelle (main stage)
Pete Loeffler (vocals/guitar)
Sam Loeffler (vocals/drums)
Dean Bernardini (bass)
Escape the Fate (2nd stage)
Craig Mabbitt (lead singer)
Monte Money (guitar)
Robert Ortiz (drummer)
TJ Bell (guitar)
Bush (main stage)
Gavin Rossdale – vocals/guitar
Chris Traynor – guitar
Corey Britz – bass
Robin Goodridge – drums
Oleander (2nd stage)
Thomas Flowers (lead singer)
Doug Eldridge (bass)
Ric Ivanisevich (
Deftones (main stage)
Stephen Carpenter (guitar)
Abe Cunningham (drums)
Sergio Vega (bass, vocals)
Frank Delgado (keys, turntable)
Hollywood Undead (2nd stage)
George Ragan (Johnny 3 Tears)
Jorel Decker (J-Dog)
Jordon Terrell (Charlie Scene)
Dylan Alvarez (Funny Man)
Matthew St. Claire (Da Kurlzz)
Daniel Murillo (Danny)
Stone Temple Pilots (main)
Scott Weiland (lead singer)
Dean DeLeo (guitar)
Robert DeLeo (bass, vocals)
Eric Kretz (drums)
Blame Sally brings you everything from stompboxes to fiddles, as they weave their magic in a tapestry of musical delight. And don’t for a minute think of them as a folk band as they add a little bit of rock, and a whole lotta heart into each and every performance, blending the different genres into a melodic work of art.
Their live performances are more than just a musical journey, as they banter back and forth with each other in between songs as only true friends can do, making for a very entertaining evening.
Their most recent Sacramento appearance brought droves of fans from the San Francisco Bay Area to the KVIE studios in Sacramento to record an intimate concert that would later be used to raise money for public television. You can get more information regarding the CD/DVD at KVIE.com, as well as donate and receive free tickets to their upcoming show at Harlow’s where they will be releasing the KVIE CD/DVD to the public.
Winning top honors for “Big Big Red,” “Wide Open Spaces,” and “Bird in Hand,” as voted by fans in the Independent Music Awards, their popularity continues to soar as Blame Sally is quickly becoming a worldwide sensation. They are currently touring across the country and across the pond with upcoming stops in the UK and Ireland.
I’d be remorse if I didn’t mention that band member Monica Pasqual also won an Independent Music Award for Best Concept Album on This Cold Desire.
So who is Blame Sally?
Blame Sally is made up of four women, who decided to get together to play a little music in their spare time with no dreams of grandeur and no expectations, simply enjoying each other’s company while playing a little music.
Band members include Pam Delgado (percussions), Renee Harcourt (guitar/bass), Jeri Jones (guitar/bass) and Monica Pasqual (piano/accordion) – I know, not a Sally in the lot!
I had a chance to ask Monica some questions:
SacAndBeyond – You originally got together as a group to hang out and have some fun. At what point did you realize there was something special happening?
Monica – Monica – We realized we had something special the first time we got together. It was so fun and sounded so good – and that was the reason we really wanted to protect it and make sure that we were doing it for the right reason. We had all pursued “careers” in music and had gotten tired of trying so hard to make it. We loved playing together and we wanted to keep it that way, so we sort of dedicated ourselves to the idea of making great music and having fun together.
Sac- Do you have any regrets not pursuing your musical talents earlier in your careers?
Monica – We actually had all pursued music to varying degrees when we were younger. I started playing piano very young and thought I would have a career in classical piano. I was a professional dance accompanist and also composed for choreographers and then started writing songs and singing in my late 20s. I put out three solo albums before starting to play in Blame Sally. I was definitely pursuing music, so it’s been sweet to finally feel the payoff of lots of years of work!
Sac – Do you have any advice for the many musicians with day jobs?
Monica – I’m not sure I feel qualified to give advice – but I can say this much: There are no guarantees, no matter what you do. I got a lot of advice from family and friends to focus on a more stable career and in some ways I’m sure they were right. Making money as a musician is not easy – and honestly, if the aim is to make money and get famous, it’s probably not the right career for you. But If you are truly passionate about music, it doesn’t really matter what advice you get from other people – you find a way to do it, whether you have to keep a day job or not. Most musicians and artists I know have hobbled together a life and career that includes “straight jobs” and their art – sometimes leaning towards one or the other full time.
Sac – Now that you are on the road so much, are you still able to take the time to just hang out and have a good time?
Monica – The truth is that sometimes when I get home from being on the road I just really need to be by myself for a while. But there is a point where that retreat becomes habitual and needs to be broken, connections with friends and loved ones have to happen again. It is incredibly important to check out completely from the band and the business of the band in order to be able to reconnect to it with energy and passion. At least that’s the way it works for me!
Sac – In an effort to show women across the country that they can make a difference, you recorded a DVD to help out public television and spread the word. What did that mean to you and do you believe it has helped get the message out.
Monica – For some reason it seems like almost everything we do as a band has ended up being a message – and we’re okay with that. I think that we represent the exception to a lot of rules that people accept but don’t really believe in. We are 4 women who have chosen to work together for a common goal, we nurture each other and we manage to work together really collaboratively. The fact that we are having our first real public success at our age is unusual – but it shouldn’t be. For some reason people think that performers (particularly female performers) are more relevant when they are extremely young – but like people in any other career, there are incredible gifts that come from experience and time. We tell a different story then a 20 year old would tell, and I think that we tell it in a fresh way that has nothing to do with “nostalgia”.
Regarding PBS – we believe that it will be a great opportunity to connect with more people who will resonate with that message. The program is just starting to be aired now, so it remains to be seen. We hope that it will be another mutually supportive relationship.
Sac – What is your most memorable moment on the road?
Monica – I’m having a hard time finding one – but I think we’ve all found it pretty incredible to be touring in Europe lately. We have had the chance to travel in a way that is totally unique – instead of seeing the world from a tourist’s perspective we have been totally welcomed inside the living rooms of new friends who are eager to share their lives and perspectives, and are super interested in us, too. It’s almost like being an ambassador – it’s one thing I never expected to experience.
Sac – As the recently announced winners of the Independent Music Awards for three separate categories, how does that feel and what does it mean to you as a band?
Monica – It’s great to be acknowledged for this. It’s interesting that we were chosen in three different categories that really represent some of the variety that we encompass. With three lead singers and writers in the band – we sometimes find it difficult to concisely categorize what we do. It’s particularly sweet that we won all categories we were finalists in (including two more for my solo work) in the popular voting part of this. It’s good to know we resonate with the people who actually go out and listen to music.
But was it really Foreigner, or just another cover band?
Foreigner was originally formed in 1976 by veteran English musicians Mick Jones and Ian McDonald, along with American vocalist Lou Gramm. In 1980 McDonald left the band, leaving Jones and Gramm as the only original members. 1990 saw the departure of Gramm, only to rejoin the group a couple of years later.
With Gramm’s on-again, off-again relationship, coupled with health issues, a joint decision was made and Gramm made his final departure. This paved the way for their current lead singer, Kelly Hansen, who joined the group in 2004.
With Gramm’s sound and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler looks, Hansen has breathed new life into Foreigner, especially with the likes of Jeff Pilson (bass), Mark Schulman (plays some killer drums), Bruce Watson (lead guitar), Ollie Marland (keyboards), and Tom Gimbel (keyboards, guitar, sax).
Hold up! What happened to the only founding member Mick Jones? Jones has been having health issues and rarely plays with the band, although he has been known to show up to a show or two. Watson was brought on board to fill in for Jones.
With no original band members, can this really be Foreigner, or is it simply a well put together cover band?
If you ask any of the 4,500 plus fans in attendance at Friday’s concert at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, you will get a resounding answer ““ “This is Foreigner!”
As soon as the band struck the first few notes of “Double Vision,” the crowd was on their feet, as Hansen ran onstage. Following up with “Head Games,” Hansen continued his high energy performance as Watson and Pilson joined in, jamming with one another as well as Hansen.
As they started “Cold as Ice,” the crowd brought it up a notch as did Hansen. The 51 year old Hansen, who has been known to climb stage scaffolding, rocketed off the stage, jumped the pit wall, and headed out into a sea of waiting foreigners. Most of the fans he passed had their hand up to give him a high-five, while others scrambled for their cameras.
Towards the end of the show and halfway through “I Want to Know What Love Is,” some members of the Roseville Area High School Choir came out on stage singing the chorus, as Hansen mingled with the choir and then headed back out into the crowd.
During the show fans could purchase Foreigner’s new CD, or DVD, Rockin at the Ryman from the Roseville choir, in addition to their purchase each fan received a ticket for a chance to win an autographed guitar signed by all the band members. Ryan Spencer who is a huge Foreigner fan, as well as a 96.9 The Eagle fan, ended up with the guitar.
This has been a good year thus far for Foreigner, at least in the movies, with several of their hits appearing in “Rock of Ages,” as well as the recently released “Magic Mike.”
Coming to Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s outdoor amphitheater next week is Steve Miller on Friday and Earth Wind and Fire on Saturday.
Okay, maybe not Slaughtered.
While Bret Michaels was billed as the headliner, I do believe Night Ranger ruled the night with their intense, but fun loving, stage presence ““ more on that in a minute.
It was great to have the likes of Bret Michaels of Poison and Night Ranger’s guitarist Joel Hoekstra at Thunder Valley Casino the day after the new movie Rock of Ages premiered at theaters across the country. Music from Poison is featured in the movie and Hoekstra makes a cameo appearance. Hoekstra also stars in the Broadway hit Rock of Ages.
As over 4,000 fans filed into Thunder Valley Casino’s outdoor amphitheater, Slaughter took the stage kicking off this 4 hour extravaganza of hair flipping and high energy entertainment, with their hit song “Wildlife.”
As only true diehard fans can do in close to 100 degree weather, they rose up from the clutches of their nicely cushioned seats (ok, the bleachers ““ not so cushioned) to rock with the likes of Mark Slaughter (lead singer/guitar), Dana Strum (bass ““ makes sense with a name like Strum), Zoltan Chaney (drums), and Jeff “‘Blando’ Bland (lead guitar).
Within minutes into their set, the Slaughter crew were drenched in sweat and appeared to be totally into nothing but rocking and entertaining the crowd. Blando was the most energetic of the foursome, whipping his hair like it was 1999 and acting like he was still twenty-something.
The most violent award goes to drummer Chaney, who thrashed his drums to the point of having to pull out a wrench to fix one of his cymbals. The man was an animal!
While the entire crowd wasn’t on their feet during Slaughters performance, you could see them nodding their heads, pumping their fists, and just plain rocking out.
In between sets actor, stuntman, producer, director, and all around nice guy, Branscombe Richmond came out to joke around with the crowd and throw t-shirts at unsuspecting audience members.
As Night Ranger stormed the stage it was complete bedlam on stage and off, with Hoekstra immediately flipping his blonde locs of hair while ripping away at his guitar, while off stage the entire audience jumped to their feet.
Starting their set with “Lay it on Me,” founding members Jack Blades (bass) and Brad Gillis (guitar), along with Hoekstra were going back and forth playing off of each other. Hoekstra and Gillis were the most animated of the three, as they were making faces at each other and constantly engaging the audience.
Drummer and founding member Kelly Keagy joined in the fun too, as Hoekstra, Gillis, and Blades all would work their way to Keagy.
As they played through hits like “Sing Me Away,” “Touch of Madness,” “Hearts Away,” and of course “Sister Christian,” they continued to interact with the crowd and each other. Hoekstra had a grin on his face almost the entire set, as did Blades and Gillis.
Blades announced to the crowd that Gillis was celebrating his 55th birthday as he ribbed Gillis most of the night.
Night Ranger sounds just like they did years ago and they’ve maintained their high level of energy throughout the years. The addition of Hoekstra has added another, more theatrical, dynamic to their performances.
Prior to Michaels making his way on stage Richmond reminded everyone about Michaels ongoing battle with diabetes and how important it was to take care of yourself and get checkups on a regular basis.
It was a strange start as someone from Michael’s team came out and made some announcements regarding merchandise (nothing new here), but then after he yelled;
“The Party Starts Now!”
The audience ended up waiting for another 10 minutes before Michaels made it out on stage.
Sounding a bit off with Poison’s hit “Talk Dirty With Me,” Michaels had the crowd eating out of his hand. Wearing his signature bandana and long hair (come on! It’s gotta be a wig.) Michaels worked the audience like a true entertainer.
Thanking the audience for making the VH1 reality show “Rock of Love” the number 1 show on VH1 3 years running, Michaels started in with the theme song for the show, “Go That Far.”
Sounding much better after a few songs Michaels continued with a number of cover songs including Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” Loggins and Messina’s “Your Mamma Don’t Dance,” and Kiss’ “Rock and Roll All Nite,” just to name a few.
He peppered in some Poison songs such as “Something to Believe in,” “Unskinny Bop,” and “Look What the Cat Dragged in”
While Michaels wasn’t Slaughtered by Night Ranger, I place him at a close second due to the number Poison hits he left on the shelf. Talking to a number of people after the show, they all agreed that Night Ranger won the night. However, all were in complete agreement that Michaels put on a high energy and entertaining show – so no, he wasn’t Slaughtered.
I was heading out to the Super 70’s Soul Jam out at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort Friday night, so I dawned my rose colored glasses, bell bottoms and platform shoes. Luckily I packed a Big Hunk, Bottle Caps and Screaming Yellow Zongers before leaving. I knew I’d get the munchies since I’m such a burn out and can’t leave home without a joint or three (hey I have a prescription). I was just hoping I could maintain with all that groovy music playing. The last thing I needed was for some narc to rat me out. As for the concert it was far out man and I should add Dyno-mite!
Right on. Not everyone can be as hip as the hipsters from the 70’s, but Friday everyone was hip and just hanging out with the likes of The Emotions, The Chi-Lites, The Stylistics, The Temptations, and the MC for the evening Jimmy JJ Walker.
To start the night off Jimmy JJ Walker took the stage. Most people remember Walker from his role on Good Times as James Evans Junior, or JJ. In fact, Walker coined the term dyno-mite which became slang for great or fantastic.
Walker provided a bit of comic relief in between sets. At one point he was joking around about the price of gas, saying that he pulled into a full service gas station and the attendant asked him if he wanted him to fill it up, to which Walker responded – No, just give me $200 worth – Ba-da-bing.
First up were the The Emotions singing hits like “Best of My Love,” “Don’t Ask My Neighbors,” and “Boogie Wonderland.” Founding members and sisters Pamela Hutchinson and Wanda Vaughn were joined by Wanda’s daughter Wyann Vaughn.
Wyann did a great job filling in for her aunt and founding member Sheila Hutchinson, who was unable to make the concert. The trio did a fantastic job, sounded great, and were styling in their matching black and white dresses.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, The Chi-Lites, slowly made their way onto the stage as one by one they came out to the tune of “Have You Seen Her.” Decked out in bright yellow suits they sang a number of hits including “Have You Seen Her” and “Oh Girl.” Joining founding member Marshall Thompson were Frank Reed, Fred Simon, and Thompson’s wife Tara Thompson.
Marshall is in the R&B Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and has been performing for over 52 years.
Up next were The Stylistics with original band members Herbert Murrell and Airrioin Love. They were joined by Eban Brown and Jason Sharp. Performing their hits including “Betcha by Golly Wow,” “I’m Stone in Love with You,” and “Break Up To Make Up,” the group stayed in perfect synch with each other as they danced throughout their set.
Headlining the evening was The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards. Edwards was lead singer for the original Temptations for a number of years, replacing David Ruffin.
Joining Edwards were Paul Williams Jr., David Sea, Mike Patillo, and Chris Arnold. Paul Williams Jr. is the son of original Temptation Paul Williams.
Dressed in matching suits the group sang hit after hit including “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me),” “Papa was a Rolling Stone,” and “My Girl.”
It only took a couple of notes at the beginning of each song for the audience to start cheering as they recognized the tune. Dancing in the aisles, as well as at their seats, people were enjoying a trip down memory lane, with most people singing along.
It was a fantastic night of some good old fashion soul music and a little bit of humor thrown in to boot.
The Summer Concert Series out at Thunder Valley Casino Resort continues to heat up with Bret Michaels, Night Ranger, and Slaughter appearing next Friday June 15th.