February 24, 2015

70's& 80's invade Melbourne! (Sept. 2014)

This piece was originally intended to be posted on the WFIT website, but at the time there was a change in the staff, and it got lost in the shuffle. Enjoy

Whilst Panther football was airing during the "On The Flipside" time slot in September, I got to get out and enjoy some much needed live rock & roll (and comedy)! 

First off, in the beginning of the month at The Hard Rock Live in Orlando - DEEP PURPLE! 

My second time seeing them since my interview with Ian Gillan 7 years ago (hoping to have another soon). The band sounds amazing as ever. It's always a treat to see them in Orlando, because it's something of a homecoming for guitarist Steve Morse, who resides in the Ocala area.

 The set was pretty much split between tracks from the seminal heavy metal album MACHINE HEAD (1972) and tracks from the rest of their career, kicking off with a rousing 'Highway Star'. 

 They did perform several tracks from their recent (19t) studio album 'NOW WHAT" including the rocker 'Hell To Pay', and favorite of mine 'Vincent Price'. Of course they also pulled out a few 80's gems including 'Perfect Strangers',  A wonderful surprise in the encore was the inclusion of their cover of Booker T. & The MGs' 'Green Onions'. Perfect. 

 The Deep Purple line-up now is: 
Ian Gillian - Vocals; Roger Glover - Bass; Ian Paice - Drums;  Steve Morse on Guitar; and Don Airey on Keyboards. Always energenic. the band after some 45 odd years, show no signs of slowing down!


Then, right in the middle of the month, at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, none other CHEECH & CHONG...with WAR!! How kool. I've seen WAR a handful of times since the seventies, and I've a always loved them live. But I'd only seen Cheech & Chong once before, at the King Center a few years back...the two acts together, excellent idea!

The show started like it did a few years ago, with Shelby Chong (Tommy's wife of 40something years), doing a little of her own stand up, and explaing that rather than a set for each act, they would be sharing the stage thru various parts of the  evening. Then she welcomed out Cheech & Tommy for a little bit of a Q&A type thing. Or maybe the way the 3 of them were carrying on, it might have been a T&A thing! 

Next WAR walked out, and their it was, the whole bunch rocking out together!

So here's a mixture of tunes for ya! "Low Rider", "Born In East L.A.", "Cicso Kid", "Santa Claus And His Old Lady", "Slippin' In The Darkness", "Me & Baby Brother" and "Earache, My Eye!" featuring 'Alice Bowie'! 

Midway thru the show. Tommy introduced WAR's harmonica player Stanley Brehens, of the Bronx, as the only artist on that stage that served in Viet Nam. Then Stanley performed a wonderful "Star Spangled Banner" solo, on his harp. Beautiful! Then as if to show their typical irreverency, Cheech kicked off the band playing loyal rendition of "Mexican Americans" from the film UP IN SMOKE! 
Then coolest thing ever was the encore: "Why Can't We Be Friends" with Cheech, Chong, Shelby, 
and WAR frontman Lonnie Jordan trading verses for a very happy, singing and dancing audience! 



I wrapped up the month at Melbourne's "80's In The Park". 

Now as many of you may know, the "80's" were not really my thing. From Ronald Regan, to Boy George, to the Yugo...not my decade. Ha!

BUT(!), I did attend the "80's In The Park" event last year (mostly because I was invited be friends), and I was surprised at how much fun I really had.  Most of the bands last year were not the bands that I usually cared for, but to my amazement, they were all great!  So I couldn't resist trying again 
this year, at least to photograph some of the bands, and check out all the preppy people! Unfortunately, my car was on the fritz, so I was only able to attend a few hours.  

There was one thing noticably different this year. Water. Water and Mud...everywhere! First steps into the event, I was already wet halfway up to my knees. Should have expected, since it had been raining for days! It wasn't that bad for me...but I really felt bad for the folks working the show...3 solid days of it. Blagh!

Anyway, it was about the music, and what I caught was great! Saturday night - Zebra, and L.A. Guns rocked the hell out of the mullet-ed crowd. Especially L.A.Guns. A band I've never been to familiar with, but I loved them last year. This year they head lined, and looked great doing it (they are a hair-band after all)!

Though Sunday afternoon was most special to me. I arrived in time to catch an old fave of mine, Pat Travers, whom I first saw in concert in '78(ish) at a concert at the Hollywood Sportatorium in South Florida. The benefit concert was hosted by Charlie Daniels, and headlined by Grinderswitch. 
There were also a few up and coming acts on the bill that we had not heard of: AC/DC, Molly Hatchet, and Pat Travers! Pat put on a hot set at "80's in the Park", a set that included "Crash & Burn", "Black Betty", "Snortin' Whiskey", and "Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)"!

The highlight of the weekend for me was I got to meet one of my wife's musical heroes, JOHN WAITE (The Baby's; Bad English) and tell him how much he and The Baby's had meant to her. John was a wonderful, very nice man. We plan to interview soon.

Over the years I've gained an appreciation for John's music through Jennifer. But on Sunday he turned me into a true fan. He and his band kicked ass! Even though he seemed to have problem's hearing himself thru the set, his voice was spot on. 

John and band performed about 10 songs, including "Back On My Feet Again", "Every Time I Think of You", "Isn't It Time", "Missing You", and a beautiful A Cappella (but shortened) version of "When I See You Smile". Then, out of left field, he closed his set with a cover of Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love. And they nailed it!! 

 Many Thanks John Waite.  And thanks to Charles, Lissa, and 80's ITP for having me on board to shoot some pics! Had it not been for my blown transmission, I'd have been there much longer this weekend.


Also Many thanks to:
 Deep Purple/Ian Gillan, 
Cheech & Chong, and WAR 
for all your hospitality!! 

Tune In to “Java” John’s “On The FlipSide”radio show, 
Saturdays at 6pm on WFIT (89.5fm in Melbourne, FL), 
or Listen On-Line: www.wfit.org