March 09, 2015

Another Park...Another Sunday....

"Cocoa Party In The Park"
Benefit for The Boys & Girls Clubs

(click on photos to enlarge, and scroll thru)

Sunday March 1st, in Riverfront Park, Cocoa Village, Florida was a night I'd been waiting a long time for! When my wife Jennifer and I opened Kool Beanz in Cocoa Village it was at about the same time the park opened, and we always dreamed of bringing some big name concerts there, so I'm  glad it's happening. There have recently been some some bigger and bigger named bands, but none as big as the Doobie Brothers!

I got there late, and was backstage just as Vintage were leaving the stage. I heard two or three of their songs walking up, and they sounded great as ever! I can't believe it's been 10 years since I booked those (then) 15 & 16 year olds for a Jerry Daze concert. Unfortunately I missed the opening band Pidjin completely. But I am hearing great things about them! 

Then the event's coordinator Mike Arnold (of the Cocoa Rotary Club) took the stage with members of the Boy's & Girls Club of Brevard, and presented them with an initial check of $25,000 from the Rotary Club (and all the good folks who bought tickets! The Cocoa Rotary Club did a great job with this event, and they deserve many thanks. 

As the sun went down, and The Doobie Brothers took the stage with their cover of The Byrd's "Jesus is Just Alright with Me", I was transported back 40 years. Back 40 years, and just 5 minutes away, across the Indian River, back to hanging out with the gang at the end of Rivercliff Ln in Merritt Island, at 'the circle'. Hangin' many nights, especially weekends with George, Diane, Mickey, Pat, Tucker, Timmy, Mark, and others.

I was particular I was thinking of Mark Dickson. Mark was the biggest Doobie Brothers fan I had ever known. I'll never forget. A truly dedicated fan! He was a little older than the rest of us, so he had a car. He was always parked at the circle, and he always had Doobie Brothers' 8 track tapes playing!. Mark sadly died very young by crashing his car due to an Epileptic seizure. 
If I may, I'd like to dedicate this gig to Mark. 

The Hubert Humphrey Bridge in the background. 

 After "Jesus is Just Alright" (which I just found out was a cover of the Byrd's cover of the Art Reynolds Singers song), the band ripped into "Rockin' Down the Highway" then "Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me)", "Depending on You", and my new favorite, long forgot about Doobie classic "Clear as the Driven Snow". That's the one I wanted to hear tonight! That and "Another Park, Another Sunday"...which, sadly they didn't play. 

 The band was great! 1970's members Tom Johnston, Partick Simmons, and (multi-instrumentalist) John McFee were all still at the top of their game, as was recently added member John Cowan. Yeah, that John Cowan, from the New Grass Revival. Awesome.

The Brothers had lots of great songs left in the show, including and amazing "South City Midnight Lady", "Eyes of Silver", (a Sonny Boy Williamson cover) "Don't Start Me Talkin'" and "Black Water". Then they kicked it up a few notches and ended the set with "Long Train Runnin'" and a smokin' "China Grove"! 


When the band came back for the encores, I went back down front as many did. As the Doobies played "Road Angel" from the classic "What Were Once Habits, are Now Vices" album, I crouched down, center stage, and got out my camera. As I did, I hit  the knee of they guy next to me with my elbow, I looked up to apologize, and it was my pal Rocky! Kool. He ended up with a setlist, and some guitar pics (as did I!).
The Doobie Brothers wrapped up their stay in Cooca Village with a tune from "Toulouse Street", the classic "Listen to The Music". EVERYONE was on their feet dancing! A beautiful night in Cocoa Village. Hope there are many partys in the parkmore to come!

Thank you Mike Arnold, 
The Rotary Club of Cocoa, 
and The Doobie Brothers for all your help, and hospitality!

The Doobie Brothers:
Cocoa Rotary Club:
Boys & Girls Club: 
Cocoa Party in the Park: