By Uncle Mike
HOLMDEL – The PNC Bank Arts Center parking lot was alive and kicking on Saturday, Aug. 3, with a daylong festival featuring some of the Jersey Shore’s best musicians.
The Taste of the Shore Pre-Concert Festival, sponsored by The Foundation to Save the Jersey Shore, was free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It featured more than a dozen food vendors, a live radio broadcast by 101.5 FM’s Big Joe Henry, and musical performances by The Jersey Shore All-Stars, The Benjamins and After The Reign.
The festival served as a precursor to the Concert To Save The Jersey Shore on Saturday night. That concert featured the band O.A.R. and special guests, Andrew McMahon and Allen Stone.
Treating their audience to 60 minutes of pure Jersey gold were the Jersey Shore All-Stars, led by renowned Jersey Shore musician Pat Guadagno (lead vocals/acoustic guitar). The All-Stars lineup was comprised of such local legends and beloved musicians as Bob Bandiera (electric guitar/vocals), Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez (drums/ vocals), Lisa Bouchelle (acoustic guitar/vocals), Rich Oddo (electric guitar/vocals), Marc Ribler (electric guitar/ vocals), Phil “Red River”
Rizzo (bass/vocals), Joe Belia (drums), Arne Wendt (keys), Richard Blackwell (congas), Yuri Turchin (violin) and Tommy LaBella (saxophone/ harmonica).
Kicking things off with a stellar rendition of the late Danny Petraitis’ Pray That We Will (first cut from Guadagno’s 2012 release, New Jersey Material, featuring a great Oddo/Ribler guitar jam), the All-Stars never looked back as they rose to the occasion time and time again.
They offered terrific interpretations of Lead Belly’s Midnight Special (killer band number with Lisa B. on lead vocals), Only The Tequila Talkin’ (Lisa and Pat nail this twanger), Our Spirit Is Strong (most moving rendition of this Ribler original/haunting sax and violin) and I Can’t Take Me Anywhere (big crowd favorite with P.G. on lead vocals).
Other crowd pleasers were Crown Liquor (Vini shines on this Bill Chinnock number), The Train Song (Vini and Pat are dynamite on this Springsteen ditty), New York City Serenade (another nod to The Boss with Pat terrific on lead vocals), C’mon Caroline (Bob and Rich rip it up on electric guitar on this Bandiera/Burger classic) and Pardon Me (featuring Bob on lead vocals from his ’96 release, Dog Loves You).
They closed things out with The Band’s The Weight (monster closer with everyone on vocals).
Listen, you couldn’t ask for a better performance from a cast of who’s who down the Jersey Shore. Under the guidance and leadership of New Jersey’s premier troubadour, Pat Guadagno, the Jersey Shore All-Stars more than lived up to their title and upheld the state’s outstanding reputation in the world of modern music. You want Jersey Strong? Look no further than the Jersey Shore All-Stars!
As for the opening act, there’s a reason why After The Reign is considered New Jersey’s premier country band. Coincidentally, the group penned Jersey Strong, The Foundation to Save the Jersey Shore’s theme song.
Beginning with their opening song, Day On The Bay, Willie Kelly (lead vocals), John Strevens (lead and rhythm guitars/vocals), Dave Burlett (bass/backing vocals), Bob Grado (steel guitar/banjo), Clay Perlman (lead and rhythm guitar) and Herb Van Note (drums) were nothing short of spectacular! Their 10-song set was top-notch with some of the band’s best moments coming on originals like Old School (hot band number, huge crowd favorite), Almost Famous (Kelly’s vocals front and center/fine steel guitar), You Started A Fire (more of a rocker/another big crowd pleaser) Jersey Strong (God bless Jersey, y’all), Hillbilly Clubhouse (crowd ate it up) and Burning Down The Farm (hot, hot, hot closer as the whole band steps up).
From start to finish these good ol’ Jersey boys made it perfectly clear that when it comes to country in the great State of New Jersey, it doesn’t get any better than After The Reign! After all, we are talking about the winners of the 2013 New York City Hard Rock Café’s Hard Rock Rising Battle of the Bands. It was a band competition during which After The Reign had to beat out hundreds of bands from all genres of music. No simple task!
The Foundation to Save the Jersey Shore is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded by longtime Rumson resident Warren H. Diamond, Asbury Park native Phil Villapiano and Jersey Shore native Kevin Leahy. As a community-based volunteer organization the foundation is dedicated to raising funds to assist homeowners and businesses that were adversely affected by Super Storm Sandy. Through its volunteer efforts and funds raised, the organization hopes to provide homeowners and businesses with the ability to rebuild, recover and renew their lives and businesses. By cutting through the red tape, The Foundation to Save the Jersey Shore expedites funds and resources, directing them toward the restoration of the hardest hit areas of Monmouth and Ocean counties.