"...took me 20 years to master this instrument (tambourine)..."
Hey, blogspot readers, live out your rock-n-roll fantasies at this camp!
A group of ordinary individuals from different walks of life - an airline pilot (from Atlanta) to CEO of a distribution company as well as Moms and teenagers ...some from across the pond and Canada while others locally from Chicago and surrounding suburbs - attended a Weekend Warrior session of Rock-N-Roll Fantasy Camp. Held at Chicago's legendary House of Blues, these campers spent a fabulous two days living out their rock star dreams. They got to experience a chance of a lifetime to jam with such famous music artists Dickey Betts (Allman Brothers), Teddy Andreatis (Guns-N-Roses/Alice Cooper), Joey Mollard (Bad Finger), Kip Winger (Winger) and the legend himself, Mitch Ryder (Mitch Ryder & Detroit Wheels). Campers also had fun yet intense rehearsals with their respective camp counselors learning how to work cohesively together as a band as well as practicing two or three-song sets for Sunday's big finale. Plus as special yet rare treat, they had an opportunity to watch the counselors practice for their jam session which happens during the second half of the concert.
On Sunday, there was excitement in the air as campers spent part of the day rehearsing on the House of Blues' stage ...to get a little taste of what they'll sound when performing in front of a crowd consisting their family and friends. Later before the show, there was a meet and greet session in which specially invited guests (campers' family and friends) were able to chat and take photos with the counselors. SouthSide introduced her daughters to Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne, Blue Oyster Cult) whom this reviewer was lucky enough to interview two months ago. Then they met Teddy Andreatis, Mark Hudson (producer/songwriter - Aerosmith ...nice colorful beard too), Joey Mollard and Kip Winger. Also this gave SouthSide a chance to interview a couple of campers like Tim Jenkins who said "...[Rock-N-Roll Fantasy Camp] was a blast ...a lot of fun and work..." Also next time he attends, he promises to bring his camera and learn the artists' songs before coming to camp. Don Yonkers (Lisle, IL) shared the same sentiment about his Fantasy Camp experience. He said "...it was awesome ...completely awesome ...[an] experience of a lifetime..." He also added that "...Mark Hudson was a riot to work with..."
Now it was time to rock, blogspot readers! The big finale was divided into two halves in which featured nine bands consisting counselors with their campers jamming on stage. First, Mark Hudson warmed up the crowd with an energetic version of Stuck In The Middle With You before covering Paul McCartney's Drive My Car that featured a special guest, Fox Channel 32's own Anna Davlantes on drums. Afterwards, the packed venus was rocked by a variety of performances such as classic rock (by The Amazing Jack Wagons - Teddy Andreatis' group and Harry Schnitzel - Kip Winger's group) and modern rock (Jack Cooper Mellencampers - Ty Dennis' group) as well as organic alternative/rock by Kelly & Her Northern Caravan Days - Mitch Ryder's group. And since this show took place in Chicago, there was some sound of Blues/Rock by Designated Passengers - Mark Farmer's (formally of Grand Funk Railroad) group and Cherry Pickers (Dickey Betts' group). The bands rocked the stage with a wide range of vocal talent especially some with female power but SouthSide noted a couple of standouts that deserved mention. For example, Paul Yuk (front man for The Amazing Jack Wagons) who totally had the crowd captivated by his energetic, charismatic stage presence ...17 year old Shawn from Canada on guitar (front man of Not Dead Yet - Rudy Sarzo's group) who absolutely fueled not only the crowd but the band with his vocals, enthusiasm and energy especially during original song, The Addiction ...and the female lead vocalist for Cherry Pickers who showed her vocal chops during the original song Fantasy Blues.
Now it was time for the counselors to have their fun and rock out House of Blues! What a blast it was, blogspot readers, seeing these legendary musicians on stage together. The all-star band appropriately named Fist of Love kicked off their performance with a montage of classic songs ending with a rockin' variation of The Beatles' Oh! Darling that had Mark Hudson on vocals. His energy totally sparked not only the band but the crowd throughout the venue to rock along with them. This opening number featured hot solos by Rudy (on bass), Teddy (on piano/keyboard) and Ty (on drums). SouthSide had fun singing to her favorite Bad Finger song, No Matter What as well as rockin' to Mitch Ryder singing his classic hit, Devil In A Blue Dress. This classic rocker still has the chops and vibin' spunk to keep the momentum of excitement waifing amongst the rock fans. And yes, Fist of Love performed every rock student's anthem - Alice Cooper's School's Out - a traditional song sung by the counselors to officially end Fantasy Camp. These rock musicians were in fine shape to rock all night long.
There's still time left, blogspot readers, to be a part of a weekend version of Rock-N-Roll Fantasy Camp. In January, Rudy Sarzo along with other camp counselors including The Who's Roger Daltrey will be in New York City! Visit http://www.rockcamp.com/ for all of the exciting details and how to register. Sign up now ...before someone else lives out your rock fantasy!
Until next time, support your local scene,