Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Sonny Geraci Benefit Concert

This past weekend was the long-awaited Sonny Geraci Benefit Concert, held in Sonny's home state of Ohio.  Incredibly, we found very little coverage on the Internet.  Fortunately, we heard from a few readers (and a couple of the artists) who were there ... so we're able to bring you a first-hand report ... with hopefully more to come.  (Sadly, we could not attend ... but are still hoping to bring some version of this show to Chicago ... so stay tuned for that!)

Meanwhile ... we'll have to live vicariously through these folks!  (kk)

My inboxes are chock full of people performing, and watching the concert for Sonny Geraci.  I am so glad to see this.  I am reminded of my time working with others to help out Mike Smith.  Every person (and in my opinion, animals also) deserves respect and caring.  In the 60's, we wanted to change the world; make love, not war; and obtain inner peace.  Many of us have learned that progress is the result of trial and error, so it is necessarily slow.  BUT as we reach out to others to help, we grow, and change things to the good.  Prayers and thanks to all involved, and to Sonny for his music and future well-being.

Shelley J Sweet-Tufano

Hi Kent -

I had a wonderful time with all those incredible acts on the bill. For two days I heard some of my favorite hits sung live by the original artists and it was sheer joy to listen to.

Everyone did their best singing and performing for Sonny.

The backup bands were incredible, learning all those arrangements for the acts.

Many artists joining in singing background for the acts they loved.

Lots of singers jumped on stage to sing along with the likes of Gary Lewis and Dennis Tufano.

Dennis did a great job putting this all together with Sonny's assistant Rae.

God bless Sonny.

Here's hoping we see him sing again soon.

Ron Dante
 Gary Lewis
(photo by Tom Apathy ... used with permission)

 Ron Dante
(photo by Tom Apathy ... used with permission)

The cast sings "Time Won't Let Me" for Sonny.

It was a great weekend hanging out with old friends and making some new ones.

Ed Salamon

All I can say is that this was totally one of the most awesome shows that I've ever been on! I backed some incredible artists and worked with some stellar musicians like Drummer Joe Vitale (Barnstorm, Joe Walsh, CS&N, etc.)  I've got a gig this weekend in Biloxi with The Buckinghams and The Grass Roots ... hopefully after the weekend I can fill you in with the rest!
Dave Zane
Here's a guy who was able to collect a bunch of really cool autographs ... as well as have his picture taken with many of the artists performing at the show!
Hey Kent ...

I just returned from the Sonny Geraci Benefit / Birthday Concert in Streetsboro, Ohio.

What a weekend it was! 

So many classic artists were there in honor of the great Sonny Geraci. Dennis Tufano, along with Rae Antonin and a great staff of people put the weekend together, and it was a huge success. We were honored to be included, and played both nights, as did many of the artists. And we had Original Drummer from The Outsiders, Ricky Biagiola playing Drums with us both nights ... very cool.

Saturday night was especially special, as Sonny's family arrived at the "Z-Plex" along with Sonny, who watched his kids' band, "Talk Back" perform a great set of their own tunes. And they were great. The Disney Channel would hit big with them ... they are young, fresh, and rockin', and they have that appeal. We were very impressed with them.

Next, all of the performers got onstage to perform "Time Won't Let Me", with Sonny sitting up front watching. What an amazing moment that I will never forget. Some of the highlights for me were Dennis Tufano's amazing set. His voice is better today than ever. He is one of the best singers in the world, in my opinion. Gary Lewis was great ... hit after hit from him.  Johnny Farina of "Santo & Johnny" put in a blistering twanging set. Jimy Sohns rocked on "Gloria". Ron Dante with The 1910 Fruitgum Co. had everyone dancing and having fun. Terry Sylvester of The Hollies, Frank Stallone, Billy Joe Royal, Gary DeCarlo of Steam, Jim Gold of "Gallery", The Vogues, The Reflections, Roy Head, Dicky Lee all performed fine sets.  Wally Bryson of "The Raspberries" was there on Saturday night, and a few great local bands played as well. Great backup musicians, too. Joe Vitale, who has played with CSNY, Joe Walsh and others was there on Friday night and played drums with Johnny Farina. Peter Noone's Keyboardist, Rich Spina played on Friday night, backup singer Ronn Scala sang some great backup for Dennis and others. 

I've included some photos of the event taken by Jim Foster, and the folks at the Z-Plex. Thanks again to Dennis Tufano, Rae Antonin and their team for making this historic event happen. And of of course, we all wish Sonny the best, and hope for his full recovery.

Mitch Schecter / The Rip Chords

 The Rip Chords
(courtesy of Mitch Schecter)

Here's a Facebook posting Dennis Tufano sent along ... as well as some of his own thoughts on the two-day event.  Dennis was one of the organizers of this very special event (which was filmed for DVD release.)  Proceeds go toward Sonny's massive medical bills.  And how cool is it to hear that Sonny was there to see some of this for himself!!!  (kk)

I would like to say that was one HELL OF A SHOW ... you and your help went over the limit ... what happened last night would put the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shows to the Hall of Fame Shame ... unheard of ... that many acts, no breaks ... and who knows how many songs were performed ... and the table servers were out of site also ... that many people to serve food and drink ... they need to be told also.

Also, now my words:  The benefit was a huge success!!!!  It was a lot of work and non stop but the acts were  ROCKIN' IT! And we had great attendance both nights. Sonny came to the Saturday Show with his wife and kids. He was in a chair but he was beaming throughout! He got to see his kids, Jett, Bri and Matt ..."TALKBACK" ... perform their whole set for the first time and the entire line up of acts and musicians sang Time Won't Let Me to him as he sat right in front of the stage smiling and tapping his foot to the song! Very emotional moment! He was beaming! Sales went very well on auction items and baskets for raffle. Everyone involved said they have never and probably will never again experience a concert as monumental and powerful as this two day blast of 25 national hit making acts. Tony Orlando called in and was heard over the PA with a message to Sonny, too!!! They brought Sonny into the Green Room and he talked with family and friends and his musician friends. It was a great lift in spirits for him and all of us as well. God bless everyone involved. Whew! What a ride!!!!!

 Jimy Sohns
(photo by Tom Apathy ... used with permission)
 Dennis Tufano
(photo credit unknown)