Monday, January 4, 2016

Cornerstones Of Rock

Tickets officially go on sale at noon today for The Arcada Theatre appearance of "Cornerstones Of Rock", a salute to all the great Chicagoland bands who lit up the charts in the '60's.

Local fans of our local heroes have already seen the live concert taped for broadcast on WTTW - Channel 11, Chicago's PBS Station (and original home of the Soundstage music series of the '70's.)  Sales are brisk for copies of the dvd (featuring additional, unaired performances) and cd's of both the live versions from the concert and the original hits as they appeared way back when.

The Cornerstones of Rock show (featuring acts like The Ides Of March, The American Breed, The New Colony Six, The Cryan' Shames, The Shadows Of Knight and The Buckinghams ... as well as a few other surprises) have two appearances booked for the Chicagoland area ...

Saturday, March 19th at The Arcada Theatre ...
order tickets here: ... on sale beginning at NOON TODAY ...  

And Sunday, May 1st at The Skokie North Shore Center For Performing Arts.  (For some reason, this show is not shown on their calendar yet ... I'm not sure why.)

(You can also order copies of the dvd and/or cd's here by making a donation to PBS ...

Our Forgotten Hits Buddy Clark Besch who, over the years,  helped to put together cd compilations by all of these great artists ... and grew up loving these songs just like I did, thanks to a clear WLS signal beaming out all over the country back in the day, finally had a chance to catch the broadcast and offers this review ...


I just got the chance to watch the WTTW-TV Chicago documentary / concert "Cornerstones of Rock."  What an excellent show.  I know Jim Pilster of the Cryan Shames has hoped for such an event / show to come to fruition for over a decade and Jim Peterik was just the guy to help bring it all together just as many of the bands celebrate 50 years since their first Chicago hits.     

Long ago, Jim asked me to help him bring such a concert together of the 60's Chicago legendary top 40 bands, but I had no pull.     

NOW, not only did a concert happen, but if you weren't (or WERE) there, you can get the whole show on DVD and even get the original hit recordings of these songs on CD as well for donations to the public TV station.    

You can order it here at far right:   

So, just who is in this show?  

Try these greats ... like the Cryan Shames, the Ides of March, the New Colony 6, the Buckinghams, the Shadows of Knight, the American Breed plus the McCoys and the Standells are added.   

Yeah, sure, but do they have the lead singers and original members on the hits?  In many cases, there are several original members and in EVERY band's case, the LEAD singer on the hits is here singing again!  

The TV show did not feature the tributes to Aliotta, Haynes Jeremiah and to Chase, but the DVD / CD set will.  The sets have not been sent out yet, but I got to see the show on TV.  IF you don't want to wait to know about what is in the TV part of the show, here's my review.  IF you would rather see for yourself, then BUY the set and do NOT read the below review.  BTW, they will all be performing twice again in March and May, 2016, and you can buy the DVD / CD package to include tickets to those shows, too.   

It was a Glorious night and ... a Gloria's Knight!    

The TV edited show part of the concert started with Jim Peterik and the Ides of March playing the Music Explosion's big 1967 hit "Little Bit 'O Soul" followed by talk about garage bands and then the Ides' 1966 hit "You Wouldn't Listen" with Larry Millas and Jim P trading off vocals just like the 45.  It kicked off a night of original lead singers reliving their hit years.  Fast forward to 1971 and their acoustic "LA Goodbye", complete with strings and then, their 1970 signature hit, "Vehicle" ... all done in great style with Jim's powerful vocals and guitar prowess glowing.    

Next was a shocking and pleasing surprise for me.  The American Breed came out and with Ides as a bonus backing band, and performed their classic million seller from 1968, "Bend Me, Shape Me."  Gary Loizzo was singing lead like it was 1968 again!  How great to see other members such as Chuck Colbert, Jr. and Lee Graziano, I believe.  They only did one song, but what a memorable performance.   

Then came Jimy Sohns to perform the biggest hits of true garagers, the Shadows of Knight.  Beginning with 1968's "Shake" and then reverting to their best (IMO) 45, "Oh Yeah."  Then came the garage anthem, "Gloria," to which Jimy mentioned that he was STILL the guy mothers should fear.  I'd rather they threw a piano off the stage to relive their stardom days.  I certainly have always believed the SOK version was MUCH better than Them's original.    

More garage rock followed with the Standells performing "Dirty Water."  Original singer Dick Dodd sang lead.   

The Cryan Shames were next in line.  No secret here that they were my faves of this gang as a kid.  Here, we got original lead singer Tom Doody as well as the great original guitarist James Fairs and the incomparable Jim Pilster, all in great voice.  Fairs' lead guitar solo on "Sugar & Spice" was flawless and Tom Doody (along with Fairs and Pilster) sang "It Could Be We're In Love" with the style we have always known from him.  I spotted Shameless girl, Marlene O'Malley, in the audience, too.  Closing with "I Wanna Meet You" was great, as it was the song that originally sold me on the greatness of this band in 1966.   

A great reunion of talents was next when co-lead singers Ronnie Rice and Ray Graffia, Jr. sang their New Colony 6 hits "I Confess," "Things I'd Like to Say" and "I Will Always Think About You" complete with orchestral backing.  What a great group they were then and how great they sounded now.   

The McCoys were next, singing "Hang On Sloopy" with Rick Derringer performing the LONG lyric version.  There was also the truly necessary mentions of WLS and WCFL at this point.  Mini-stories and photos on all of the bands were included throughout the show.   

Closing things were the Buckinghams.  Band original and current singer and leader Carl Giammarese sang great on "Don't You Care" and "Susan" while dueting in a studio with Jim Peterik on "Mercy Mercy Mercy."  Then, original lead singer Dennis Tufano came on stage to belt out "Hey Baby" and "Kind of a Drag."   

For the first time, it was actually fun even hearing the pledge drive parts of the PBS show.  Comments from Jim Peterik, Nick Fortuna, Carl Giammarese, Jimy Sohns, Ronnie Rice and Ray Graffia, Jr. were worth taping the show off TV.  Peterik and Sohns even broke into an impromptu "Gloria" and Peterik, an acoustic "Eye of the Tiger!"    

A great show worth buying and supporting a good cause:  PBS TV.  It was indeed a "Gloria's Knight." 
Clark Besch