Jeff Beck, Paul Rodgers, Ann Wilson

PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ

Jeff Beck, Paul Rodgers, Ann Wilson
The Stars Align Tour
PNC Bank Arts Center
Holmdel, NJ,  August 12, 2018
Article By Dennis Morgillo 
Photos By Estelle Masry

The stars sure did align on this hot steamy night in NJ. Three Mega Stars sharing the same bill!? What could be better? 

To my surprise, Deborah Bonham, the sister of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, opened the show. Who knew he had a sister!? Who knew she could sing like an angel!? Bonham has a powerful voice, and put on a great set. She was well received by the crowd who gave her a standing ovation. Bonham then came and sat right in front of me to enjoy the Ann Wilson set. 

Ann Wilson came out rocking from the jump. Her voice was in fine form as she tore through a set featuring only one Heart song. The rest of the set featured covers from her new album "Immortal", which is a tribute to rock stars that are no longer with us. Wilson covered Chris Cornell, The Eagles, Lesley Gore, and an amazing version of "Back to Black" by Amy WInehouse. Wilson closed out her part of the show with "Won't Get Fooled Again".  The crowd was officially whipped into a frenzy. 

Who's Next!? Jeff Beck is next, that's who! Beck came out looking Cool AF, wearing shades and brandishing a fine cream colored "Strat"! Beck doesn't say a word, he lets the guitar do the talking. And man does that guitar talk. Beck performed a mix of solo material and covers. Amazing covers of Jazz Fusion classics by Billy Cobham and Mahavishnu Orchestra, side by side with old blues and rock n roll classics.

From the beginning of time, man has argued who the best guitarist is. Well, one thing is for sure, Jeff Beck better be part of that argument! The man is amazing, he slays that guitar with his unique style and finger plucking. I feel bad for the youth of the future. They will never know what it's like to hear a guitar player totally dominate an instrument. The guitar hero will one day become extinct, but I consider myself lucky to have lived during a time when the guitar slingers roamed the earth. Beck is one of the best. I wore the grooves off of "Wired", I picked up the guitar and took lessons in the hopes of one day being able to play "Blue Wind". Play on Jeff!    

Beck has always had the knack for selecting top notch musicians to play with. This band is no exception, Jimmy Hall handles the vocals. Bassist Rhonda Smith (formerly of Prince & Chaka Khan) and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (formerly of Frank Zappa) lay down a bowel shaking, incredible rhythm section. To round it all out, naturally you would add a Cellist! What!? A Cellist!? Yes exactly. Only Beck would think of that, and it works perfectly. Vanessa Freebairn-Smith is the perfect touch. 

Beck covered the Hendrix classic "Little Wing". A beautiful melodic version. Chills all around. Holy Cow, is this guy good! When they start playing the opening notes to "Cause We've Ended as Lovers", my chills get chills! This is my jam. I used to listen to this song on Sunday nights as a kid, when I couldn't sleep. When I was stressed about going back to school. Memories are drowning me now. No, I wasn't crying, I had something in my eye. I am almost drained, but next up is "Day in The Life" and "Superstition". Only Jeff Beck could cover these classic songs and maybe make them even better. 

I catch my breath for a minute until the band comes back for an encore. "Corpus Christi Carol" and the rocking Jeff Beck Group classic "I'm Goin' Down". Bravo Jeff Beck, Bravo! I was there when the Guitar Heroes roamed the earth.    

If that wasn't enough already, next up is one of the greatest voices in Rock n Roll. Paul Rodgers! Rodgers was the go to guy. Whenever a band needed a legend, they said "Is Rodgers available"? Rodgers started out singing with "Free", then "Bad Company", "The Firm" and "Queen". You cannot turn on the radio without hearing a Rodgers classic. The man has inspired every singer that came after him.  

When Rodgers comes out wearing a tight yellow shirt, I am amazed by two things. The man looks incredible and sounds even better. How is this possible? Have the laws of physics and aging cease to exist in Rodgers home? Somone should bottle this guy. 

Rodgers and band perform a mix of "Free" and "Bad Company" songs. The soundtracks to our lives. The crowd sings a long, and we all know every word to these FM monster classics. "Can't Get Enough", "Feel Like Makin' Love", "Movin' On" and "Shooting Star". 

It's almost too much to handle in one night, but then the night gets even better. Little Steven comes out and sings "Rock n Roll Fantasy" with Rodgers. Little Steven is having the time of his life. He even seems enamored to be up there with the legend Paul Rodgers.  The show and the night ends with the "Free" mega classic "All Right Now"! "She said love, Lord above, now you're trying to trick me in love" !  Man, I am exhausted just reliving this concert. It was one for the ages. It doesnt' get any better than this. Long Live Rock n Roll ! 
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