July 25, 2017 Great South Bay Music Festival Closes In Style Patchogue, NY 7-16-17
Defying the elements, Great South Bay Music Festival made it to its fourth and final day on Sunday, July 16th. Unlike the first two days of the extravaganza, the finale was an absolutely beautiful summer day with blue skies, low humidity, and a nice breeze off the bay. After two evenings and a full day the previous day, attendees were ready to take in and enjoy one more full day of music.
Like Saturday’s shows, the festival once again offered four stages jam packed with entertainment. There was the main stage, the Coors Light Stage, as well as the Clamshell Bandshell stage, where The Imagination Movers got the day started early with their kid friendly show, followed by Lewd Buddha, Lonesome Dan and The Curmudgeons, Pete Mancini, Jeff Denny Band, Aztec Two-Step, and Memphis Crawl. Then there was the Jambalaya Stage which had The Om-En, Earthreal, Sir Cadian Rhythm, LDF (Ladies Drink Free), Noah’s Arc, and Funkin A playing for the crowds. Finally, there was also the Kidzone stage to entertain kids of all ages.
Getting things started on the main stage at around 2:15 PM was Long Island’s own Blues slide guitar master, Kerry Kearney. Kearney is an award-winning musician having won the Long Island Sound Award in 2008 from the Long Island Music Hall Of Fame and he was inducted into the New York Blues Hall Of Fame in 2013. With several other guest musicians, Kearney had on stage with him Gerry Sorrentino (bass), Mario Staiano (drums), and David Bennett Cohen (keyboards). Performing a nice forty-five minute set of smooth Blues tunes, Kearney and company had the festival started off on the right foot.
Jesse Colin Young
As the festival grounds began to fill up, there were lots of people taking in everything there was to offer. After all, it was the last day to visit all the creative artisan tents and enjoy a good pirate show with the family. That in mind, no one missed out on the music and soon everyone found their way back to the main stage around 3:30 PM for the legendary Jesse Colin Young. Young has been singing songs about peace, love, and the environment for nearly fifty years and is well known as a founding member of the band, Youngbloods. Originally from Queens, New York, he is also a coffee farmer, owning a six acre coffee farm in the Kona Coffee Belt, making him one compelling individual.
He is currently on tour with his band that is made up of young graduates of the Berklee College of Music, including his own son Tristan Young on bass. Father and son are joined by Aleif Hamdan on lead guitar, Donnie Hogue on drums, JennHwan Wong on keyboards, Jack Sheehan on saxophone, Virginia Garcia Alves on backing vocals, and Sally Stempler on backing vocals. Together, they played a jam packed forty-five minutes for the crowd including a new song that Young had written right after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, “Cast A Stone,” and the crowd pleasing Youngbloods classics such as “Get Together,” which had everyone singing along to every word. Music with a message is more important than ever in today’s turbulent political climate, and Jesse Colin Young still has plenty to offer.
As the day progressed, more and more people found their way to the main stage while others were out and about stopping at the food court for food and drink. Then, just before 5 PM, everyone was sure to find their way back as another legendary band known to all as Poco was about to take the stage.
Founded in 1968, Poco has a rich history as one of the first bands to pioneer Country Rock music. Joining founding member Rusty Young (vocals, guitar, pedal steel guitar, dobro, banjo) on stage was Jack Sundrud (vocals, bass, guitar), Michael Webb (vocals, keyboards, guitar, accordion), and Rick Lonow (drums, percussion), set to play over forty-five minutes of music for the fans. In tune with one another, harmonizing vocally and instrumentally crisp, they played a list of original tunes that had fans dancing and singing along. Delighting the audience and in good spirits, Poco, as a collective, was magical through “Heart of The Night” and the classic “Crazy Love.” Performing select shows through the rest of the year, Poco’s visit to Great South Bay Music Festival was a highlight of the weekend.
At this point, the day’s heat was starting to subside as the evening came in, but things were still cooking on stage as the next act was Dave Mason. Starting around the 6 PM hour, Mason is a renowned guitarist and songwriter famously known as a co-founding member of the band Traffic. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004, he has also built a very successful solo career including a Gold Record for his 1970 debut solo album Alone Together. For this performance, joining Mason on stage was Tony Patler (keyboards/vocals), Johnne Sambataro (guitar/vocals), and Alvino Bennett (drums).
Coming out to a cheering crowd, Mason started out with “World Of Changes,” “Rock And Roll Stew,” and “The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys.” Keeping that excitement going, they played the sing-along “We Just Disagree” and the classic Traffic song “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” among several other tunes. Mason spoke to the audience about the next song he wrote when he was nineteen, a song that Joe Cocker and many others have covered, “Feelin’ Alright.” Then performing one last song, Mason spoke about his relationship with the late-great Jimi Hendrix and how he was honored to play the 12-string guitar on Hendrix’s recording of Bob Dylan’s song “All Along The Watchtower,” some fans sang along as others played air guitar, it was evident that they really enjoyed Mason’s set.
With only two more acts to go, festival goers were really packing closely to the main stage wanting the best spot to see what was coming next at around 7:30 PM. Another one of Long Island’s own, Eddie Money was about to take the stage. Interestingly, there was a strong police presence lining the entire pit area of the stage. It was in honor of their fellow former New York City Police Officer, that is right, Mr. Eddie Money. A little known fact, Money had originally followed in his father’s footsteps to become a police officer, but music was his true calling. Still a huge supporter of the police force, Money was seen talking and taking photos with many of the officers on duty before his performance.
Then, ready to rock, Money came running out on stage with a huge smile, accompanied by his band, which included two of his children, his daughter Jesse and his son Dez on guitar. Starting on a high note, he hit the crowd hard with “Baby Hold On” to get the party started. A good start, before long, the whole place was jumping as they continued with “We Should Be Sleeping,” “Endless Nights,” “One More Soldier Coming Home,” “Walk On Water,” and “No Control.”
At this point in the set, the fans were going wild and people were just dancing like no one was watching as they continued with “I Wanna Go Back,” “Gimme Some Water,” “Take Me Home Tonight,” and “Think I’m In Love.” And if that was not enough fun, they concluded the set with two more fan-favorites, “Two Tickets To Paradise” and “Shakin’.” All and all a great performer, Eddie Money made Long Island proud.
The final intermission of the day gave everyone just enough time to get that one last drink or bite to eat as they prepared for the final act of the day, another legendary band, all the way from the United Kingdom, The Zombies. Arriving on stage around 9 PM, The Zombies are currently on tour celebrated their 50th anniversary of 1968’s Odessey And Oracle, fans were ready for some good time Classic Rock to close out the festival.
When the time came for the band to take the stage, the main stage area was packed to its brim. Bright white lights illuminated the stage while the fog machines pumped out some ambiance as the anticipation was building for this final act. Then the moment so many had waited for began as Colin Blunstone (vocals), Rod Argent (vocals, keyboards), Tom Toomey (guitar), Jim Rodford (bass), and Steve Rodford (drums) all came out on stage and took to their instruments, a burst of cheers drowned out the beginning of the song “I Love You.”
They continued on with one beloved track after another such as “I Want You Back Again,” “Goin’ Out Of My Head,” “A Rose For Emily,” and the all-time classic, “Time Of The Season.” Often taking time to talk about the history of a song or the history of the band itself between songs, The Zombies engaged the massive crowd all set long. Taking it back to the good old days of Rock-n-Roll, the audience loved hearing “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me,” “Bring It On Home To Me,” “Hold Your Head Up,” and of course another Zombies’ classic, “She’s Not There.” With all that, there would be no better way to end the day, or the festival itself for that matter, with the song “God Gave Rock And Roll To You.” For that, The Zombies were a perfect finale to the festival, reminding everyone there is simply nothing better than good time Rock-n-Roll!
When it was all said and done, Great South Bay Music Festival wrapped up their 11-year anniversary celebration with another successful run in 2017. It was four days of eclectic music, summer heat, family fun, and good times. Everyone in attendance enjoyed the music on all the stages, the awesome food offerings, the best craft beers/wine from right here on Long Island, and visiting the many artisan vendors. As many were leaving the grounds, they were talking about how they could not wait for next year, and judging by the success, Great South Bay Music Festival will returns again in the summer of 2018.