2013 East Coast Bonzo Bash – An All-Star tribute to Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham Featuring:Chad Smith, Mike Portnoy, Carmine, Appice, Jerry Gaskill, John Hummel, A.J. Pero, Steven Wolf, Liberty Devitto, Jojo Mayer, Brian Tichy, Michael Cartellone, Ron Lipnicki, Eddie Trunk & More June 1, 2013
Bergen Performing Arts Center
Englewood, NJ Reviewed by: Antonio Marino Jr.
Bonzo Bash is the brain-child of Brian Tichy, a first-call drummer who wanted to put together a concert celebrating the patron Saint of rock drummers – John Bonham. In 2010 Tichy, placed a few calls and before he knew it Bonzo Bash became a reality. The concept being that a cast of drummers pick their favorite Led Zeppelin tune and then sit behind an exact replica of Bonham’s kit as they get to revert back to the songs that they cut their teeth on as kids learning to play drums.
The first five Bonzo Bash events were West Coast affairs, each show garnering more attention and hype than the last. Sensing that it was time to take his labor of love on the road Tichy put together a world-class collection of drummers and brought the party to the East Coast for 3 shows – New York City, Amityville, Long Island and his home-state New Jersey. The roster of players ranged from John Bonham’s peers (Carmine Appice) to session aces (Steven Wolf) to drummers in some of the world’s biggest bands (Chad Smith). Collectively record sales for those assemble would be well over 100 million albums but ego and personal accomplishments were never remotely on display during the 4 plus hour show.
The evening was emceed by Carmine Appice and radio/TV personality Eddie Trunk. Appice recounted the time that an up and coming John Bonham asked Carmine to place a call to a drum manufacturer to plead for an endorsement. Vouching for the then unknown drummer Carmine assure the drum maker that “these guys (Led Zeppelin) might amount to something.” As the night went along Appice seemed to have a connection to each drummer on the stage which made for the perfect occasion to have this eclectic gathering of drummers pause their celebration of John Bonham to present Carmine with a much deserved “Legend Award”. A genuinely appreciative Carmine thanked Brian Tichy who by all account is the modern day version Appice. His resume is impressive but its Tichy’s childlike excitement that makes the evening flow and build momentum. His energy is contagious and is most likely the reason that these events go on without any sense of ego or one upsmanship.
Concluding the evening all of the drummers came onstage and take one last turn behind the kit as the others kept beat on various percussive instruments. Closing in on a midnight curfew it was interesting to see Tichy try and hurry his fellow drummers to make sure that they all got a turn behind the set. Seeing that everyone was having way too much fun to pay attention to a curfew it was refreshing to Tichy throw caution to the wind and he let his friends play on, even imploring Eddie Trunk to take a seat behind the drums.
It’s impossible to leave a show like this without a huge grin and the the idea that “I hope they do this again”. Music has become so predictable and by-the-numbers that when you’re presented great musicians playing for the love music – you’re blown away. Of course there’s the chance that events like this being put together too often makes them stale but I can’t help think it’s a risk worth taking. Do yourself a favor and catch the next Bonzo Bash that is anywhere near your town!!!!
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