Good Lord, what a start to this event. I didn’t bother to check on possible restrictions for this show or even think to apply for a press pass; lesson learned for next year. No detachable lens cameras. After a five-block walk to the venue, guess who is taking his detachable lens camera back to the car? Ok, so after the fifteen-block morning round trip, I’m in. I really can’t complain, it was free admission. For those who aren’t in the know, Rib America is a travelling rib-cooking competition accompanied with live music. This year's St. Louis edition took place during the 27th- 30th of May and featured a wide range of music throughout the weekend including acts from Puddle of Mudd to Eighties faves, Loverboy.
I chose to go on Saturday to see some older favorites. The day’s festivities started off with Healing Sixes, a rocking blues band out of Indianapolis, Indiana. Next up was Derek St. Holmes, one of the founding members of Ted Nugent’s band. From the opening notes of "Cat Scratch Fever", Derek let you know his guitar playing would not be matched. Derek performed all the Ted Nugent signature songs including "Stranglehold", "Hey Baby", "Motorcity Madhouse", and "Just What the Doctor Ordered". As I posted on Facebook after Derek’s performance, “I believe Derek St. Holmes has just done irreversible damage to downtown St. Louis”.
I thought to myself, "not too bad for free". Pat Travers took to the stage opening with "Crash and Burn". Pat Travers was a fitting addition to the gifted guitarist line up on Saturday where he introduced a couple of new tunes from his album Fidelis, "Josephine" and "Ask Me Baby"; both are very good songs. Mr. Travers did a smoking version of "Red House" that would have made the blues gods very proud. As his set wound down, the classics came out; "Snorting Whiskey" and "Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)" polished off this veteran's time on stage.
Mark Farner was up next. For those who don't know, Farner is one of the founders of Grand Funk Railroad. I had originally thought this would be the point where I would stroll the rib joints and get some lunch but I decided to stick around and catch a couple songs. Surprise! This guy was damn good. Mark Farner kicked his set off with "Footstompin’ Music" followed by a myriad of GFR hits. "Sins a Good Man’s Brother", "Bad Time", "Locomotion", and "Some Kind of Wonderful" all flowed in rapid succession from this sixty-three year old's guitar. Pat Travers joined Mark onstage for a tremendous rendition of "I’m Your Captain" to close out the set.
Moving on with Ronnie Montrose, who featured Keith St. John on vocals. Ronnie, like the others, covered his classic hits such as "Make it Last", "Rock the Nation", "Rock Candy", and "Bad Motor Scooter". I have to tip my hat to singer Keith St. John, who did a commendable job providing vocals to Montrose’s music. I found out later that Keith had only rehearsed twice with Montrose prior to joining him onstage at Rib America. Pretty impressive.
The day's music for me was topped off by Eighties giant Loverboy. Loverboy was spot on with every song, even down to the last note. Singer Mike Reno had made mention of their thirty-two year career and I was immediately taken back to a place I had almost forgotten with songs like "Get Lucky", "Lady of the 80’s", "The Kid Is Hot Tonight", and "Take Me to the Top". Reno has added on some extra pounds and a few grey-haired band members but after thirty-two years of practice, this is band is extremely solid. Loverboy wound down their set with "Turn Me Loose" and provided an encore with "Working for the Weekend".
I'd like to apologize in advance. Due to the no detachable lens camera policy, I drained my point and shoot battery. Therefore, no pics of Loverboy. After eight and a half hours of music and a fifteen-block walk...I was spent. By the way, did I mention I still have the five-block walk back to the car and another show to cover? Photos of the festival are below:
Derek St. Holmes
Contributed by Duane Clawson
Rib America 2011 @ Soldier's Memorial Park, St. Louis Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 11:14:00 PM Rating: