El Monstero / the Schwag @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Maryland Heights, MO

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
Well, well, well. The day I wasn’t sure would come, finally came...live music’s return to St. Louis! And El Monstero made sure the it was done right!

My car’s thermometer read a balmy 97 degrees as I pulled into the familiar parking lot of the amphitheatre. But like the postman, "rain, sleet, snow, or dead of night" would not have kept me from returning to this old haunt. It was great to see other photojournalists, some I had not seen in roughly 17 months. Now on with this show review!

About ten years ago I had my first El Monstero experience and to say the least, it was “OK” at best. But everyone should get a second chance, right? For those of you outside of the St. Louis area, you might be wondering, “What the heck is an El Monstero?” To put it briefly, El Monstero is a Pink Floyd cover band, with some of St. Louis’s best musicians absolutely killing it!

At the helm of the El Monstero ship are the captains Jimmy Griffin (guitar/vocals) and Mark Thomas Quinn (guitar/vocals). Both performers have had long music careers, their names are common staples in St. Louis music history. Erminie Cannon, Tandra Williams and Kirstin Kaufman hold down solid background harmonies and shine brightly during Dark Side of The Moon’s, “Great Gig In The Sky.”

With a stage full of talented musicians, lasers, exotic dancers, and massive video screens the music of Pink Floyd is brought full circle. I kind of liken the experience to what might have been, had Pink Floyd continued with today’s technology. With 20-plus years of doing this under their belts, the El Monstero team gets it! And the amphitheatre’s massive stage is the perfect setting for this, the band’s tenth anniversary of doing outdoor shows!

The pride taken in covering these classic Floyd songs was noticed and appreciated by those in attendance. A few oldies, “Astronomy Domine” and “The Nile Song” are thrown in the mix, and nailed with precision. The production team’s timing with lighting and video is unmatched by few cover bands. One of my main complaints ten years ago was the sound, but tonight all was working perfectly!

If you came to hear Floyd classics, you were not left out. As the night fades away, the strains of “Comfortably Numb” put a powerful emphasis on music’s return to St. Louis! This show also denotes the amphitheatre’s 30th year of providing musical entertainment. Congrats to them!

Another anniversary was also in order, the opening band, The Schwag, was celebrating their 30th year as well! The Schwag takes care of covering Grateful Dead tunes and does so with gusto! So did El Monstero redeem themselves from ten years ago? You betcha, five stars, highly recommended! A big thanks to the El Monstero crew for having MTC MAG in the house! And to the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre staff and crew for making it all work!

Photos of the show are below:

The Schwag
El Monstero
Contributed by Duane Clawson
El Monstero / the Schwag @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Maryland Heights, MO El Monstero / the Schwag @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Maryland Heights, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 2:30:00 PM Rating: 5
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