Fab 42

A Fabulous Tribute To The British Invasion

It was arguably the most uplifting rock 'n' roll spectacular of the year.

"Fab 42 Rock 'n' Roll Spectacular" celebrated the 42nd anniversary that The Beatles played at Carnegie Hall.

It certainly was a thrill to see a line-up starring, The Cryers along with Billy J. Kramer, Denny Laine, Joey Molland and Ian Mitchell at the Crossroads Theatre located in New Brunswick, NJ on April 7.

The small venue had a remarkably intimate vibe. The artists were all highly energetic, charismatic and responsive to the audience. The timing of the show could not be beat because it was one week following The Fest for Beatle Fans in Secaucus, New Jersey. The audience was hungry again for live rock.

Joe Orlando, an owner of Monmouth Academy of Musical Arts (MAMA) in Marlboro, New Jersey receives high marks because he dreamed up the idea for the "Fab 42 Rock n' Roll Spectacular." Then, Orlando worked his magic to successfully complete the extensive legwork to organize and bankroll this venture. As a music director of the Monmouth County-based band The Cryers, Orlando also participated in the performance by warming up the audience along with his band.

In addition, Orlando was able to give a group of students from his music school (MAMA) the opportunity of a lifetime to open for high-profile rock artists. To the delight of the audience, these talented youngsters beautifully performed some great Beatles standards such as "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and "I Saw Her Standing There."

"I was interested in organizing a show that would bring a feeling of joy to our audience," Orlando said. "That's what prompted me to do this. I always believed this was possible and it was a very exciting moment for me to see it come to fruition. We hope to do it again."

Orlando is quite talented as bassist and vocalist in The Cryers. His singing was note perfect. He is the band's music director along with Belle Liao, who is a keyboardist and vocalist. Liao's high energy dancing adds loads of fun to the mix. The remainder of the band includes Jeff Brown on vocals and guitar, Adam Glenn on keyboards and Bob Payne on drums.

Orlando prefaced "Twenty Flight Rock" with the famous tale of how it opened the door for Paul McCartney to join The Beatles because his ability to play it on guitar as a teenager so impressed John Lennon. The Cryers played many songs, but a nod especially goes to their rendition of the rock classic "Shake, Rattle and Roll!"

Some extraordinary moments peppered an evening that included many Beatles tunes and all sorts of goodies from the British Invasion.

Bay City Roller Ian Mitchell played several songs and was quite charismatic and gutsy appearing on stage donning a kilt. Mitchell actually welcomed audience members on-stage to join him in singing his chart-topping hit "Saturday Night." Mitchell puts on a fun-filled show, so it is a treat when he travels from California to the East Coast to perform.

Billy J. Kramer gave an inspired performance, and it was most interesting when he spoke about The Beatles. He spoke tenderly about his dear friend, the late George Harrison, and followed this with the special Traveling Wilbury hit "Handle Me with Care." Kramer gave this song his heart and soul and he has a strong stage presence. He is a high-energy performer and quite personable.

Denny Laine was rockin', just as expected given the current rumor-mill buzz. Just imagine the extensive list of songs he can draw from in a career that includes Wings and The Moody Blues. Laine was in wonderful form, playing hit songs from Wings such as "Band On The Run" and "Live and Let Die." A highlight was when he played the beloved Moody Blues hit "Go Now."

Joey Molland gave a thrilling performance and his standout moment had to be Badfinger's hit, "Come and Get It." Molland truly mesmerized the audience with a larger than life personality, a funny sense of humor and by playing many songs from rock history.

Rev. Greg Schmidt of UMRK Web Radio announced each act with great excitement. He is known for having an extensive knowledge of rock, particularly The British Invasion and The Beatles. Schmidt has programs on UMRK Web Radio on Tuesday and Saturday evenings, so tune in and try to challenge him with a request.

In closing the show, the musicians all joined together on stage to sing a moving "Hey Jude." The audience was welcomed on the stage once again and this enhanced the tremendous feeling of togetherness.

As the crowd exited the building, it was clear that our spirits had been lifted. Orlando's wish to bring joy to the audience had come true on this magical evening. Fab 42 was not just fabulous, it was spectacular.

Here's to the next Beatles related rock spectacular!

[ Websites: www.thecryers.com, www.monmouthacademy.com ]

Maureen Shames

Maureen Shames has written for the Sentinel, a Greater Media Newspaper in Middlesex County, and was Editorial Assistant of The Jewish Voice of Greater Monmouth County. She has also freelanced for the Asbury Park Press and The Atlantic City Press. As a hobby, she enjoys honing her writing skills by writing music reviews, and these are her true passion! She has written reviews for the Greasy Lake website of Bruce Springsteen concerts, and for Beatles cover band websites such as the Fab Faux and the Fab Four.