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Now in it’s 3rd year, the Ride for Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund event is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable fund formed in honor of the legendary Ronnie James Dio who lost his life to stomach cancer on May 16, 2010. It successfully brings together devoted fans and musicians to honor his enormous musical legacy of contributing his powerful vocals in Black Sabbath, Rainbow, and Dio while raising funds to promote cancer research.

This year’s live entertainment in the park included Lynch Mob, Eddie Money, Rough Cutt, Dio’s Disciples , The Loveless, Sonia Harley, and No Small Children with special performances by ex Guns & Roses drummer Steven Adler and guitarist Lita Ford (The Runaways).

Dio Cancer Fund co-founder and president Wendy Dio and the cavalcade of motorcycle riders  kicked off the festivities at Glendale Harley-Davidson then made the short trip to Los Encinos State Park as the dark, storm clouds loomed overhead.

Food trucks were on site throughout the day. Those participating include Slammin’ Sliders, G’s Taco Spot, Greenz on Wheelz and Archie’s Ice Cream. Sponsors lending their continued support to the RIDE FOR RONNIE include Harley-Davidson of Glendale, Law Tigers and Ninkasi Brewing Company. New to the event this year are Bigg Time Entertainment and LA’s rock radio station, 95.5 KLOS.

A silent auction was conducted at one of the exhibit booths throughout the afternoon, while live auctions, featuring one-of-a-kind rock collectibles took place in between sets with the help of That Metal Show host and current host of a daily show on Sirius XM’s Volume channel 106 Eddie Trunk. Trunk, who has had a major presence at many of the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund events offered his perspective; “It’s great to see the fans coming out. It’s great to see the support for it and I think really what this serves beyond the charitable thing and the money for the fund which of course is incredibly important, but I think above and beyond that what this does is it brings Ronnie’s fans together, the community together and a lot of people here were good friends or fans of Ronnie’s and it’s just a great thing to keep his memory alive. It really serves a lot of purposes.”

After lively sets by No Small Children, Sonia Harley and The Loveless, Trunk welcomed Wendy Dio and Dr. Sandeep Kapoor to the stage as they presented their latest $25,000 check to Dr. David Wong. Wong and the UCLA School of Dentistry have been investigating the development of a non-invasive saliva test that will help in determining early detection of cancer.

The “Money Man”, Eddie Money came onstage to perform his radio hits “Shakin,” “Baby Hold On,” “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “I Think I’m in Love.” Money had a long-standing friendship with Ronnie and was happy to take part. His band mainly consisted of family members including daughter Jesse on vocals, Zac on drums, and Des on guitar.

Up next was singer Paul Shortino and his band Rough Cutt who used the now steadily falling rain as an opportunity to implement a rhinestone emblazoned umbrella as a prop, swinging and swirling it like a samurai sword. It was a minor miracle none of the band slipped on the slick stage deck as the road crew scrambled to cover the amps and drum kit from the intensifying downpour. Their set ended on a high note as the group welcomed many of the rockers on hand to join them onstage for a performance of the Hear N’ Aid song “Stars.” 

Steven Adler, who was a late addition to the bill, brought in some guest players to bust out a trio of Guns N’ Roses favorites. The rain was starting to subside so Adler asked to remove the protective canopy erected over the drum kit and proceeded put on a showy display of drum pyrotechnics ”…and the crowd went wild.” Starting his set with “Welcome to the Jungle,” Budderside’s Patrick Stone handled vocals with Alex Grossi and Robert Sarzo on guitar and Jeff Pilson handling bass. 

Pilson, in particular, was a wild man onstage, reaching his bass toward the crowd letting fans strum a few notes at the end. Despite some initial microphone snafus, Lita Ford did a stellar job with “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” with Stone returning to the stage late in the performance to duet with her. Finishing out the set, Whitesnake‘s Mike Devin joined Stone for co-vocals on “Rocket Queen.” 

Dio Disciples who had a close tie to Ronnie delivered a slew of Dio’s crown jewels; “Holy Diver,” “Stand Up and Shout,” “Heaven and Hell” and “Rainbow in the Dark.” Joe Retta’s and Craig Goldy’s powerful performances on vocals and guitar were among the the most emotional highlights of the day.

Headliner, Lynch Mob, featuring metal guitar god George Lynch attracted the largest crowd of the day to the front of the stage in anticipation of witnessing his legendary fretboard fireworks. They were not disappointed as he churned out crushing power chords with his imitable style and fury. Personally I was hoping to hear some deep tracks like “Into the Fire” or  “Breaking the Chains” from his days with seminal 80’s rock band Dokken and he did pull (just one) from the vault entitled “When Heaven Comes Down.

” It was entertaining to watch Lynch meticulously  tune his guitar and prepare/arrange his numerous effects  petals. Dryly cracking wise he quipped  “…Even After Dinner George Boils Eggs… that’s your guitar lesson for the day.” Referring, of course, to the corresponding letters of the six guitar strings, E-A-D-G-B-E. About three quarters through their set a cold breeze and darkening skies signaled the weather was about to get nasty.

Mercifully mother nature waited until the very last song before unleashing her torrent. As the roadies franticly scrambled to cover the expensive gear the impending thunder and lighting made the scenario even more chaotic. As the band members and guests huddled backstage under what little shelter was available the downpour started to fade and everyone breathed a sigh of relief allowing them to bask in the afterglow of another Rockin’ Ride for Ronnie. 

Interesting footnote:  Innovative company EYELLUSION has big plans to bring Ronnie back, reuniting the Dio band via Hologram for “An unforgettable live rock experience.” Scheduled to play theaters and festivals this fall. 

Venerable prog rock prognosticators, King Crimson, filled downtown’s Orpheum Theater for a two night stint with hard core devotees, curious newcomers, and discriminating music aficionados to witness a rare performance of unbridled talent and ferocity.  A pre-recorded message by Fripp has opened the band’s shows, advising concertgoers to “embrace the moment” and not to even consider using cell phones, but instead to “use your ears to record and your eyes to video” and tonight was no exception.
Considering the fact that the King of Crimson, founding member Robert Fripp, surreptitiously stated back in 2012 that he was quitting the music biz for good. Apparently, this all stems from a altercation with music giant, Universal Music Group, who recently bought up a series of independent labels that own parts of his back catalog. Fripp believes this action has led to the release of unauthorized releases under his name. “I couldn’t concentrate on music, so I made the choice to give up my career as a musician in the front line to deal with the business.” Fripp had been in a tangled legal dispute with Universal from 2007 to 2012, and referred to his life as a professional musician as “…a joyless exercise in futility.”
Fast forward to 2013 when, to the joy of legions of prog rockers everywhere, the legendary guitarist and musical visionary announced plans for a 2014 tour. From his record label DGM diary he wrote; “At 18.55 King Crimson VIII moved to its next stage of actualization.This is a very different reformation to what has gone before: seven players, four English and three American. The Point Of Crim-Seeing was of a conventional Back Line reconfigured as the Front Line. The Seven-Headed Beast of Crim is in Go! mode.” Keeping true to the elegance and refinement of K.C.’s music Fripp and co. choose to play intimate, regal theaters rather than halls or arenas, which they could undoubtedly fill.
It was apparent that this was not going to be your usual rock concert. Typically the drummer plays behind the the lead singer and guitarist. This new configuration puts not one but three! drummers on the “front line” while the bass, keyboards, sax, guitars, and vocalist are poised on risers to the rear. The drumming frontline features three incredibly talented percussionists. Pat Mastelotto has been in various KC line-ups since the mid-1990s. Bill Reiflin has spent time with Ministry, The Swans, and R.E.M. among others. Gavin Harrison is “on loan” to KC from the great modern prog-rock band Porcupine Tree. Each one of these drummers worked as a complimentary percussion section, passing fills, beats, and cymbal crashes between them effortlessly. Putting these three drummers out front  was a stroke of genius! As they each played their own syncopated passages, on occasion, two would stay on beat as the third went off with bells, chimes, synthesizers, samples, and gongs, Reiflin also doubled on digital Mellotron, adding crucial orchestral parts to classic KC material formerly played on the original analog instruments.
K.C. has always incorporated elements of rock, jazz, classical music, and bold experimentation. The multi talented saxophonist/flutist Mel Collins, a member from 1970-72, added incredible nuance and acuity to tonight’s performance. Long time Crimson bassist, Tony Levin’s playing is an exercise in power and accuracy. “New guy” guitarist/vocalist Jakko Jakszyk, who fronted Crim alumni group 21st Century Schizoid Band and collaborated with Fripp and Collins on 2011’s “A Scarcity of Miracles” album, handled his singing/strumming duties  masterfully and memorably. He also played a custom guitar with the iconic screaming man art work from the debut K.C. album “Court of the Crimson King”emblazoned on the guitar body. f
Mastermind Fripp was positioned stage left seated near a large array of electronic equipment and controls playing his guitar/keyboards like some other worldly android guiding his crew through an intergalactic exploration of sonic frontiers. The 68 yr. old seemed to heartily enjoy the show the three drummers were exacting in front of him as his fingers moved about the fretboard with dazzling precision and proficiency.
Highlights included the cacophonous, whisper to scream, “Pictures of a City,” the incomparable  sonic crush of “Red,” and of course the prophetic “21st Century Schizoid Man.” “…Nothing he has he really needs…” indeed! Now that Fripp has gathered his collaborators once again and hit the road there is a chance for new K.C. music on the horizon.
 Setlist: 8:20-10:20pm
• Intro/Improv (accompanying an audio sample from “Islands”)
• Larks’ Tongues in Aspic: Part 1
• Pictures of a City
• A Scarcity of Miracles
• Hell Hounds of Krim >
• Red
• Coda: Marine 475
• Hells Bells>
• The ConstruKCtion of Light (Part 1)
• Level Five
• Interlude/Improv
• The Letters
• Sailor’s Tale
• The Light of Day>
• The Talking Drum>
• Larks’ Tongues in Aspic: Part 2
• Starless
• Hoo Doo (?)
• 21st Century Schizoid Man