A lot of places around the greater Phoenix area were having New Year’s Eve parties, but Danny Zelisko Presents and the Celebrity Theatre had one of the best concerts of the night with local favorite, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. Roger just got back in time for the VIP event and show after his amazing performance of the “National Anthem” to kick-off the Fiesta Bowl game.
I remember in the 70s and early 80s that the Celebrity Theatre would have another Phoenix favorite, Jerry Riopelle, play every New Year’s Eve. I hope they keep up this tradition of having great locally favorite bands perform this event.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the party to review and photograph it. This is the second time I have seen Roger Clyne and the first with the full Peacemaker band. Roger is an Arizona native who grew up in the Phoenix/Tucson area. The majority of their music has a Southwestern/Sonoran flavor and is just fun to listen to. As Roger has stated many time, their music is just “Fun Bar Music”. For this event, the Celebrity Theatre pulled out the first 3 rows of seats to allow the crowd to be at the stage. Many of the people at the front of the stage were dancing and drinking and having good time. I met some very nice people while at the show that were having a really great time. A few people probably had a little too much to drink and spilled drinks on the stage which caused a small delay in the second set so they could clean up the mess. But it was New Year’s Eve and we just survived a really crappy year with many great music artists dying, so no one cried over a little spilled beer.
The show started about 9PM with Drew Hagus & The DreadNots featuring Andrew Hagar, Sammy Hagar’s son. Andrew played acoustic guitar and sang lead vocals and was accompanied by “Shredmaster” Scott Manthei on lead guitar and Jon “Jono” Lopez on percussion. They played a number of original folk style songs to warm up the audience. As a small band they were good and their music was original and enjoyable. Andrew might not have the flair and showmanship of his father, but he definitely has the talent and song writing ability. Given the current situation of the music industry, bands like Andrew’s have to resort to either crowd funding or self-funding to get their music out there for people to hear. This is really sad because bands like Andrew’s will probably only get a small following even though their talent is far beyond that. If you get a chance, please give Andrew and his band a listen, I think you will be impressed and enjoy their sound. If you want to find out more about Andrew and his band then look them up at “www.facebook.com/thebrothershagus”.
After a short break to allow the techs to re-stage the equipment, Roger and the Peacemakers came on stage. But wait, who are these long haired people in funny clothes that came out? Roger and the band decided to do a special set of just 1976 music and they decided to also dress the part with wigs and colorful 1976 clothes. Oh God, did I actually look like that and wear those clothes back in the day? They started with “Foreplay” and then did “Life in the Fast Lane” by the Eagles. Then to the crowd’s delight, Chris Kantor came out front to sing and dance, “Play That Funky Music”. At this point the crowd up front was so into it, that I was getting beer spilled all over me (and the floor) as we were all singing and dancing. The party had started and we were all having a great time. During “Anarchy”, Roger put down his guitar and came out to sing like Johnny Rotten, minus the spitting and rude jesters (thank you very much). The first set lasted a little over an hour and ended with “Dirty Deeds” and “Shaky Your Booty”. The band took a short intermission which also allowed the audience to replenish their empty drinks.
The second set was a combination of Roger’s songs over the past 20 years with a very large part of the set being from his first album Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy. They started off with “Blue Collar Suicide” and the crowd was in heaven. The song, “Heaven on a Paper Plate” was about a party with Danny Zelisko and the “Italian Beef” that was being served on paper plates.
Tonight was a special night. Normally the Peacemakers are made up of longtime friend and drummer, P.H. Naffah, Jim Dalton on lead guitar and newcomer bassist Nick Scropos. But tonight they were joined by Robert “Buc” Richards on keyboards, Chris Kantor on vocals, guitar and bass and from “The Jons” on horns and percussion, Javier Gomez and Jon Villa.
Even though Roger is the lead of the band, he allows the other members to take the spotlight. Lead guitarist Jim Dalton got to play a number of solos and Nick Scropos got to sing a few songs. One of the highlights of the night was when Chris Kantor took over lead vocals for a few songs. At midnight the band was joined on stage by Danny Zelisko, people from the Celebrity Theatre and friends of the band for the countdown and toast at midnight. Throughout the night, the band shared drinks with a number of members of the audience. It is common for members of the audience to buy shots of Roger Clyne’s “Mexican Moonshine” Tequila to be delivered to the band during the show for them to drink. Also Nick would take his bottle of “Mexican Moonshine” and pass it to the audience. The band continued to play until almost 1AM, with Chris singing lead for “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” during the encore.
Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers are not a big name band. So what you get at one of their shows is an intimate concert where the band interacts with the audience. During the shows they talk to, slap hands with and actually look and smile at the audience. RCPM is one of those bands that is one you must see live. Just like Bruce Springsteen in the early 70s, the album music is just OK, but the live performances are amazing. I just saw that Roger and the band will be coming to the Pool at Talking Stick Resort on Saturday March 25th. If you get an opportunity to see Roger, please go. You will have a great time.
Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: Celebrity Theatre
Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers
Drew Hagus & The DreadNots
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2017
RCPM Setlist (1976 Set): (Cover)
Foreplay (Boston cover)
Life in the Fast Lane (Eagles cover)
Play That Funky Music (Wild Cherry cover)
Breakdown (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
B Bop ()
Cocaine (Eric Clapton cover)
Anarchy (Sex Pistols)
Beth (KISS cover)
Let ’Em In (Sir Paul McCartney and Wings cover)
Evil Woman (ELO)
Dirty Deeds (AC/DC)
Shake Your Booty (KC and The Sunshine Band)
Set 2: (Album)
Blue Collar Suicide (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
Horses (The Bottle & Fresh Horses)
Heaven on a Paper Plate (Unida Cantina)
Ain’t Got The Words For This (The Independent)
Never Thought (Honky Tonk Union)
Mexico (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
Lemons (No More Beautiful World)
Down Together (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
California Breakdown (The Independent)
Banditos (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
Mekong (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
Beautiful Disaster (Honky Tonk Union)
Girly (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
Hello New Day (No More Beautiful World)
Nada (Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy)
Escape (The Piña Colada Song)