It was a lovefest! The Neel Performing Arts Center was a magical venue last night. The show started off with local favorite The Billy Rice Band putting on a show that had everyone on the edge of their seat. Many of Billy’s fans were there along with lots of folks who heard them for the first time. They got a standing ovation at the end of their set.
After a brief intermission Doug Gray and the Marshall Tucker Band hit the stage. It’s hard to believe that it was 45 years ago when this band first started playing and Doug has been with the band from day one. It was standing ovation after ovation. Then something very special happened about half way through the set.
First, Michael Allman came up and sang with the band, then….Doug pointed at someone in the first row and asked her to come on the stage. It was unbelievable. Twinkle Yochim of Twinkle and Rock Soul Radio ran on to the stage and started singing with the band. And, oh can Twinkle sing. She sang with each member of the band and the crowd went wild. Yes, if you were there last night, you know what I mean.
If having Twink on stage wasn’t enough, the night got even better. From the right side of the stage, who comes walking on to the stage and went over to play drums? Yes, Gary Guzzardo who played drums for the Marshall Tucker Band in the 1990’s awed the crowd. Doug Gray, being ever so cordial, told the crowd some stuff about Gary from the old days. It was awesome.
The band played all of their hits and had the crowd singing along with many of the songs. It was a night that I will never forget. I saw tears coming out of many of the attendees. Billy Rice, Doug Gray, Twinkle Yochim, Gary Guzzardo…..thank you for putting a smile on so many faces last night.
Love to you all.
photos by Vicky Sullivan / Rock the Lens Photograpy for The Sarasota Post