Beautiful C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines was the scene for the 2nd annual Rockfest 80’s festival. The Saturday lineup of national acts included Steelheart, Dokken, Sebastian Bach and two Rock & Roll Hall of Fame bands, Cheap Trick and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts!
The day started with local opening act The Mason Pace Band. South Florida teens not to be underestimated, Mason and his band have had their original songs produced by music genius Mark Hudson, (yes, of the Hudson Brothers). Popular around the east coast area, they are pro’s at playing the local festival circuit. Stellar Revival who toured European festivals and won the “Living on a Prayer” contest to open for Bon Jovi made a rare appearance at the fest. Great openers to get the day started.
Steelheart had a huge hit in 1990 with “I’ll Never Let Go” (Angel Eyes) which hit number 14 on the US Billboard chart. The band has over gone changes over the years but one thing that hasn’t changed is the voice of Milijenko Matijevic, original lead vocalist. They played a great set with Mili, a charismatic presence on the catwalk that got the crowd fired up!
Dokken, part of the 1980’s metal and MTV scene is still going strong. The lineup for the festival was of course, originator Don Dokken, original drummer “Wild” Mick Brown, on bass Chris McCarvill and long, long haired guitarist, Ira Black. Black plays when guitarist Jon Levin is not available. The hits like “Just Got Lucky” and “Into the Fire” kept comin’ and the crowd was growing larger by the time Dokken took the stage.
Up next, Sebastian Bach! Former lead singer of Skid Row, Bach is a force all on his own! One of the truly underestimated lead vocalists of rock! Baz, (nickname) was totally stoked about playing the festival with his heroes, Cheap Trick and Joan Jett! He has shared the stage with Zander playing with the “Kings of Chaos” but never with Cheap Trick. He opened his set with “Little Wing” was in full rock mode, signature moves of swinging the mic and hair everywhere! Skid Row fans were in for a treat since besides his cover of Hendrix, the entire setlist was Skid Row. Bach’s voice was in stellar form and his band was tight.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famers and one of America’s best bands Cheap Trick took the stage with their opening tune of “Hello There”. Robin Zander surprised Sebastian by bringing him onstage for an unrehearsed version of “California Man”. Bach, being a fan knew the tune and was able to keep up. The energy was electric between Bach’s thrill of being onstage with his childhood musical heroes and the audience’s excitement of watching it all unfold. Guest drummer Robin Taylor Zander was keeping the beat for Dax Nielsen who was at home waiting for his new baby! It’s all in the family for Trick! An amazing band, there is no doubt why they are still here after 40 years! They have a new CD out for the holidays, called “Christmas Christmas”, don’t miss hearing Robin Zander do “Silent Night”.
Closing out Saturday was the queen of rock, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts! #87 on the Rolling Stone list of Greatest Guitarists, petite Jett in black leather is a powerhouse! Joan played some Runaway covers including “Cherry Bomb”. Her Runaway cohort Lita Ford played the festival on Sunday. Joan played an 18 song set-list of hits and her encore tune was a cover of Sly Stone’s “Everyday People”. Rock On!
photos by Vicky Sullivan / Rock the Lens Photography