KPC_All Star Band 2019_promo


Susan Varnes-Newland
MUSIC REVIEW by Susan Varnes-Newland
(Guest blogger from Grieve The Astronaut) ~ ~

As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….

Recently, I’ve been seeing t-shirts with this saying printed on it. “ I may be old, but I got to see all of the cool bands.” Well, I didn’t get to see ALL the cool bands ( growing up on a farm definitely hindered my concert experiences). However, I was a young person who was able to live through the excitement of those excellent musical decades. Young musicians are picking up instruments and still learning the rock classics their parents grew up with. And EVERYONE sings along with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” There is no denying the impact that Classic Rock has made on the world.


We Will rock you pic 1


I’m always thrilled when I see a Classic Rock Show being advertised. Especially when it’s at one of my favorite venues, and the band is made up of some of my favorite local artists. As soon as I found out that the Kirkland Performance Center was having the WE WILL ROCK YOU Benefit Show, I bought tickets! Not only do I love Classic Rock, I also love the Kirkland Performance Center. This is a gem of a venue. KPC is an intimate 394 seat theater, nestled in lovely downtown Kirkland. A beautiful and safe community, located on the shores of Lake Washington. We always enjoy strolling through the local restaurants and bars, before a show. The KPC is a valuable asset to the community, and definitely worth supporting.

Actually, our first residence was in Kirkland. I used to run by, what would be the future Kirkland Performance Center. In 1989, We paid $400 a month, to rent a 2 bedroom condo.
In downtown Kirkland.

Not only did I get to see the cool bands, I also got to pay cool housing prices.

THE KPC ALL STAR BAND. April 6, 2019

I’m an avid supporter of the Seattle Area Music Scene, so when I saw the ALL STAR lineup, I knew the KPC was going to have it’s roof rocked off!

Drums: (and KPC Executive Director) Jeff Lockhart, Keyboards: Chuck Dorsett, Lead Guitar: Jakael Tristram – Rock Fiddle: Geoffrey Castle – Bass Guitar: Rick Jones – Female Lead Singer: Jerri Roberts.
This is an awesome combination of musicians.

With the name WE WILL ROCK YOU, I knew there was going to be some QUEEN performed. We didn’t have to wait long for that to happen. Right out of the gate, Byron Prather whipped us up and out of our seats with “Bohemian Rhapsody”. And I have to say, it takes a lot of talent ( and courage) to sing that song. We’ve ALL been obsessed with Rami Malek’s outstanding performance as Freddie Mercury, in the 2018 movie “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Byron OWNED that song, no problem. And the addition of Jerri Roberts on vocals was a perfect combination. This was the first time I had heard her voice, and what a powerhouse! And, it was SO good to see Byron onstage again. I totally understand moving to San Diego for the sunshine….But, dude,I miss your voice!

After that, it was a blissful evening of listening and singing along to, our very favorite rock songs.

Check out this Set List:

We Will Rock You Set List

If you didn’t go to The WE WILL ROCK YOU Show, you’re totally kicking yourself now, right? The hardest part, was staying seated. We were in the middle of the second row, so I didn’t want to block anyone’s view. But believe me,I can seat dance most excellently. And seat dance we did!

I wish I could insert some of the videos I took…..well actually it’s probably good I can’t. Because I was WHOO WHOOING like a fire engine at the end of each one . Their onstage energy was tactile. I could reach out my hand, and literally feel the musical vibrations going between them. And when Geoffrey Castle came out onstage to join them, it went to a whole other performance level. The combination of his rock fiddle, with Jakael Tristram’s guitar, produced enough electricity to light up the whole Eastside! It was a good thing they had an intermission, because after watching them perform “Stairway To Heaven” and “Freebird”, I needed a breather and to wet my whistle. I can only imagine how tired and thirsty they were. The KPC ALL STAR band, poured everything they had into that incredible 12 song set.

But, fortunately, they DIDN’T pour everything into the first set. The second set continued to rock us out of our seats! I actually got jealous of the people sitting at the edges of the theatre. They finally got up and had a whole dance party going on in the aisles.

And what made it so fun, is that THEY were having fun. I think Rick Jones was smiling and grooving behind his bass the whole time. Chuck Dorsett always lights up the keyboards when he is onstage. And Jeff Lockhart is like watching a kid in a candy store, keeping that rhythm alive and moving forward on the drums. It was pure joy watching them, because you knew they were all performing out of their true love of the music. And because this was a benefit for the KPC, they all volunteered their talent.

A super fun part of the evening, was the raffle to see who won the chance to play the cowbell onstage during “ Don’t Fear The Reaper”. I was really disappointed that I didn’t possess one of the winning tickets. However, it was probably for the best. I really don’t need an embarrassing YouTube video of me, tripping over cables and speakers, while enthusiastically playing a cowbell. Bravo ladies, on a job well done!

Even though they played 24 songs, I still wasn’t ready for the evening to end. And everyone else agreed! They threw in one final song, that wasn’t on their setlist. “ Play That Funky Music.” And then we grooved our way out into a beautiful Pacific Northwest night, high on some of the best classic rock ever written. Okay, there could have been people high on ‘Washington’s legal herb’, but I didn’t smell it in the theater 😉

A fantastic night of music, benefitting a fantastic theatre. I received a thank you letter today from the KPC, stating they raised over $23,000 that night! I’m looking forward to attending more shows at the KPC. It’s always a wonderful evening.

And as a personal side note. I attend a lot of concerts, and try all different types of ear protection. That night, I tried Etymotic earplugs. LOVED them. They blocked out the loud sounds, while allowing me to hear the musicians and their music. My ears didn’t hurt at all. I ordered them on Amazon, only $20. Much better than the cheap foam earplugs, or permanently damaging your hearing. How did I hear about them? The gentleman sitting next to me at the KPC Don Felder Concert was wearing them.

PLEASE perform together again, KPC ALL STAR BAND!! You were FANTASTIC!


Susan In Seattle


Kirkland Performance Center