Willy's 50th
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Willy's 50th

 

This one was so big, it has it's own page! Bill Greene celebrated his 50the birthday at the ELKS club last night taking a musical trip down memory lane with band members coming from as far as Nashville (Michael Dukes), Kentucky (Steve McCabe), California (Luis Zambrana), and the East Coast (Kevin Finnegan and Frank and Zach Manchisi) to celebrate the event. Reunions of sorts abounded all night including the Benders and the Nukes and despite tearing his tendon only three days before, Bill Greene easily captured MVP honors for his performance(s) throughout the entire evening. I've even included a letters to the editor link below for anyone to post their memories of the event which I will post along with photos to preserve this one!

In a nod to the new generation, LITE WITE (Zach Greene who also celebrated his graduation from Mizzou, Young Tom Greene and Young James Manchisi) kicked off the event with Cadillac Ranch and then were joined by Bill for a performance of Free Falling (All setlists as best I can remember are here)

Following LITE WITE, Volcanic Ash took the stage. Volcanic Ash consists of John Schroeder, Bill and Mike and was aptly named as their first gig was cancelled with Manchisi being stuck in Europe in April due to the erupting volcano. The curse continued early on as Come Dancing and Strawberry Fields were both sabotaged by 3 power outages until the sound could be put on a separate circuit. Despite rumors to the contrary, there is no evidence that Tom Greene was behind "the curse" though rumors of locusts for the next gig were overheard in the men's room. The girls joined the band for the chorus of She Likes Hair Bands and the band closed strong with a version of Red House that featured James Manchisi and Steve Glixman dueling on guitar and trumpet during the solos (One of the many highlights of the evening). The band closed with Side II of Abbey Road to thundering applause though "Her Majesty" may have been a flawed choice after the big ending, and almost cost Greene his MVP (well not really).

Kev Finnegan (who served as a fantastic emcee for the night) then introduced the Nukes, and while there were many highlights throughout the evening, the energy and power of the opener (Administration) was amongst the best I've seen (I served as guest guitarist to the band in Hunter's absence). Steve, Lou and Bill ripped through 8 songs and brought back a host of memories for the crowd. All these guys have great chops and the short but blistering set closed with I'm Down and My Generation with Lou leaving it all on the stage.

The Benders were up next (including Tom Townsend) and delivered a strong 13 song performance. Tom Wilson was outstanding and his version of Hoochie Coochie Man earned a standing ovation from the crowd . Hearing Townsend's keyboard on Leave Your Hat On also brought back memories and the band were clearly a favorite of the parents in the crowd.

Taking the stage at around 11:15, WITE LITE opened with Don't Pull Your Love and Little Wing and clearly had to rise to the occasion following so many strong bands. Zach Manchisi joined the group for Fire and then the WITE LITE equivalent of Michael Nesmith reuniting with the Monkees occurred. Frank Manchisi, the founding father of the band (see the History page for details) took the stage for the first time in over a decade to perform Canned Heat's version of Goin Up the Country.  The band then invited up guests including Tom Townsend for Wall Street (including the middle part), Steve McCabe and Ray for Apolitical Blues and Slow Down and Lou for I Saw Her Standing There. Play That Funky Music brought the crowd to the dance floor and the band closed it out with Born to Run (with Zach and Dick Zempel on sax) and Fight for your Right to party, complete with the crowd chanting "WITE LITE BOYS" during the final verse.

A great mix from Brian at IRONMAN sound and fabulous food from Hui at China in Bombay made for an outstanding evening. Happy Birthday Willy!

Comments and Photos will be posted here. Please send them to witelite@mac.com