GLEN BURTNIK'S BIG BAND
Brings the Soundtrack of the Summer of Love to Wayne
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

The Summer of Love was alive and well at the Shea Center for Performing Arts in Wayne, New Jersey. On May 5, 2013 Glen Burtnik and the Summer of Love Experience showcased the music of the 60's in a series that has become known as the Summer of Love Concerts.

Glen Burtnik Brings the Summer of Love Experience to the Campus of William Paterson University
Glen's Burtnik's big band on stage at the Shea Center in Wayne.

Bassist and vocalist Glen Burtnik has performed with many greats including ELO, Styx and Don Henley to name a few. Currently, Glen is leading a talented team of over a dozen players in the Summer of Love shows. The concerts are a labor of love - love for that incredible short period of time in music history. On a number of occasions Burtnik proclaimed their passion for the songs both verbally and more importantly in their performances.

The music started in and around the 1967 release of The Beatles iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album and culminated with songs from the famous Woodstock concert of 1969. In addition to heavy and psychedelic music the set list included Top 40 pop tunes from that era.

The psychedelic experience of this show was further enhanced by the inclusion of Marc Rubinstein's Pig Light Show that became legendary at the Fillmore East concerts in the late 60's and early 70's. The Pig Light Show ran the entire length of the Summer of Love concert adding more color, images and shapes to the music.

Glen Burtnik Brings the Summer of Love Experience to the Campus of William Paterson University
Scenes from the Summer of Love Experience.

Soundpress.net took their seats around 7:30 p.m. and found two musicians sitting on an oriental rug playing tablas and a sitar. The venue smelled of incense and this set the mood for the experience. Around eight, the stage went dark as Glen and the band walked out.

"Are you guys stoned, what's it like?," jested Burtnik as they opened with a vibrant Hendrix version of Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" showcasing a dynamic guitar duel between Glen and Joey. Many of the players were dressed in hippie garb and a number of Glen's instruments were painted in psychedelic themes.

Next, four attractive female singers joined the band for an animated "Gimme Some Lovin" by The Spencer Davis Group. Glen on bass led a four piece through a full-length version of The Door's "Light My Fire." Joey aptly handled lead vocals and guitar. This was one of two Doors songs showcased on Friday night. The ladies returned with the horn section for a colorful take on the Rolling Stones' "Like A Rainbow" with the Pig Light Show providing a perfect backdrop. The Stones were also well represented as later The Experience presented a potent "Gimme Shelter."

The concert featured plenty of vocalists. Emily Grove stepped up center stage to sing Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock." Half way through the song the band came in moving it into the more rocking CSN&Y version with the guys soaring on guitars. Other powerful women were represented on Friday night with tracks from Janis Joplin and the Jefferson Airplane. Hits from the era were also part of the show with "California Dreaming" and "Good Vibrations " shining brightly.

Glen Burtnik Brings the Summer of Love Experience to the Campus of William Paterson University
Glen Burtnik - former Styx member and original Beatlemania alumnus leads this 60's music ensemble.

"Any Beatles fans here?," asked Glen as they went into a wonderful "I Am The Walrus" with a string section. They captured a lot of the unique sounds of the original. It was followed by a spirited "All You Need is Love." A singer named Freedom strolled out backed by the horns with all aptly handling the soulful "Try A Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding. They closed the first set with a galvanized "Dance To The Music" by Sly and The Family Stone.

The Experience came out strong in the second half with the magical music of Santana featuring a number of sizzling solos. This was countered by Emily armed with an acoustic singing Melanie's "Brand New Key." "Freedom" was enchanting and dedicated to the late great Richie Havens.

More hits from the period were performed including a sweet version of Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe." The Experience put a unique spin on a "Whiter Shade of Pale" and they did Joe Cocker's presentation of The Beatles "With A Little Help From My Friends." Lance Larson added his own expressions and movements to the song as he worked the whole stage. They closed the set with a cheerful "Happy Together."

Glen Burtnik Brings the Summer of Love Experience to the Campus of William Paterson University
More scenes from the Summer of Love Experience.

For the encore, Joey soared on the "Star Spangled Banner" the way Hendrix did it at Woodstock with lots of effects and long notes. They finished the show on a high note with "Love the One You're With."

Glen Burtnik and the Summer of Love Experience rocked the Shea center with their tribute to the music of the late 60's. Their presentation was engaging, energized. and covered a wide range of songs and styles. The concert was fun and allowed the Summer of Love to live on for the Woodstock generation and for all ages!

THE SUMMER OF LOVE EXPERIENCE: Glen Burtnik, bass, bongos, guitar & vocals; Sarah Tomek, drums; Vinny Daniele, bass; Joey LaFragola, guitar; Dusty Micale & Mike Stein, keyboards; Tommy LaBella & Rick Brunermer, saxophones; John Berry, trumpet; Roger Lipson, sitar; Emily Grove, Eryn Shewell, Sheri Gilmore, Christina Shfer, Freedom Bremner, Lance Larson, Peter Schulle, Vinny and Joey - vocals

Glen Burtnik Brings the Summer of Love Experience to the Campus of William Paterson University
The grand finale capped off a concert that lasted nearly 3 hours with a short intermission.

Related Links: For more information on the GLEN BURTNIK and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Glen Burtnik | Summer of Love Experience | Shea Center

(Originally Published on May 05, 2013)

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