Randy Rhoads Remembered
Respectfully Rocks the bergenPAC
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

The Randy Rhoads Remembered (RRR) concert rocked the bergenPAC. It was one of two shows that Brian Tichy and Joe Sutton organized to pay tribute to a pair of hard rock legends in less than a week's time. On May 31, 2014 the duo hosted the Bonzo Bash and on June 4, 2014 they presented the music of Randy Rhoads. Both celebrations were held at the bergenPAC in Englewood, New Jersey.

Randy Rhoads Remembered Respectfully Rocks the bergenPAC
The grand finale at the bergenPAC celebrating the life and music of guitarist Randy Rhoads.

Randy Rhoads (1956-1982) was a heavy metal guitarist best known for his work with Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne. Randy melded classical guitar with shredding to shape what would become the neo-classical metal sound. He was a shining star who tragically died in a plane crash while on tour with Ozzy. Rhoads' last concert with Osbourne was at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum on 3/18/1982.

Randy was hired by Ozzy in 1979 to collaborate on Osbourne's first two solo records. Randy added lavish leads to the music of Blizzard of Ozz, which went 4 times platinum. Rhoads' effective licks throughout the eerie Diary of a Madman were highly praised at the time and beyond. Both albums are classics in the Osbourne canon with much credit going to Randy. It was reported that if Rhoads had lived he was planning on taking a break from rock to pursue a degree in classical guitar.

Randy's music was performed by The Madmen - Michael Devin (vocals), Stephen LeBlanc (keys), Rudy Sarzo (bass) and Brian Tichy (drums). The guitarists included Phil Demmel (Machine Head), Alex Skolnick (Testament), Brent Woods (Vince Neil), Jeff Young (Megadeth) and other special guests.

There was a mixed crowd at the bergenPAC with some fans present who were not even born when Randy left to play the great gig in the sky. The stage set up was straightforward with a large banner of Rhoads over the stage. Clips of Randy interviews and riffs echoed through the venue. Above the gear and lights was a draped figure holding a signature Polka Dot Flying V. He descended as the band took the stage by storm. Brent Woods was the first guitarist of the event soaring on layered leads and taking "Tonight" to new heights.

Rhoads' brother Kelle and his sister Kathy were on the scene to share some of their memories of Randy throughout the show. Next, Alex Skolnick combined showmanship with plenty of sizzle on "Believer" flowing into "Flying High Again". Paired with haunting keys Alex gave "Mr. Crowley" a cryptic vibe.

Randy Rhoads Remembered Respectfully Rocks the bergenPAC
RRR Scenes: The Blizzard of Ozz's Rudy Sarzo, Jeff Young, Michael Devin & Joel Hoekstra, and Brian Tichy on drums.

"Beautiful soul, magical person," was some of the accolades bestowed on Randy during the tribute concert. Drummer Brian Tichy thanked everyone for making time for this event. Despite the often dark tones of the music there were plenty of smiles on the performer's faces as they presented most of the songs from Ozzy's first two solo albums.

Phil Demmel armed with the Polka Dot Flying V was daunting in "I Don't Know" and brought the right blend of sizzle and seriousness to "Suicide Solution". Kelle returned to the stage commenting that Randy "wrote this next song when he was just a teenager". Kelle sang lead vocals on "Back to the Coast" from Rhoads' Quiet Riot days. Jeff Young took his turn at lead guitar on this tune. Mike Tichy and Mike Orlando of Adrenaline Mob joined Jeff in a triple axe threat to reach the summit in "Over The Mountain". Guest singer Chas West handed lead vocals as the trio shredded-a definite high point of the evening.

Brian shared a story that he was in Burbank, California back in 2000 where he had just auditioned for Ozzy. He had his drum kit in the back of a car. Tichy speeding to get to a gig hears sirens and has to stop. The officer asked for the usual paperwork when Brian starts telling him about Ozzy. The cop replies Black Sabbath was my first concert and I also pulled over Randy Rhoads on this road. The policeman sent Brian on his way with a warning to slow down sans a ticket. Then, the three guitarists went full steam into "Crazy Train" with more wild leads barreling down the hard rock track.

Chris Caffery of TSO fame was intense on "Iron Man" backed by the mighty rhythm section of Randy's bandmate Rudy Sarzo on bass and Brian Tichy on drums who were dynamic all night crafting the dark undercurrents of Ozzy's music. Chris with his TSO experience was flashy yet fast and fluid on his fret work.

"I'm so touched, amazing to me after all these years that you still love my brother," exclaimed Kathy as she introduced "Good Bye To Romance" as her favorite. The band handled this softer song with skill allowing the sentiments of the lyrics to sink in. Next, Brian Tichy switched to guitar demonstrating that not only is he a first class drummer but apt on the axe as well. A contest winner ably handled the drums as Brian played the V.

Randy Rhoads Remembered Respectfully Rocks the bergenPAC
Phil Demmel of Machine Head and the versatile Chas West on guest vocals.

Bassist Rudy mentioned that he had written a book which includes his times with Randy but more importantly Sarzo declared that Rhoads was dedicated to his craft. Furthermore, he still lived at home with his parents, he cared about his family and he cared about being the best musician he could be.

Joel Hoekstra (TSO) also brought a dramatic flair to his presentation using effects to enhance his stirring solos. Joel commented that Randy "made classical cool". Playing an acoustic Hoekstra strummed a melodic classical composition. The band returned for a daunting "Diary Of A Madman" and more manic music. Everyone who participated in this event was passionate and potent truly paying honor to a guitar great. We learned that Rhoads like his mom Delores was a music teacher and that Brent Woods was one of Randy's students - how cool is that. The last song of the night was an instrumental that Randy had written for his mother. All the guitarists were armed with unplugged acoustics to play this pretty piece, closing the show on a moving note.

SoundPress.net had also attended the Bonzo Bash a few days prior. We realized that these concerts worked extremely well as a brand. There was some cross over between the two events with guests such as Chas West and Mike Orlando playing at both. Also, Michael Devin capturing the feel of Ozzy took care of most of the lead vocals at RRR and was the bassist at the Bonzo Bash. We also noticed that the sets were similar and that Brian's kit looked like the replica Bonzo drums just reconfigured to include two base drums. Brian with Joe who was also present at both shows did allude to the fact that trying to get people's schedules to sync is tough. Yet, they have already proven it works. It will be interesting to see if they expand their growing concert series. SoundPress.net enjoyed both shows immensely.

The bergenPAC continues to host a wide range of shows such as Randy Rhoads Remembered. Upcoming events at the centrally located venue include Everlasting Love, Fifth Harmony, 1964 The Tribute, Molly Hatchet, JOBA Takes The World, Guitar Gods 2014, REO Speedwagon, Live and Hot Tuna.

Randy Rhoads Remembered Respectfully Rocks the bergenPAC
RRR Scenes: Chris Caffery of TSO, Brian Tichy on drums, and Joe Sutton with Randy's sister Kathy.

Related Links: For more information on RANDY RHOADS REMEMBERED and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Randy Rhoads Remembered | Bonzo Bash 2014 | bergenPAC.org

(Originally Published on June 06, 2014)

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