The 5th Annual Rock Against MS Benefit Concert & Awards Ceremony
March 25, 2017
Los Angeles Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
Photos and writing by TourBusLive.com
“God gave me this MS shit to save my life” – Richard Pryor
“Richard Pryor is the best standup comedian of all time. When he passed away, I felt like I lost a friend and I never met the man. That’s how great he was. I am truly honored to be a small part of this event.” – Bill Burr
When well-known L.A. area rock-n-roll publicist Nancy Sayle got the diagnosis several years ago that she herself has Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, she decided to do something about it: She started the Rock Against MS (RAMS) foundation. Asking some of her long-time friends and associates to join her in her battle, the Rock Against MS Benefit Concert was born in 2013, and had its first benefit show in March of that same year.
Up until now, that show was held at the world-famous Whisky-A-Go-Go in Hollywood, California, owned by the legendary Maglieri family. The support from the Maglieri family was invaluable as RAMS got its start – and all the more special, as the family actually lost one of their own, Penny (Maglieri) Tuttle, to this terrible disease just days prior to that first RAMS benefit concert back in 2013. So it was hard to leave the comfort and security of the Whisky, but the show has grown to such proportion that it needed to relocate.
So, this year, the show found a new home – and MAN was it impressive! The 5th Annual Rock Against MS Benefit Concert & Awards Ceremony took place in the historic, ornate, and breathtaking LOS ANGELES THEATRE in DTLA!
Walking the ORANGE CARPET in the beautiful lobby of the LA Theatre before the show were the night’s performers, as well as celebrities in attendance, including renowned addiction specialist and radio/TV host DR. DREW PINSKY, television’s MODERN FAMILY actor SPENSER MCNEIL, FULLER HOUSE actor MICHAEL CAMPION, THE FORGIVEN actress DEBBIE SHERMAN, A.N.T. FARM’s AEDIN MINCKS, and JENNIFER LEE PRYOR, widow of infamous comedian, RICHARD PRYOR, who died in 2005 of MS, the very disease that brought everyone together for this big event. Later in the show, Jennifer accepted the newly-named RICHARD PRYOR PLATINUM PEOPLE AWARD for recognition in service to the foundation.
And, throughout the night, attendees could see artwork on display (and for sale, with portions of the proceeds going to RAMS) by well-known artist JOEY FELDMAN, rising-star artist MAX GOLDSMITH, and on stage, next to the musicians THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE SHOW, was famed performance artist NORTON WISDOM – whose kinetic painting is created – and RE-created – on a huge light board all through the night while Norton is inspired by the music being played right beside him! Fans were also able to donate more by bidding on many items in the silent auction, and by purchasing special ROCK AGAINST MS and F*CK MS t-shirts, signed guitars and drum heads, and one lucky fan even went home with the raffle-winning Schecter guitar signed by the night’s participants.
And the architecture of the venue wasn’t the only thing that was breathtaking – so was the lineup, hosted by comedians BILL BURR (Breaking Bad/Date Night), CRAIG GASS (Sex in the City/Howard Stern Show), and JIM FLORENTINE (That Metal Show)!
In fact, the night was capped by ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAMER and Grammy Nominee NANCY WILSON of HEART as she played a set that DEBUTED her new side project ROADCASE ROYALE, featuring LIV WARFIELD (formerly of Prince’s New Power Generation), RYAN WATERS, DAN ROTHCHILD, BEN SMITH, and CHRIS JOYNER.
And playing in one amazing supergroup after another was a plethora of great musicians, including (in no particular order) JEFF PILSON of Foreigner – who was also the evening’s Musical Director, RUDY SARZO (Quiet Riot, Ozzy), ROBERT SARZO (Hurricane), DUG PINNICK (King’s X), STEVEN ADLER (Guns N’ Roses), JERRY CANTRELL (Alice In Chains), MIKE INEZ (Alice In Chains), GILBY CLARKE (Guns N’ Roses), SCOTTI HILL (Skid Row), RICHIE KOTZEN (Mr. Big, The Winery Dogs), BILLY SHEEHAN (Mr. Big, The Winery Dogs), BRUCE WATSON (Foreigner), MICHAEL BLUESTEIN (Foreigner), CHRIS FRAZIER (Foreigner), JOEL HOEKSTRA (Whitesnake, Night Ranger), MICHAEL DEVIN (Whitesnake, Lynch Mob), PHIL BUCKMAN (Fuel, Filter), MARTY O’BRIEN (Lita Ford, Tommy Lee), HOWIE SIMON (Nelson, Alcatrazz), GRETCHEN BONADUCE, PATRICK STONE (Adler’s Appetite), MATT STARR (Ace Frehley), ANTHONY “TINY” BIUSO (TSOL, The Dickies), RODGER CARTER (John 5), JOE RETTA (Sweet), LISA FOREMAN (Todd’s Planet), ), SHAWN DUNCAN (Odin, Bullet Boys), ACE VON JOHNSON (Faster Pussycat), TANYA O’CALLAHAN (Bonnie Wood), TEDDY ‘ZIG ZAG’ ANDREADIS (The Boxmasters, Guns N’ Roses), and MORE!
And if those accomplished musicians in these great line-ups weren’t enough, the night saw a very convincing set from tribute band QUEEN NATION (with GREG FINSLEY, MIKE MCMANUS, PETE BURKE, and PARKER COMBS)!
From start to finish, this show was incredible, beginning with a few heartfelt songs in tribute to recently-fallen musicians Emerson and Lake from ELP, Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire, Bowie, and Prince. And then, one after another, the supergroups churned out kick-ass covers from great bands, ending with many of the night’s artists converging on stage for the finale – AC/DC’s “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)” – complete with the bagpipes courtesty of piper JOHN ALLEN!
TO SEE ALL THE PHOTOS OF THIS NIGHT:
Congratulations to Nancy, her tireless crew of technicians, her event team, the sponsors, and to all the musicians for a successful night! And a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who came out to support this worthy cause.
Every single hour in the U.S. alone, someone new is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This progressive and disabling disease affects the central nervous system and is unpredictable, causing symptoms ranging from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. donations@rockagainstMS.org
This year’s show sponsors included AEG, KLOS, the LA Theatre, D’Addario, Angel City Brewery, Hilton Hotels, Schecter Guitars, SIR Rehearsal Studios, and yours truly at TourBusLive.com
KARN EVIL 9 (ELP)
SUFFRAGETTE CITY (Bowie)
SHINING STAR (Earth, Wind & Fire)
LET’S GO CRAZY (Prince)
SYMPHONY OF DESTRUCTION (Megadeth)
LAST IN LINE (Dio)
QUEEN NATION set including DON’T STOP ME NOW and BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
SLOW AN’ EASY (Whitesnake)
THUNDERKISS 65 (White Zombie)
VASOLINE (Stone Temple Pilots)
RICHIE KOTZEN BAND set
I WANNA BE SEDATED (The Ramones)
ROCKET QUEEN (Guns N’ Roses)
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (Guns N’ Roses)
NO EXCUSES (Alice In Chains)
GOT ME WRONG (Alice In Chains)
ROADCASE ROYALE set Including originals [GET LOUD, NOT GIVIN’ UP, HOLD ON TO MY HAND, THE DRAGON, INSANIAC] and HEART songs CRAZY ON YOU and THESE DREAMS
LONG WAY TO THE TOP (IF YOU WANNA ROCK N’ ROLL) – (AC/DC)