Concert Review… “Rock The Yacht”.

Robert Massimi.

In what was a wonderful concert last night at MPAC in Morristown, N.J.; Ambrosia played for two hours accompanied by great artists as, John Ford Coley, Denny Laine of The Moody Blues, looking Glass and Peter Beckett of Player and The Little River Band.

The concert featured Ambrosia on stage for the entire evening with special guests coming on to sing songs of the Yacht Rock Genre. Ambrosia is from the South Bay of Los Angeles, and their style of music is different than most of the California sounds from the past. Steeped in progressive music, Ambrosia gave us a different kind of sound, which covered the gamut of musical styles that intrigued bands like The Allan Parsons Project.

Ambrosia, in its brief recording history garnered five Grammy Nominations, as well as five Hit Singles. Ambrosia still has three original members, it has since added ace guitarist Doug Jackson, the very talented Mary Harris on keyboards, and Ken Stacy on vocals and acoustic guitar. The band has never been “tighter” musically, and has enjoyed a great resurgence along America as they tour throughout 2019.

Elliot Lurie of Looking Glass and a New Jersey native was the first to perform last night. Laurie’s voice was as good as ever, as he belted out three songs, ending with a sensational rendition of “Brandy.” Laurie proved once again last evening what a sensational guitarist he is, effortlessly, his cord structure brought his songs to the forefront, and was a standout during his too short time on stage.

John Ford Coley was warm and invigorating to the audience. He joked about his old age, his time touring, and he too was magnificent as he peeled through songs like “We Never Have To Say Goodbye Again” and “Really Love To See You Tonight.” A consummate professional, Coley has been wowing audiences since the 70s.

Denny Laine of The Moody Blues churned out a Beatles song, “Magical Mystery Tour” and Wings, “Band On The Run.” This was a change up from the Yacht Rock experience, however, Laine used to perform with Wings, so it made sense that he would play at least one Wings song. A rock and roll hall of fame member, Laine showed off his skills as a guitarist and vocalist.

The last person to perform last evening was Player’s Peter Beckett. Like all the others before him, he performed three songs, his anthem “Baby Come Back,” brought the house down. Beckett, from Liverpool, England, talked about his life in music and how recording “Baby Come Back” in a garage in Los Angeles changed his life forever. He went on to help create the Little River Band, as well as play and write songs for Heart, Olivia Newton-John, Kenny Rogers, and many, many more. His talents also went further, he has written many songs for movies such as St. Elmo’s Fire and Frankie and Johnny to name just two.

The MPAC’s “Rock The Yacht” was a whirlwind of great songs from yesteryear, many fun songs that consumed the FM airways in the 70s. Elliot Lurie’s version of “Dancing In The Moonlight” made the aging audience remember just how popular this song was when it first came out. Ambrosia, too, brought back the early 80s great with “Your The Biggest Part Of Me,” “How Much I Feel” and “Your The Only Woman.”

The MPAC, which continues to have fantastic artists at this beautiful venue had a surefire winner last evening. As breezy as the music itself, this new “Yacht Rock” genre is like a fine chardonnay with a nice crisp breeze as you sail away into the gallows of yesterday. MPAC was the perfect sight for this kind of concert, a smooth easy peaceful feeling as we watched these legends perform not only their songs, but songs from other great artists that until now, have been long forgotten.

MPAC will host again this year’s American in October, as well as Joan Jett. MPAC also has great works for children, as well as plays and musicals in the up coming 2019-2020 season. A spectacular venue for any kind of performance, the MPAC continues on as a leader in live performance in New Jersey.

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robert massimi
robert massimi
I have been writing on theater since 1982. A graduate from Manhattan College B.S. A member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, which recognizes excellence in both English and Science. I have produced 12 shows on and off Broadway. I’ve seen over700 shows

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Was a drama critic at Manhattan College. Wrote professionally for Bergen News, Sun Bulletin . Alpha Sigma Lambda, Beta Theta. Has seen over 600 shows worldwide, has published both on Theater and Politics. Avid reader on many subjects and writers. Chief Drama critic for Metropolitan magazine. Writes for Jerrick media, American conservative, The City Journal and Reason magazine. Has produced shows both on and off Broadway.

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