Great White Concert Review
HappyJack is back with another RARA’s Farm concert review.
Minutes after finishing my afternoon radio show here in Jacksonville, I grabbed my gear and headed downtown to the Jacksonville Fair; where on this rain soaked evening, the band had a show to do; live in front of thousands of fair go-er’s. A nice way to branch your music to others of all music genres.
Now, I was born here in Jacksonville back in the Kennedy era – and we have always had a festival or fair for as long as I can remember. And this big Southern town – home of many music superstars and hall of fame artists – knows how to throw a party!
And when they chose artists for the annual “Jacksonville Fair” they wanted the best musical artists – acts with songs always on the radio – songs we always hear and sing along to. This year’s line-up featured Great White, a popular band on classic rock radio stations. This band has came a long way from the beginning. Founding member and lead guitarist extraordinaire, Mark Kendall, was a rock music fan from his early days – always jamming to rock legends – his vision of a cool band was evolving. After a few years and a few bands, he got a group that seemed to sound like what he really wanted and put together the band we all know today as Great White.
Back then, MTV promoted bands of rock n roll on T.V. , not this hip hop junk they show today. And, this band had some catchy hooks and more than one hit song .
In Jacksonville in the misty rain, on a cool black night – the thunder was loud and wind was starting to swirl in all directions, a great setting for rock ‘n roll. I was standing in my normal stage position to get a few photos – stage right, on the floor, right in front of the artist. While adjusting my cameras, I felt a chill in my bones, like something out of the normal was going to happen. Then with all the wind blowing and amplifiers humming, lighting bolts flashed across the Jacksonville skies, and we heard the first ominous notes from Jaws. With a powerful build up, the lights came up to a very energetic and happy to be here in Jacksonville band: Great White.
From the moment they came onstage, they smiled with everyone, and to each other. The guitars sounded crisp and the bass was super-smooth; the drums steady and loud! And then the guys from Great White:
- Terry Ilous: Vocals, Background Vocals, very nice guy , happy to see us
- Mark Kendall: Lead Guitars, Background Vocals,- Sunglasses at night – maniac guitarist
- Michael Lardie: Guitar, Keyboards, Background Vocals, smiles and Harmonica
- Audie Desbrow: Drums, Percussion, lots of energy and big sticks
- Scott Snyder – Bass,Background Vocals, and a bass playing style that reminds me of Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx
Read Cretin’s Interview with the band here: Great White Interview
They had the crowd dancing and singing to every song. Then when vocalist Ilous spoke to the Jacksonville crowd, the hometown fans came alive, swinging their fists, (and beer cans) to the band in perfect timing.
He was a very good singer with a voice that sounded like a seasoned veteran. He stopped between songs to tell the story line of the band and little gems of knowledge – which we all love to hear. Then every song they played was like they were playing in front of 12,000 screaming fans acting like they were fresh out the box instead of seasoned veterans like they are.
High energy, non-stop smiles, lots of hit songs. One highlight was their newest hit , an Ilous penned balled – “Hard to Say Goodbye.” It was top ten chart material and left the crowd with their lighters in the air. Then Kendall played solo that had the crowd jumping. The fingers were fast and the effect he had was cool and hot at the same time.
The band played an hour and a half to a very receptive Jacksonville crowd. Took their bows and exited the stage. I just wondered how they timed the lighting flashes in our Southern skies at the same time their biggest hits were being played? This show will be another great show in my rock and roll lifetime of memories. With cool night time visual effects you can’t buy – lighting flashes, wind gusts and total bliss – what a show!
While getting my gear together to meet the band backstage I could overhear fans saying that the new singer was better than Jack Russell, their former front-man. And that this new guy is a great addition to the band; my thoughts exactly.
Backstage, my assistant, Kathleen and I took a few minutes to talk to the band. I first said “hello” to Micheal Lardie , a guy who gets second looks, because he looks a bit like Jack Russell, Nice guy, he mentioned that they are working with Vince Neil and making plans for other tour dates, including the Monsters of Rock Cruise.
Then we spoke to Terry Ilous and he was also refreshing to talk to. He came over and spoke to us a few times. While speaking to him and listening to his visions of the future, the band, the ups and downs, the humbleness, the family man he is, the positive attitude the band has with each other – made me feel like I was his friend; and damn it, I am. I felt his compassion for this industry that seems to fade each year with the new crop of hip hoppers and glorified gang banger’s who steal the fans away to another culture; music with no value, just programmed beats and no guitars.
He was soft spoken, and charismatic, preaching that life is one moment at a time – take your time and learn from it. He was cool to chat with, not brushing us aside, and really wanted YOU FANS to know – Great White is back!
These guys have their heads on straight and their appreciation for their fans was not a put on. When they come to Jacksonville, we’ll all be back to see them jam! So, when they come to your town – go see a band that gives back to the fans 100%.
Great White – We all were bitten in Jacksonville!
Thanks again to RARAs Farm for supporting the Florida rock scene, the great Southern town of Jacksonville Florida, The Jacksonville Fair, Management of Great White, and especially new vocalist Terry Ilous , and the band “Great White”.
Thank God for California Rock!
(Like Us on Facebook, or check there soon for more photos from the show.)
Until next show…