September 16th 2004
This was the reunion that almost didn’t happen. The planning for this event started in early November. We wanted a twin bill with the drawing power of the 805/Alecstar show. Some of the names that surfaced were Todd Hobin, The Works (suggested by Joel McKissick from the Turning Stone), Mr. Ed, the Flashcubes and the Frogs. Our manager had a list of his own and the only name on it was the New York Flyers. While the other bands were good choices he felt that the Flyers were the best choice. Todd Hobin had already played the TS twice and not that long ago, the Works still had feuding members, Mr. Ed was scattered into the wind by all accounts, the Frogs had recently had a member pass away and the Flashcubes were considered to be too much of a mismatch. Alecstar and the Flyers were rivals back in the eighties and in our managers mind there was no better band to invite to play our return engagement with. Knowing co-founder Phil Delessandro for many years he placed the call. Little did he know, it would be nearly four months before the Flyers agreed to play the date and then two dates would be lost. Initially the idea was met with lukewarm interest, but it soon became apparent that it had stalled in its tracks. Not giving up, over the next several weeks Mitch went on to contact Chris, then Mike and finally Earl in his efforts to make the date happen. Everybody seemed to want to reunite but nobody seemed to want to take the bull by the horns, that is except Earl. The last Flyer to be contacted, it was Earl who “circled the wagons” in the Flyer camp. After that things started to came together. However, just when it seemed that it was all locked in, more problems surfaced. May 22nd was the initial date the show was to be held but that was lost due to miscommunication between the Flyer camp and the TS. The next date was July 30th and that was forfeited because Phil D. owns his own company that rents out PA and stage gear all over the northeast and that was a weekend that his equipment was out of town. The problem being that the Flyers wanted to use some of his Marshall amps for their show. At this point nerves were getting frayed all around and that included those of the booking agency and the TS. So when the September 18th date was offered, it had been decided that if another date was lost then the show would be cancelled entirely. Fortunately, that did not happen. Everybody was finally on the same page and the contracts went out. But there was one more idea our manager wanted to make happen. An All Star jam with the members of both bands sharing the stage to close out the show. Twenty years ago the mention of an Alecstar/Flyer jam would be considered for “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not”. However, when presented with the idea everybody seemed to like it. Now the only thing left to do was choose the songs. We came up with the Free song “All Right Now” as the jam song and the Flyers suggested ZZ Top’s “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers”. Chris said that there was a period when George was still Flyers drummer and Mike was auditioning as the next bass player that the ZZ Top song was one they had jammed on. But somehow that song didn’t seem to lend itself to the vocal capabilities of Mike or George. Our manager (who is also a Flyer fan) said he had a clear recollection of Flyers doing a smoking cover of Montrose’s “Space Station #5” so he suggested that. It is such a high powered song and would be a great closer. Then the idea came up to do two songs and Queens “Tie Your Mother Down” was added on to the list. The problem then became time. The time to do two songs could not be added to our set, it had to come out of our set. A call was made to the TS to ask for a little more time, but that was denied as two bands were already going way over the normal show time. So we did the next best thing and pasted half of each song together. By the way both bands had practiced the songs separately and then had ONE run through at sound check. Showtime came and the Flyers kicked it off and did so in a way that only they could. It might have been seventeen years but there was no rust in their show. It was high energy from start to finish. It was easily one of the best performances they have ever given. When it was our turn we knew we had to give it our all. We had an extra special guest join us mid set this year, and that guest was none other than 805’s drummer Gary Briggs. Gary joined us for Led Zeppelins “Moby Dick” and one of our originals. We even went back to the original lineup when we got George back on the drums for the first time since 1979! As we closed our set, you could feel the anticipation rising. Jerry Kraus came out and reminded everybody that it wasn’t over and then out came the Flyers to join us for the encore. It was an All Star jam that nobody in the audience or on the stage will ever forget. We thank the Flyers for coming to the party. And we would like to thank our manager Mitch for making this reunion happen with the Flyers. Without his persistence the Flyers would be a 17 year old memory. He pushed and pushed and never gave up when most other people would have. Without his efforts there would have been no Flyer reunion. And with their reunion came a CD/DVD and website for their fans to enjoy. And likewise for Alecstar, we also would be a distant memory if he didn’t bring us back together. Both bands owe him a big debt of gratitude.
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