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Eric Sanders/ Visions of a Dream: Blog

Great thanks to Regina AaMacha and the Tampa Bay Musicians Co-Op for a great evening at The Fleur de Lis Patio Cafe in Safety Harbor last night for my debut Piano Dinner Concert. Had big fun playing my original piano compositions for a very enthusiastic crowd. Very intimate venue and the food was great! Loved the shrimp and scallops. Yeah! Thanks for all your hospitality and a memorable evening.
Looking forward to the next gig!

The Tennessee Aquarium is home to a richly diverse living collection of the world’s most fascinating animals. Inside the River Journey building,  visitors are delighted by feisty river otters, colorful frogs, amazing turtles and freshwater fish species such as beautiful trout, giant catfish and prehistoric-looking sturgeon. While exploring Ocean Journey, guests experience tropical and marine habitats. Hyacinth macaws call out from a lush rainforest as visitors come face to face with big, toothy sharks, beautiful butterflies, playful penguins, mesmerizing jellyfish and thousands of colorful reef fish. Aquarium educators also introduce guests to dozens of other species during hourly Animal Encounter programs. 

The Aquarium hosted an unplugged music event during the "Riverbend Music Festival" in which the Royal Southern Brotherhoods Tribute to the Wetlands played for about an hour. During the performance I had the opportunity to meet the Visitor Services Manager of the Aquarium who graciously offered to give me a behind the scenes tour of the Aquarium. It was a fascinating and educational experience to view the Aquarium from a backstage perspective. Special thanks to Eugene Dwyer for his hospitality in showing me the Aquarium and it's impact on the community and the care of the wildlife there.


The final day of Riverbend. Headling tonight on the Coke Stage is Lauren Alaina, an American country singer from Rossville, Georgia. Alaina was the runner-up on the tenth season of American Idol. Her debut studio album, Wildflower was released on October 11, 2011.

Get the Led Out stole the show on the Bud Light Stage for a performance that lasted more than 2 hours. 

These talented musicians and diehard Led Zeppelin fans pay rock ’n’ roll homage to the legendary band that created hits like “Stairway to Heaven,” “Ten Years Gone,” and “When the Levee Breaks” in a high-energy live concert.

  • Guitarist Paul Hammond cites a deep love for Led Zeppelin’s music and a desire to present the music from the band’s recordings in live shows as the inspiration for Get The Led Out.
  • Hammond and lead singer Paul Sinclair own Philadelphia’s Fat City Studios, engineering and producing in addition to performing with Get The Led Out and other rock groups.

On the Meo Mio stage Jumbo Deluxe Band played until Riverbend did their traditional fireworks display on the Tennessee River. Jumbo Deluxe is a blues/R&B based band from the Atlanta area, but they play in the Chattanooga area on a regular basis. The band members are James Calvin - Lead vocals, Jeff Moseley - Keys (piano, organ, and synthesizer) and background vocals, Tom King - Drums and background vocals, Kris Phillips- Guitar and Slide Guitar, Jarrett Johnson – Guitar and George Stallings - Bass Guitar and background vocals (and band business manager).  They have a big sound, and play some bluesy tunes like Pride and Joy, Statesboro Blues, Southbound, Cold Shot and Five Long Years.

Kudos to Riverbend for their spectacular fireworks display at the close of the festival!


On Riverbend's second-to-last night, the Goo Goo Dolls' headlining performance was not the only reason it felt like the clock had been turned back at the riverfront.

Plenty of other bands were already playing off nostalgia before the Buffalo, N.Y.-based adult alternative trio took the Coke Stage to perform signature '90s-era power ballads such as "Iris" and "Black Balloon."

The Bud Light Stage kicked off at 6:15 with an all '90s-themed show by The Communicators, a local supergroup that made its debut last Halloween at Track 29 by covering The Beastie Boys seminal "Ill Communication" in its entirety.

About an hour before their show, turntable maestros David Webb and Scott Kent of the band Toneharm relaxed in an air-conditioned trailer with emcee Jamaal Woody. They would be joined on stage by five other musicians representing local groups such as Glowing Bordis, Digital Butter and The Nim Nims.

All three were making their Riverbend debut and were both excited and nervous, even after two months preparing a set list covering '90s songs by Alanis Morrisette, Weezer, LL Cool J and others.

"It will probably be the biggest crowd of people I'll ever be in front of, for sure," said Webb, aka State Looper. "[But] I know it'll be fine because I'm with a really talented group of musicians, so it will flow well."

The Communciators had attracted a crowd of a couple hundred by the time front man T.J. Greever kicked things off wearing a neon-green tutu, torn jeans and a Hanson T-shirt he later doffed in favor of a bare chest and a pair of fairy wings.

Throughout the crowd, people were singing along to the chorus of Clinton-era hits like Fiona Apple's "Criminal" and Radiohead's "Karma Police."

Roving old-time musicians Matt Downer and Clark Williams of The New Binkley Bros. offered festivalgoers another taste of the '90s, if from a different century.

Perched on a pair of stumps jutting from a hillside along the Riverwalk, the pair launched into a rousing performance of "Leather Britches," prompting more than a few heads to turn as a crowd filed into the nearby Tennessee Valley Credit Union Stage area.

On the TVCU stage, Nashville-based power pop/rock quartet The Features put on an equally energetic performance at 7:45 that had dozens dancing mass within arms reach of lead singer Matt Pelham.

Even the nonmusical events were a throwback to an earlier time. Earlier in the afternoon, extreme athletes raced at breakneck speeds downhill from the stage on retro longboards as part of Slide Jam, an event sponsored by L2 Boards on Market Street.

When Ogya began playing a 6 p.m. show at the Unum Stage that marked the skaters' starting point, drummer and vocalist Kofi Mawuko coerced a crowd of several dozen to get out of their seats and dance along to the music of his native Ghana.

"Rise up, please," Mawuko asked them. "I know it's hot, but let's party."

The weather Friday was humid, but temperatures remained in the low-80s most of the day, dipping into the upper 70s by the time the Goo Goo Dolls took the stage.

Anticipation for the Dolls filled the Coke Lawn in short order, but many guests said they were equally excited to see Atlanta-based Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke. By the time the band took the Bud Light Stage at 7:45, lead singer Charlie Starr's wish to see thousands of faces looking up at him likely was fulfilled, judging by the crowd assembled in the parking lot fronting the stage.

Blackberry Smoke arrived in town Thursday evening to play a trio of pre-Riverbend shows earlier in the day, including a packed noon performance at Mellow Mushroom.

After so many promotional shows, Starr said the prospect of playing to a large crowd from an actual stage would be a welcome return to form.

"Playing the radio and TV stuff is work," he said with a grin that split his lengthy mutton chop sideburns. "This is fun; this is the reward."

At 8pm on the Unum stage three virtuosos of the rock world will show off their skills on the Unum Stage at Riverbend during an extra-long set as part of the Thunder & Fire Tour.

Brooklyn-born brothers and drumming gurus Vinny and Carmine Appice have performed with a wide range of artists, including Dio, Jeff Beck, Ozzy Osbourne, Rod Stewart and John Lennon. They will cross sticks and trade solos from behind a pair of kits as part of Drum Wars, their traveling show.

World-renowned, ambidextrous guitar legend Michael Angelo Batio once was named No. 1 Shredder of All Time in Guitar One Magazine. He is known for showmanship and versatile performances on self-designed two- and four-neck custom guitars. He will fill out the rest of the show with a 90-minute rock survey, "Hands Without Shadows -- A Tribute to Rock Guitar."


Headlining on the Coke stage this evening was Charlie Wilson, an American R&B singer-songwriter-producer and the former lead vocalist for the Gap Band. As a solo artist he has been nominated for six Grammy awards, received a 2009 Soul Train Icon Award, and a recipient of a BMI Icon Award in 2005. In 2009, he was named Billboard Magazine's #1 Adult R&B Artist, and his song "There Goes My Baby" was named the #1 Urban Adult Song for 2009 in Billboard Magazine.

On the Bud Light stage was Foghat, a British rock band that had their peak success in the mid- to late-1970s. Their style can be described as "blues-rock", or boogie-rock, dominated by electric and electric slide guitar. Known for hits "Slowride" and "Fool for the City".

The legendary Junior Brown played on the Unum stage this evening. Junior Brown is an American country guitarist and singer. He has released nine studio albums in his career, and has charted twice on the Billboard country singles charts. Brown's signature instrument is the "guit-steel" double neck guitar, a hybrid of electric guitar and lap steel guitar.

 



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