Written by Tom Collins
Edited by Scott Johnson
It's known in Philadelphia as the official kickoff to the Summer Concert Season at the BBT Pavilion. Rock radio station 93.3 WMMR celebrating it's astounding 49th year, turned it up to "11" with it's MMRBQ 2017! Initiated in 2007, the MMRBQ has year after year brought a selection of Rock & Roll's top bands both old and new. This years lineup was no different featuring heavy hitters like Rival Sons, Zakk Sabbath, The Struts, The Pretty Reckless, Bush, the reunited band Live with Ed Kowalczyk back on vocals and headliner, GODSMACK!!!
One of the bands that played RBQ in the recent past was Soundgarden. Despite having a day without rain, a dark cloud hung over the entire crowd and musicians still in shock and deep sorrow at the loss of Chris Cornell. It was obvious that Cornell's passing was on everyones mind. The day started with Local Shots Band, Stolen Rhodes and was followed by Dinosaur Pile-Up. The crowd suddenly grew and heated up when Rival Sons hit the stage! They were on a previous RBQ but had to stop their set just a few songs in. Singer, Jay Buchanan was extremely ill before the show. Try as he did, Jay just could not get his voice to stay with him. He apologized to the large audience and promised to come back again and give his all. This year he and Rival Sons came back with a vengeance!!! Healthy and strong Buchanon belted out their hits, much to the delight of the concert goers! You might wonder just who or "what, in this case" could follow such a strong performance??? How about the big bad bearded Zakk Wylde and his Zakk Sabbath!!!
Zakk Wylde, of course, is best known as guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and his own band Black Label Society. Zakk Sabbath is his tribute to the legendary Black Sabbath. When Zakk hits the stage, you haven't a clue if he's coming or going because you can't tell the front of his head from the back for all the Viking like hair all over it!!! He's a pure beast of a man as well as guitarist. Playing many of Sabbath's greatest hits, his guitar work was super sonic and bone crushing! By appearance he's a intimidating figure. But in person you'll be hard pressed to meet a kinder, humorous individual.
The first portion of the event was all General Admission, so you could go as close to the stage as you liked even if you had a lawn ticket. Now it was time for everyone to get to their respective seats and get ready for a barrage of more great bands, starting with The Struts!!! Out of England, The Struts struggled for recognition. But, these British rockers have found huge success in the United States. They bring a fresh but classic sound back to Rock & Roll! Singer, Luke Spiller is a flamboyant mashup of legends like Mick Jagger, David Bowie and most notably Freddie Mercury, all rolled in to one! The Struts are all about fun, sing along, and "move your body" Rock & Roll. Luke's energy and charisma on stage are absolutely captivating! If you had never seen or heard of The Struts before now, I'm willing to be you became an instant fan. I think we all needed a band like The Struts to help lighten some of the somberness of the day remembering Cornell.