Chris Loomis

Ultimate NAMM Night @ Anaheim Hilton – 01/26/2019

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The riveting Rock ‘N Roll experience known as Ultimate Jam Night put on a special show Saturday night January 26 at The Anaheim Hilton California Ballroom to celebrate the 2019 NAMM show. Rebranded as “Ultimate NAMM Night Anaheim” for this one night special, the show had a long list of Rock n Roll royalty as special guests. After a successful inaugural Ultimate Jam NAMM edition in 2018 at NAMM, this year’s event was the buzz of the weekend in Anaheim.

Held weekly on Tuesday nights at The Whisky A Go Go, Ultimate Jam Night brings together the music community in Southern California and adds a bit of the unexpected back to the Sunset Strip. This brings together rock musicians that would not normally play together to perform unrehearsed cover tunes from a wide range of popular music to create unique, one-of-a-kind renditions of some of rocks most well-known hits. With the list of musicians scheduled to play on this night, it was surely going to prove to be a one of a kind show and a highlight of NAMM 2019.

Host Paulie Z (current vocalist for The Sweet) also doubled as vocalist on some of the jams and the night kicked off with a bang as the Ultimate Jam Night house band consisting of Sean McNabb filling in for Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot) on bass, Chris Ralles (Pat Benatar) on drums and Mitch Perry (Edgar Winter, The Sweet) on guitar with Sven Martin (Jonathan Davis) on keys jamming out Paul McCartney’s “Live & Let Die” then into Cheap Trick’s “Dream Police”. A scorching way to kick off the show, the never-ending line of rotating musicians and killer performances now began.

With due respect to all the performers on this night (all were amazing), it would take several pages to properly mention all the names and amazing collaborations so below are some of the highlights of this extraordinary night:

Eat Em and Smile

After a failed attempt a few years ago in Hollywood that was shutdown by The Fire Marshall due to overcrowding, the classic Eat Em And Smile era David Lee Roth Band successfully got onstage together to rip through the Queen cover of “Tie Your Mother Down” as well as the Billy Sheehan penned DLR song “Shyboy”. That’s right, Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan and Gregg Bissonette played live onstage together for the first time in a very long time. No David Lee Roth on vocals but Sons of Apollo’s Jeff Scott Soto did an amazing job in Roth’s absence. Without a doubt the most EPIC performance of Ultimate NAMM Night.

How Sweet it is . . .

The Sweet have been around since 1968 and have had enormous radio hits such as “Ballroom Blitz” and “Fox on the Run” and fast forward to 2019 with Paulie Z on vocals and Mitch Perry on guitar along with original bass player Steve Priest (playing while seated) put on a showcase of glam rock hits proving this band is still alive and well.

I Think I’m Alone Now

Former teen icon Tiffany took over the world in 1987 with “I Think We’re Alone Now” and along with her own band took over Ultimate NAMM Night with a medley of “Beautiful”/”I Think We’re Alone Now” and every male over the age of 40 in attendance had immediate flashbacks to one of their teen crush’s.

Walk on home boy

By far the heaviest song of the night was Pantera’s “Walk” with vocals by the dynamic duo from the Butcher Babies, Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd with Phil Demmel and Ira Black on guitars, Jason Christopher on bass and Roy Mayorga on drums. The hair whips in unison during this song were EPIC.

Doomsday for the Deceiver

Flotsam and Jetsam with classic era members Eric “A.K.” Knutson on vocals, Michael Gilbert on guitar, Michael Spencer on bass along with newer members Steve Conley on guitar and Ken Mary on drums played a few songs including “Prisoner of Time” off their January 18 release The End of Chaos. KILLER performance!

Thank You . . .

Guitarist Vernon Reid from Living Colour anchored the funk on a cover of The Doors “Roadhouse Blues” and Sly & The Family Stone’s “Thank You” with various other performers including Stu Hamm and Divinty Roxx on bass respectively. Reid contributed some killer riffage making two great songs even greater.

So many additional amazing performances were part of this night making for just over a 3-hour masterpiece of rotating musicians. They key thing to this event is these performances are un-rehearsed which just adds to the fact at how talented these musicians are. Also KUDOS to the organizers of this event as herding some 80+ musicians into timeslots is no easy task – THANK YOU!

Hopefully we will see a return of Ultimate NAMM Night Anaheim at NAMM 2020!

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