Ultimate Jam “NAMM” Night @ Anaheim Hilton – 01/27/2018
The riveting Rock ‘N Roll experience known as Ultimate Jam Night put on a special show Saturday night January 27 at The Anaheim Hilton California Ballroom to celebrate the 2018 NAMM show. Rebranded as “Ultimate NAMM Night” for this one night special, the show had a long list of Rock n Roll royalty as special guests. With an extremely long line to get into this free event, the Hilton had to temporarily shut its doors to prevent the lines from growing any longer – this meant the Ballroom was packed wall to wall with enthusiastic fans and the anticipation for the show to begin was high.
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, this night was surely going to prove to be a one of a kind show and a highlight of the NAMM weekend.
Host Paulie Z 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 Ultimate Jam Night mastermind Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot) on bass, drummer Chris Ralles (Pat Benatar) on drums and Mitch Perry (Edgar Winter, The Sweet) on guitar and multi-instrumentalist Walter Ino (Survivor) jamming out Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down” then into Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On”. 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:
Long Live Lemmy
In addition to Motorhead, Lemmy Kilmister (RIP) was also a member of the Rockabilly group Headcat with guitarist Danny B. Harvey. I Am Morbid frontman (former Morbid Angel) David Vincent has taken over on bass & vocals along with Clemm Burke (Blondie) on drums to pay homage to Kilmister. In addition to being a founding father of the Death Metal genre, Vincent has a deep, soothing rockabilly/country voice that is quite mesmerizing.
Breaking the Chains
After their original split in 1989 Don Dokken and George Lynch have had an “on again-off again” relationship and most recently played several live shows together in 2016 but no desire to re-unite in Dokken. With Don Dokken scheduled to play two Dokken songs, George Lynch showed up unannounced and joined Dokken as well as guitarist Ira Black, drummer Phil Varrone and bass player Marten Andersson for the Dokken songs “Kiss of Death” and “Tooth & Nail”. This may have been THE highlight of the night and was certainly a pleasant surprise as most people never thought they would get to see Dokken & Lynch play together again.
X Marks the Spot
Guitarist/vocalist Phil X who is now a permanent member of Bon Jovi and has his own band – Phil X & the Drills had the opportunity to demonstrate his extraordinary guitar skills on a cover of Montrose’s “Rock Candy” with Bulletboys Marq Torien on vocals then Phil X took vocals on a Phil x & The Drills song – PhilX is a sight to see and hear.
Stay With Me
Bassist extraordinaire Phil Chen took the stage with Ultimate Jam regular Debbie Holiday on vocals and others for a killer rendition of Faces “Stay with Me”. A sought-after session bassist in the 70’s and 80’s, Chen also worked with Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck and Robbie Krieger of the Doors. Chen may not quite look like a Rockstar but this guy can play the bass and has a fabulous stage presence making for an exciting performer to watch.
Hot For Teacher
Another major highlight of the night was Ray Luzier (Korn) on drums, Billy Sheehan (Winery Dogs) on bass, Alex Skolnick (Testament) on guitar and Paulie Z (The Sweet) taking vocal duty for a super fun and kickass version of Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher”. To quote Paulie Z – this is one of those “are-you-kidding-me-please-pinch-me-lineups…”. Skolnick is a long-standing member of thrash masters Testament and is one of the most under-rated guitarists out there – he is a total shredder! No need to say anything about Billy Sheehan – a total alien on the bass and Luzier is a monster on the drums.
Richie Kotzen is a phenomenal singer, songwriter and guitarist and in addition to solo artist is a member of the Winery Dogs with Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy. Kotzen along with his solo bandmates Mike Bennett on drums and Dylan Wilson on bass played some serious funk influenced melodic rock with Kotzen’s soulful lyrics. Kotzen proved he is indeed a guitar God.
This performance was a late show highlight that showcased Dug Pinnick and Jerry Gaskill from Kings X, Corey Glover from Living Colour on vocals with Tommy Baldwin and George Lynch on guitar. Lynch and Baldwin smoked some guitar solos with a bit of a guitar dual and Pinnick’s thick left-handed bass playing blew the crowd away.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Two of the premier musicians in the business teamed up with others on a killer version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” . . . bass master Stu Hamm along with the guitar wizardry of Gary Hoey equaled the ultimate eargasm along with psychedelic prog metal vocalist from Bigelf Damon Fox.
The Ultimate NAMM Night jam proved to be not only the most amazing “Jam” over the course of NAMM 2018 but one of the most epic “NAMM Jams” that has taken place over the last several years at NAMM. The combination of performers, the unrehearsed/spur of the moment vibe and the choice of songs equaled a powerful night to remember and a definite highlight of NAMM 2018. Catch Ultimate Jam Night every Tuesday in Hollywood at The Whisky A Go Go – and its FREE!
Miscellaneous Ultimate Jam Performers: