The stars came out to shine at the world-famous Roxy for a most worthy cause: to raise money through the Adopt the Arts program, benefiting music programs in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Some of rock’s finest musicians honored ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons and Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks for their long-lasting impact on music culture and for inspiring young musicians to follow in their footsteps. Their enthralling performances had the audience moving and singing along throughout the show.
Honorees Gibbons and Trucks shared the stage with a lineup of luminaries, including Edgar Winter (Rick Derringer, Ringo & His All-Starr Band, The Edgar Winter Group), Slash (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, Slash with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators) Steve Lukather (Toto), Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver), Orianthi (Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper), Franky Perez (Scars On Broadway), Jimmy Vivino (Conan O’Brien), Billy Duffy (The Cult), Damon Fox (Bigelf) and Layla Brooklyn Allman (Picture Me Broken). A group of amazingly tight, passionate musicians called The Disreputable Few served as the backing band for the night.
The Master of Ceremonies for the event was Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, The Cult, Velvet Revolver), who also performed on percussion and behind the drum kit on a few songs. Sorum, affable and funny, was like a rock and roll Billy Crystal onstage, making introductions and sharing anecdotes. His presence made the enjoyable evening an even more memorable one.
When you think of rock and roll, ZZ Top and The Allman Brothers Band are synonymous with the genre’s finest. Trucks and Gibbons, two legendary musicians representing two incredible musical legacies, watched as well as played alongside those who were on the Roxy stage, giving thumbs-up and ear-to-ear grins.
The first half of the evening’s music was dedicated to ZZ Top. Gibbons, Bigelf keyboardist Damon Fox and The Cult guitarist opened the show big with “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” with the Disreputable Few laying down the rhythm and groove. “Tush” followed with Franky Perez on lead vocal, Steve Lukather, Jimmy Vivino and Gibbons sharing guitar duties, and Edgar Winter on organ.
A high moment in the set was when Edgar Winter sang lead vocal and blew sax on the 1979 hit “Cheap Sunglasses”. The song’s original and aptly capable singer, Billy Gibbons, focused on his guitar mojo and let Winter shine. Rock royalty had hit The Roxy, and the night was just getting started.
Richie Sambora and Orianthi sang and strummed on “Rough Boy” while Sorum played percussion. Tres Hombres’ “Waitin’ for the Bus” and “Jesus Left Chicago” featuring Duff McKagan on bass, showcased the talents of Gibbons and Slash as a guitar duo. “La Grange” was the last song of the ZZ Top portion of the show with big, concentrated talent gracing the stage all at once. Guitarist Steve Lukather came out joining Gibbons, Sambora, Slash, and McKagan, along with Sorum on drums and Winter on organ.
During the break there was auctioning with the proceeds going to Adopt the Arts. Butch Trucks gave a compelling, heartfelt speech on the importance of music programs in today’s schools.
Trucks got behind the drum kit and joined Jimmy Vivino, Franky Perez and the Disreputable Few for the classic “Don’t Keep me Wonderin'”, and the Allman Brothers Band set was in full-swing. Orianthi and Sambora played another duet, “Midnight Rider,” then one kick ass “Stormy Monday” was performed with Edgar Winter on vocals and sax with axemen Slash and Vivino. Lukather and Vivino did a scorching version of “One Way Out,” where it became apparent that the two men know their Allman Brothers songs. The closer, “Whipping Post,” brought every musician onstage, whether they were plugged in or not. Layla Brooklyn Allman, daughter of Gregg Allman, belted out the vocals out front with Franky Perez and the night came to a close.
It was a fun evening of music and camaraderie. The passion and mutual respect the musicians shared onstage was impressive.