Not only was the Ronnie Montrose Remembered tribute show the perfect event to end The NAMM Show 2016, but it was also a chance for musicians and fans to unite and celebrate the life and music of the late Ronnie Montrose. With the recent loss of artists, David Bowie, Scott Weiland, Lemmy Kilmister and Glenn Frey, it seems only bittersweet that musicians would come out of the woodwork to go up on stage and play music with their hearts, minds and souls in the name of Ronnie.
Keith St. John commanded the stage from beginning to end with his powerful vocals and heartfelt performance. When Screamer Magazine showed up, St. John announced Gilby Clarke of Guns N Roses to come on out and play followed by Steve Stevens from the Billy Idol Band and not only would Montrose himself have been proud, the entire place had the lid blown off of it. The evening also brought some other highly acclaimed musicians such as Brad Whitford of Aerosmith, Brad Gillis of Night Ranger, Dave Ellefson of Megadeth, Doug Aldrich of Whitesnake & Dio, Tracii Guns of LA Guns, Brad Lang of Y&T, Carmine Appice of Vanilla Fudge, Jimmy DeGrasso of Black Star Riders, Marc Bonilla of Ronnie Montrose & Glenn Hughes, Jimmy Paxson of Stevie Nicks Band & The Dixie Chicks, Chris Frazier of Foreigner & Whitesnake and Derek St. Holmes of Ted Nugent Band. It seemed that the fire and energy and the respect for Ronnie Montrose oozed from the stage and from every note each musician played. From Open Fire, Starliner, Make It Last, Paper Money and Rock Candy, St. John brought his best and we can only imagine how hard it must’ve been for him to sing at times since Ronnie was such a big part of his life.
Leighsa Montrose, Ronnie’s widow came out and announced the winners of Guitar Player Magazine’s Award which is a part of the Play It Forward program in which two lucky teens were chosen. Jess Araten and Geddy Franco were honored and each received their own very own Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Traditional PRO guitar. They were then asked to perform Spaceage Sacrifice alongside St. John and they proved to the crowd why they were chosen. For being only 15 and 17 years of age, they are well on their way to joining the all-star lineup in the future as all-stars.
A better celebration of life could not have been planned. When artists are jumping at the chance to salute and honor a fellow musician who is no longer with us, it only means one thing. That Ronnie was not only well respected and loved as a musician, but as a person as well. While he is not here alongside us anymore, his music will live on forever.
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