Even Hurricane Erika couldn’t prevent 80’s in the Park from returning to Melbourne this year, bringing with it some of our favorite 80s ‘big-hair-days’ acts.
Grab your Rubik’s Cube, jump into your Delorean, and leave your leg warmers at home because it’s going to be hot; its time for 80’s in the Park again! 80’s in the Park had its first year jitters and second year was a bit muddy but in it’s 3rd year, many of the jitters gone and was a grand improvement across the board from ticket handling, to the star-studded after-show parties for the V.I.P. ticket holders.
Promoters, father and son, Richard and Kyle Hendry, have worked on improving the event from year to year and this year seemed to go more smoothly for them as well as the many concert goers who had come from near and as far away as Maryland. With the exception of a few band cancellations on the outside stage due to in-climate weather, it went off without a hitch. The event has so much positive energy and 80’s fun with some of the fans who really get into the theme by dressing up in wigs, zebra stripped spandex, and bandannas.
This awesome 4-day music fest took the Melbourne area by storm with over 20 nationally touring acts and national and local tribute acts. There was a little bit for everyone this year with bands ranging from pop 80’s to the harder 80s ‘hair metal.’
Day 1, which was a Thursday this year, had the Bullet Boys playing at the outside stage for a ‘pre-party’ but the set was cut short due to the noise ordinance of the city and, unfortunately, we did not hear their biggest hit played, “Smooth Up in Ya”. They had been set to perform at a local bar and finish the set yet Marq Torien and his band failed to show up without explanation to the promoters.
Day 2, Friday, kicked off the event officially and Gene Loves Jezebel was back this year with singer, the very talented and loveable, Michael Anston, who always brings a bit of color to everything he does. Next we had Cult Revolution, a tribute to The Cult, who have been gaining recognition around Florida for their performances. Inside on the main stage was Asia featuring John Payne followed by Firehouse.
Day 3, Saturday, the self-proclaimed “fun band”, Nova Rex, played for the second year and, as always, they reminded us of all the 80s fun we had. Then, on the outside stage, Big City Nights, a tribute to the Scorpions from the Daytona Beach area, who have also been gaining recognition across Florida, played followed by the Killer Dwarfs, who have also played 80s in the Park before. In between these great bands, Kix performed on the inside stage. Singer, Steve Whiteman was one of the most energetic of the weekend, using the entire stage during his performance running from one side to the other getting the audience singing some favorites like “Blow My Fuse,” “Don’t Close Your Eyes.”Â LA Guns were back this year at great bequest from the fans who love them, and rightly so, also and as a special treat, Paul Chapman from the band UFO, came on stage to sit in on guitar for a song with LA Guns. Closing out the night was the ever entertaining Slaughter with frontman, Mark Slaughter taking his customary walk through the crowd during the set. Comprised of some of the most charismatic and talented musicians, Slaughter always brings a crowd to it’s feet.
Day 4, Sunday, Burning Starr, Femme Fatale, Autograph, Kip Winger (acoustic), and, closing the show, Lita Ford, all graced the main stage in the auditorium. There were a few acts that were cancelled due to rain but stayed to play the after parties during the weekend and meet with fans at the host hotel Crowne Plaza.
Backstage you never know who will show up to see some old friends and we had none other than Poison’s bass player, Bobby Dall come in around Slaughter’s set to catch part of the show from backstage. I spoke with him a few moments to see what he’s been doing now and, a man of few words said “Nothing at the moment.” It was a nice surprise to see him for sure!
The promoters are already working on outlines and plans for next year’s 80’s in the Park, and it looks like it will ALL be a VIP experience so keep an eye on their website for all information and updates for the 2016 event you won’t want to miss.
Photographer, Karen Romano Adams, was on hand to capture the full 4-day event in photos.
Big City Nights