Walt Disney World is once again presenting its Garden Rocks Concert Series, which runs along with the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. While Disney bills it as “some of the hottest throwback beats,” in most cases it can be more aptly described as people impersonating one-time rock stars.
I don’t have a problem with Dennis DeYoung performing a bunch of Styx numbers. After all, he wrote the majority of their popular songs, and along with Tommy Shaw, was the most visible member of the group. If DeYoung wants to go around playing Styx numbers, he’s earned that right, although it would be even better if DeYoung and Shaw would act like the 60 years olds they now are and put aside their petty differences and bring Styx back together.
But seeing Starship featuring Mickey Thomas is just flat-out wrong. Yes, I did see the Freedom at Point Zero tour when the band was still known as Jefferson Starship and Thomas was solid, but Paul Kantner was still in the group. No Kantner, no Grace Slick, no Starship. That goes for the group currently performing as Jefferson Starship, as well.
I was never a fan of the Little River Band, but none of the guys I didn’t care for in the first place will be performing at Disney. There isn’t a single original member left in the group. Basically what you’ll see is a cover band, which is fine if you like that sort of thing, but they shouldn’t be calling themselves Little River Band.
The same thing could be said for the guys who will be passing themselves off as Blood, Sweat &Tears.
That’s not to say that all of the bands scheduled to appear are shells of their former selves. The Gin Blossoms have at least three long-time members, including lead vocalist Robin Wilson, while Night Ranger still has Jack Blades, Brad Gillis and Kelly Keagey.
Other artists who will be performing during the March 1 through May 29 Flower & Garden Festival are Jon Secada, The Pointer Sisters, Simple Plan, Plain White T’s, some former members of ELO who now call themselves The Orchestra, Expose, Berlin, The Guess Who, Herman’s Hermits and The Spinners.
Groups are scheduled to play 30-minute performances at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. on the nights they are appearing. It doesn’t cost anything extra to see, although admission to Disney isn’t exactly cheap.
If you planned on making a trip to Disney on a performance night, you might as well go when one of the bands you enjoy or want to see is performing. If not, you’re probably going to be better served waiting until the group is touring the state and catching one of their shows then, as it will most likely be cheaper and you’ll probably get a better concert.