Classic, tribute acts highlight Scottish Rite season
The annual Scottish Rite Auditorium Winter/Spring 2018 concert series kicks off Jan. 26 with an Abba tribute, the first of 10 scheduled shows that range from pop to jazz to prog-rock, folk and more.
ABBA Mania, a London-based production, is billed as giving fans “an excuse to party, reminisce or simply be entertained by the best music ever.”
In two weeks, Genesis alum and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Steve Hackett performs at the Scottish Rite for two nights.
Other upcoming shows include the instrumental band Dixie Dregs, British invasion stars The Zombies (featuring original members Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent); Marc Cohn (with the Blind Boys of Alabama opening); The Beach Boys; jazz pianist Brian Culbertson and jazz saxophonist Boney James.
April brings two rock tribute shows to the 1,000-seat Scottish Rite – The Machine (Pink Floyd) and Get The Led Out (paying homage to Led Zeppelin without any attempt to portray the actual band members).
“It’s a strong lineup,” said Bill Rogers, president of South Jersey-based concert promoter BRE Presents, which books acts for the Collingswood venue. “We’ve got a lot of diversity music-wise; hopefully something for everyone.”
The Dixie Dregs, the original lineup, will showcase their hits in Collingswood. (Photo: dixiedregs.com)
The popular concert series, sponsored by the Camden County Freeholders, runs from October through April, with a fall/late winter lineup and, after the New Year, a winter/spring lineup. (Summers are out, as the building isn’t air-conditioned.) The Freemasons, meanwhile, still use the facility several times each year for their own events.
As Rogers puts it, the Scottish Rite is “South Jersey’s own special place to see a show.” And it’s become a true win-win for the performers (who love its great acoustics); audience members (who can’t get a bad seat no matter how far back they are); and nearby restaurants, which benefit from an abundance of pre-show diners.
“It’s on our own turf and so convenient, there’s free parking, and the theater itself is just beautiful,” Rogers said. “What more can you ask?”
Gloucester County resident Lisa Morina agrees. Morina and her husband discovered the theater several ago, and make the trek from their home in Mickleton to Collingswood a few times each year for a concert, with jazz musician Dave Koz’s holiday show being an annual tradition for the couple.
“It’s worth the drive,” Morina said. “Every seat in the house is great; the parking is easy and it’s free, and the theater itself is gorgeous. We love seeing shows there. It’s great.”
For someone like rock guitarist Steve Hackett — a member of Genesis from 1970 to 1978 – the Scottish Rite is also a memorable place to perform, something he’s done several times over the past decade.
“I absolutely love it,” the 67-year-old Hackett said recently by phone. “We always have a fantastic time. The acoustics are incredible.”
While Hackett left Genesis nearly 40 ago, it’s clear Genesis has never really left him. In fact, Hackett’s made the famed progressive rock band’s music a major part of his current career, with this shows being a mix of Genesis and his own solo material.
Hackett says when it comes to Genesis’ extensive 30-plus-year history, “the music is the ultimate star of the show; it’s what’s survived.”
Touring with his longtime five-member band, Hackett is currently working on a new studio album, and just released a live DVD, “Wuthering Nights.” He’s also getting onboard for next month’s annual Cruise to the Edge, a five-night cruise from Tampa to Belize featuring several prog-rock stars (including Yes alum Tony Banks, ELP’s Carl Palmer, Marillion, and Martin Barre of Jethro Tull).
“Doing what I do now – combining my solo work with the work I did with Genesis – gives me the best of both worlds,” Hackett said, adding that he is passionate about “giving the audience the best experience possible when I’m onstage.”
The same holds true for Philadelphia-based Get The Led Out, which has been together for nearly 15 years, growing from a local act to a nationally acclaimed band. GTLO’s mission is to bring the studio recordings of Led Zeppelin to life in concert, in all their intricate glory. Unlike most tribute bands, GTLO members don’t dress like or try to imitate the original Zep members; instead, they fully focus on replicating their complex music with precision and zeal.
Lead singer Paul Sinclair notes that, unlike a “real” Led Zeppelin concert, there are no extended jams at a GTLO show: “It’s similar to the Beatles tribute band, The Fab Faux. It’s about providing all the goosebump moments that the studio albums gave the fans.”
The members of GTLO are “deeply passionate” about Led Zeppelin’s music, which Sinclair calls “diverse, complex and beautiful.” And while the group strives to replicate the songs as they sounded in their original recorded versions, each live show is different.
“It would get really old if we were to play each song in the same order every night,” Sinclair said, adding that the band averages more than 120 performances each year and has played in 43 states. GTLO shows tend to run more than two hours long, with the band striving to “give every person the kind of concert experience I would want if I were in the audience.”
“I’m living my dream career,” Sinclair said. “Each night we’re out there in front of the fans is a thrill.”
If you go
The Scottish Rite Auditorium is located at 315 White Horse Pike in Collingswood. Doors open one hour prior to show time. Tickets for shows are available at www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. You also can purchase tickets at the County Store in the Voorhees Town Center (Echelon Mall); and at the Scottish Rite Box Office (call 856-858-1000). Visit www.scottishriteauditorium.com
ABBA Mania: The Original from London’s West End: Friday, Jan. 26, 8 p.m. $19-$59
Steve Hackett, Tour de Force: Friday and Saturday, Feb. 16 and 17, 8 p.m. Genesis revisited and solo works. $39-$75
Dixie Dregs: Dawn of the Dregs Tour: March 9, 8 p.m.: $39.50-$59.50
The Zombies: Saturday, March 10, 8 p.m.:$39.50-$59.50
Marc Cohn: Saturday, March 17 at 8 p.m.: Marc Cohn with special guests The Blind Boys of Alabama (11/10/2017 tickets honored. $39.50-$69.50
The Beach Boys: Tuesday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m: $69.50-$89.50
Brian Culbertson: Friday, March 30 at 8 p.m.: $39.50-$69.50
Boney James: Friday, April 6 at 8 p.m.: $35-$59
The Machine Performs Pink Floyd: Saturday, April 7 at 8 p.m.: $29-$39
Get The Led Out: Friday, April 13 & Saturday, April 14 at 8 p.m. : $29.50-$39.50