Forty years ago this August, The Who released its fifth album, Who's Next, which included rock classics Baba O'Riley, Bargain, Behind Blue Eyes and We Won't Get Fooled Again.
Forty and 50 somethings, today's moms and dads, grew up on the stuff. On Sunday, June 25, that music, The Who and other timeless tomes of Rock history, came full circle and sounded as brash and brilliant as the day they were first pressed onto vinyl.
Played as it was by the next generation, the kids of Rockit, musical instruction in the key of swagger and grind, rock 'n roll, truly will always be and the foundation bricks mortared by the likes of Lennon and McCartney and Townshend and Daltry are as solid as ever.
"Is this a kid show?" a passerby asked Rockit creator and mentor Bruce Gallipani, of Middletown, on the street in front of the Basie. "Nah," he replied, "it's a rock show."
The performance included a full album tribute to Who's Next, followed by a what's what of the who's who of rock history ... every song a classic, every rendition alive with the crazy stuff of young rockers.
Gallipani, a drummer, sat in on two Who's Next songs and admitted being a bit anxious before the show. "I haven't played like this in six years and never on the stage at the Basie," he said.
His performance, which received a thunderous applause, nearly as loud as his playing, proved that the master can still beat drums with his apprentices. "Yeah, he's pretty good," Rockit student Caroline Oddo told the audience as Gallipani left the stage. "I think we'll keep him around."
Rockit is part of Count Basie Theatre's Performing Arts Academy. It gives young musicians an opportunity to play rock-n-roll with their peers, bringing them to perform live as a band on the Basie stage and experience the dynamics of working together to achieve a common goal.
To join Rockit, you must be between the ages of 8 and 16 and you must audition. For more information about Rockit check them out online at: http://www.rockitlive.org/wp/