For the Sands Bethlehem Event Center’s 2nd annual Memorial Day Block party they upped the bar from last year and booked Rusted Root, a long time Pennsylvania favorite, to headline the free show with support from some familiar faces as well. Those faces of course belonged to the Wailers, who headlined the event last year and were returning this year to open for Rusted Root. Doors opened at 5PM, it seemed like it was going to be an early night but it would turn out to be the opposite but there was too much fun to be had for people to care about that.
The Wailers played quite a long supporting set prior to Rusted Root and after a near 40 minute set change things were ready to go for the headlining event by 8:30PM. By this time the crowd had ebbed and flowed a few times (whether this was to get another round of drinks or to go gamble I can’t say) but the venue was decently full and very much ready to have a last bit of Memorial Day fun.
Everyone knew that the band was going to play their iconic hit “Send Me On My Way,” that was a no brainer but what people were unsure about what what was going to take place between the opening of the set and that point. Well, a lot did and it was quite a musical journey to say the least. The band’s setlist included a wide variety of songs such as “Cover Me Up,” “Fortunate Freaks,” and even some new songs like “Save Me,” and “Don’t Sleep.” Though there were a few moments of what I am going to call down time in the set of just jamming it never got to a point that it wasn’t enjoyable for the crowd. In fact, I think a lot of people would have been more than thrilled if the band just jammed the whole night and didn’t play any songs at all. The vibe in the venue was certainly infectious, the ages ranged from kids as young as 5 or 6 all the way to adults who were easily in their 80’s. I can’t think of a time that I have seen such a wide ranged group of fans at a show and to me that speaks volumes to the band’s stage show. Fun, that anyone can enjoy.
Too touch on the performance I think it is only fair if each band member gets their own dues because as a whole they put on a technically sound show under the Rusted Root name but they are so much more than just that. Michael Glabicki’s vocals were very on point through out the course of the night as he belted out each lyric as close to on key as it gets. The only times I was throw off were the new songs but that was just due to my unfamiliarity with the tracks and I wasn’t sure how they were actually supposed to sound but the crowd didn’t miss a beat with singing along so I take it they were enjoying it all the same. Patrick Norman rocked the bass guitar consistently through the course of the night and when he chimed in on back up vocals there were no complaints to be had, he was having just as much fun as the rest of the band was and was all smiles for the whole show.
Liz Berlin played more instruments than I can even list and still managed to provide backing vocals as well, seriously though she made more instrument changes than I could keep up with it was a VERY impressive show of her musical talent. Preach Freedom did what any great drummer should do and kept things in beat the whole night and shined while doing so though it was a bit hard to see him due to crowded stage set up. Last but not least it goes without saying that Dirk Miller slayed every riff throughout the night and had plenty of time to showcase his jamming abilities as well.
Pennsylvania fans rejoice though because Rusted Root will back later this year for a separate tour which will bring to the Sherman Theater, easily one of the best club setting venues to see a show in the area so if you missed this one you can still catch them before the year ends.
Be sure to check out our exclusive gallery below from Matt Christine Photography :
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