Hippiefest bringing old-time rock ’n’ roll to Fort Lauderdale
Things are about to get groovy at Parker Playhouse, with the Hippiefest tour stopping today at the Fort Lauderdale theater.
The concert puts the spotlight on classic rock acts from the 1960s and ’70s, including Vanilla Fudge, Rick Derringer, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, and Joey Molland of Badfinger fame. This is the ninth Hippiefest tour.
“I think the reason that Hippiefest has been so successful over the years is because it’s an evening full of great music, hit after hit, that has spanned the decades and generations performed by the original artists,” tour publicist Jeff Albright says in an email. “Of course, there’s an additional fun factor to the show that’s inherent in the name itself.”
Vanilla Fudge scored their first hit with a scorching cover of the Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” a title lead vocalist, keyboard- ist and arranger Mark Stein, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, borrowed for his memoir.
“We were living in Southern California and my son was living in Fort Lauderdale since the ’90s, so my wife, Patty, and I used to visit him all the time,” Stein says in an email. “We loved the weather and tropics, so we finally decided to buy a condo on the Galt [Ocean] Mile in 2000 to be on the beach. Now, we have two grandchildren who live up in Stuart, so we also have a house up there and we go back and forth, but love the beach.”
Back in their heyday, Vanilla Fudge toured with Jimi Hendrix and shared the stage with Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and Cream. Vanilla Fudge’s latest album, “Spirit of ‘67,” was released in 2015. The band’s lineup has basically remained the same over the years.
“We really do love playing together,” Stein says. “We started out together, and over the decades we weathered many a storm both personally and in a business sense. And we consistently get offers to still play shows not only in the U.S., but around the world. We pride ourselves on the fact that although we’ve been playing together over 50 years now, we still bring power, energy and dynamics to the stage. People have been responding in a very positive way, which helps keep the fires burning within us to
Stein — who says he hangs out at Shooters Waterfront, Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park and Vito’s Gourmet Pizza when in town — has also been on a solo tour this year.
“My solo show consists of music that I have performed throughout my career. In the [1970s], I toured and recorded with Tommy Bolin, Dave Mason, Alice Cooper, etc., and I also play some of the iconic Vanilla Fudge arrangements that the fans want to hear. We also do a taste of Deep Purple, who I’ve made guest appearances with and, as recent as last year, I made several appearances with Carl Palmer. I basically borrow a little bit of music from each of the acts I played with, combined with personal stories about all these artists I’ve known in rock.”
Fellow Hippiefest act Rick Derringer first hit the charts in 1965 with the McCoys and their chart topper “Hang On Sloopy.” Solo success came in 1973 with the song “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo.” Derringer has worked with Alice Cooper, Steely Dan, Edgar Winter and Weird Al Yankovic.
Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels began their run on the charts in the
The concert puts the spotlight on classic rock acts from the 1960s and ’70s.
mid-1960s with “Devil With a Blue Dress,” “Sock It to Me, Baby” and “Jenny Take a Ride!” The actor Winona Ryder, whose real name is Winona Laura Horowitz, made Ryder her stage name because her father was a fan.
The British rock band Badfinger, who were signed to the Beatles’ Apple music label, enjoyed early 1970s hits such as “Come and Get It” (written and produced by Paul McCartney) and “Day After Day” (produced by George Harrison). Other hits for Badfinger include “No Matter What,” “Day After Day,” and “Baby Blue,” a song that was used in Martin Scorsese’s movie “The Departed” in 2006 and the finale of television’s “Breaking Bad” in 2013. Guitarist Joey Molland, who joined the band in 1969, is the lone survivor of Badfinger.
“A typical snapshot of the crowd [at a Hippiefest concert] shows a combination of flower kids from the ’60s and hipsters from the ’70s, along with their kids, their grandkids and a host of others who just enjoy good music,” Albright says. “Hippiefest is a chance to escape for a few hours and take a trip down memory lane, enjoying the memorable music of days gone by. I don’t know what it is, other than perhaps great rock ’n’ roll, but every time I hear Rick Derringer’s ‘Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo’ on the radio, I crank it up despite the fact that I might have just heard it the day before. That must be the true music definition of ‘timeless.’ ”
Hippiefest will begin at 6 p.m. today at Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., in Fort Lauderdale (in Holiday Park). Tickets cost $47-$77. To order, call 954-462-0222 or go to