Yamaha Brings Out the Big Guns at ‘All-Star Concert on the Grand’

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Upfront
• Created: January 27, 2018

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Thousands of music dealers, industry officials, and media representatives gathered on Friday evening to experience the “Yamaha All-Star Concert on the Grand,” the marquis music event held this week during the 2018 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California.

Produced by Yamaha Entertainment Group, the concert put on display all the legendary multimedia and multi-artist production expertise for which the world’s largest musical instrument manufacturer is known, and brought memorable performances by superstars Michael McDonald, Melissa Etheridge, Lindsey Stirling, Sam Moore, Marc Broussard, Butch Walker and Sheléa to the Yamaha Grand Plaza stage.

Yamaha Artist and bassist Nathan East served as Musical Director for the concert, leading a smoking rhythm section that included Greg Phillinganes and Boh Cooper (keyboards), Donald Barrett (drums), Rafael Padilla (percussion); Tariqh Akoni and Andrew Synowiec (guitar); Amy Keys, Kenya Hathaway and Nita Whitaker (background vocals) the 12-piece horn section from Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band and a 12-person gospel choir.

“We promised a jaw dropping, multimedia, multi-artist extravaganza that would be the highlight event at NAMM, and dazzle our dealers and other show attendees,” said Chris Gero, the four-time Emmy Award winning producer of the concert, and the founder and vice president of Yamaha Entertainment Group. “The evening’s extraordinary caliber of artists underscores the high regard and appreciation Yamaha has for its dealers. It was a night none of us will soon forget.”

With more than 10 million YouTube subscribers and two billion views on her YouTube channel, not to mention two Billboard Music Awards and sold out tours nationwide, violin sensation and Yamaha Artist Lindsey Sterling dazzled the captive audience with her infectious energy and her chart-topping hits, “Beyond the Veil” and “Crystallize.”

Adding to the night’s concert magic was “Bayou Soul” Artist Marc Broussard, who laid down a tasty mix of funk, blues and R&B with “Man for Life,” “I Love You More than You’ll Ever Know” and “Cry to Me.”

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Butch Walker rocked the house of NAMM with “Hot Girls in Good Moods” and “Ponce de Leon Ave.” before laying down his heart-wrenching country ballad, “Closest Thing to You I’m Gonna Find.”

Two-time Grammy winning rocker Melissa Etheridge brought her signature smoky vocals to “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “I’m the Only One” and “Piece of My Heart.”

Rising R&B artist Sheléa wowed the crowd with “The Mood I’m In,” “I’m Every Woman” and “Feels like Home.”

Possessing one of the most distinctive and recognizable voices in pop music, multi-Grammy winner and Yamaha Artist Michael McDonald delighted his multitude of fans with soulful renditions of “Moondance,” “I Got News for You” (originally recorded by Ray Charles in 1960) and Motown favorite “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” before being joined in a rousing duet with Ms. Etheridge for “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise performer of the night was 81-year-old, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Sam Moore. Best known for his work in the ‘60s soul music duo Sam & Dave, Moore capped the evening’s superstar lineup, belting out his hits “Soul Man,” “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” and “Come on, Come Over,” and John Lennon’s immortal song, “Imagine.”

All of the evening’s artists then came on the Yamaha Grand Plaza stage for a convention-rocking, grand-finale performance of The Doobie Brothers’ classic hit, “Takin’ it to the Streets.”

In addition to bringing some of the biggest names in music to the stage for the All-Star concert, Yamaha powered the entire plaza with the company’s award-winning commercial audio gear, including the Rivage PM10 Digital Mixing System and NEXO line array speakers.

Photo: Butch Walker

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