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Player about to set sail again

Published Tuesday July 30, 2013  By Mike Morsch

 
People like to tell stories about what they were doing and who they were with the first time they heard that “special song.”


For Peter Beckett, co-founder and lead singer of the band Player, sometimes those stories are, well . . . ahem . . . R-rated.

“Most stories I hear about ‘Baby Come Back’ are unfit to relate. It usually has something to do with the back seat of a car,” said Beckett.

“Baby Come Back” was the band’s biggest hit in the late 1970s. Written by Beckett and bandmate J.C. Crowley, the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 after its release in October 1977.

Beckett and original member Ronn Moss — whom many know as the iconic Ridge Foresster on the CBS daytime drama “The Bold and the Beautiful” — still tour as Player and are one of the groups featured on the Sail Rock 2013 tour, which stops in Morristown, N.J., for one show at 8 p.m. at the Mayo Performing Arts Center.

The Sail Rock 2013 lineup also includes ’70s classic soft rock stars Christopher Cross, Orleans, Gary Wright, Firefall, John Ford Coley and Robbie Dupree.

Player hit it big with “Baby Come Back” in 1977 on its self-titled debut album, which also featured another Top 10 hit, “This Time I’m in it for Love.” The band opened for the Boz Skaggs “Silk Degrees” tour that year and then in 1978, produced a second album, “Danger Zone,” which had a harder rock edge. Because they shared a record label — RSO Records — with Eric Clapton, the band opened for the rocker on his 1978 “Slowhand” tour.

“We thought, ‘Oh my God, it’s Eric Clapton,’” said Beckett in a recent telephone interview. “We didn’t know it was going to be such a famous tour.”

Player released four albums between 1977 and 1982 before the band began to splinter. Beckett and Moss released two albums in the 1990s under the Player banner, but didn’t team up for another record until releasing an album of new material titled “Too Many Reasons” earlier this year.

Although Player is only onstage for a few songs during the Sail Rock gigs, Beckett said he’s having a great time on the tour.

“I didn’t know what to expect at first,” said Beckett, who added that the first handful of shows on the tour were attracting crowds in the 4,000 range. “The people go crazy because every song is a hit. You get to do your hits and that’s pretty much it.

“Christopher Cross is onstage for about 20 minutes, maybe 30 minutes, because he’s doing four or five songs. Everybody else is doing three songs. You kind of run out there, you’re all excited, then you get pulled off. You want to play for another hour or two. But that’s just the way it is. It’s a collective thing. It’s all very fast and easy-flowing.”

Beckett, who has written songs for other artists — like Olivia Newton-John, The Temptations and Kenny Rogers as well as for films and television — released a self-titled solo album in 1991. He alsoHe also joined Little River Band in 1989 and spent nearly 10 years with that group.

But he’s digging Player’s role on the Sail Rock tour.

“When you go into these things, you’ve met a couple of the guys before, but there’s no real thing there,” he said. “But we’ve done several shows now and everybody is really getting along great. It’s actually a lot of fun.”

As for his place in rock history, Beckett is comfortable with it.

“I’d like to have had a bunch more hits, but I’m grateful for capturing lightning in a bottle,” he said. “You’re very, very lucky if you get anything that even smells like a hit and you’re really lucky to get a No. 1 hit. And you’re extremely lucky to get anything more than that.

“And I’ve been lucky enough to get a little more than that, so I’m grateful. I really am.”

 
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Nothing But Hits Sail Into Chautauqua

Posted on
DSC_1150Concert Review
Sail Rock 2013
Featuring
Christopher Cross
Orleans
Player
Firefall
Gary Wright
Robbie Dupree
John Ford Coley
Chautauqua Institute Amphitheater
Chautauqua, NY

Friday July 5, 2013
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto
 
The Sail Rock 2013 tour wove its way into the Chautauqua Institute’s Amphitheater Friday evening. The picturesque setting with nearby Chautauqua Lake made this show even more nostalgic as fans had the chance to relive those magic songs of the seventies and early eighties.
The show began with John Ford Coley, who had a string of hits with his old partner the late “England” Dan Seals. Kicking of the affair with a pair of the duo’s top ten hits “We’ll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again” and “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” was a great way to get the audience into the show. During his final song of the evening he mentioned how much Dan loved “Love Is The Answer” as he played it for him as a tribute.
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Up next was Robbie Dupree who began with his Top 6 smash from 1980, “Steal Away”. Dupree also had another hit “Hot Rod Hearts” which he also performed before turning the stage over to Player.
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Player featuring original members Ronn Moss and Peter Beckett strolled out to play their two biggest hits. “This Time I’m In It For Love” featured Ronn Moss on lead vocals. Moss as some may remember left to pursue an acting career that led to his best known role of Ridge Forrester on the CBS daytime soap The Bold and the Beautiful. Beckett followed up by singing the bands signature song “Baby Come Back” which rose to the top of the charts and was a staple everywhere you went in 1977.
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Firefall followed featuring original member Jock Bartley and longtime guitarist/vocalist Johnne Sambataro. “Just Remember I Love You” and “You Are The Woman” were played to the crowd’s delight.
Gary Wright who at one time was a member of Spooky Tooth, an English band that also featured Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones was on stage next. Wright is best known for his 1976 classic “Dream Weaver”. It would have been good to hear “Really Wanna Know You” which was his last top 40 hit from 1981 but it was not to be.
Orleans was up next although they were on stage the whole time serving as the house band for each act. Their performance of their classic “Dance With Me” drew the first standing ovation of the evening. Lance Hoppen mentioned how it had been about a year that they lost his brother Larry Hoppen who sang lead on the bands two biggest hits. The band closed with “Still The One” before turning it over to the Christopher Cross to close out the event.
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Cross opened with his smash “Never Be The Same” and it was clear who most fans came to see. Cross mentioned how a new version of the movie Arthur was recently released but stated there is really only one Arthur and that is Dudley Moore as he launched into his number one hit Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do). The highlight of the whole night had to be the amazing performance of Cross’ other number one hit “Sailing”. Cross’ voice was crisp and clear and the performance was one to remember. As he introduced what he called the song that put him on the map, “Ride Like The Wind” he gave a nod to Michael McDonald who was sang background vocals on the original version recorded on his debut album which landed Cross five Grammy’s.
For an encore almost every artist on the bill came out to jam on The Eagles “Take It Easy”. A fitting way to close out the show and send everyone home on a high note. The show featured nothing but the hits that dominated the airwaves in the mid to late seventies. There are not many tours out there today that can boast the set list that Sail Rock 2013 can. One can hold out hope that a tour like this is something that can be done every summer. With the a friendly ticket price it makes for an enjoyable night out for the whole family and also to celebrate some great music as well.
 
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Chautauqua Flashes Back to the 70's- 80's

Posted: Jul 06, 2013 11:25 AM EST Updated: Jul 06, 2013 11:54 AM EST
By Bill Cummings - email
 
Christopher Cross " Sailing" at Chautauqua Christopher Cross " Sailing" at Chautauqua
 
Nearly sold out crowd at Chautauqua's Amphitheater Nearly sold out crowd at Chautauqua's Amphitheater
 
Gary Wright (on right with keyboard) says " Dream Weaver" inspired by visit to India with George Harrison Gary Wright (on right with keyboard) says " Dream Weaver" inspired by visit to India with George Harrison
 
Ronn Moss with Player "Baby Come Back"  also formerly " Ridge" in Soap The Bold and Beautiful Ronn Moss with Player "Baby Come Back" also formerly " Ridge" in Soap The Bold and Beautiful
 
John Ford Coley: "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight," John Ford Coley: "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight,"
Chautauqua, NY - Christopher Cross tells the audience a funny story Friday night at Chautauqua Institution's Amphitheater. He says while going through airport security the agent scanned his I.D. and then said to him, " Didn't there used to be a singer named Cristopher Cross?" It gave the nearly sold out audience a big laugh. Cross is a five time Grammy Award winner and is still very much making music. He is the featured act in a tour called "Sail Rock" and named after his most famous song. He brought along some other big names and memories from the 70's and 80's as well.
The concert featured nothing but hit songs sung by the original artists. It included memorable and iconic songs performed by Christopher Cross: "Sailing," "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)," "Ride The Wind," "Think of Laura." Orleans: "Still The One," "Dance With Me," "Love Takes Time." Gary Wright: "Dream Weaver," "Love Is Alive." Firefall: "You Are The Woman," "Just Remember I Love You," "Strange Way." John Ford Coley: "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight," "Nights Are Forever Without You," "We'll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again," "Love Is The Answer." Robbie Dupree: "Steal Away." Player: "Baby Come Back," "This Time I'm In It For Love."
Judging from the audience dancing along and several standing ovations the crowd at Chautaqua knows these artists can still make memories!