Birthday Bash Bombs

WDJX Party at the Commonwealth

By Ray Yates and Joe Weyler

So what do you want in a free party? Maybe I'm picky, but I'd like it to start somewhere close to on time, with a audio system that works and doesn't sound like a boom box in a subway tunnel. How hard can it be to play a tape for someone to sing along with? Sorry guys, but with all the free talent that you lined up for this thing, you could at least give them a better-sounding PA system to sing through. I'll climb down off my soap box now because, in spite of the problems, a lot of people really seemed to have a good time.

On June 6, the Commonwealth Convention Center was the site of the WDJX Seventh Birthday Bash with the stars. The show was hosted by Henry Lee Summers and WDJX personalities Joe Caruso, Jill Lawrence and Chris Randolph and featured eight acts. Kym Sims was scheduled to perform but canceled, reportedly due to illness. LA Guns and Corey Hart signed autographs but didn't perform. Cory Hart is getting ready to begin his U.S. tour. His was the longest line all night.

The atmosphere can best be described as "casual prom." Large tables filled the floor, each with their own balloon art decoration. Strings of lights decorated the ceiling. There was an large area in front of the stage for dancing, which, for most of the night, was full. In the back of the auditorium was an area where the performers signed autographs and T-shirts. The wait in line for most artists was over an hour.

Chris Walker opened the show, backed by tape which unfortunately didn't work until half way through the first song. During the last song he began filling the stage with members of the audience; particularly females. As you might imagine, this had an energizing effect on the dance floor.

After a loooong pause Mitch Malloy played an all-acoustic set, accompanied by another guitarist. His performance was good, but the PA gremlins struck again, turning his microphone on and off.

Cause and Effect is a keyboard, guitar and drum trio playing what can best be described as alternative rock. The sound quality started getting better but you still couldn't understand the lyrics.

The Outfield also performed a set with two acoustic guitars. The musicianship was excellent. This was the first act of the night that came off well.

Joe Secada, formerly with Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, performed next, backed by tape. His was the least impressive performance. The music was; too loud, too jumbled, too boomy, and just too much.

Julian Lennon ended his six month U.S. tour by performing with Justin Clayton on acoustic guitars. He stole the show when it came to crowd response. His five song set included his new hit "Help Yourself." This was definitely the highlight of the night.

Nia Peoples and Curtis Steiger were also there, but I'm afraid that we didn't see their performances. The show was still going on at 12:30 p.m. and my ears had turned to mush earlier.

Over all, for a free show, it was OK. I wouldn't have plucked down my hard earned cash to go, but many people obviosly had a good time. There was a very relaxed "party" atmosphere. and the WDJX DJs walked around, mingled with the crowd and talked to people. The concept of the birthday bash was good, but the talent could have been stronger and the sound systems . . . well, I think you get the idea on that one.