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Every year, NAMM draws in tens of thousands into Southern California for what is surely the event of the year in the music industry.  Those lucky enough to attend have their fair share of after-hours events to choose from, offering discerning event goers a ton of cool options to relax, unwind, and let loose after a hard day’s work (or play) at NAMM.  Whether you are in to live music, great restaurants, or just want to socialize around the hotel bar, there is typically something to suit everyone’s fancy.  With all the unbelievable ‘after-hour’ choices NAMM week has to offer; how do you narrow down your options and decide?  Well, the mystery can easily be solved by paying close attention to the actual events themselves.  Some promise the moon and stars while falling far short of expectations, others lay out a consistent product that fire on all cylinders. Ultimate Namm Night at the Anaheim Hilton fell into the latter category and was the place to "Live and Let Die" on Saturday night.

So, what made this year’s Ultimate Namm Night so special?  

#1 - Location, Location, Location:  There may not have been a more convenient place to see a kick-ass rock and roll show than the Anaheim Hilton (which was literally steps from NAMM).  Event goers could easily transition from work to play without having to leave the convention center, and this was a big plus for anyone wanting to make the most of their time on site.

#2 - Amazing Live Music:  One might think that pulling together a group of talented musicians with little to no rehearsal time would be a recipe for disaster.  Well, that not the case at Ultimate Namm Night. I have attended countless Ultimate Jam Night event’s in Hollywood over the years and this one may have been the granddaddy of them all. Chuck Wright and Adam Mandel have a knack for creating solid lineups with world-class musicians that amaze and inspire.  This one, my friends, was on a whole new level.  

#3 - The Ultimate Jam Family:  This may sound cliché, but the Ultimate Jam Night is family.  When you enter the Whisky on any given Tuesday night, you will immediately understand what I am talking about, as the experience is unlike any other in Hollywood.  The warmth that is Ultimate Jam Night traveled to Anaheim in a big way and helped to make this sold-out event incredible for all who attended.


If you happened to attend last weekend’s show, you would have probably experienced for yourself the amazing venue, incredible live music, and the Ultimate Jam Night family as each were in fine form Saturday night.  That said, here are a few highlights from Ultimate Namm Night that stood out amongst the thousands that blew my mind:

  • “Detroit Rock City”: I am not a huge KISS fan, but there is something about this song that gets a crowd fired-up.  For me, this seemed to be the point of ‘no-return’ and kicked the show into a hyper-drive on Saturday night.  Robert Mason’s vocals were spot-on and Cinderella’s Fred Coury on drums was beyond words (His smile said it all!)  This unbelievable cover reinforced for me (and many others) why jam night’s like this are so special.


  • “Thank You”:  Sky and the Family Stone have always been one of my favorites, and this classic exemplified how important the song is and how it brings people together through music.  Dave Schulz immediately connected with the crowd and ensured that everyone was on their feet and singing to the beat.  And I’d be remiss if I did not mention the multi-talented guitarist, Mr. Vernon Reid. His performance was straight fire, and still dazzles the masses with his incredible genius.


  • "Shyboy":  Weeks prior to the event, rumors were swirling that a David Lee Roth Band was going to take place at Ultimate Namm Night.  This had been attempted once before, and that event was prematurely shut-down by local fire marshals before anyone even got a chance to take the stage.   On Saturday night, the stars finally aligned and for the first time in over 33 years, David Lee Roth’s “Eat Em and Smile” band (featuring Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan, Greg Bissonette, and Brent Tuggle) were back jamming on the same stage.  I’ll be the first to admit that I was disappointed with David Lee Roth’s absence, but was thrilled nonetheless as they ripped off one of my favorite DLR classics, “Shyboy”.  The band sounded fantastic, and Jeff Scott Soto’s vocals elevated everyone's game.  I could have spent the whole night listening to these legends, and hope this may spark some future discussion about a ‘complete’ reunion down the road.


The show wrapped up just as it started with ridiculous cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” from the Ultimate Jam Night house band.  Each put their heart and soul into the song for what capped-off an unbelievable musical extravaganza.  There is no doubt in my mind that Chuck Wright has tapped into something special with Ultimate Jam Night and taking the show on the road to NAMM was its logical next step.  For those that missed the show, you can catch it HERE,  courtesy of  RYouLive.  However, if you truly want to experience the Hollywood music scene in a way that few ever get a chance to, head on down to the Whisky a Go-Go next Tuesday and catch the Ultimate Jam Night show live and unscripted.  It’s an experience you won’t soon forget, and one well worth the price of admission (which is always FREE)!   Until next time,

Stay Frosty and Rock On!!


Matthew Belter

Executive Editor - Long Beach

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