The IDES have been so blessed throughout their career to have had the opportunity to share the stage with a wide variety of great musicians. Sometimes colleagues show up backstage just to say hello, and before long, there they are, singing or playing along. These moments are always special, and the overwhelming response from the lucky crowds are the living proof.
To take it a step further, as Jim Peterik has set a precedent with his World Stage Concerts, promoters have been designing shows where Star Artists “sit in” with the Ides, elevating an already exciting program to greater heights.
Over the years, such legends as John Densmore of the Doors, Rik Emmett of Triumph, Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, Carmine Appice of the Vanilla Fudge, Cathy Richardson of the Jefferson Starship, Mike Reno of Loverboy, and Col. Steve Cropper have graced the Ides stage. Who knew the Ides were so versatile as to support these artists in their own styles? Each of these shows were a knockout smash, as you’d imagine them to be.
Recently, at a Mardi Gras Ball for the SPLL (Society to Preserve the Louisiana Lagniappe) in Baton Rouge, a very special Guest Star appeared with the Ides. Rock And Roll Hall-Of-Famer Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals brought his blue-eyed soul to the stage, and the result was a career highlight for the band.
The magic that happens when the Ides feature special guests is due to the personal excitement each member of the band has in playing with them. It’s just as big of a deal for the guys in the band as it is for the audience! The Ides work diligently to learn and apply all the nuances of the Guest’s music to the letter, so the guest feels at home and it makes for a better show.
Felix took the stage to a great ovation, as the crew wheeled out Felix’s beloved Hammond Organ, where he has always held court. Those fans who know the Ides as a rollicking rock band might not know they cut their teeth “back in the day” playing plenty of Motown and R&B hits, and they fell right in line behind Felix’s groove. The party, (which was already a percolating, energetic scene) elevated a few more notches, with the outrageously costumed denizens (it was a Mardi Gras Ball, after all) dancing at full tilt, and straining to get ever closer to the stage.
After Felix closed his set, The Ides returned with their .38 Special medley, keeping the energy going, as you might expect those songs to do in the deep South; and climaxing with, what else? “Vehicle”.
The band never got to go offstage before the Encore was demanded, and the Ides complied with “Eye Of The Tiger”, calling Felix up again to have some fun-playing a killer Organ solo, and adding some great vocal improvs.
Every Ides Of March show is special, but every once in a while, the heavens part and grace descends. You really should have been in Baton Rouge…