Hard Rock Cafe Pittsburgh celebrated a decade of Rockin’ The ‘Burgh with a big 10th Anniversary party. The day-long event started at 8:30 A.M. (!) with a pin collectors breakfast and trading event that included the release of seven new pins. Then it was on to the Rock ‘n Roll with live music behind the Cafe in a specially constructed tent, dubbed the Decade Party Tent (named not only for the number of years in operation, but for the iconic music club in Pittsburgh that hosted the first performances of The Police, U2 and countless others). The tent kicked off with the acoustic trio, and 2012 Pittsburgh Hard Rock Rising winners, 3 Dudes Chillin’. They were followed by the 2012 Winter Rock Showcase winners Wine & Spirit, who rocked the crowd with a lively acoustic set while guests took special thank you photos in our Hard Rock photo booth and posed with our costumed Gene Simmons impersonator. The tent was capped off by the always entertaining Good Brother Earl. [more]
The main stage on Station Square Drive in front of the Hard Rock Cafe started with a southern rock-tinged set by the “on the verge” band East Coast Turnaround and continued with a rambunctious set by The Delaneys that kept the crowd groovin’ in the right direction. In the warm-up spot was the hot local band Gene The Werewolf, whose sound harkens back to classic AC/DC and other 80’s hair bands – it was loud and it rocked. Watch for these guys to break it big.
The day had reached its apex as the glow of neon lights filled the street, it was time for the headliner as a crowd of a 1,000 plus fans filled the area ready to rock with a Pittsburgh legend – Donnie Iris and The Cruisers. Donnie, looking spry for someone who recently turned 69 years old, surprised the audience by wearing a bright yellow suit (with a Hard Rock T-shirt nonetheless). The suit was reminiscent of his classic 1981 album cover “Back On The Streets” and was also worn in the video for the single “Ah! Leah!” After the performance, Donnie gave the suit to the Hard Rock Cafe Pittsburgh to add to the Hard Rock collection along with a signed original album of “Back On The Streets.”
The night was filled with all the Donnie classic hits – “Do You Compute?”, “That’s The Way Love Ought to Be”, “Agnes”, “Sweet Merilee”, “Love Is Like Rock”, and of course “Ah! Leah!” The crazy thing about Donnie Iris is that at 69 he hasn’t lost one bit of his rockin’ edge, the energy was incredible, and that scream – unleashing it multiple times throughout the night to great effect. It is one of the best screams in rock, hands down. The night was capped, appropriately enough, with a cover of Joe Cocker’s version of “A Little Help With My Friends” sending that crowd off with the always powerful message that friends will always be there to get you by anything. Hard Rock Cafe Pittsburgh was insanely happy to spend a special birthday with all our friends. Here’s to many more to come.