Responding to the brutal 2005 storms that caused billions of dollars worth of property damage (and untold psychological harm) to his home state of Florida, rocker Rick Derringer rounded up some of his old cohorts — friends that included some of classic rock’s biggest names — for a special one-night-only event. Dubbed “Musicians for Disaster Relief,” the concert at Orlando’s Universal Studios raised several hundred thousand dollars for charity, and now the show comes to DVD in the form of Rock Relief, where a portion of proceeds from its sale will benefit the same-named charitable trust.
Kicking off things nicely is Loverboy. If you’re like me, when you think Loverboy, you think of three things: “Workin’ for the Weekend,” Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze. Their sketch about an audition for a final slot at Chippendale’s remains a Saturday Night Live classic, and has left an indeliable visual marker on that tune for me. “Turn Me Loose” (which I oddly heard on the radio three times in one day recently) is an underrated era gem, and solidly performed here; “Hot Girls in Love” and “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” are also included.
Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider (“The Price”) and Derringer himself follow suit, the latter with a loose-limbed version of “Hang on Sloopy” and a more feel-good, less sneering “Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo.” Allman Brother Dickie Betts contributes “Ramblin’ Man” and “Southbound,” but the show highlight may be 1980s pin-up Eddie Money, whose “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Take Me Home Tonight,” “Wanna Go Back” and “Baby Hold On” deliver a sort of goofy, joyful catharsis. The hooks on those songs are much stronger than one might remember.
The odd man out here is Michael Bolton, creepily shorn just as he was creepily long-locked back in his stronger days of FM suckitude. Contributing “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “Rock Me Baby” and a cover of the Otis Redding staple “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,” Bolton’s set, though short, still feels like an unwelcome change-up coming as it does amidst all of the up-tempo rockers presented here.
There are unfortunately no supplemental extras on this 90-minute disc (even a brief interview with Derringer on the impetus for his involvement would have been nice), but the well-captured tunes offer up a lot of reminiscence, and it’s all for a good cause. B (Concert) C- (Disc)