“Phoenix Rising” Raises Crowd at Courtyard Concert

Jim Nickerson

(Apple Valley) “Phoenix Rising” opened the Fall Season of “Concerts in the Courtyard” at the Apple Valley Commons Thursday night playing music that appealed to the mixed age crowd of nearly 100.  People danced to almost every song, which ranged from 50’s tunes like Dion and the Belmont’s “Runaround Sue” and Richie Valens’ “La Bamba” to recent country hits like the Zac Brown Band’s “As She’s Walking Away” and almost everything in between.

“Phoenix Rising” has been performing in the High Desert for over 20 years, but the current mix of musicians is only about two years old.  That is not to say that the musicians are short on experience.  Lead Guitarist Jeff Sadie has been a professional musician for over 30 years and has opened for Willie Nelson twice, the second time along with Bass player Edward “Grant” Erbe whom he has worked with for six years.  Jeff said that Grant had been talked out of going to an audition for former “Guess Who” front man Burton Cummings by his ex wife.  Jeff believed he would have gotten the gig, so he is grateful to the ex for keeping Greg off the road and in Southern California.

Holding down the back beat is drummer Gary Morris, who lives in Riverside and honed his chops in the band “Watt Four”.  Filling out the foursome is front vocalist Arturo Espinosa who started the band with his brother J.R.

Phoenix Rising is also one of the featured bands at the upcoming Town of Apple valley Fall Festival on September 24 at Civic Center Park.

The concerts start at 5:30 pm and there are several food outlets that provide a delicious dinner to enjoy during the concert.  Round Table Pizza has just introduced their new “Flatbread Pizza, available in two sizes, Individual and Family.  The Individual is four slices packed with fresh toppings and large enough for two.  They also offer Buffalo Wings in Hot and Honey Barbeque and dine-in customers can enjoy beer or wine.

Quizno’s gave out samples of their Broccoli Cheese soup to the crowd and distributed coupons for online orders worth $1.00 off the price of a regular sub or salad and $2.00 off a large sub. Rainbow Frozen Yogurt had their mascot “YOMIE” on hand to entertain the crowds and dance with the ladies.

The Fall series of “Concerts in the Courtyard” are sponsored by Lewis Retail, managers of “The Courtyard” and Target retail Centers and will continue through September.  Next week’s featured artist is the country music group “Against the Grain”.

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