Review and Photos by Don Quincy
In 1997, Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp began as an interactive musical event, meshing music enthusiasts with superstars as mentors. It operated with various clinics throughout the USA, with a home base in Las Vegas. Over the years, Fantasy Camp has flourished, ramping up its clinics, involving more and more renowned musicians, and recently spilling across the border into Canada.
This past weekend, RnR Fantasy Camp made its debut in Toronto, featuring heavyweight guitar slinger Joe Perry of Aerosmith and a host of amazing celebrity rock counselors that included David Hull (The Joe Perry Project), Sass Jordan (Juno Award Winner), Lawrence Gowan (Styx), Mark Clarke (Uriah Heep, Billy Squier), Gary Hoey (Top 100 All-time Guitarists), Nick Catanese (Black Label Society), Bumblefoot (Guns N’ Roses) and Joe Vitale (Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Eagles Road Band). But they were not the only ones on stage considering the show at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Hall also included the students (campers) that had studied under and played with these accomplished musicians all weekends as part of the Fantasy Camp, and their family and friends had come out to support them.
Sunday night saw the cumulative efforts of four days of intense boot camp, learning and jamming with the rock counselors and the ever-so inspired campers. “It was an incredible experience,” said Rory who had travelled from Saskatchewan to be a part of the Toronto inauguration event. Another said, “It was amazing to look out and see all my family there cheering me on amongst the crowd, incredible!” The celebs really seemed to enjoy sharing the spotlight with the campers, with a highlight that included Nick Catanese giving his vest to one young camper to wear while shredding it up.
For the fans who came out to see the rock celebs, they were not let down. The All Star jams were awesome – Joe Perry, Bumblefoot, Nick Catanese and Gary Hoey exchanging riffs, Gowan and Sass ripping out the vocals – all of which was truly enjoyable. To point out one favourite moment would be too difficult as there were so many! Everyone from the campers to the celebs looked to be having so much fun it was contagious, and there were memories made that will be cherished for a lifetime!