Spenser Hasak

Were prog rock icons great? Yes!

Jon Davison performs in Yes during the Yes – The Album Series concert at the Lynn Memorial Auditorium on Thursday.


LYNN — The death of founding bassist Chris Squire last year means there are no original members in the current touring band of progressive rock titans Yes.

Jon Anderson seems content to work with Jean Luc Ponty and focus on the upcoming “An Evening of Yes Music & More” tour with Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman (at Boston’s Wang Theater on Oct. 19).

To further complicate matters, longtime drummer Alan White, who joined in 1972, is recuperating from recent back surgery and had to sit out Thursday night’s show at Lynn Memorial Auditorium.

Steve Howe, of YES, jams on the guitar during the YES - The Album Series concert at Lynn Memorial Auditorium on Thursday. shasak | Item Live

Steve Howe, of Yes, jams on the guitar during the Yes – The Album Series concert at Lynn Memorial Auditorium on Thursday.

So, how did the lineup of Steve Howe (guitars), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Billy Sherwood (bass), Jay Schellen (drums) and Jon Davison (vocals) fare? Pretty darn well, thank you very much.

But this was truly a show for Yes die-hards. Marginal fans who went expecting to hear “Owner of a Lonely Heart” — a turgid pile of you know what IMHO — and other radio-friendly tunes were probably ready to take poison about halfway through the close-to-25-minute set-ending “Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil).”

This was also the hardest rocking, aggressive-sounding Yes show I’ve seen in a long time. The band is on the road performing the 1980 album “Drama” in its entirety, sides 1 and 4 of 1973’s  bombastic, fantastic opus “Tales from Topographic Oceans” and a handful of greatest “hits.”

The stage was jam-packed with instruments and equipment. The space allotted for Downes’ keyboards was larger than my first apartment.

The six songs from the hard-rocking “Drama” kicked things off. Howe was on fire from the start, the menacing “Machine Messiah,” to the beautiful acoustic solo during “Leaves of Green.” He was a man possessed. He came to play, and drummer Schellen pushed him all night.

Vocalist Davison sounds so much like Anderson it’s eerie. He hits high notes that only dogs can hear; his tighty-whities must’ve been particularly tight. He shined on “Into the Lens” and fan favorites “I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Siberian Khatru,” which revved up the crowd even more before a 20-minute interval (that’s Brit-speak for intermission).

It’s a shame White missed the gig, because the ambitious “Topographic Oceans” was the first Yes album he played on. (Steven Wilson has remixed the double album; it will be released next month.) I always found the album indulgent and banal, but the crowd was jazzed and attentive and even rowdy during the long (20-minutes-plus) “The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)” and especially the percussion freakout with synchronized lights and smoke in “Ritual.”

The encore (that’s Brit-speak for encore), a one-two punch of “Roundabout” and “Starship Trooper,” got the crowd clapping, standing and cheering.

Bill Brotherton can be reached at bbrotherton@itemlive.com

“All fired up” in City Hall

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo light up the stage at the Lynn Memorial Auditorium on Thursday during the Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo: We Live For Love Tour.


 LYNN — Pat Benatar is more than just someone who was manufactured by MTV, even if she owes much of her early fame to exposure on the cable station. Indeed, Benatar was the first female artist ever featured on the fledgling all-music-video channel in 1981, something she acknowledged proudly Thursday night at Lynn Memorial Auditorium when she launched her version of the Rascals’ song “You Better Run,” a tune she made her own, then and now.

Today, Benatar is 63, and her voice shows the strains from 37 years of singing pop hits. While her pipes may be mature, they were still up to the test.

From the opening “All Fired Up” to the closing “Heartbreaker,” she didn’t miss a note, and had a blast frolicking around the stage with her husband/guitarist Neil Giraldo, whom she married in 1983.

He wrote many of Benatar’s hits, including “We Belong,” a song he made sure had an iconic beginning that would be instantly recognized. As soon as he played the first notes, it was.

Benatar split time between the hits, or as she called them “the holy 14, the songs I have to play if I don’t want to get grief on Facebook,” and some lesser-known ones. Also included was a tribute to the late Prince, “When Doves Cry.”

Another highlight was “Hell is for Children,” which she wrote with her husband after seeing a TV special in a New York hotel room.

“I hope the day comes when we never have to do this song again,” she told the large crowd in the auditorium.

No Benatar show would be complete without “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Love Is A Battlefield” and “Invincible.” They were performed with gusto, as were all the rest. Despite all the pounding she’s done to her voice, it’s clear Pat Benatar still has it.

Steve Krause can be reached at skrause@itemlive.com.



Plenty brewing on Commercial Street in Lynn

Crowds gathered at the Bent Water Brewing Co. Blast Off celebration on Saturday for beer, food, music and a tour of the facilities.


LYNN – Check brewery off the list of the city’s attractions.

The Bent Water Brewing Co. held its grand opening Saturday on Commercial Street just off the Lynnway.

The event featured tours of the facility, live music, local food and, yes, beer.

Thanks to a $200,000 start-up loan by the Lynn Economic Development and Industrial Corp. Bent Water was able to get its start.

Managing partner Aaron Reames called the loan a “meaningful token of support,” and praised the EDIC for its early support.

Reames, a Swampscott resident and financial manager at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, a Boston-based global asset management group, said he and Master Brewer John Strom considered sites in Marblehead and Swampscott while searching for potential brewery locations. But neither were a good fit.

Reames said he made the decision to locate in Lynn after consulting with EDIC/Lynn Executive Director Jim Cowdell, and Nick Meninno of Meninno Construction in Lynn.

“Lynn has fantastic water, and the city really embraced us,” Reames said.

Formerly Lynn Lumber, Reames said he and Strom, along with managing partners and investors Chris Crawford and Michael Shaughnessy, lease the building from Meninno.

Lynn Business Park RT and the Nicholas Mennino Trust bought the 84,000-square-foot lot in 2014 for $1.4 million.

Reames, an Ohio native, studied molecular genetics at Ohio State University before receiving his Master’s of Business Administration from Franklin University in 2000.

The 42-year-old entrepreneur said he started brewing beer in his garage in 2002 before searching for potential locations six years later.

“Going from brewing in my garage to this, there’s really no comparison,” he said.

While Bent Water can store up to 15,000 barrels of beer, Reames said his goal is to hold as many as 90,000.

He said the support from the community and surrounding towns has been incredible, and was another reason for locating in Lynn.

“For me, that was the most important thing,” he said. “I’m incredibly thankful.”

Dillon Durst can be reached at ddurst@itemlive.com.

Coping with loss through sports

Pete Pedro talks about how sports have helped him through a difficult time. 


LYNN — Resting on the flue of his wood-burning stove is a sheet-metal rendering of a pistol, with the name “Pete Pedro” under it.

“Pistol” Pete Pedro” became his nickname as he created a legacy for himself as one of the city’s Top 10 athletes of all time at Lynn Trade, now Lynn Vocational Technical Institute.

“You know who gave me that nickname?” Pedro asked. “(Former Item executive sports editor) Red Hoffman, back in the 1950s.”

That legacy and moniker has ensured his enduring popularity here. Pedro, a Lynn native, said he is grateful at how well he has been served by his athletic past. That was never made clearer to him than last year. At the time, his son, Anthony “Ricky” Pedro, died at 47, just hours after he’d talked to his mother and Pedro’s wife, Gloria, on the telephone.

On Saturday, Pedro quietly explained the nightmare of learning about his son’s sudden turn for the worse, which occurred last November. His voice grew even softer as he described how his family gathered at Union Hospital and were told that doctors couldn’t stop the internal bleeding that caused his son’s death. Five minutes after the family visited him to say their goodbyes, he was gone.

“The Pedro family has been blessed,”he said. “We have wonderful friends, all throughout Lynn, and all those friends, from all walks of life, were there for us. You should have seen our house. There were so many flowers. And the food? You could have fed a football team with all the food.”

But what really helped Pedro cope with the tragedy were his grandchildren, especially Ricky’s sons, Eric and Stephen. Eric played for the Division 1 state finalist boys’ hockey team, and scored a goal in last week’s championship game against Franklin. Also, Alex Pedro, son of Peter Pedro Jr., swims for Lynn Classical. While Pedro has always attended their various games and meets, they took on added significance last winter. Pedro was convinced he felt his son’s presence at Eric’s hockey games.

“I’d swear Ricky was watching over him,” Pedro said. “I know he was. Ricky used to talk about him all the time — his hockey. I know Ricky would have been so proud of him. Both (Eric and Stephen) have done well. But both miss their father very much.”

Pedro cannot say enough about the support he received from St. Mary’s staff, from the administration to the janitors.

“Everybody, from the principal, to the teachers, custodians … honest to God, they have been wonderful,” he said.

As has his son-in-law, Dave Brown, St. Mary’s boys’ basketball coach. Brown’s basketball team went all the way in Division 4, beating Maynard, 61-52, earlier this month in the title game at Springfield College. Pedro went along for that ride too.

“David has been wonderful to me since he started coaching,” Pedro said. “He comes and picks me up and brings me to the school. I ride the bus to and from the road games. I work setting up the concession stand for the home games.”

One of the nice aspects about growing up in Lynn is how many people rallied to his side when his son died, Pedro said.

“There are so many caring people,” he said. “And all the people who come up to tell you they’re sorry, it makes you feel good. It’s important to know that people care as much as they do.”