Commentary: Tribute Bands performing at ilani in an effort to touch our souls

Appetite for Deception, a tribute band that performs Guns N’ Roses music, played a free concert at ilani last week, the opening of a series of free concerts featuring tribute bands this summer. Photo by Paul Valencia
Appetite for Deception, a tribute band that performs Guns N’ Roses music, played a free concert at ilani last week, the opening of a series of free concerts featuring tribute bands this summer. Photo by Paul Valencia

Free concerts from tribute bands offered most Friday nights through Sept. 1 at ilani

Paul Valencia
ClarkCountyToday.com

Call it the Triumph of the Tribute Bands.

Paul Valencia, Reporter
Paul Valencia, Reporter

They give music lovers the chance to go back in time, relive some amazing memories, and make new ones with passionate fans who share the same interests.

The musicians. The fans. They are all in this together, experiencing their favorite hits.

Clark County has a place for a number of music fans this summer with live music from tribute bands. The sounds of No Doubt, Prince, Pearl Jam, Alabama, Selena, Van Halen and more are scheduled for most Friday nights through Sept. 1 at ilani.

The Rooftop Tribute Parties series started last week when Appetite for Deception, a tribute band performing the greatest hits of Guns N’ Roses, played on the top floor of ilani’s parking garage. The series will continue with more bands, more styles, on Fridays at 7 p.m. 

The man who sings like Axl Rose played to the crowd all night at a recent concert at ilani. Tribute bands are popular because they give the fans exactly what they want: the hits from their favorite artists. Photo by Paul Valencia
The man who sings like Axl Rose played to the crowd all night at a recent concert at ilani. Tribute bands are popular because they give the fans exactly what they want: the hits from their favorite artists. Photo by Paul Valencia

Some call these cover bands. But I believe that is mistaken. They are tribute bands. A cover band “covers” a variety of artists during a particular performance. A tribute band sticks with one band or one artist’s music. 

And tribute bands are popular.

Why? Oh there are probably experts in the industry who can give the data. To me, it’s just common sense.

We, as consumers, like what we like. Or, in many cases, we love what we love. 

We already know the sounds, the music that touches our souls. So when a tribute band comes to town, it’s a chance to capture those inspirational feelings once again, in person, surrounded by those who feel the same way.

Tribute band performers are musicians. They are not simply imitators. They are artists themselves. They just choose to perform music that fans already love, originated from someone else. 

In turn, we, as fans, attend because we know what we’re going to get from that stage. Music that moves us, and memories.

We also like bargains. In the case of the rooftop series at ilani, the concerts are free. But even when paying for a ticket to a tribute band concert, it is usually fractions of the cost of an event concert from a famous touring artist.

Taylor Swift isn’t charging $25 for a concert. 

I’m crazy enough for tribute bands to plan a trip to San Diego this summer to see The Purple Ones, a famous Prince tribute band. That’s a vacation destination for me.

Speaking of Prince and his music, ilani is hosting the Purple Experience on June 30. The Purple Experience is based out of Minnesota, Prince’s home state, and the band travels the country playing Prince music. They are already booked well into 2024.

Is that Slash? No, but it is someone who looks a lot like him. More importantly, he sounds like Slash from Guns N’ Roses. The popularity of tribute bands comes from the artists being incredible at what they do, and the fans love them for that. Photo by Paul Valencia
Is that Slash? No, but it is someone who looks a lot like him. More importantly, he sounds like Slash from Guns N’ Roses. The popularity of tribute bands comes from the artists being incredible at what they do, and the fans love them for that. Photo by Paul Valencia

This past week at ilani, I met folks from the Puget Sound area who traveled to see Appetite for Deception. The group, which has been performing for 18 years, started in Portland and is known throughout the region as a top draw. The band announced that this would be its last summer together. Their fans are making sure to see them at least one more time.

The people I met had seen Appetite for Deception dozens of times through the years. They told me that I was about to be blown away. 

They were right. 

I enjoy GnR music, but I’m not a die-hard fan or anything. Still, these guys in Appetite for Deception? They were incredible. I figured I’d stay for a few songs, to get a feel for the event. I couldn’t leave. They were that good. 

I also met a family from Vancouver. There was mom and dad and their three children. They rocked out all night to the sounds of Axl Rose, or at least from the man who has Axl’s voice and style down perfectly.

Oh yes, there are no age restrictions for the rooftop concert series. The concerts are free, too. Organizers told me that people can bring in their own chairs. Kind of like going to a concert in the park, if you will. (Keep in mind that if you choose to sit, you’ll have to place the chair a ways from the stage in order to see. Fans stand near the stage to get the best look of the bands.)

Hamburgers and drinks are on sale just a few steps away from the action, too, at the rooftop concerts. 

Folks should be reminded that there are age restrictions for gambling and in bars inside the casino. But on the rooftop of the garage? It’s a party for all ages.

The artists understand this is a two-way relationship, with performers and fans. “Axl” from Appetite For Deception played to the crowd all night. At one point, he walked into the crowd and shook hands. 

Those in Tribute Bands love their fans because they share a passion: The music.

Organizers of the rooftop series have found a variety of music styles for this summer, too. 

Me? You know I’ll be there for Prince music on June 30. Please join me! But I could also see myself going to the Alabama, Def Leppard, and Van Halen tribute performances.

Not going to say there is something for everyone, but there are a lot of different genres represented. 

Here is the list of Tribute performances coming to ilani:

June 23: Tragic Kingdom (No Doubt Tribute)

June 30: Purple Experience (Prince Tribute)
July 7: Washed in Black (Pearl Jam Tribute)
July 14: Roll On (Alabama Tribute)
July 21: Los Chicos del 512: The Selena Experience (Selena Tribute)
July 28: Glass of Hearts (Blondie Tribute)
Aug 4: Third Stage (Boston Tribute)
Aug. 18: Hysteria (Def Leppard Tribute)
Aug. 25: Best of Both Worlds (Van Halen Tribute)
Sept: 1: Red Not Chili Peppers (Red Hot Chilli Peppers Tribute)

Again, all ages are welcome to the concerts.

Maybe because we all feel a lot younger when attending these tribute shows.


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