'Fakefest' ushers in The Deck at Trump Marina
Those who long for the days when you could fill your car's tank for under 10 bucks, the kids you now label as freaks were you, and every song on the radio had coherent lyrics will be basking in their element at Fakefest, scheduled to take place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 23-25, at The Deck at Trump Marina.
What started as a marketing tool to inaugurate the summer season is now in its fourth year, and bigger and better than ever. Eight tribute bands recreating some of the preeminent sounds of the 1970s, '80s and '90s will each play two sets of about an hour apiece, beginning 7pm Friday. There is no admission charge.
"We wanted to launch The Deck in a big way and do something that hadn't been done in this town before, and create this whole sort of festival atmosphere outside," says Todd Moyer, senior vice president of marketing at Trump Marina. "Our first choice was to book the Rolling Stones, U2, Billy Joel and Elton John, but we just came up about $3 million short in our budget. So we thought, 'Well, maybe this will work.'
"We kind of got into this mindset of 'Let's have fun with this.' Everybody loves to listen to good music, and obviously, if we did assemble all the real acts the price of a ticket would be unaffordable, so this seemed like the best alternative. And since it began, we've been committed to providing Fakefest as free entertainment and a great party with great music."
The Deck opened at Trump Marina about six years ago. It previously existed as a small food station designed primarily to accommodate the boaters who docked at adjacent Senator Frank S. Farley State Marina, and expanded to include two sizable outdoor bars (with another soon to be added), and several table-and-chair sets and a partially enclosed stage area that backs up to the water. Since it's outdoors, it circumvents the state's no-smoking ban.
"This [the first official weekend of summer] has kind of been when The Deck formally opens for the season," says Moyer, a 2005 AC Weekly Top 40 Under 40 honoree. "The staff has been trained and on board for the past three weeks, and while we've had a couple of soft weekends so far, the weekend before Fourth of July is generally when they really start seeing the giant crowds out there.
"Each year the [Fakefest] crowds have gotten bigger and we've added bands, sets, and extended the times that the bands perform," adds Moyer.
Trump Marina also provides a limited number of slips for boaters to either park and walk up to The Deck, or stay put and listen to the music from the water. Other amenities will include a "Fake Beach" on the concrete area by the deck, consisting of a lifeguard stand, beach chairs, towels and umbrellas, and sand. There will also be two shapely women dressed as cops and issuing tickets to patrons -- under the guise of selling Stoli Blueberri Shooters.
Several interesting facts about the bands performing at Fakefest can be found at their respective Web sites by clicking on Trump Marina's site (www.trumpmarina.com) and following the links to "events" and "entertainment." For instance, Dan Vechesky, who performs Billy Joel's music in the tribute band 52nd Street, took up classical piano at age 11 and became a Billy Joel fan after hearing one of his songs on the radio in 1973. While working on a stage crew in 1974, Vechesky met Joel and became a student of his music, earning the nickname "Dan the Piano Man" because of his uncanny ability to reproduce Joel's songs.
Greg Ransom, who performs Elton John's part in the tribute band Bennie and the Jets, reproduces John's outlandish costumes, glasses and plumage of earlier years -- something John himself has abandoned during his current performances.
Who's Next is a tribute band that formed in 1998 in honor of the Who, and goes to great lengths to replicate the sound of the four British rock icons by using the same vintage instruments and amplifiers they used decades ago.
Hotel California began as a tribute band to the Eagles after that group disbanded -- presumably forever -- in 1982. Of course, the Eagles returned with a passion in the Hell Freezes Over Tour of 1994, and still perform together today.
Fakefest will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 23-25, at The Deck at Trump Marina and will include eight classic-rock tribute bands. The schedule is as follows: Friday, June 23 - Benny and the Jets (Elton John) 7pm and 9:15pm; Evolution (Journey) 8:05pm and 10:10pm; Saturday, June 24 - 52nd Street (Billy Joel) 3:10pm and 7:50pm; Runaway (Bon Jovi) 4:30pm and 9pm; Who's Next (The Who) 5:50pm and 10:10pm; Sunday, June 25 - Hotel California (The Eagles) 2:30pm and 7:30pm; Black Dog (Led Zeppelin) 3:50pm and 8:50pm; 2U (U2) 5:10pm and 10:10pm.
Probably in the same way a casino revue show casting legends of the past can still fill showroom seats nearly 30 years after it debuted, and retro nightclubs with ’70s and ’80s themes have been outdrawing many of their contemporary counterparts, FakeFest remains a super-popular, three-day summertime musical event 12 years after it started.
“The Heartbreakers have had so many hits we could play five hours and everybody would know all the songs.”
Fakefest is happening Friday through Sunday, July 8-10, at The Deck at Golden Nugget (at A.C.’s Farley State Marina). As has been the trend from year to year, all the bands playing Fakefest — and paying tribute to the classic rockers of yesteryear — are top-shelf.
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