(by photojournalist Rebecca Gast, Rockstar Image)
If you were anywhere near Florida, a beach and a radio in the 80’s, then you were probably rocked by the Stranger band, some Okeechobee Whiskey and a Swamp Woman. 40 years later, the boys still have a loyal following, picked up some new fans and still pack venues cranking out the old hits and new things you can dance to.
Even with the COVID pandemic having the music industry on lockdown – the Stranger band, Ruth Eckerd Hall and ESI Productions have found a way to keep the music alive. The band played a live streaming event courtesy of Ruth Eckerd Hall, live from ESI Studio covering their self-titled first album, including their hits Swamp Woman and Jackie’s So Bad. Local rockers Ashley and Taylor Galbraith from the Kid Royal band joined them on My Kind of Woman and had the small studio and VIP crew out of their seats rockin. These ladies can PLAY! Greg, Kyle, Tom, George, Rob and Chris kept the party rolling adding a few more songs from the Greg Billings Band (Old Friends Don’t Come Easy) and you can’t have a Stranger show without Okeechobee Whiskey and Play Something Good, Something I Can Dance To. The livestream audience showed their love with numerous posts and comments throughout the night, from across the US and even some fans from overseas. A global rock show!
Thanks to Stranger, ESI and Ruth Eckerd Hall for letting me join in for an event which spanned both historical throwback memories, and paving the way of the future with innovative means of keeping the rock alive during these weird times.