Audiences at The State Theatre went back to the 1980s on Saturday night and they didn’t need Doc Brown’s DeLorean to do it.
“Rock the 80’s” gave its audience a throwback to the most memorable music of the decade. The concert was held as a benefit to raise money for the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund –– a foundation dedicated to financially helping local families with members who are suffering from cancer.
The 1980s were present as soon as the show began. Jeff Brown , the concert emcee, took the stage to kick the night off dressed head-to-toe in 80s attire, donning a stonewash duster coat, full-fledged blonde mullet wig and topped off the outfit with the decade’s signature sunglasses.
“I wasn’t aware in the 80s how much we made the 70s look good,” Brown said, taking a stab at his fashion choices for the night.
Between sets, Brown would entertain the audience with jabs at the night’s decade of honor, but he wasn’t the only one joining in on the fun as the featured bands each found their own way to joke about the 80s.
Eric Bishop , Spider Kelly ’s lead vocalist, interrupted his band’s rendition of “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” to ask audience members to please log out of their Facebook accounts, considering the social networking site wasn’t even a thought yet in the 1980s.
The night’s lineup consisted of 12 State College-based bands. Each band played two to three classic 80s hits for the enthusiastic crowd. The night was an obvious success as soon as Spider Kelly, the first to perform, began the night with The Buggles’ hit song “Video Killed the Radio Star” and the local theater transformed into a stadium filled with screaming fans.
The audience’s love for the 80s music was unmistakable. The reaction to the song “Jessie’s Girl” was so strong it was as if Rick Springfield , himself, was up on the stage playing his 1981 hit.
My Hero Zero stood out as the crowd’s personal favorite from the night. The four-man band had an energy that was contagious and before the audience even had a chance to think, it was on its feet jumping to the beat of “Take Me Home Tonight .” The audience went wild for the band’s choreographed 80s dance moves that were so spot on the band, itself, look like it belonged in 1986.
“The show was fantastic and it was for a great cause,” Diane Crebs , an audience member, said. “I hope they do it every year.”
Doreen Perks , Bob Perks Fund president, said the idea for the night’s theme was initiated by JR Mangan , who also performed in the concert with his band. Mangan approached Perks with the concept of the 80s-themed fundraiser and was crucial in gathering the bands together to perform at the concert.
Perks was thrilled with the ticket sales for the event and what a blast everyone was having, she said. All of the proceeds from the concert went toward benefiting the Bob Perks Fund.
“[The concert] appealed to all ages,” Mary Beth Lieb , an audience member, said. “It was great fun.”