The epitome of Saturday Night Fever came to life in the form of the disco tribute group The Afrodisiacs as they hit the Rotary Stage in Pioneer Park last Thursday, setting the tone for the summer Concerts in the Park series.
Led by David Jensen on lead vocals, known on stage as “Tony Marinara,” The Afrodisiacs pulled out all the stops as they performed 1970s disco hits like “Brick House,” “YMCA” and pretty much everything Bee Gees.
“When it was current in the 1970s, disco was the most positive and fun atmosphere for dancing,” Jensen said. “It has a universal and fun appeal. It’s not dark.”
The Afrodisiacs are one of three performing groups under the Perfect World Entertainment production company. Numerous past performances in Puyallup have been successful.
“We like Puyallup,” Jensen said. “It’s a great turnout. The crowd is very receptive and very interactive.”
Following The Afrodisiacs, the closing band was The Rhythm Nation. The quartet performed Top 40 hits of the 1970s, ’80s, ’90s and today.
Among the 1,000-plus crowd that blanketed Pioneer Park was Pat Jenkins, a member of the Puyallup School District’s Board of Directors. He and his wife, Laura, and daughter, Dawn, enjoyed an evening out.
“It’s a nice venue,” Laura Jenkins said. “It’s great to get out of the house, especially when it’s 85 degrees out.”
Sarah Harris, Puyallup’s parks and recreation administrator, said $12,500 has been raised toward the series from local businesses and individuals.
“One of the concerns within our department was we had some budget cuts earlier in the year,” Harris said. “This has allowed us to continue to offer the series and to get really good entertainment without making cuts to the program.”
Harris said the event has grown during the past 25 years. Often, more than 1,000 will attend an evening performance. And during the noon tunes program which caters to youth, nearly 500 children are entertained in each performance.
Those who attend often bring dinner and have a picnic in the park, Harris said.
“The concerts are very well-supported and popular,” she said. “Everyone sees the value to the concert series.”
Puyallup’s Concerts in the Park will be held each Thursday through Aug. 22 beginning at 6:30 p.m. In cases of inclement weather, performances will be moved to the pavilion.
This Thursday, attendees will be entertained by Cherry Cherry, a Neil Diamond tribute act, followed by Ted Vigil, a tribute to John Denver.
On Aug. 22, the concert series will close with a performance featuring Heart by Heart, a spinoff of the 1970s classic rock group Heart. Steve Fossen and Michael DeRosier, founding members of Heart, will be part of the group.
Last April, the members of Heart from the 1970 and early ’80s were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll of Fame during a ceremony in Los Angeles.
“It was the most amazing feeling ever,” Fossen said from his home in north Seattle. “It rivals the times back when ‘Dreamboat Annie’ went double platinum. It’s a wonderful honor. So happy to be inducted.”
Fossen said he was part of the original group until 1982. In Heart by Heart, he joins DeRosier on drums, Somar Macek on lead vocals, Lizzy Daymont on harmony vocals, electric and acoustic guitar, and Bob Rivers of KJR’s Bob Rivers Show on keyboards.
Fossen said fans will be treated to hits like “Barracuda,” “Crazy on You” and “Magic Man.”
• July 18 — Cherry Cherry (Neil Diamond tribute); Ted Vigil (John Denver tribute)
• July 25 — Freddy Pink (rhythm and blues, classic rock)
• Aug. 1 — Dueling Pianos (popular sing-alongs); The Coats (a capella)
• Aug. 8 — Bullet Creek (country)
• Aug. 15 — Darren Motamedy (smooth jazz)
• Aug. 22 — Larry Jones (singing comedian impressionist); Heart by Heart (Heart spinoff group)
Noon Tunes at Pioneer Park will be from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Aug. 20.
Sounds & Cinema at Bradley Lake Park will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturdays July 20 through Aug. 24.
For more information, visit www.cityofpuyallup.org/services/parks-recreation/special-events.
Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Freelance reporter Joan Cronk contributed to this report.