A night that was full of Big Name Rock Stars was overshadowed by the one person that wasn’t physically able to be there…David “Z” Zablidowsky.
But man, his spirit was alive and it shined brightly via all the tributes that friend after friend gave.
Some of the most touching of those were delivered by David’s brother, Paulie Z.
Paulie took everyone in the packed Whisky a Go Go or who were watching at home, on a journey through the life of his brother, and not just through words, but in the music that shaped his life. Whether it was the music of his childhood heroes, RUSH, the crush he had on Madonna that was part of his bond with his Sister-in-Law, Lucia, the music he played in bands like SOTO, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Adrenaline Mob or the music he personally created with his brother in ZO2, it was clear at a young age that David was destined to be a force in the music industry.
Appropriately, the main part of the evening was kicked off by the Man himself with a video tribute of an amazing bass solo that had the casual fan gasping at the talent that not everyone knew he had. It helped people realize that David was not just an “insert bassist here” hired gun. He was an integral piece of every band that he played in. And from the words of those who knew him best, as amazing of a bassist as he was, he was an even more stellar human being.
Video by Ann Sunde
This night, the musical journey through David’s life contained MANY highlights:
- Paulie Z, with guitar in hand, flanked by the twin fiddle bookends of David’s Trans-Siberian Orchestra cohorts, Roddy Chong and Mark Wood along with resident band members, Mitch Perry, Walter Ino , Sean McNabb and Joe Travers as they launched into “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo“. That was followed up by Paulie explaining that David’s passion was fueled at young age by his father, also a bass player.
- dUg Pinnick (Kings X) was an early influence on David, and he paid his respects along with Mike Hansen (Hurricane), Stephen Chesney and Hal Sparks on the Kings X classic, “Dogman“.
- Friend’s with David since his days in TSO, Mark Wood and Laura Kaye accompanied by Derek Frank (bass – Shania Twain), Joshua Ray (guitar – Shania Twain) and Frankie Banali (drums – Quiet Riot) jammed on one of David’s favorite Led Zeppelin songs, “Black Dog“.
- Richie Kotzen provided plenty of chills with a solo acoustic version of his song, “I Would“. Very few these days have as soulful a voice as this man.
- 3 Generations of the Snider Family; Jesse “Blaze“, his son Grayson and HIS Grandpa and Twisted Sister Frontman, Dee Snider! They tackled 3 TS classics; “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll”, “The Price” and an impromptu version of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” which had Dee calling down Mike Portnoy to once again fill the seat for departed TS and Adrenaline Mob drummer, AJ Pero.
- Sebastian Bach, not performing on this evening, told the Whisky crowd about his feelings on the loss of David.
- ZO2 had toured with KISS and guitarist Bruce Kulick paid his respects by playing on “Detroit Rock City” with Chris Wyse (bass – Owl) and ZO2 drummer, Joey Cassata, and “I Still Love You“, which signaled the return to the UJN stage of founder, Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot).
- Another band that ZO2 toured with was Poison, and showing up to pay his respects from behind the kit was drummer, Rikki Rockett. Rikki was joined by Julia Lage (bass – Kicking Harold), Toshi Yonagi (guitar – The Jimmy Kimmel band), Alex Kane (guitar – Little Caesar) and Sugar Ray singer, Mark McGrath to jam on the Posion hit, “Nothing But A Good Time”. That was followed up by a crowded stage of musicians fronted by one of David’s favorite artists, “Michael Jackson”…. Just watch the Video….
- To honor David’s time playing Bass for Joan Jett, Abbey Gennet, Danny Hector, Christian Sturba and Steve Wilson played “Bad Reputation“.
- As mentioned before, David had a “thing” for Madonna and his sister-in-law, Lucia Marco came out and provided a heartfelt version of “Like a Prayer” complete with an Angels choir from above that included at times Kevin Parker Robinson, Lisa Margaroli, Lisa D. Foreman, Robert Rice, Adina Abrahami, Donnie J Gee, Giancarlo Floridia, Karuna Tanahashi, Linda Malouf and Douglas Roegiers.
- Having all 3 members together in the same place led to a break in The Winery Dogs’ hiatus as they shredded through an amazing version of their song, “Elevate”.
- The debut of newest “supergroup”, Sons of Apollo which features Jeff Scott Soto (vocals), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (guitar), Derek Shirinian (keyboards) and 2/3 of The Winery Dogs, Billy Sheehan (bass) and Mike Portnoy (drums). Not quite ready to unleash any new tunes yet, the band jammed on Van Halen’s “And The Cradle Will Rock” and a blistering version of Deep Purple’s “Burn“. Before playing, Jeff talked about his friendship with David and what he meant to him and his band.
- Adorned in almost matching white suits, Jesse Hughes (Eagles of Death Metal) and Marq Torien (Bulletboys) came out and let everyone know that one of the ways to get through the loss of someone so loved was “With A Little Help From My Friends“. They were joined by Jesse’s EODM bandmate, Jennie Vie on bass, Joe Travers (Duran Duran) on drums, Ed Roth on keyboards, and the ever versatile Mitch Perry on guitar.
- Joe Retta taking the stage with Howie Simon, Chuck Wright and Matt Starr to blast through “Mob Rules“, a Black Sabbath classic that Adrenaline Mob had covered on a tribute CD.
- Rubix Kube was a cover band that David joined about a decade ago and through his colorful personality, along with others, he helped turn into one of NY’s premier cover bands, sparking a duplicate of the band that now resides on the West Coast. Members of both coasts came together to pay tribute to David, playing Journey’s “Any Way You Want It“. Most of the group stayed on stage and with the help of everyone and anyone with hips and a sense of direction had the Whisky “Time Warped” straight to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
- The night was capped off appropriately by a sing-a-long of “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” that included almost everyone in the building.
A very touching evening that brought the emotions of those people that knew and loved David to the hearts of everyone that was watching the show.
A lot of tributes, a lot of tears and laughter, a lot of music and a LOT of Love for David Z.
Donate to the David Z Scholarship Fund Here
Kicking off the evening was Forrest McKinnon introducing Opening Act, Dead Poets Society, who did a great job of firing up the Whisky crowd and setting the tone for the evening.