The sudden death of justifiably legendary guitarist Ronnie Montrose on March 3, 2012 caught many off guard. Montrose had been gigging regularly after a couple years battling cancer, coming back strong once it was in remission. When the news surfaced that his death was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound the whole situation became even sadder for friends and fans. Rather than dwell on the negative, many of his former bandmates and admirers gathered at the Regency Ballroom to celebrate his life and influence. The all-star cast at this benefit for Ronnie’s family included the remaining members of the original Montrose band – Sammy Hagar, Denny Carmassi (drums) and Bill Church (bass) with Joe Satriani filling in for the late guitarist – as well as the members of Gamma, Tesla, guitarist Neal Schon playing his old Journey drummer Steve Smith (in a quartet with Ricky Phillips and Ed Roth), former Night Ranger guitarist/co-founder Jeff Watson and more. While Ronnie Montrose himself may not have understood his impact on hard rock, this small army of talent surely did as they paid their respects to an under-sung great whose influence can be felt still on Montrose’s seminal 1973 debut album, his delicate touch on Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey, his aggressive acumen during his brief stint with the Edgar Winter Group, the sharp, smooth lines of Gamma, and many more places.
Jay Blakesberg was at the Regency this night and brings us this wonderful set of photos. We’ve included a few videos related to this tribute concert below the pics, too.