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GAME 50 Year Reunion

GAME 50 Year Reunion

By Debbie Brautman
Photos by Tom Craig

Fifty Years Later… GAME is On!

There was an excited buzz in the air at Cheers in Ft. Lauderdale on June 5.th It was truly a very special evening for the packed crowd, with the return of Miami’s 70’s rock band, Game, to perform a 50th Anniversary show.

The fact that they had not played together in fifty years made it so special. Yes, that’s 50 years. To make this reunion happen, Scott Kirkpatrick (Drums), Eddie Keating (Bass) and George Terry (Guitar) had flown in from California and Sebring, Florida to join Chuck Kirkpatrick (Guitar) and Les Luhring (Keyboards) who still reside in South Florida. With time for only two short rehearsals, they had to wing it and they sure rocked it like the professional musicians they have become. Although it was a lot easier to rock fifty years ago, they all were having a blast.

For those unfamiliar with the band, Game put out two studio albums between 1969-1972 and had been a hot rock band in South Florida. They opened for both Janis Joplin and Johnny Winter at the famed Pirate’s World Amusement Park in Dania Beach. There is a live cd recording of them opening for Johnny Winter’s show, in 1971, at Pirates World. They opened for many major bands that were touring in South Florida. They relocated to California in 1972 to get a record deal but George Terry returned to Florida a year later and ended up working on Eric Clapton’s album 461 Ocean Boulevard and became a full-time band member. He not only co-wrote “Lay Down Sally” for Clapton’s album, but he also wrote “Mainline Florida” for that album as well. He sang both of his songs at this reunion. Terry had also convinced Clapton to record Bob Marley and The Wailer’s “I Shot The Sheriff.” Meanwhile, brothers Chuck and Scott Kirkpatrick had joined the band Firefall in the 1980’s.

At Cheers, George Terry only played in the first set and all five original members jammed together. Some Game songs that were played were “Rock & Roll Me, Baby.” “I’ll Be Back,” “Entrance,” “What’s Goin’ Through My Head,” “Two Songs For The Señorita” and “Fat Mama.” They spoke of how the bands NRBQ and the Tampa band, Blues Image, had made a great impression on them, as they sang an old blues song by Mose Allison called “Parchman Farm.” Blues Image had included it on their album and it had been sung by the late great Joe Lala, and they added, “May he rest in peace.”

Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down A Dream,” Stephen Stills’ “Love The One You’re With,” Elton John’s “Love Lies Bleeding,” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way,” were played in the second set, and enthusiastically received. Guest local musician, Steve Argy, joined the on-stage party and another local musician, Jimmy Piro, was welcomed on stage with much love. Piro said, “Everybody knows Chuck was in Firefall with Scott,” and with that, they launched into Firefall’s “You Are
The Woman.” Bass player Eddie Keating sang a very inspired version of Steely Dan’s “My Old School.”

All the band members were given their chance to shine, as they all sang. Les Luhring played keyboards and sang a few songs he had written, like the infectious “Stop Look & Listen.” Luhring and Keating had written many songs on Game’s albums. They may have been rusty, but it didn’t show. They sounded like they had been playing together for all those years in between. The musicianship, vocals, harmonies, and camaraderie from these five life-long friends and bandmates on this evening left you with the feeling you had witnessed something special and reminded us of the rich history of South Florida Music. Musicians were everywhere. Dave “the Beast” Spitz (Black Sabbath), Jimi Fiano and Eddie Gresely were in the house. There were friends and fans from back in the day dancing the night away. A good time was had by all!

Who says you can’t go back?

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