Saturday, July 8, 2017
By GRAIG GRAZIOSI
After nearly a decade, the Fabulous Flashbacks reunited for one night only on Friday during the Summer Festival of the Arts, downtown.
The Fabulous Flashbacks — a beloved rock cover band that formed in 1983 — drew crowds with their renditions of popular rock songs for 13 years before breaking up in 1996. Flashback shows were prolific in the region, particularly at the Park Inn on Glenwood Avenue.
The band consists of lead singer Brian McCall, drummer Nick Gilgor, bass player Greg Yochman and keyboard player Brian Wingrove.
By 9 p.m. Friday, more than 1,600 people had passed through the barricades on Federal Street to hear the band. Food vendors and a beer tent served the crowd, which included many who first saw the Flasbacks more than 30 years ago.
Over the course of the performance, the band revisited familiar hits like “Love Her Madly” by The Doors, “Oh, Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison and a rendition of “Tequila” by the Champs that flowed into their version of “Hang on Sloopy” by the McCoys.
Though the show was a reunion for the band, it also was the catalyst for numerous reunions among the long-time fans in the crowd.
Marty Melone, a friend of McCall’s, and Marilyn Panagopoulos hadn’t seen each other in nearly 20 years, but wasted no time recalling memories of the band during their days playing at the Park Inn.
“I was so excited to hear they were playing again,” Panagopoulos said. “We’re seeing people we haven’t seen in years and years tonight.”
Melone said his only expectation was that he’d have a good time.
“All I know is that they’re going to be fantastic. They always have been.”
Brianna McCall, the lead singer’s daughter, flew into town from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for a single night to see her dad play. Now 27, she fondly recalled growing up with the band.
“I basically grew up at the Park Inn,” she said. “It was a great way to grow up – surrounded by rock and roll.”
While McCall recalled her childhood, she was greeted by a living piece of it — her friend, Dezerae Cannon, ran up to hug her and say hello. Cannon’s father formerly operated the show lights for the Flashbacks, and the girls recalled their childhoods with the band and going on family camping trips together.
The scene played out again and again over the course of the evening – someone would tap another attendee on the shoulder, and after a brief moment of surprise, the pair would embrace and get to talking.
While friends and fans were catching up outside, Mike McGiffin, coordinator of events and special projects for Youngstown, said he spent most of the evening helping the bartenders at the event keep the crowd quenched.
“We’ve got a good crowd, and its been a good night,” McGiffin said.
Though there are no announced plans for the Flashbacks to play again, there would be no lack of fans in the Valley to welcome them back if they did.