Orleans rocks the Levitt spotlight on opening night
The ground was saturated by weekend-long rain, and even though the skies continued to drizzle, the crowd’s vibrant “Dance with Me” vibe was undampened Sunday night as veteran rockers, Orleans, kicked off a new season of entertainment at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts.
A large crowd turned out for one of the Levitt’s few ticketed events of the summer, the first performance in a slate of more than 50 free shows planned at the year-old riverside venue.
Before Orleans took the stage, First Selectman Jim Marpe presented a citation dedicating the Levitt’s stage in the names of philanthropists David and Geri Epstein.
Also on hand for opening night was Mimi Levitt, who with her late husband Mortimer, are the namesakes of the pavilion complex.
The lineup of Orleans musicians now includes guitarist John Hall, drummer Charlie Morgan, keyboardist Lane Hoppen, bassist Lance Hoppen and upside-down guitarist Dennis “Fly” Amero. Hall co-founded the band in Woodstock, N.Y., in 1972, with the late Larry Hoppen and late Wells Kelly. Larry’s younger brother, Lance, joined later the same year along with Jerry Marotta. The Orleans name was inspired by Louisiana musicians like the Neville Brothers.
In addition to its 1975 hit “Dance with Me,” the band is also known for “Still the One” (1976), “Love Takes Time” (1979) and the band’s cover of King Harvest’s “Dancin’ in the Moonlight.”