Left End Will Revive Spring Thing with Concert at The Amp

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Left End will pick up where the band left off when it reunites for a May 26 concert at Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre.

The concert has been dubbed Spring Thing 2024 – a reference to the massive annual outdoor concerts at Idora Park that were a rite of passage for Mahoning Valley rock fans in the ’70s and early ’80s.

Tickets are $75, $55, $39.50 and $29.50 and will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, March 8, at ticketmaster.com and at the Covelli box office.

An online-only presale will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday; use the password HOGHEAD.

Left End headlined Spring Thing 13 consecutive times, including a 1981 show that included the Michael Stanley Band and drew a record crowd of over 10,000 to the now defunct amusement park on the South Side.

Opening the show for the upcoming Spring Thing will be long-lived Youngstown rockers The Houseband. Former Michael Stanley Band members and Youngstown natives Michael Gismondi (bassist and current member of The Houseband), Gary Markasky (guitar) and Gary Rohan (sax) will take part in a tribute to MSB during The Houseband’s set.

The evening will begin with a one-hour film of archival footage from past Spring Things that will be shown on a large screen on stage.

The film is being put together by Thomas John, who was a DJ at radio station Hot 101 and took part in many Spring Things. The film will be shown about 6 p.m. before the concert and will be repeated during the intermission between bands.

Left End launched its career in 1971 and went strong well into the 1980s. It reunited several times – most recently a sold-out show at Packard Music Hall in Warren last year.

The band’s lineup today includes original members Patsy Palombo (drums), Ray Guerrieri (bass), Tom Figinski (guitar) and Jim Puhalla (guitar), plus guitarist Dave Lemasters (who is also a Youngstown native) and singer Michael Lawrence of Las Vegas.

Leanne Binder of Youngstown will provide background vocals.

Youngstown’s rock scene hit its high-water mark during the 1970s and 1980s, and Left End was on top of the heap.

The band played countless shows in the region, got heavy airplay and also flirted with national fame. It shared the stage with several artists who would go on to greatness, including The Eagles and John Mellencamp, and opened for artists such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, J. Geils Band, Rush, Cheap Trick and Ted Nugent.

Left End’s hits include “Sunshine Girl,” “Bad Talkin’ Lady” and “Cyclone Rider.” The band’s breakout album was “Spoiled Rotten” (1973).

The 2023 concert at Packard had the aura of a rowdy reunion for the band and the roughly 2,000 fans who packed the venue.

The overwhelming support surprised the band and prompted promoters Ray Timlin and JAC Live to start planning the next one.

The idea for this year’s concert was to not only make it bigger and better than the last one, said Timlin, but to pay tribute to Spring Thing and the city’s rock heyday.

Memorabilia from Idora Park will be brought to The Amp to help set the tone, said Left End drummer Palombo.

The goal, he said, is to bring back the sights and sounds of that era.

“We started [as a band] playing at The Apartment on Midlothian Boulevard and all the other great clubs in Youngstown,” he said in a phone interview from his Las Vegas home. “So we thought making it all about Youngstown was a great idea. We were the only band to play 13 consecutive years at Spring Thing. It was such a tradition in the ’70 and early ’80s.”

Selecting The Houseband as the opener was also a no-brainer, Palombo said, because of its strong fan base and its members’ connections to past Spring Things.

“Michael Gismondi also played at a Spring Fling when he was in the Michael Stanley Band,” Palombo pointed out.

Pictured at top: Left End performs at Packard Music Hall in Warren last year. (Photo by Elaine Manusakis / Every Angle Photography)

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.