The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame House Band, pictured left to right: Jeff Carlisi, Ricky Byrd, Rob Arthur, Paul Shaffer, Liberty DeVitto, and Will Lee.
DeVitto was joined by other house band members Paul Schaffer and Will Lee from the CBS Orchestra, Jeff Carlisi of 38 Special, Ricky Byrd of Joan Jett, Five for Fighting’s Rob Arthur and legendary axe man Peter Frampton. During the annual performance featured artists front the band, making for many once in a lifetime performances.
“It’s a thrill playing with the talent that is in the house band, then put the superstars in the mix and I’m sitting on the edge of my seat!” says DeVitto.
Entertainment for this year’s event included Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes, Mitch Ryder, Tone Loc, Deniece Williams, Tom Cochrane, Billy Squier, Dr. Hook, and A Taste of Honey. The event is considered the party of the year in Cleveland, selling out annually. Past performers include the B-52’s, Eddie Money, Joan Jett and War.
The gala is one of three signature fundraising events held by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum each year. Proceeds from these fundraisers support the Museum’s educational programs. The band was formed two years ago and performs annually at the gala, as well as other events involving the hall of fame.
While DeVitto insists that it is a dream come true for him to play with these highly acclaimed artists, he also admits performing a show of this type is hard work. “Rehearsal time is minimal,” says Liberty. “We usually have to prepare for over twenty-five songs for nine or ten artists in just a couple of days. It’s hard work — but unforgettable.”
Since his days as a thirty-year veteran of Billy Joel’s band, DeVitto has been very active writing and recording for his own band, the New York City Hit Squad as well as many other artists. He’s also been performing dozens of clinics around the world for Mapex and one of his favorite charities, Little Kids Rock.
When asked about his future, Liberty said, “I am so thrilled to discover that there is so much more music to play! I want to experience all of it.”