Classic Crack Attack: Crack the Sky Live

April 25th, 2011 by The Professor


Crack The Sky packs in its fans for a score of musical memories

– by Radio RockonTour host Timothy Tilghman
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Crack The Sky achieved eternal Rock `N Roll glory within generations of Baltimorian hearts. Originating as a garage band from neighboring West Virginia, CTS found a permanent home playing venues in Maryland. The fact that John Palumbo and company are willing to continue to schedule scattered dates throughout any given calendar year is a testament to their desire to appear live before their loyal legions of fans.

CTS have recorded several outstanding albums during the course of their early career even if the majority of the baby boomer record buying public that should have been buying their masterpieces did not. This unfortunate oversight does not in any way negate their catalog of classic rock songs that diehard CTS fans enjoy so deeply to experience live on stage.

Once again the sultry siren of Baltimore’s rock radio airwaves, Sarah Fleischer, was on hand April 23, 2011, to introduce Crack The Sky. The never ready for prime time musicians ignited their extended set with the title tune “White Music” off their quintessential 1980 opus. The classic Crack tracks just kept on piling up one after another.

The best addition of the long evening was welcoming the Crack Pack Horns on stage to embellish and empower the classic Crack The Sky sound. The horn section comprised Barry Caudill on saxophone, Dave Makowieki on trumpet, and Jim McFalls on trombone. The horns add a new dimension to the music altogether.

The CTS anthem “Surf City” was punctuated with five Beatles segues. These Fab interludes were well received by the Charm City revelers. CTS’s musical mutation on Pink Floyd, “Hot Razors In My Heart”, was the perfect closer. Palumbo’s affection for John Lennon was reaffirmed by a double dose of Beatles psychedelia as back to back CTS’s encores. “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “I Am The Walrus” are perennial stage faves.

Although Crack The Sky was hyped for its debut in Baltimore at Rams Head Live, the gig itself did not reach sell out status for a Saturday night. The capacity crowd certainly created an unavoidable obstructed view of the band on stage. It was a surprise to discover that there is a dull zone where the projected sound suffers directly dead center on the second level. This was not a reflection of the band or the tech mixing the sound.

Guitarist John Palumbo is the exalted leader of Crack The Sky. Founding lead guitarist Rick Witkowski is as animated as ever tearing up his axe with the intensity of a tornado. Original drummer Joe Macre continues to anchor the band behind his drumkit. Bobby Hird is no slouch on the guitar neck himself often trading or dueling guitar leads & licks with Witkowski.

Glenn Workman is their talented keyboardist. Dave DeMarco is now handling the bass guitar for live appearances. Overall, Crack The Sky have recorded 15 studio albums. Their recent efforts Dogs From Japan 2004, The Sale 2007, and Machine 2010, confirm Palumbo continues to be a prolific composer. Maryland musicians should be encouraged launch a Music Hall of Fame in Maryland to induct Crack The Sky. It’s a long overdue accolade that they certainly deserve.

Crack The Sky, Rams Head Live, Baltimore, April 23, 2011 setlist: White MusicHold OnNuclear ApathyFrom The Greenhouse * Go * Zoom * Sea EpicWet TeenagerMaybe I Can Fool EverybodyI Don't Have A TieHere It Comes AgainIceLighten Up McGrawSkin DeepFlashlightMind BabyShe's A DancerSurf CityLucy In The Sky With DiamondsA Hard Day's NightLady Madonna > The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill (Skin Deep) > I Want You (She's So Heavy)Surf CityHot Razors In My Heart * Encore: Strawberry Fields Forever * I Am The Walrus




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