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80s Invasion lead singer Don Henry interacts with the enthusiastic crowd at Peninsula Park. (Photo by Chris Frost)
Thursday, July 15, 2021

By Chris Frost

Tri County Sentry

Channel Islands-- In another resounding return to normalcy after the Covid-19 lockdowns, the Channel Islands Harbor Concert Series returned in a totally radical way, Saturday, July 10, and welcomed 80's Invasion back to Peninsula Park.


Attendees came dressed in bodacious vintage 80s clothing, and the huge crowd spent the evening dancing to songs from artists like, The Cure, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Duran Duran, and the group closed with The Beastie Boys, You Gotta Fight, for Your Right, to Party. That got the fists up in the air with attendees singing along.


Janice Melone said being at the concert is exciting.


"It's nice to be able to go out, see the people, and have beautiful events like this," she said. "The weather is gorgeous in California. I'm from New York, so I'm used to the snow. I appreciate the sunshine."


She came dressed in her best 80s wear and admitted that she misses going to concerts back east.


"I used to go to concerts at the Meadowlands with my daughter all the time," she said.  "I got this shirt and decided that I was going to wear it because it looks kind of, '80s springy and colorful."


She was looking forward to hearing her favorite song from the 80s.


"It's called I'm Alive, by Love and Rockets," she said. "It's obscure, but I really love it."


Arlene Raisner said she liked the music in the 80s, but she couldn't pick one favorite.


"It's great to be outdoors, and it's a beautiful day," she said. "We came from Camarillo to get away from the heat, and there is a cool breeze by the ocean."


When asked if she misses wearing her mask, Raisner laughed.


"I'm happy to be out here to say yea, freedom," she said. "I'm a laughter wellness teacher, so we did a wellness class today. Laughter helps relieve stress and oxygenation for your body. Especially with this Covid stuff with people locked down, it gives you a sense of freedom, happiness, and it releases endorphins."


Teresa Baehner was wearing a t-shirt that said, Beautiful Disaster.


"I am a beautiful disaster," she said. "I'm on a meetup group for single people in Ventura County from ages 30-60, and we're going to be meeting here today. I have family visiting from Nashville, so I drafted them out here."


She made sure to wear her love glasses to the concert.


"You can't see the hate with your love glasses on," she said. "I absolutely don't miss my mask at all. We should burn our masks like they burned their bras in the 1960s."


Leo, "the street dog," came out ready to party.


"He's ecstatic," Amy Scott said. "My favorite band in the 1980s was Van Halen. I love Jackson Browne. He was awesome too."


Jen D was ready to enjoy some music.


"I think this is wonderful, and I am glad they are doing things at the park," she said. 


Mary Alaniz came up to visit from San Antonio and was ready to rock.


"We grew up together and were roommates in the 1980s," she said. I wouldn't miss this for the world. I come every year to visit my friend, Tanya, and the weather, and the ocean, is great."  


Former roommate Tanya Nunez said the duo came ready to rock n roll, and she was ready to enjoy her favorites from the 1980s.


"It would have to be The Gap Band or the B52s," she said.


Harbor Public Information Officer Jed Chernabaeff said they are ecstatic to resume the Concerts by the Sea series.


"There are hundreds of people here early," he said. "I'm sure in the next 30 minutes, it's going to be wild."


He likes all the 80s music.


"It was a fun era," he said. "A lot of the people out here grew up in the 1980s and have great memories, including myself. You don't have to be a kid from the 80s to enjoy the 80s. You're going to have a good time." 


Tanya Shepley danced and celebrated being free from the pandemic lockdown.


"I'm so happy right now to be out amongst the public," she said. "During this time, I turned 60 years old, so this has been an amazing celebration to be able to get out and start moving again. Everyone should come out here, start dancing and living life." 


Don Henry, lead singer for '80s Invasion, said the concert was a lot of fun.


"We went on a major hiatus (during Covid-19), and we didn't do a whole lot with the band," he said. "I'm a DJ, so I made a lot of DJ sets, and I did some online stuff playing online music trivia. "The rest of the band did a lot of noodling, and some of them wrote some music. Once we knew this was going to happen, we ramped up the set and did 40 songs in two hours."


When Don sees the crowd so into the music, he can't help but feel pumped.


"This is why we do this," he said. "We love this music, and all the people loving the music is the perfect blend."


Don and Mike, the band's founder, make the decisions about the set choices.


"We look for the music that most people know and love," he said. "Then we try to throw some of our own favorites in there too—especially today when we played 40 songs. I was talking to a guy that loved that we went a little deeper and played some Atom Ant and Flock of Seagulls."


When the restrictions ended, Henry said Channel Islands Harbor contacted the band about doing a show.


"It was an honor," he said. "We played two years ago, and it was so successful that they're changing the format of these concerts," he said. "They're going from singer/songwriters to full bands. If we had anything to do with that change, that's great."


He spends plenty of time interacting and doing the bump with members of the audience, but he said his wife supports his performance. 


"Connecting with people is why I want to be upfront," he said.


For more information, visit 80s Invasion on Facebook.