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Romey and Al Acebo were celebrating their 68th Anniversary at the concert. (Photo by Chris Frost)
Thursday, September 9, 2021

By Chris Frost

Tri County Sentry

Channel Islands-- The Concerts by the Sea Series had its 2021 grand finale, Saturday, September 4, as Operation 90s delivered a high-energy show full of audience interaction.


The engaging band engulfed the crowd with hits from Metallica, Third Eye Blind, Def, and a medley of boy bands and got the crowd moving with "The Humpty Dance, and Baby Got Back, plus many more.


With the 2021 concert season wrapping up at the harbor, the crowd partied hard and left looking forward to 2022.


Gabrielle Cartelli danced and sang through the entire show with her son, Zac, and she said her favorite '90s band is Ace of Base, and their hit, The Sign.


"I love the New Kids on the Block, so I'm hoping they play Step by Step," she said. "I want to see the Woodstock Band (Psychedelic Summer) come back next year; they are my favorite. I grew up in the '90s, but I prefer the '60s."


She'll miss the Concerts by the Sea as summer fades to fall.


"I love coming here," she said. "This is a great time for my family, and my son loves to be here. I get to dance and have some drinks. This is the highlight of my summer."


Brad Cartelli attended most of the concerts in 2021 and said Operation 90s was "his favorite band by far."


Brad said Pearl Jam is his favorite band. 


"Nirvana and Pearl Jam are awesome," he said. 


Romey and Al Acebo were celebrating their 68th Anniversary at the concert.


"I'm 90, and he's 92," Romey said. "My whole beautiful family is here."


Cindy Henley said her favorite band during the concert series was Andy's Gang.


"Everybody had a good time," she said. "They were friendly and great."


Darlene Hooks was ready for a great show.


"I think these concerts in the park are amazing," she said.  "It's great fun, it's outdoors, and everybody's enjoying each other's company."


Lynnlee took Darlene and Cindy's advice to come out and enjoy.


"They told me it was going to be an amazing time," she said. "They were just playing a rock n roll version of a Prince song."


Lynnlee appreciates all music.


"I don't personally want to sit through Opera," she said. 


After the show, guitarist Doc Rogers said engaging the crowd while performing is his goal.


"Before I started with the 90s band, I decided that we need to treat everybody like it's a house party, so they didn't feel like there was some sort of wall between us," he said. "I started treating everybody like I'd want to be treated. Like a human being hanging out."


He admitted that the song Barbie Girl is difficult to put on the setlist while doing a show.


"But people get up and dance every single time," Rogers said. "When they have fun, we have fun. Quite honestly, you read your audience, and you start to know who your audience is. We had the good fortune of being the last of the summer concert series. I didn't get out to see any of the shows, but I saw a lot of videos. I have a lot of people who come out to see us normally who've been here as well, and I began to understand who the audience was. We are fortunate enough to have such a large repertoire, and we can cater it to a more heavy genre one way or another."


Doc said he knew the crowd would appreciate a strong mix of '90s music.


"Versus the crowd that wants all the college rock or the crowd that wants the R&B and Hip Hop," he said. "This one was really fun because we got to do a whole mix for them."


Rogers does between 120-150 shows per year across many musical enterprises, but he said he's an insurance salesman during the weekdays.


He noted that his musical impulses were something he could not ignore.


"The first time I went to college, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and that was focus on music," he said. "My mom told me not to quit my day job when I was in the sixth-grade choir. I remember that vividly. Luckily, I had people in my corner who kept showing me the beauty of music."


The stories told through music, not the technicalities, lit his passion.


"I absolutely fell in love with trying to be a proper storyteller," he said. "That's what goes into our performance more than anything else; the opportunity to take a look at each song and tell the story that goes along with that song in a live format."


Doc said in 1993; he wore an acid-washed jean jacket with a huge Guns n Roses patch.


"Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Trixster, all of those sort of hard rock bands," he said. "A good mixture of the songs we play now, that I didn't play back then, I didn't give any credence, or I made fun of because I was that immature high school teenage boy. It wasn't until later on when I started taking music lessons in college and started to understand. Something my dad told me to take on was knowing what you like and liking what you know. I never gave myself the chance to know these songs as I do now. Once I did, I can find some value in all these songs."


He loves watching the crowd hit their groove during a show.


"That's the whole reason why we do this thing," he said. "You're not going to see much of a change if we're playing to one person versus 100 people. It's a huge difference when you see the people lit with you. As long as they are on the journey with you, then you are more inspired to give the best performance you can."


He called the crowd "musically friendly."


"They wanted to celebrate life and get up and feel a good beat," Rogers said. "I knew this crowd, and it didn't matter what we played, as long as we played it well and as long as it had a groove they could dance to, they wanted to get on board the train. I will hang with that crowd all day long."


For more information about Operation 90s, visit the band on its Facebook page. For music from Doc Rogers, visit Doc Rogers Music on Spotify or Apple Music. 


For music featuring keyboardist Alex Brandenburg, visit Alex Brandenburg Music on Spotify or Apple Music.


To book Operation 90s, call 805-506-4333.