Spring Thing returns to the Valley

Left End original vinyl albums. Photo by John Ostapowicz / The Jambar

By John Ostapowicz / The Jambar

Over 40 years ago, Spring Thing at Idora Park became a staple music festival for Youngstown. With the festival’s comeback, classic rock band Left End will return to the Mahoning Valley at 7:30 p.m. on May 26 at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre with Youngstown’s Houseband.

After 1984, Spring Thing officially ended after a fire burned most of Idora Park. The original event was sponsored by 101.1 WHOT-FM. Spring Thing 2024 is promoted by 102.9 WYFM-FM, known as Y-103.

The upcoming performance is a tribute to the 1981 sold-out Spring Thing with Left End and the Cleveland-based rock group the Michael Stanley Band.

Left End consists of frontman Michael Lawerence, drummer Patsy Palombo, bassist Roy Guerrieri and guitarists Tom Figinsky and Jim Puhalla. The band performed at 13 consecutive Spring Things at Idora Park along with national and local acts, such as the Eagles, David Cassidy, The DeFranco Family and Ramatam.

Palombo said the reunion of Spring Thing is for fans who want to relive moments from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

“The whole purpose of [Spring Thing] in May is to bring back that spirit of the original Spring Thing at Idora Park,” Palombo said.

Left End reunited after a nine-year hiatus March 11, 2023 at Packard Music Hall in Warren, where over 1,500 fans packed the venue to watch the band perform. Palombo said the performance in Warren played a key role in making Spring Thing 2024 happen.

“After the Packard experience, the members of the band as well as promoters were talking about it, and we were convinced that people wanted to come see the band again,” Palombo said. “The major attraction was that people from that generation wanted to relive those times.”

At Spring Thing 2024, Youngstown-based members of the Michael Stanley Band — bassist Michael Gismondi, guitarist Gary Markasky and saxophonist Gary Rohan — will join Youngstown’s Houseband to play songs from Michael Stanley Band’s original performance at Idora Park.
Youngstown’s Houseband has several members who performed at Idora Park over the years. Guitarist Jerry Centifanti played at Spring Thing with Next Of Kin, while keyboardist Kevin Mazy played with a band called Link.

The band currently consists of lead singer Mark DeVicchio, drummer Carmen Speziale, Mazy, Centifanti and Gismondi.

Gismondi played at the 1981 Spring Thing with the Michael Stanley Band. He said the event was fun for the band and that Youngstown felt like a “home crowd.”

“Anytime we played in Youngstown, we played at Beeghly [Center] as well as [Youngstown State University]. We always got a great reception from the local people. We have a lot of support from Youngstown,” Gismondi said.

With Youngstown’s Houseband performing the Michael Stanley Band song “In The Heartland,” DeVicchio said that the “heartland” encompasses Cleveland, Akron, Canton and Youngstown.

“That’s what [Michael Stanley Band] catered too. That was their people, and the crowd loved them,” DeVicchio said.

Thomas John, a former DJ for WHOT and its nightly rock format WSRD — known as The Wizard, is currently putting together a video of all the bands that played at Spring Thing.

Tickets for the performance range from $25.50 to $71 and are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com

Leave a Reply