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This Veteran’s Day I had the honor of being able to cover the Vets Rock tribute concert held at Mohegan Sun Arena. This night of music wrapped up a day long expo event held annually by the casino to honor veterans and their families. Proceeds from the concert will go to support Til Duty is Done, an organization whose purpose is to restore and improve the lives of our country’s armed forces after their service.
This year’s headliner was country star Trace Adkin’s who has been a longtime supporter of our military, associated multiple organizations including the Wounded Warrior Project.
Opening the show with a patriotic bang was singer Tony Orlando backed by Mohegan Sun’s house band the Mohegan Sun All-Stars. The “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree” singer crooned his thanks to the service members in crowd. As he sang, Tony had veterans who served in each war stand to be acknowledged by the room. The outpouring of love and appreciation that flooded the arena was palpable, and more than once I found myself fighting back tears.
Following Tony’s emotional performance was singer, songwriter and pianist Dan Orlando. Dan’s light and energetic performance had the crowd on their feet by the end of the set with a standing ovation.
The next performer was patriotic rock band Madison Rising. Belting out rock anthem versions of our favorite All-American tunes, lead singer David Bray captivated the audience throughout the set in a true display of patriotism and American spirit. When performing their version of the national anthem, I couldn’t take my eyes of the marine in uniform a few rows in front of me that held a statuesque salute from start to finish.
The Dropkick Murphys were next to take the stage for an acoustic performance. It was quite a change to see the Boston based celtic punk band on stools and standing still in front of microphones, opposed to their normal energetic performance. However, the change was not at all disappointing and the Dropkick Murphys had the crowd on their feet as they performed fan favorites such as “Shipping Up to Boston”, “Rose Tattoo” and “My Hero”.
By the time Trace Adkins took the stage the crowd was primed for a show, and a show he gave us. The country superstar had the Vet’s and their family’s dancing and singing along. The night was a successful celebration of our area’s armed forces, a night for our soldiers to be acknowledged and appreciated as they should always. I was honored to be a part of this evening of thanks. Let us never forget… America the land of the free, because of the brave.