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DeLuna Fest performances top lists of concert memories

7:51 PM, Nov. 21, 2012

Top Ten

Patricio X. Thornell, Marine Biologist

1. “Meteora,” Linkin Park.
2. “Diesel and Dust,” Midnight Oil.
3. “Marshall Crenshaw,” Marshall Crenshaw.
4. “The Innocent Age,” Dan Fogelberg.
5. “Original Sin: The Collection,” INXS.
6. “The Seekers Sing Their Big Hits,” The Seekers.
7. “Blue Sky Mining,” Midnight Oil.
8. “Business as Usual,” Men at Work.
9. “Nether Lands,” Dan Fogelberg.
10. “Minutes to Midnight,” Linkin Park.

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For three days in September, Pensacola was the center of the rock ‘n’ roll universe. No other place on the planet contained as much rock revelry as was found on Pensacola Beach during this year’s DeLuna Fest.

For two Pensacola natives, this year’s festival was not only a monumental event, but it also provided their answer to one of my favorite questions: “What is the greatest concert you’ve ever seen in Pensacola?”

“Joan Jett. I’ve never seen a more flawless live performer,” replied Kyle Hooks, frontman for local group the Real Hooks, which also performed at DeLuna Fest. “Growing up, Joan Jett was the kind of music I listened to. She’s kind of my idol — the girl I’ve been in love with since I was a kid.”

Not only did Hooks watch Jett’s DeLuna performance, the local musician also met her hours before Dave Grohl lead a Saturday night Foo Fighters crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to the rock icon. “We got to meet her right after she got off stage on her way back to her tour bus,” he said. “I got to talk with her a few minutes.”

For Shannon Harrold, epic performances by two DeLuna headliners resulted in a tie for her favorite concert in Pensacola.

“Both Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam,” replied the customer care associate. “For years, my stepmom would talk about when she was in her teens in the ’60s and ’70s, going to these awesome music festivals and seeing a ‘sea of people.’ During the Pearl Jam set, I looked behind me and saw this ‘sea of people’ and when I did, I finally understood the feeling she had seeing bands like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones; huge bands that were huge in her era in a festival like that. I would have never imagined seeing something like that on Pensacola Beach ever in my lifetime.”

As Harrold returned the next day, Pearl Jam’s explosive concert was matched by the Foo Fighters. “I can’t decide if I like the Pearl Jam set or the Foo Fighters set better because both had a lot of meaning to me; being there with my son during the Foo Fighters and seeing that look on his face and have him experience that at 17, whereas I was experiencing that big festival setting at 35 for the first time.”

EKS at Handlebar

Local musician Earl Lyon’s favorite concert in Pensacola was followed by a scattered, smothered and covered surprise.

“The Descendants, June of 1987 at the DMZ,” said Lyon of the show featuring the California punk band. “It was my first big concert, and not only did it turn out to be one of the biggest influences on Earl’s Killer Squirrel, we took them to Waffle House, too.”

Tonight, you can catch Lyon’s band Earl’s Killer Squirrel during the “Black Friday Ball” at The Handlebar, 319 N. Tarragona St. Operation Hennessy also will play. Cover is $5 for ages 21 and older and $7 for ages 20 and younger. Doors open at 9 p.m. For details, visit

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