The Kirkland Performance Center’s upcoming “We Will Rock You” concert is set for Jan. 25. Courtesy photo

The Kirkland Performance Center’s upcoming “We Will Rock You” concert is set for Jan. 25. Courtesy photo

Kirkland Performance Center set to rock with audiences at annual benefit concert

KPC’s Long Live Rock will play rock encores at “We Will Rock You” benefit concert on Jan. 25.

The Kirkland Performance Center (KPC) is set to rock local audiences on Jan. 25 for its annual benefit concert.

While KPC has held seven benefit concerts in the past, this is its second annual “We Will Rock You” benefit concert.

KPC benefit concerts were formerly called “Come Together” in honor of the Beatles’ song and past concerts primarily featured classic Beatles’ songs.

Last year, however, KPC executive director Jeff Lockhart said he wanted to do something different.

“We decided to play our favorite rock anthems,” he said about last year’s two-hour live benefit concert.

The then-KPC All-Star Band played its favorite rock anthems including “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Stairway to Heaven,” “Don’t Stop Believing” and others.

This year will also bring new changes.

Lockhart said the success of last year’s “We Will Rock You” concert inspired the KPC All-Star Band —which included Geoffrey Castle and members of Beatles cover band Creme Tangerine — to rebrand themselves as Long Live Rock.

Much like last year’s performance of rock anthems, Long Live Rock will play its favorite rock encore songs.

“It’s two hours of your favorite bands’ encore songs,” Lockhart said. “The ones you wait all night to hear…the ones everyone is waiting for.”

About three-quarters of the songs played during the show will be new to the KPC stage.

“They’re fun, iconic songs from bands we haven’t played before,” Lockhart said.

Audiences can expect to hear some of their favorite encore songs from Aerosmith, U2, Queen, Led Zeppelin, ELO, Fleetwood Mac, Journey, Lynard Skynard, Styx, The Rolling Stones, The Who and more.

Lockhart mentioned that at many rock concerts, an audience member will request the band to play Lynard Skynard’s “Free Bird.”

“It’s considered kind of like a joke when you go to concerts and someone shouts ‘Free Bird,’ and you know the band isn’t going to play it,” he said. “But we do.”

Lockhart said Long Live Rock will play “Free Bird” if someone yells out for it.

As with every KPC benefit concert, all proceeds go toward supporting KPC. All performers are volunteering for the concert. Lockhart said he hopes ticket sales will raise about $25,000.

“It’s a community treasure with such a reputation for excellence up and down the entire West Coast that it attracts acts like Don Felder of the Eagles, Macy Gray, Mark Cohn, and on and on,” Castle said before last year’s performance.

For Lockhart, it’s an honor to serve the community through KPC.

“I love doing this,” he said. “I love music, I love this community. Music helps make the community better and it’s an honor to do that.”

KPC’s mission is to provide cultural enrichment for the Eastside community and is a gathering place to be a community connected by culture. All proceeds of the “We Will Rock You” concert will support the center’s continued efforts.

“It’s an opportunity for people to support the theater,” Lockhart said. “People can buy a ticket, have a great time and know that they’re a donor.”

To learn more about KPC’s “We Will Rock You” benefit concert, visit www.kpcenter.org.

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