Prior to Lt. Dan Band taking the stage, the base Commanding General Clardy and the base Sgt. Major Tanksley introduced the DSTRESS program. It is a 24 hour hot-line manned by former Marines to help any military member and/or their dependents with stress, from everyday stress to combat related stress. The professional counseling is anonymous and available by calling 1-877-476-7734 or going to DStressLine.com. The service members and their families were encouraged to take out their cell phones and put the number in, so that it would be available for their use. The CG left the stage after encouraging everyone to have a good time. We followed orders and had a good time.
Gary Sinese and the Lt. Dan Band came on stage and played to a full house. The 12 member band opened with “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire. With Lt. Dan, it’s always about the kids. He began the show with inviting the kids to come to the area in front of the stage. Gary Sinese and the Band further put the audience at ease by inviting the military members, their families, and guests to be a part of the show. The ladies of the audience were invited onstage to dance and sing during the performance of “Lady Marmalade”. Later in the performance, the children went on stage and had a great time dancing and singing to “Life Is A Highway”. It was easy to see that the band was having as much fun as the kids.
One lucky Marine, Steve, was brought on stage and serenaded by two lovely women. He quickly adjusted to the adoration of the women as they sang “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman”.
Gary Sinese introduced his band as a cover band that played popular songs from all genres, spanning several decades. He said they love playing songs that everyone recognizes, enjoys, and sings along to. They may be a cover band, but they are talented in their own right. Kimo Williams, lead guitar, is a Viet Nam Vet with many talents. His musical idol is Jimi Hendrix and in Viet Nam, he started playing guitar to deal with the stress. While in Viet Nam, he started a band that played for the soldiers to relieve the stress of the war. Kimo certainly wailed to “Purple Haze”, showing off his skill on a Stratocaster. “Purple Haze” was an audience favorite.
Other hits included, Stuck Like Glue (Sugarland), Don’t Stop Believing (Journey), Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Chicken Fried (Zac Brown Band), and Bring Me To Life (Evanescence). Lighters flickered throughout the theatre during “Proud to be An American”, with everyone singing along.
Gary Sinese started traveling with the USO after 9/11. At first. he traveled by himself as an actor, then he asked if he could start bringing a band with him and that was the birth of the Lt. Dan Band. Lt. Dan Band has been touring stateside and overseas since 2004. This was the band’s 7th appearance at MCAGCC.
Sinese ended the night by thanking the troops and their families. He also emphasized the need for the service men and women to watch out for each other and take care of each other. He said he was very thankful that he lived in the United States and is also thankful for the men and women that do the unusual by volunteering to keep freedom alive for everyone.
After the show, Lance Corporal Jed Morgan said that it was a fun time. He said he uses music to relieve stress, so he thought it was a good idea to deliver the message about the DStress program at the concert. He said he would use it if he needed to because the person on the other line was an experienced service member that would understand what he was going through.
We at Cactus Thorns are also thankful for our volunteer military and their families. We want them to stay safe and take advantage of the help being offered through the helpline and website.