Check out this amazing, never-before-seen footage of Big People kicking ass at the Rockin’ the Hills festival at the Wild Rose Amphitheater in Bottineau, North Dakota! The band took the stage on Saturday, July 1, at 2:15 pm.
Ben’s health was declining and he was losing weight rapidly, but his attitude was strong and he was still jamming like a true rocker! In fact, the whole band was playing with energy and passion.
This footage was generously given to me by the band’s tour manager, Joe Dlearo, and is shared here with permission. There is more to come as we approach the 22nd anniversary of this incredible bit of Big People history, so please stay tuned.
UPDATE JUNE 26, 2022: This footage is truly awe-inspiring! Ben is doing what he loved to do, and he’s thrown his whole heart into it. And his bandmates are pure gold, rockin’ right along with him!
SO much talent on this stage! Laurie commented on YouTube: “All I know is I want a hype man like Derek by my side when I’m fighting the good fight! These guys loved and looked up to Benjamin just like we do, only they got to know him and hold him up when he needed them most.” Beautifully said!
“I will tell you that he was such a champ, and he’s forever my hero because he always got up on that stage, and he was feeling really bad… Everybody helped to make sure that Ben was comfortable and had what he needed. It was an awful, stressful time. And it was a very sad time. And yet, personally, that was the most loving relationship I ever had — and not just between me and Ben, but between Ben and I and those wonderful guys and their wonderful wives. You just felt the charge of love in my house…
“Once Ben was sick, everybody knew the time was short so nobody wanted to miss a moment, and we didn’t. One year… it felt like a lifetime. I didn’t need to really know more about Ben than I did because the time was so precious and condensed, and… he was just a great man… an unbelievably talented, wonderful man.”
Yesterday I published a video of Big People rehearsing “Bye Bye Love” at Crossover Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. Recorded in 1999, the footage was captured by Derek St. Holmes’ late wife, Rhonda, and includes a peek at Derek’s four beautiful kiddos.
In spite of it being a bit blurry, you can really see the genuine affection that these guys felt for each other. Their goofy smiles, side glances, and mugging for the camera reflect the completely relaxed atmosphere and their confidence as friends and band mates. Then there’s the music — the music! Even in practice, these guys are killing it!
And again I am struck by the colossal amount of talent stuffed into that room; all five musicians were (and are) absolute powerhouse performers, as we know. To see them jam like this is glorious!
I love Derek’s jaunty vibe as he be-bops a bit and shoots grins at his children. He looks to be on top of the world.
Ben seems completely content, too. Though he must be playing this song for the upteenth million time, he’s clearly enjoying himself, the way he smiles at Derek and watches Pat play the keyboard solo.
Pat, with his rock-and-roll hair! He covers both the guitar and keys with style.
It’s funny to have Liberty and Jeff in the same camera frame: Liberty is crackling with energy and humor while Jeff is placid and smiling shyly as he nails those lead solos.
And at the end? How cute is it that they imitate the lead-in to “Moving In Stereo?” That just cracks me up.
I’ve watched it over and over and over. I love it!
I received this treasure from Jeff Carlisi. He had told me back in February that he had found some stuff to send me, but then the pandemic hit and everyone was laying low for a while. He mailed me a package at the end of the summer. I was excited to share it as part of my October #CelebratingBenjaminOrr tribute weekend, but nope. According to the tracking, the package got within seven hours of me, but the post office listed it as ‘in transit’ for days and days after that (and it’s never surfaced). I was so bummed!
But once again Jeff displayed his generosity to me: in the middle of his hectic schedule he offered to burn another DVD for me — and this time he sent is via UPS. Though it arrived too late for my original plan, I was so stoked to finally have it in my hands! And he sent me an original Big People hat (pictured above)! How can I ever say ‘thank you’ enough to Jeff? He’s just the BEST.
So anyway, here’s the video I posted on my channel. I hope you love it as much as I do. More coming soon, I promise! ❤
Since this original post, I’ve also uploaded footage of Big People performing “Stranglehold.” Wowza!
For those diehards like me, I’ve also uploaded the full file of the rehearsal footage as it was given to me by Jeff Carlisi. So many fun bits to focus in on! You can watch it here: