Harpo – November 4th, 2017
The Woodlands – Wilkes Barre PA
Written by: Kendle Peters, 90.7 WCLH Wilkes-Barre Scranton Hazleton Metal Director
The hardest ass-kickin’ rockers Pennsylvania offers did exactly what they set out to do on Saturday Nov. 4 at The Woodlands in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Harpo was armed to deliver concert-goers a classic set that lasted well past midnight.
Harpo has been playing and gaining a massive following in the NEPA region since their conception in 1974. It all started with founding members John “Lloyd” Kistner on lead vocals and keyboards and Billy Rock Kerstetter on vocals and bass. In 1992, their current lineup would be completed with Chris Silvagni on lead guitar and Richard Smith on drums.
I first saw Harpo perform at the Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre last November. My expectations of the band were high, a result of hearing exceptional Harpo reviews from fans that I met in connection with my classic metal radio show. It turns out the reviews were correct, the expectations were exceeded, and I became a Harpo fan that night!
A year later, Billy Rock and Harpo made it clear on The Woodlands stage that, “it's all about the fans.” Some fans were brought on stage to show off their vintage Harpo t-shirts, symbols of their long-time dedication. Shocking reactions struck the audience as Billy Rock pulled up a seemingly intoxicated fan. The fan stumbled across the stage, fell into Rich’s drum set and busted his nose, blood following. Harpo history was made that night as Billy Rock informed the audience that he never saw anything like that in the band’s 40 years.
I talked with guitarist Chris Silvagni the Metal Monday before the concert on 90.7FM WCLH. We talked Harpo’s excitement in coming to Wilkes-Barre and ultimately would discuss the band’s status after it’s many years in the business.
Harpo is “truly a band that should have been signed,” according to Silvagni.
The validity in this statement is shown by the masses of Harpo fans in our area, but at the same time, the packed house at The Woodlands confirms that a record deal is not necessary for a band to impact the industry.
It was a classic metal kind of crowd, a generation who appreciates Harpo and other hard rock bands from that era. The era continues. Harpo sustains the live music scene in Wilkes-Barre and fans always look forward to when the thunder returns.