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Sayreville NJ’s Anthony Lombardi is Hopeful in Living Kidney Donor Search

Sayreville, NJ, resident Anthony “Tony” Lombardi has been battling Type II diabetes for over thirty years. He said the combination of the disease and corresponding medications have damaged his kidneys to the point that kidney dialysis and an eventual transplant has become necessary.

Please help Anthony Lombardi and his family in their search for a living kidney donor.

Lombardi has been enduring dialysis treatments three times a week for approximately two years. But the 71-year-old contracted COVID-19 last April while receiving treatments at the kidney dialysis center, he believes.

It tested Lombardi’s mettle, but he found way to recover and keep moving forward after spending two-week medical care stint.

“I spent two weeks in the hospital and needed a blood transfusion because my blood count dropped to seven,” Lombardi said. “It was tough, but I got through it.”

Lombardi, a retired City of Jersey City Municipal Government worker, credits his strong Catholic faith, his belief in God, and his family for helping to deal with the arduous experiences he has faced.

“I look at it as the good Lord looking after me,” he said. “I see people in dialysis and it’s not good. It’s tough, it really is. I feel lucky (to keep going on). You need a strong mind to help you. As for my faith, treasure each good day God blesses you with and don’t forget to tell the special people in your life how much you love them. We (him and his wife Dolores) go to Church when we can. We have a strong faith. It has helped. ”

As for a stranger stepping up and donating a kidney, the Jersey City native said: “It takes a special person in their mindset that they really want to donate a kidney. You have to be a special person.” The person is helping someone they don’t know.”

For people who are wondering about recovery time of the living donor, depending on the type of work you perform, you could be back in two to six weeks, according to transplants experts.

However, it is important to keep in mind that it varies from donor to donor.

Moreover, if someone would like to be a living donor, Lombardi’s blood type is A, but blood type doesn’t matter because St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ, participates in the Paired Exchange Program.

Please complete the referral form below and indicate donor for Anthony Lombardi, who offer ups his gratitude in advance for wanting to save his life: Referral Form: https://bit.ly/2UsBtEI.

You can also contact living kidney donor advocate Donna Tissot on her Facebook page for more information on how you can help.

— Jerry Del Priore

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Bronx-Born, NJ Resident Camille Licandro is Relying on Living Kidney Donor for Ultimate Gift

Three years ago, New Jersey’s Camille Licandro was experiencing occasional bouts of fatigue.

Licandro did not think much of it. But an annual physical, which came with a blood test, revealed that her kidneys were in failure.

Camille and Joe Licandro need your help in finding living kidney donor.

“I just retired, and I was home,” the Manchester, N.J., resident said. “I just started to get tired during the day. (I had) no pain, no blood. It was not normal for me.”

Licandro immediately required nephrostomy tubes in both kidneys. As this disease progressed, reoccurring infections and multiple hospital stints forced the doctors to remove her left kidney in July of 2018.

However, the Bronx-born Licandro’s right kidney declined to the point that dialysis became necessary.

Licandro is doing her part to remain as healthy as possible. She follows a strict diet to keep dialysis to a limit, is an active walker, and bowls once a week in a bowling league with her loving husband, Joe.

This April will mark three years of dialysis treatments, with Joe at her side to help guide her on this arduous journey. She said Joe has been her rock through it all and she only wishes to see her family–Joe, her two children, and four grandchildren– continue to prosper and flourish in life.

“My husband Joe has been so supportive through this whole sickness,” Licandro explained. “From daily cleaning of my Nephrostomy tubes, endless doctor visits, to getting up at five a.m. three days weekly to take me to dialysis and returning to pick me up. I thank the Lord for the time we have been happily married and only ask Him to grant me some more years together to watch our grandchildren grow, and our children continue to have successful lives.”

With an unbreakable spirit, filled with unbridled hope and optimism, Licandro is in search of a generous living kidney donor to keep her aspiration of living an existence with her loving family by her side.

“I require a donor to fulfill my dreams and wishes but only ask this so that I can continue to be an integral part of my family’s lives and enjoy some years retired with Joe,” she implored. “If someone would like to be a donor, my blood type is A, but blood type doesn’t matter because St. Barnabas participates in the Paired Exchange Program.”

Licandro said the operation is not that invasive to the donor, with a short recovery time, with even the ability to return to work depending upon what they do for a living.

Through it all, however, Licandro remains positive, as she leans on her faith to get her through the challenging times.

“I do have faith,” the retired teacher’s aide said. “I do leave it up to the Lord.”

To help Licandro in her living donor kidney search, please complete the referral form and indicate donor for Camille Licandro, by clicking the highlighted link to the left.

You can also contact living kidney donor advocate Donna Tissot on her Facebook page for more information on how you can help.

— Jerry Del Priore

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NJ Native Scott Pearson Bravely Battles Medical Conditions While in Need of Kidney

It is fair to say that Howell, N.J., resident Scott Pearson has endured his fair of medical challenges over the last ten years of his life.

Scott Pearson needs your help.

In 2011, Pearson’s doctor diagnosed him with IgA nephropathy, chronic kidney disease (CKD), after a routine physical for his CDL license.

Medication, diet, and guidance from his doctor have helped Pearson manage his CKD. 

Unfortunately, one of Pearson’s CKD medications caused Central Serous Retinopathy (CSR)–a condition in which fluid builds up under the retina and can distort vision–in his right eye.

Thankfully, two injections once a month since 2014 has helped successfully treat Pearson’s CSR. 

However, Pearson faced another medical hurdle in 2018 when his doctor diagnosed him with stage III prostate cancer.

Subsequently, Pearson had surgery to remove his prostate, followed by 38 radiation treatments over seven weeks. 

Remarkably, he said, he did not have any adverse reactions to the radiation.

“My doctor sat me down and said, ‘You have cancer, and here are your options,'” Pearson, 53, explained. “I wanted to have it removed, and it was. I wanted to get it done now.”

Moreover, Pearson’s kidney numbers started to decline, and his nephrologist educated him regarding his treatment options. 

He connected Pearson with a dialysis nurse, who encouraged him to consider registering for a living donor kidney transplant list.

Pearson took her advice and reached out to the Robert Wood Johnson kidney transplant team in July of 2019. After several meetings, many tests, and more blood analyses, RWJ finally approved him for the living donor transplant list in July of 2020. 

Pearson said he feels he has avoided kidney dialysis, for the time being, allowing him to work and maintain his well-being due in part to his wife Tammy, a Reiki practitioner for 35 years. Reiki is a Japanese form of alternative medicine that is known to help with energy healing. 

Tammy also uses other natural healing methods to improve her husband’s health, including reflexology (footwork), meditation, crystal healing, and craniosacral therapy. 

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle hands-on manipulation of the synarthrodial joints of the cranium that may balance cerebral fluids. CST may provide relief of a variety of nagging symptoms, including headaches, neck pain, and side effects of cancer treatment, among others. 

Pearson said he knows that nothing is guaranteed, no matter how much he practices good health habits, and that undergoing dialysis treatment is a real possibility. 

Therefore, he is hoping a living donor will step-up and donate a kidney.

“Yeah, they (natural healing and eating healthy) keep me going, he explained. “Dialysis, if I can avoid it, that would be great. But if I have to do it, so be it. But I want to avoid dialysis. It’s not fun.”

Fortunately for Pearson, he has a Godsend in his corner: Donna Tissot, a kidney donor advocate who has been working on finding him a living donor.

“One of Tammy’s friends saw a news article with Donna in it, and she found her on Facebook and message her,” Pearson recalled. “Donna has been instrumental with social media and getting the word out.” 

If you like to take the first step toward screening to see if you match with Pearson, please fill out this form:  https://www.rwjbh.org/…/kidney…/become-a-living-donor/ and state Scott Pearson as the intended recipient.

Scott’s blood type is O, but it is not the deciding factor in donating a kidney. All blood types are welcome, and if you don’t know what type you are, that will be your first test. 

Please contact Jami Abes at Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health:Jami.Abes@rwjbh.org or call her @ 732-253-3338 for further information.

— Jerry Del Priore

Photos: Scott Pearson.

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Feed Me Seymour: Seymour’s Food Truck Uses Best Ingredients to Craft Delicious Fare

When it comes to great food, it all starts with top ingredients–no-frills, no skimping on quality material, just the freshest, bursting-with-flavor building blocks to deliciousness. 

For Seymour’s Food Truck (326 Main St.), located in Madison, NJ, that is what you get when you order one of its top-notch dishes, made from only the finest organic and locally sourced ingredients available. 

From Seymour’s Crab Cake Sandwich (jumbo lump homemade crab cake, arugula, peppers, sriracha aioli on a brioche bun) to the Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak (16 oz. of chicken, caramelized onions, peppers, cheddar, our buffalo sauce), everything is a surefire hit.

For me, I enjoyed the Lobster Roll (fresh lobster meat, scallions, jalapeño, coleslaw, arugula with lobster sauce) with the Tabbouleh Salad on my first visit. It was the hands-down best lobster roll I ever had the pleasure of devouring.

Fresh, flavorful, tangy, and savoring, the Lobster Roll was more than worth the $17.99 I forked over for the culinary delight. Who knew you could get a mouthwatering dish like the Lobster Roll I enjoyed at Seymour’s Food Truck? And the Tabbouleh Salad was the perfect compliment to my seafood specialty.

For my next visit, I ordered Seymore’s Sausage Sandwich (grilled grass-fed beef sausage, tomato jalapeño relish, arugula, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, and sweet, spicy aioli) along with the delicious, crispy fries.

It was another lip-smacking, blissful experience.

From Wednesday to Saturday only, you can order the Spice Fried Chicken (Chipotle Mayo, sliced pickle, crispy lettuce, on a brioche bun) and the Colossal Sandwich (Cajun skirt steak, andouille sausage, bacon pimento cheese, pickles, tomatoes, and hot and sweet BBQ sauce).

Seymour’s Food Truck has nearby tables if you rather not wait until you arrive home to eat. While the outdoor dining is not always ideal, you probably will not notice your surroundings, as you will be busy buzzing through your delectable sustenance. 

To download Seymore’s Food Truck app and order online, visit its website @seymourstruck.com/

To follow Seymore’s Food Truck on social media, visit its Facebook page and Instagram page by clicking the respective links to the left.

— Jerry Del Priore

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Help NJ Native, Retired Court Officer Gerard Ceraso Find New Kidney

In 2010, Gerard Ceraso received a kidney donation from a living donor, his wife, Michele.

Help Gerard Ceraso find a kidney.

The Newark, NJ-born Ceraso did not have any specific condition that led to him needing a kidney. But he believes a ruptured appendix he endured years prior could be one of the reasons why. 

Additionally, Ceraso’s dad died of kidney failure at the young age of 42. Therefore, genetics could have possibly played a part in his need for a kidney. 

The 66-year-old Toms River, N.J., resident said in 2008 that his doctors told him he was going into kidney failure.

“I didn’t feel that bad before the first transplant,” Ceraso recalled. “I had my ankles swollen and had a little trouble breathing, but I was okay.” 

However, it did not preclude Ceraso from needing a new kidney. Two years later, his wife bestowed him with a miracle, allowing him to avoid dialysis. 

“My wife was my guardian angel,” he added. “I was able to get a (kidney from a) living donor.” 

But in March of 2019, doctors determined Ceraso would need to start dialysis this time and eventually find a new kidney. 

The retired court officer of 43 years has been undergoing treatments three times a week, at four hours per session for nearly two years.  

While the effects of dialysis range in severity and limit him in some capacity–from being unable to drive on his days of treatment to being fatigue–Ceraso, a New York Yankee and Jet fan, soldiers on like a trooper. 

Ceraso, meanwhile, is awaiting for someone to step up and donate a kidney. And he has someone crucial in his search: his kidney advocate, Donna Tissot, who has been working tirelessly in finding him a donor. 

“Donna has been doing everything she can (to find me a kidney),” he said. “She has been wonderful.” 

Tissot said that the procedure for the donor is not as scary as one would think. And Tissot encourages people to get tested to see if they are a viable candidate for the surgery. If they are suitable for the producer, recovery time is around four-six weeks, per mayoclinic.org

“Please share your spare because you can live with one kidney. Sharing is caring, and you could be the person to save his life,” Tissot said. “Gerard needs our help in getting him the gift of life. Please share this article with family and friends because miracles do happen.” 

To help Ceraso and others awaiting a life-saving kidney transplant, visit the links below. 

The New Jersey Sharing Network: https://www.njsharingnetwork.org/.

The living donor referral form: www.rwjbh.org/livingdonorreferralform (Please complete the referral form and indicate donor for Gerard Ceraso).

Living donor website: https://www.rwjbh.org/ldi

The NJ Sharing Network is a non-profit organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue for those in need of a life-saving transplant.

Nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents are currently awaiting transplantation, according to its website.

— Jerry Del Priore

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Aerosmith Tribute Band Pump Ready to Bring Rock Back to the Masses in 2021

Frank Tassielli wanted to start a tribute band as a homage to one of his favorite groups of all time: Aerosmith, iconic rock Gods still going strong today.

So, Tassielli formed Pump nine years ago and loves every opportunity he and his bandmates get to perform Aerosmith’s classic hits in front of rocking crowds all over the New York-New Jersey metro area and beyond. 

Pump performs outdoor show.

“Aerosmith has such a large catalog of songs that it made me want to do it,” Tassielli, 48, said. “And there were no other bands on Long Island playing their music. It seemed like the thing to do at the moment.”

A bass player who took up the instrument in 1986, Tassielli, a Long Island native, especially loves how well Aerosmith features his chosen instrument. Plus, the way the Boston-formed group has been able to stay relevant to this day after forming back in 1970.

“There are great bass lines in Aerosmith’s music,” he said. “It’s crazy how long they’ve been playing. They’re still playing in Vegas. He’s (Steven Tyler) 72, man.”‘

So, why should fans come out and see a live Pump performance?

“Every show is always a different setlist, for the most part,” Tassielli said. Sure, “there are always the standards: Dream On, Sweet Emotions, and Living on the Edge. And we use the audio from the MTV video for Love in an Elevator– ‘Oh, good morning, Mr. Tyler. Going down? (played by model Brandi Brandt, who was Playboy’s Playmate of the Month for October 1987).'”

Additionally, “We ask the audience, ‘What do you want to hear?’ Whatever we play,” he continued, “it’s always fun for the fans.”

Pump, who often hits the stage with other hard rock cover bands that play the best songs from Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, and KISS, has booked four shows, so far, for 2021.

If you have your trepidations about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and seeing in-person shows, Tassielli said with all earnest and optimism: “I can’t stop doing what I do. We’ll ride above the virus. Let’s think positive for the whole world.”

COVID-19 restrictions will be in place, most likely, and could hopefully lessen by the time Pump’s performances roll around. 

However, individual state laws will guide the participating venues on the necessary precautions that it will need to follow to reduce the spread of the virus. 

Therefore, Tassielli said: “Come support the band. It’s going to be a good year for us. It’s not about watching the band play. It’s about the whole show.”

Pump’s first performance is scheduled for Friday, March 26th at 8:00 p.m. at Stereo Garden in Patchogue, Long Island, with KISS tribute band Unmasked and Motley Crue cover band Wildside.

Next, on Saturday, April 17th, the band will be playing at Sean’s Crazy Saloon in North Arlington, NJ, with Motely Crue tribute group Cruecified.

Pump returns to the Garden State on Saturday, June 19th, for an 8:00 p.m. show at the Brook Arts Center, in Bound Brook, NJ.

Then, Pump will play a show on Saturday, August 28th at 7:00 p.m. at Nussy’s Beirgarten, in Round Top, NY.

Pump members include Frank Tassielli, bass/vocals/band manager; Ray Monte, drummer/vocals; Johnny Flaggs Francese, guitar/synthesizer/vocals; and Tommy Lestat Collier, guitars/vocals/talk box.

For more information on Pump and its schedule, visit PumpRocks.net. To follow the band on social, go to Facebook and Instagram.

— Jerry Del Priore

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NJ Native Alyssa O’Neil Needs Third Living-Saving Kidney Transplant

Anyone who has experienced a kidney transplant, or knows someone who has been through the ordeal, can attest to the trying experience. 

For Lake Hopatcong, NJ, resident Alyssa O’Neil, she has not only had the arduous operation twice but now needs a third kidney transplant to save her life.  

After O’Neil had a stroke at 18, the doctors diagnosed her with Systemic Erythematosus Lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s tissues, causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage in the affected organs. 

After 15 years, the condition led to O’Neil’s kidneys failing and she received her first transplant from a cadaver at the age of 33 circa 1995. 

O’Neil’s kidney lasted approximately 12 years, but it started to fail, requiring a second operation. 

“I was upset and not happy that I was going back on dialysis,” she said. “I knew what my life was like on dialysis. It really changes the quality (of your life), but I was optimistic that I would be blessed again.” 

On December 7th, 2007, with a little more than two years of waiting, O’Neil, 45 at the time, wound up receiving a kidney from a living donor, her brother. Something she said was nothing short of a miracle.

However, the operation was an ABO incompatible kidney transplant, a procedure in which a donor’s blood type and the recipient’s blood type are not compatible. 

With an ABO incompatible kidney transplant, you receive medical treatment before and after your kidney transplant to lower antibody levels in your blood and reduce the risk of antibodies rejecting the donor’s kidney, according to MayoClinic.org. 

This surgery makes it possible for a successful outcome, with varying results, however. 

But O’Neil said that after the transplant, the doctors found antigens–toxins or other foreign substances which induce an immune response in the body, especially the production of antibodies–in her blood. 

“They felt it wouldn’t last, that it would start to fail,” O’Neil recollected. “But they weren’t sure. But I was fortunate that they were able to do an incompatible transplant.”

O’Neil said that the kidney lasted over 10 years, longer than the doctors expected. 

Unfortunately for O’Neil, the 57-year-old is on a waiting list for a third kidney while undergoing kidney dialysis treatments three times a week, which, she noted, occupies five and a half to six hours, including travel time, with each session. Plus, not always feeling her best, to say the least.

Remarkably, O’Neil has managed to remain on the bright side of life, using prayer and life-affirming optimism to help lift her spirits. 

“I just keep positive,” she emphasized. “If you don’t keep positive, if you feel sorry for yourself, it takes you longer to recover and bring yourself out of being sad. And it affects the people around you, so it’s important for me to be positive.” 

Fortunately for O’Neil, she has a fighting angel in her corner, Donna Tissot, Tissot is a kidney donor advocate who she connected with through reading an article on the work she performed for a person who needed a kidney. 

“She’s been great,” O’Neil said. “She’s selfless, too. She does this work for so many other people.” 

So, why does Tissot put forth the tireless effort to help people obtain a kidney, most of whom are strangers at first? 

“I had a goal when my brother-in-law needed a kidney, to find him a living donor,” Tissot explained. “Now, I am passionate in helping others find living donors, to give them the gift of life. She needs a hero to save her life.” 

While there isn’t an exact number, because of factors such as age, a patient’s condition, and protein in the urine, among other elements, kidney transplant experts believe that the average life expectancy for a person receiving dialysis treatments is 4.25 years and only 23 percent of patients can live for 10 years.

Most medical experts point out that being a living donor isn’t as scary as most people would think. 

O’Neil and Tissot encourage people to get tested to see if they are a viable candidate for the surgery. And if they are suitable for the producer, recovery time is around four-six weeks, per mayoclinic.org

To help O’Neil and others awaiting a life-saving kidney transplant, visit the links below. 

The New Jersey Sharing Network: https://www.njsharingnetwork.org/.

The living donor referral form: www.rwjbh.org/livingdonorreferralform

Living donor website: https://www.rwjbh.org/ldi

The NJ Sharing Network is a non-profit organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue for those in need of a life-saving transplant.

Nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents are currently awaiting transplantation, according to its website.

— Jerry Del Priore

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Dunkin’ Gets Spookey with Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut

Just when you thought the food industry ran out of ideas for spicy fare, today Dunkin’ introduced its Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut, just in time for Halloween.

Dunkin’s Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut

The limited-edition doughy treat features strawberry-flavored icing with cayenne and ghost pepper for a sweet heat indulgence. 

As peculiar as it sounds, the Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut blends both tantalizing tastebud sensations into one mouth-watering flavor.

“Halloween looks a little different this year, and so do our donuts. While our classic bakery offering has plenty of crave-worthy treats, we’re excited to show our spicy side with a donut that packs a touch of heat with something sweet and can be enjoyed any time of day,” said Jill Nelson, vice president of marketing strategy at Dunkin, in a press release.

The Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut is available today until December at participating Dunkin’ eateries nationwide.

Jerry Del Priore

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The Nerds to Play Two Limited-Capacity Shows at MPAC in Morristown, NJ in October

New Jersey’s favorite party band, The Nerds will be performing two shows at Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) in Morristown on Friday, October 16th at 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Not many cover bands can match The Nerds’ intensity.

Playing since 1985, The Nerds have built a loyal legion of fans all over the world. But no other area loves the geeky, ever-popluar cover band more than we do right here in the Garden State.

I last saw The Nerds on Tuesday, August 18th at the 2020 Hot Summer Nights Concert Series at the Village Green in Summit. 

Though it was my first time, I do not intend it to be my last.

From MPAC: MPAC is excited to begin welcoming patrons back in the theatre in a limited capacity. This event will be held with a maximum capacity of 150 patrons and will be seated with social distancing measures in place, per Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 183. Please click here to learn more about MPAC’s health and safety guidelines.

For more information and tour dates, visit the-nerds.com, and you can like them on Facebook by clicking the link above to the right.

To purchase tickets to either of The Nerds’ two MAYO shows, follow this link: https://www.mayoarts.org/shows/the-nerds

— Jerry Del Priore

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The Nerds Make Geek Chic at Summit, NJ Concert Finale

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The Nerds rock out in Summit, NJ.

I cannot think of a better way to end the Investors Bank 2020 Hot Summer Nights Concert Series at the Village Green in Summit, NJ, then watching renowned New Jersey cover band The Nerds perform in front of a live audience Tuesday night. 

Playing since 1985, The Nerds have built a loyal legion of fans all over the world. And approximately 250 people had the glorious opportunity to see them for free. 

I, for one, always wanted to witness The Nerds in perosn and wasn’t disappointed one bit. 

The Nerds kicked off their show with Christmas Eve / Sarajevo, which Trans-Siberian Orchestra made famous. It’s not an easy song to play, but they rocked it to the fullest. 

The band went into a few of my personal favorites: Prince and The Revolution’s Let’s Go Crazy and being a heavy metal brat, I enjoyed the Nerd’s version of Poison’s Talk Dirty to Me

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Not many cover bands can match The Nerds’ intensity.

Fronted by Jim “Spaz” Garcia, who sang and played lead guitar, The Nerds performed Wild Cherry’s Play That Funky Music White Boy, with Peter “Stretch” Oltmanns banging out that unforgettable funky baseline. The group even changed up the tempo with New Jersey’s own Frank Sinatra’s Summer Winds

Oh, What a Night and The Nerds played that, too, mixed in with a little Led Zepplin. 

They followed that up with Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and a resounding version of Gun N Roses’ classic rock track Sweet Child of Mine, sang by Mike “Mongo” Spiro, who hit those difficult-to-reach high notes and also dazzled the crowd with his fantastic keyboard work. Plus, Jack “Biff” Yocum’s rhythmic drum playing.  

Yeah, Rock n Roll, baby. 

To keep everyone dancing, The Nerds fast-forwarded it to 2015 with Flo Rida’s Welcome to My House and DNCE’s Cake by the Ocean

Paying homage to this great nation of ours, The Nerds dropped the curtain on the show by playing The Star-Spangled Banner.

For more information and tour dates, visit the-nerds.com, and like them on Facebook.

Watch the video below of The Nerds playing Toto’s Africa.

— Jerry Del Priore