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October 31, 2014

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This good thing was made to last: Brody Dolyniuk, Maddux Foundation, dozens of artists unleash Newtown benefit

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Gabe Ginsberg/Vegas Kool

Brody Doliniuk addresses a packed crowd during the “Our Town for Newtown” benefit concert held Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 at Railhead at Boulder Station.

'Our Town for Newtown'

Elisa Furr performs during the Launch slideshow »

Brody Dolyniuk moved out of Las Vegas, in part, because of the city’s sweltering summers.

But he sure cranked up the heat on Sunday at Railhead at Boulder Station.

In a torrid, four-hour charity showcase that covered just about every music spectrum save rap and polka, Dolyniuk cut loose with his considerable talent and passion during the "Our Town for Newtown" charity concert. The event was to raise money for the families of the victims of December's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Partnering in the fundraiser were Greg and Kathy Maddux, through their Maddux Foundation philanthropic organization. So far, money raised from ticket sales, donation boxes at the front of the showroom and a live auction has exceeded $10,000. Two groups of wildly dissimilar celebs were heard from, too, in the form of contributions: "Pawn Stars" stars donated $500 and a VIP package that sold during the live auction for $550, and new Mirage headliners Boyz II Men gave $100. (Donations are still being accepted at the account posted at the Maddux Foundation's website.).

Dolyniuk, founder of the Las Vegas classic rock band Yellow Brick Road, returned to the venue in which he performed hundreds of shows “and I remember none of them,” as he joked from the stage. The Railhead was jammed for this show. Some of the city’s best singers -- Lorena Peril of “Fantasy” at the Luxor, Elisa Furr of “iCandy” at Saxe Theater and Vegas jazz great Michelle Johnson -- took the stage. Johnson helped Dolyniuk herd the talent, as his original message posted on Facebook the day after the tragedy prompted an avalanche of artists offering to participate. Johnson also assembled one of the day’s highlights, a children’s choir of 26 kids wearing “Imagine” T-shirts and singing that very song.

If you were not moved at that moment, you were likely made of marble.

Stringed-instrument artistry was supplied by the Bella Electric Strings, with a rangy three-song set featuring Billy Joel’s “Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel),” the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” Violinist Jennifer Lynn of Frankie Moreno’s band played “Sounds of Silence” with popular Vegas artist Rick Duarte. Zowie Bowie’s Chris Phillips was tossed in the mix. The horns were summoned by Lon Bronson’s All-Star Band, and guitarist Jim Buck of Terry Fator’s band wailed through “Whippin’ Post.” The Las Vegas Tenors turned up midshow for a medley of Boston's “Long Time,” the Doobie Brothers' “Listen to the Music” and a patriotic-tinged medley capped by “God Bless America.”

Blasting through a five-song set was Dolyniuk’s Zeppelin USA (ZUSA as shorthand, a play off the ZOSO logo favored by Jimmy Page), followed by the venerable Beatles tribute band the Fab, helmed as always by Pat Woodward. Quiet Riot and Rough Cutt vocalist (and the onetime Duke Fame from "This Is Spinal Tap") Paul Shortino showed up smartly attired in shades and leather and played a soaring acoustic rendition of "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

What else? The Spazmatics, out of costume, reminded of their stage chops with Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America” and “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol. Yellow Brick Road, with Kelly Christian in Dolyniuk’s former role as frontman, closed with a set highlighted by Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son.” (And friends, if I happen to be missing someone or feel compelled to add a song title, hit me up. I'm easy to find.)

The mass of performers reassembled for a swaying rendition of “Let It Be.” As Furr swapped vocals with the Tenors and Ray John Narbaitz of the Planet Hollywood Extra Lounge band Red Light, Dolyniuk was hidden behind those who were singing and playing the song. But without him, none of this would have been possible.

Dolyniuk is doing it again Jan. 20 at the Grove of Anaheim, closer to his home of Lake Forest, Calif. As he says, there are two courses of action in times of need: To do nothing or to do something. And this guy, and this day that strayed into night in Las Vegas, was really something.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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