PORTSMOUTH- Back for its eighth season, Final Friday in Boneyfiddle kicks off this week with a free, outdoor concert featuring several local and visiting bands.
One such band will being making a reunion years in the making. With its performers spread across the country, “WIZARD” will be back in town as the concert’s headliner starting at 8:45 p.m. at the Three Bridges venue on 2nd Street.
Between 1980 and 1983, the Portsmouth born-and-bred rock band toured the tri-state and caught the attention of area media through its local following.
As lead singer David Moritz explained, it was the start for him and other band members to reach larger music hubs like Nashville, where he has been for nearly 40 years.
“Most of us have stayed in the music business,” he said in a Monday phone interview. Moritz is now with the Nashville band, Teazer, and works in an area hospital.
Also making the trip from Music City is drummer Dwayne Jones and lead guitarist Jody Harris. Jones has played with the band Geneva for the past 30 years, while Harris has worked artists such as Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, and is currently with the country music group Lady A. John Hall out of Columbus will also be joining the band.
Moritz has known Harris since they were teenagers, where they were songwriting partners. The amount of songs they made were enough to fill an archive, Moritz said, and one will be played on Friday. “On My Own” will be among the band’s featured songs, a song that found its way to WKEE-FM radio in Huntington.
“We were on a pretty good path as far as progressing as a band for the future,” Moritz recalled, backing up the rock band Rare Earth which he describes as the band’s pinnacle.
Conversations for a potential reunion came first after bass player Doug Huffman retired from his service with the U.S. Air Force after 32 years. More recently, the band held a February rehearsal in Nashville to touch base and share memories.
Moritz and Teazer planned on performing last year at Final Fridays, but the COVID-19 pandemic led to its cancellation. When he heard they were looking for a headliner this year, it opened the doors for the band’s return.
Over this week, the band will be practicing in Wheelersburg before holding a meet-and-greet on Thursday at the Portsmouth Brewing Company between 7 and 9 p.m.
While spreading music across the country, Moritz said it will be good to return home.
“I’m a really big supporter of Portsmouth, always have been,” he said, where he still has family living in the area. “There’s some great people there that are really trying to turn things around. It warms my heart to see things evolve there and see things happening.”
WIZARD will be joined by Sasha Colette and the Josh Stewart Band at the Final Friday kick-off starting 5:30 p.m. at the 132 2nd St. venue. Those planning to attend are reminded that construction is ongoing at the west end of Front Street and traffic will be closed as a result.
Event parking is available at several locations along 2nd street including directly across the street from the venue. Alcohol can be purchased at Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area-participating locations and consumed on site in approved containers. The public is also encouraged to bring a chair or blanket.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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