It was an equally emotional and celebratory evening at the Pageant Tuesday night as the Rizzuto Show hosted A Toast to Jeff Burton, honoring his life and legacy, as well as to raise money for the Kids Rock Cancer charity and Jeff’s family.
Upon entering the venue, fans were welcomed with the notorious photo of Jeff on his Harley along with his treasured bike on display at stage right. The place was packed with fans of the late radio legend as they took part in the celebration fit with two vocal performances by kids representing the Kids Rock Cancer organization, five of Jeff’s favorite bands, many shared stories of memories by some of Jeff’s colleagues and friends, among a number of other tributes.
The show kicked off with a heartfelt, yet humorous introduction by his partners, Scott Rizzuto, Tony Patrico, Moon, and King Scott before they handed the stage over to the Kids Rock Cancer performers.
Between each band’s performance, a video screen lowered from the rafters featuring recorded videos from just a few of Jeff’s colleagues reminiscing and sharing some of their favorite personal memories of their time working with Jeff – some dating back to 1998. Most tributes were lighthearted and some were shared with the heartfelt depth of the strong impact that he had on the lives of those who were blessed to have him in theirs.
Next up on the bill was the first band to take the stage. Going back over 20 years, Jeff has been a fan and big supporter of who was then known as Mesh, but now known as Modern Day Zero. It was nostalgia for the Gen-Xers in the crowd since the band has been on a years-long hiatus. With that said, there is a rumor that we may hear from them again very soon.
Following Modern Day Zero was another homegrown band that was also one of Jeff’s faves, Cavo. They gave a great tribute in the form of no holds barred rock show and received a very warm welcome from fans.
Third up was Jeff’s show partner, Moon’s band Greek Fire, ripping through their set with the intensity that they’re notoriously known for. Knowing the bond shared between Moon and Jeff, suffice it to say that Moon gave it more than his all, even honoring Jeff by covering White Discussion by Live; a band on the short list of his favorites.
Next was a performance by Jeff’s all time man-crush, Justin Furstenfeld from Blue October who flew in on his own accord for a solo performance on an off night from his current U.S. tour. This was the emotional kicker of the night as he performed songs that were very meaningful and dedicated them to Jeff’s family. He spoke of their years-long friendship, how much he meant to him, and how much he admired the human that he was. As he began the first verse of the song “Home”, he made it through the first two words before choking up and forcing himself to regain composure to properly convey the song’s message that it deserves. He also shared how much Jeff’s family meant to him and gave a nod to Jeff’s daughter Abby who told the singer that this very song will be played at her upcoming wedding.
Before the headliner took the stage, the guys from the Rizz show found it only apropos to entertain the crowd with Jeff’s favorite game: Just The Two Of Us. If you know, you know. Some of the Rizz show’s most notable characters competed and fans were treated by the likes of Clownvis, John Patrico, and Independent Wrestler and Ruler of Ass: Warhorse, along with 101 ESPN’s Randy Karraker. The game shifted the room from those with tears streaming from Justin’s performance to guttural laughter just before the headliner capped off the night.
Now it was time to “Play that motherfuckin’ Urge shit”!! What a way to cap the night. The Urge did what The Urge do. They got hectic. They got crazy. They got wild. They brought the very same energy to the stage as they did over two decades ago on the small stage at Mississippi Nights. The Point has always been a huge supporter of The Urge and Jeff played a big part during the rise of their success.
As the members of the Rizzuto show took the stage to thank the fans for the support, they also brought Jeff’s family on stage to help share the news of the grand total of the money raised for the night which topped out at $60,000. The money will be donated to Kids Rock Cancer and to benefit the Burton family.
We here at Arch City Media will miss Jeff. There will never be another like him. Godspeed, our dear friend.
Danya is a music junkie and an accomplished producer and writer. With over 20 years in the music and media industry, she worked in St. Louis radio as an on-air talent for 16 years, in television as a writer/producer/assignment editor at KMOV-TV, and started her own podcast at Radiodanya.com showcasing St. Louis’ local music scene, is currently the host of
Arch City Live and is an on-air talent on 105.7 The Point. She received her Bachelor Degree from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and her Masters Degree from Saint Louis University. In addition to contributing to Arch City Media, she is a writer/editor/photographer for an online publication dedicated to documenting live shows throughout the U.S.: The Spectatour: We Spectate, We Tour. Aside from music’s spectrum of genres, she is also an avid hockey, baseball, and soccer fan.