Sometimes it's about more than just the music - even when the music is hot.
On Saturday night, the local blues rock band Anthony Rosano and the Conqueroos opened things up at the Downtown Hampton Block Party. The 'Roos were in fine form, as always.
Then, near the end of the set, Paul Warren stepped up on stage. Warren, Rosano's longtime bass player, has been battling lung cancer and has not played with the band for a few months. But he is getting stronger, and Hampton is his hometown, so ...
Warren was greeted with hugs from the band members. "Love you, brother," Rosano told him. And he strapped on his bass and rocked out to a blistering cover of "Come Together." Warren has lost some weight but looked great. More than anything, he looked happy.
He said he hopes to be back with the Conqueroos full time this fall. In fact, Rosano said Warren is determined to be playing next week when the Conqueroos play at the Africana Festival in Virginia Beach. They will be playing ahead of Larry Graham, one of Warren's bass heroes, and it's a very important gig to him.
At the same time that Warren was stepping up on stage in Hampton, guitarist Curtis Eley was taking the stage alongside singer-songwriter Karl Werne at the Agave Bar and Taqueria in Virginia Beach.
Eley is part of a revolving roster of local musicians who play regularly with Werne. But for more than a year now, he has been sidelined as he battled cancer in his mouth.
Saturday night in Virginia Beach was his first time back on stage, and he played all night with Werne, sax man Eddie Williams and drummer Dale Lazar. A packed house cheered him on.
It was a great night for local musicans, with Warren and Eley getting back in the game and playing for large, enthusiastic crowds.
Playing music on stage again doesn't prove that they've beaten cancer. It's one hell of a tough foe. But in both cases, it represented a battle won. Here's hoping this is just the start, and that we'll be seeing plenty of both guys on local stages.