Traveling Dog Lady: zonkaraz

Monday, January 1, 2007


Hundreds of graying hippies descended upon WPI's Alden Hall last night, New Year's Eve, 2006, to witness the reunion concert of Worcester's own Zonkaraz, a band of locally-famous rock musicians whose jam sessions have been compared to the Dead, and who really brought the house down, closing 2006 in style.

New Year's Eve 2006 marked the 25th anniversary of Worcester's "First Night" celebrations.

Gil was mentioned in the Telegram & Gazette as having recorded Zonkaraz over the years, and had been in contact with Joanne (Barnard) List by email recently, in anticipation of her return from sunny Florida to perform to the standing-room-only crowd. I think Gil was really happy he went. Gil got to talk to Joanne, Ricky Porter, Paul Vuona, John Webster and Walter Crockett. I got introduced to everybody (I had met Walter and Joanne before, but not the others, although I'd always gone to see their various post-Zonkaraz bands in Worcester).

The only difference between today and 1970 were CELL PHONES. Everyone had them and were snapping photos left & right. Of COURSE I started it! Being one of the younger ones in the crowd (lol). Cell phone photos aren't great, and I took this home and enhanced it, but too much white light on the faces. In any case, here it is, to capture a moment in time:

Before the show, we stopped at the Boynton for a bite to eat, and the place was packed. We looked over at the bar, and there were two empty seats, and who is sitting right there but our next door neighbors Tom and Alana!! We shoulda car-pooled! Then, we arrive at the show, and who is standing right next to us but Liz (the woman who designed!) and her hubby Donald. Turns out Lizzie had designed the First Night 25th-Anniversary buttons that gained all of us entry into the various venues around town.

The concert itself was magic. The band was tight, and the guys played like they'd still been jamming together all these years. The entire crowd was on its feet, dancing. I looked around from time to time, and remember seeing these very people at the local bars, doing the same thing, only then they had brown hair, or in some cases, HAIR. They all looked familiar. It was the same group of people, reunited in an attempt to recapture the good ol' days.

And recapture them, we did.

Joanne blew everyone away. Having never seen Joanne perform in person, despite the fact that I have heard her recordings thousands of times, I was mesmerized and delighted. Joanne has soul. A consummate performer. Not to mention she can really belt out a tune. Despite now being a grandmother, Joanne has still "got it". She's ageless, and her voice is as strong and confident as ever. Visiting with her backstage, Joanne remarked as she ran off to prepare for Zonkaraz's second set, "This is young woman's work!" I was surprised to hear her say that, she had made it look so easy.


  1. Hello-

    Every week Worcester Magazine scours the web for the best of locally meaningful blogs, and reprints excerpts from these entries in our Blog Log column. It’s sort of a blog in reverse, if you will.

    We wanted to let you know that one of your entries has been chosen to run in the coming week’s issue and will appear with full credit given to the author and blog we got it from.

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  2. What about Spider Hanson (1955-2000), He should be mentioned and remembered when writing about Zonkaraz. He was their Roady and Percusionist.


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