If your favorite bands got together and played a concert, it might sound a little something like Jim Peterik and World Stage.
The all-star ensemble performs Jan. 18 at the Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College in Naperville.
Peterik, a singer, songwriter, guitarist and Berwyn native, is famous for such songs as “The Search is Over” and “Eye of the Tiger.” He’s sold millions of albums worldwide since starting the band Survivor in the 1970s.
Now in its 14th year, World Stage formed after Peterik left Survivor with the idea of creating the ultimate rock show comprised of the very best artists Peterik has associated with through his many years in the music industry.
“How cool would it be to have these shows where I bring up these people that I toured with or wrote songs with,” he said. “And the first year was groundbreaking. Every year is different, but there are certain people anchor people that I ask every year. It’s going to be a great show; I’m really excited about this year.”
The lineup changes each year. This year’s incarnation includes the Grammy-award winning band The Ides of March; St. Charles native and “American Idol” alum Leslie Hunt; Mike Reno of Loverboy; David Pack of Ambrosia; Kelly Keagy, drummer for Night Ranger; Keith Burns of the country trio Trick Pony; and Colin Peterik, Jim Peterik’s son.
The Ides of March is always included, and this year is especially meaningful as it is the Ides’ 50th anniversary. The Ides of March is also planning a yearlong celebration of that milestone.
“It’s just an amazing group of musicians,” he said.
Look for World Stage to play their signature hit “Vehicle” at the show.
With that much talent on the stage, it could be tough getting to decide who does what. Peterik makes it easy though. He calls the artists beforehand and asks for their song choices.
“I always say, if you’ve got something new, stick it in as long as you play the biggest hits,” he said. “You’ve gotta play what put you on the charts. Aside from that, feel free to expose something new. Some of the artists take me up on that and others just want to sing the biggest songs in their catalog.”
He likes the “cross pollination” of the night, where the artists he picks get a chance to play with the musicians they themselves admire.
“It can be magical,” he said.
“Eye of the Tiger” is the big finale that includes everyone, and turns into “a giant jam session,” he said.
“I’m so excited about this year,” he said. “It feels extra special. I love the hall. The Wentz is an amazing room and the acoustics are so good.”
World Stage doesn’t do many shows in a year — this year they will probably only do two, he said.
“I ask people who are very busy with their own schedules. Night Ranger tours like crazy, Loverboy tours — everybody tours. So to nail the Jell-O to the wall isn’t always easy,” he said. “World Stage is a hard thing to put on, so it’s really special when we get everybody together.”