The Beatles never reunited. Nor has SCREAM, a little band from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, that played their last gig in 1975. While not as socially significant as a Beatles reunion, the thought of participating in a rock reunion with my old high school buddies was irresistible. After brushing off 20 years of musical inactivity, all the exaltation and exasperation of playing live returned.
One burden for local rock bands is the necessity of hefting and hauling gear to practices and gigs. In high school, at least one member, or his parent, had to have a pickup, station wagon, or van. Today, 30 years on, the same rules apply.
For this adventure, the Dodge Nitro R/T is a perfect fit. Its snazzy looks and tough-guy appeal are augmented by its cargo/passenger versatility. The 4.0L V-6 with the full-time 4WD option may come in handy should the weather turn nasty.
The reunion has a rocky start with a missed flight and misdirected baggage. Upon arrival, I face over 30 miles of convoluted freeways, turnpikes, and two-lane throughways between the Philadelphia airport and my final destination in New Jersey. The Cobra GPS, tucked away in the lost baggage, could not help. Fortunately, the brilliant Electric Blue Pearl Nitro R/T waiting for me has the MyGIG multimedia option with integrated GPS navigation. Though some landmarks are familiar, even after a 30-year absence, navigating through South Jersey at night could be a nightmare without guidance. The commentary emanating from the guidance system is comprehensive, with regular warnings and specific details.
Once settled in, a walk around the NItro shows it's decked out with several other options including rear seat video system, Sirius radio, eight powered speakers and subwoofer, remote start, power sunroof, alarm, and trailer tow package. The bright 20-inch chrome-cast aluminum wheels are shod with the Goodyear Wrangler HP tires. The big 7.5-inch-wide skins require more effort to steer and tend to wander on the New Jersey freeways.
During the intervening days before the gig, there was time for sightseeing and reminicing. Passenger impressions range from good to delighted during two extended drives. Visibility, appearance, and comfort are the primary motivator for positive commentary. Everyone seems bemused about the unusual, globular, aluminum door-release handles inside the cabin.
Comments on the exterior are also favorable, but with some caveats. The blue pearl paint is an instant hit, but the big, shiny chrome wheels lower the favorable demographic by 15 years or more. The R/T's aggressive mug, with front air dam and body-color grille with chrome accents, sets it apart, from the more pedestrian SXT or SLT.