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Robert “Obie” O’Brien, 1953-2007

Robert F. O’Brien, better known as “Obie,” of Cocoa Beach, Fla., died unexpectedly February 6, 2007. O’Brien was a highly respected keyboard tech “with an encyclopedic knowledge that could fill books,” says CJ Vanston, who worked with O’Brien on Joe Cocker and Tina Turner tours. Some of O’Brien’s other clients included Boston, Meatloaf and many others. “His skills at solving virtually any problem, from replacing electronics to wrangling crews in Croatia, were something to behold,” Vanston continues. “He had a heart of gold and an unmatched work ethic. He also had a very low tolerance to bullshit that was refreshing and real. He will be sorely missed by all of us.”

“My heart goes out to the O’Brien family,” says Cocker. “Obie and I worked together for 20 years. During that time, I can never remember us falling out. We shared a love of world history, geography and non-fiction literature. We compared thoughts all of the time about music, food, people and places. One of the things we both dug was going to new countries to play. Once in a while, we would get in over our heads in places like Tunisia, the Ukraine and Samara in Russia. I would always receive the ‘O’Brien Report’ letting me know if the equipment was working. The important thing to remember about Obie is what a great cat he was—really good at his job and always with a smile. Goodbye my friend, too soon.”