Monday, August 1, 2011


Some of your recent Concert Comments ...

As Al Jardine and the Endless Summer Band get ready to head to the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV Aug. 3-7 and Aug. 10-14, they are no doubt a bit excited about playing consecutive dates in one location; something that is not a common experience for Jardine, the lesser known entity from the Beach Boys. 
Al performs alongside his sons Matt and Adam, and the depth of emotion that is felt is something that takes on a richer texture. The word texture, for all intents and purposes, means remnants of the past … something akin to the style of shows The Beach Boys performed between 1983-1995. This was a period where the group had the late Carl Wilson at the helm, and more or less, leading the group. 
One texture of the Endless Summer Band experience is the history on stage with Beach Boys band vets Ed Carter, (music director) Billy Hinsche and Bobby Figueroa. With the addition of the powerful sound of saxophonist extraordinaire Richie Cannata (formerly with Billy Joel, and for many years, the Beach Boys band), you’ve got something uniquely its own. All of these guys still carry that ever-important Carl Wilson vibe with them (as though it were scribbled on a note placed in their back pockets). What’s the note say? “Do your absolute best for every audience.”   
David Beard / Beach Boys Examiner

And, in other Beach Boys-related news ... I told you that we were going to see Brian Wilson at The Arcada Theatre in St. Charles this past weekend ... lots of talk about the show itself ... but THIS clipping came as quite a surprise.  (Got this from Ron Smith, who sent it to me under the heading "The Brand New Forgotten Hits World Headquarters?"  lol)
Damn, it'd be worth taking a drive out there just to do a walk-through of this place!!! 
Funnily enough, when Frannie first moved here from Texas several years ago, there was an actual rumor going around down there in the Dallas / Fort Worth area that she was moving to Chicago to buy Brian Wilson's house!!!  Of course, I've been a Beach Boys fan since forever ... and SHE was such a big fan her whole life ... and this was during that era when Brian's "Imagination" album had recently come out and there was quite a bit of publicity surrounding the fact that he had moved away from the California scene "to a farm house in St. Charles, IL" ... hardly looks like a farm house to me!!!  Anyway, the story was that Brian had had a falling out with his producer / neighbor Joe Thomas and was moving back to California, meaning his house in St. Charles, IL, would soon be going on the market.
Her ex-husband made the remark as a joke ... but friends and family actually BELIEVED it, knowing what a life-long fan she was ... and for the next several years, every time we went down there we were asked what it was like to be living in Brian Wilson's house!!!  Unreal!  

As for the concert itself, the show was a COMPLETE sell-out ... (as expected ... heck, Brian could have sold out The Arcada Theatre for a month straight if he wanted to!) ... but what a receptive crowd!!!
The theater typically seats about 950 ... but additional seats were added to accommodate the standing room only crowd.  (How many more seats??? "As many as the fire marshal would allow", we were told!  lol)
In what is being billed as "The Beach Boys' Greatest Hits Tour", Brian and his nine-piece band played a non-stop arsenal of hit after hit after hit.  Clearly there were got a lot of die-hard fans in the audience that night, too ... because when Brian threw in a few LP cuts (like "Salt Lake City" and "Drive In") ... as well as some material from his recent "Reimagines Gershwin" / Tribute To George Gershwin album, the crowd never missed a beat, singing along with every word.
Brian still doesn't feel comfortable on stage ... and it REALLY shows ... most of the show is spent with Wilson sitting at a keyboard that he doesn't actually play, singing the lyrics off of a teleprompter mounted to the instrument ... in fact, at times he actually turned his back to the audience during a few of the instrumental breaks ... but I will say this ... his voice was a good as I've ever heard it in the past 15 years.  (I've seen Brian "solo" four times now ... and this was, by far, the best I've ever heard him sound live.)  He threw in a few unexpected "hit" Beach Boys tracks ("Add Some Music To Your Day", a Brian Wilson concert favorite, as well as "Little Girl I Once Knew" and "When I Grow Up To Be A Man", songs not typically performed in these types of shows), but all of the "expected" hits were there, too, and everything was performed to musical perfection.  Another concert highlight came at the end of the show when he got up from the piano and strapped on his bass guitar to perform "Barbara Ann" and a few other rockers.
Brian Wilson has the best back-up band on the planet and they faithfully and lovingly recreate every note of Wilson's catalog.  They have an incredible respect, admiration and affection for this music ... and that love shows through during each and every performance.  The show ran nearly three hours (with a brief intermission ... and two lengthy, unexpected encores, one of which included a rousing version of Wilson singing "Johnny B. Goode"!) 
Wilson's material was complimented by great vocal performances by Jeffrey Foskett (who we were fortunate enough to meet backstage at a pre-concert "meet and greet"), Darian Sahanaja (who did a GREAT version of "Darlin'") and Scotty Bennett, who brought the house down with his version of "Sail On Sailor", an absolute crowd favorite.  (How the heck did THIS song fail to make The Top Ten ... let alone The Top 40 ... TWICE?!?!?)
What made the evening especially fun for me was having my daughter Nicki and her fiance' Jeff join us for the show.  (I recently wrote about how I took Nicki to see The Beach Boys for her very first concert ever at the ripe old age of four!!! ... and how we got second row seats to see the band.  We've seen The Beach Boys several times since ... but never with Brian ... so I told her that while she may have SEEN The Beach Boys in the past, THIS was a concert not to be missed ... because Brian Wilson WAS The Beach Boys!
(You can read all about that "first concert" experience here:
Click here: Forgotten Hits: Some Of Your CHICAGO Series Comments ... And Lots Of Other Cool Stuff, Too!)  The fact that we had FRONT ROW SEATS for this show just made the night all that much more perfect!  All in all, quite an amazing night of musical entertainment by a true music legend. (kk)

NOT SO WELL-KEPT SECRET:  One of the things we TRIED to pull off last week was to arrange for a "surprise appearance" by Paul McCartney during Brian Wilson's set.  I thought it would be AMAZING to have Paul come out at the end, sing "God Only Knows" with Brian (and then have the band play a couple of classic Beatles tunes) but sadly it was not to be.  Since Macca was already in town for his Wrigley Field appearances Sunday and Monday ... and he and Brian are long-time friends ... I had truly hoped for the best ... and, from what I'm told, the local media picked up on the idea, too.  (I didn't personally see or hear any of this but I had several people tell me this at the concert Saturday night.)  It's a scene that  would have made musical headlines around the world ... Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson performing TOGETHER at the intimate settings of a 1000-seat theater ... a musical dream come true ... but, unfortunately, we could NOT pull things together in time to make it happen.  Chalk it all up to yet another chapter in our long-running book of "What Might Have Been"!!!

Here are a few photos Frannie took at the concert:

a rare Brian Wilson SMiLE!!!

Brian Wilson and Jeff Foskett, both of whom we met backstage before the show

And one cool stage shot that Nicki took!

I'd personally like to extend our VERY special thanks to Ron Onesti (owner of The Arcada Theatre), Jeffrey Foskett (Brian's musical director and sometime Forgotten Hits contributor) and Fred Vail (a close personal friend of both Brian and Jeff ... and a FH regular!) for their help in securing tickets to this not-to-be-missed show!  Thanks, Guys ... you made this a night to remember!  (kk)

I heard "Forgotten Hits" promo'd at the Brian Wilson show last night - hope you made some good contacts.  Brian's band never ceases to amaze me at their harmony: vocals are spot-on to the original studio recordings, reproducing of the many layered instrumental sounds and their relational harmony.  They are more than loyal to Brian, they authentically love him and love preforming his joy-inspiring music for the fans. First time I can remember a standing ovation for Sloop Joohn B! The crowd last night seemed to realize how blessed we were to be experiencing Brian Wilson and his band as they were keepin' the summer alive.
It was a FANTASTIC show.  Got to say hello to Brian and Jeffrey Foskett backstage right before the show.  Best I've ever heard Brian sound at a live performance. (My fourth Brian Wilson Solo Show).  Clearly, the crowd loved him.  Wish I had known you were there ... would have loved to have finally said "hello"!!!  Ran into a few other FH Readers there that night, too ... all I can say is that we all simultaneously enjoyed an INCREDIBLE concert! (kk)
Me too - I was at sound check and meet-and-greet - we probably walked past each other!
I think I know what it was like to have witnessed an original Bach live performance in that day ... today's orchestras may sound the same (or because of technological advancements in instrumentation and acoustics) even better - but to have witnessed the original - wow!

No, unfortunately couldn't score McCartney tickets and it's just WAY too expensive this time around.  (Roof-top seats across the street from Wrigley Field were going for $250!!!)  Sure would have been nice if Paul had shown up at Brian's show ... man, that would have been KILLER!  Two of the biggest musical icons of the '60's sharing one stage.  And what a GREAT place to see a concert ... small, intimate ... the crowd joined together in awe and utter enjoyment of this incredible musical experience!  (kk)

By the way, Ron Onesti told me that he's still got a few tickets left to this Friday's Jon Anderson Show at The Arcada Theatre.  Anderson, of course, was the voice of Yes ... and I'm sure you'll hear most of their hits performed Friday Night ... so this is a show you'll DEFINITELY want to check out if you're a fan of this progressive rock band!  
Full details can be found on the official Arcada Theatre website:
Click here: #!__shows-fourth/jon-anderson

Kent ...
Check out WCBS-FM's free concert. B.
Naturally I expected to see Chicago when I clicked on this link!!!  (kk)

>>>Within the span of just six days, Chicago will be visited by Micky Dolenz, Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney this week.  (It all kicks off tonight with Micky Dolenz in Elk Grove Village, hot on the heels of The Monkees' big 45th Anniversary Reunion Tour.  Brian Wilson will give an intimate performance of The Beach Boys' Greatest Hits at The Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Saturday ... and then Sunday and Monday, Paul McCartney will be rockin' Wrigley Field!)  When it comes to '60's artists, they didn't come much bigger than The Monkees, The Beach Boys and The Beatles ... so to have all THREE of these groups represented in our city this week is QUITE an honor and a treat!  (kk)

You mentioned the three majors coming to Chicago this week.
And we find Micky Dolenz doing "Purple Haze" in his tribute to Hendrix (as an opening act) and Paul McCartney doing "Foxy Lady" as his tribute to Jimi.
Dolenz was pretty disappointing. Not a very polished event. He had so much more opportunity to play to the audience and entertain.
Ken Voss
I was pleased by the wide selection of material Micky did ... he covered all of the hits ... but you're right ... the show DID seem a little lack-luster.  (I suppose coming off the high of the full-blown Monkees Reunion Tour, playing in a parking lot in Elk Grove Village, Il, must have seemed like a bit of a "step down" for ol' Mick!!!  lol)  kk

Here’s the set list from Micky Dolenz’s show this past Friday night on Long Island.  I bet what he’ll do in Chicago tonight will be very close to this, if not 100% the same (as long as the promoters give him the same amount of time).

Actually, he changed things up a little bit ...
In fact, this is the FIRST time I can EVER remember an artist opening the show with their biggest hit!!!  Micky kicked things off with "I'm A Believer"!!!  He didn't do "Girl I Knew Somewhere" (which is too bad because I really love that song).  "Words" was pretty much falling apart ... that's a tough song to do live ... but it was neat to see him acknowledge "D.W. Washburn".  (Now THERE's a "Forgotten Hit" for you!!!)    Also, he did "Randy Scouse Git" and "Goin' Down" back to back, which was really cool 'cause those are both very vocally challenging songs.  All in all, a good night.  The last few times I've seen him he's started the show with "Last Train To Clarksville" ... then more recently "That Was Then, This Is Now" ... in fact, when he opened for Peter Noone last year, he "shared" guitarist Vance Brescia with Peter, which was kinda cool 'cause Vance WROTE "That Was Then".  (kk)

Look who's coming to The Greek Theatre on August 4th! 
Dave Mason, Mark Farner, Rick Derringer, Gary Wright & Felix Cavaliere's Rascals!
Wild Bill

Concert dates for the next leg of John Mellencamp’s No Better Than This Tour, that began last year in Indiana, have just been announced with performances set this coming October and November in Eastern, Southern and Midwestern markets in the U.S. and Canada.  Of special note is the fact that this latest string of No Better Than This Tour dates concludes with a performance at Clowes Memorial Hall in Indianapolis, the site of one of the tour’s earliest stops last year. The Indianapolis Star called that performance “the most forward-thinking road show in Mellencamp’s Hall of Fame career.” 
Mellencamp’s No Better Than This Tour is just back from a run of dates in Ireland, England, Germany, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland and Italy.  For the most part, the fall dates take the current tour to most cities for the first time since it began. Among these are Montreal, Columbus, Greensboro, Louisville, London (Ontario), Hamilton (Ontario) Grand Rapids, Reading, Newark, North Charleston, Knoxville, Green Bay, Rockford and Milwaukee. The 17-date tour begins on October 25 at Boston’s Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theater and will be making a stop in Savannah, GA at the Johnny Mercer Theater on November 11. 
This Savannah show is of extra significance in light of the fact that sessions for Mellencamp’s critically acclaimed No Better Than This (Rounder) album began less than half a mile away at Savannah’s First African Baptist Church.  Mellencamp and producer T Bone Burnett would go on to record the rest of the album at Sun Studio in Memphis and in Room 414 of San Antonio's Gunter Hotel where Robert Johnson recorded in 1936. The sessions were documented on a 55-year-old mono tape recorder using just one vintage microphone at each location.  
As a reflection of the diversity of styles and material that have been a hallmark of Mellencamp's eclectic career, the No Better Than This concerts are formatted into three segments. These showcase John Mellencamp in an acoustic context, fronting a small combo recalling blues/country and rockabilly roots and with his full rock band. Musicians backing Mellencamp include Michael Wanchic (guitar), Andy York (guitar), Miriam Sturm (violin), John Gunnell (electric and upright bass), Dane Clark (drums and percussion) and Troye Kinnett (accordion/keyboards). 
Each of the No Better Than This tour dates will be preceded by a screening of It’s About You, the documentary by filmmakers Kurt and Ian Markus, shot on Super 8, over the course of 2009’s Bob Dylan-John Mellencamp-Willie Nelson tour of minor league baseball stadiums. The hour-long film, both a SXSW Film Festival and Nashville Film Festival selection, chronicles the creation of the No Better Than This album that was recorded on that tour’s off days. The film will be shown at 7 PM at each of the No Better Than This Tour venues so ticket holders are advised to arrive in time to see it.  
John Mellencamp No Better Than This Tour (Fall leg)
Tickets on sale Friday, August 5 at 10 AM except as indicated                                
October 25 - Boston, MA - Citi Perfroming Arts Center / Wang Theatre*
27 - Montreal, QC - Place des Arts**
28 - London, ON - Centennial Hall
29 - Hamilton, ON - Hamilton Place Theatre
Nov. 1 - Grand Rapids, MI - DeVos Performance Hall
2 - Columbus, OH - Palace Theatre
4 - Reading, PA - Sovereign Performing Arts Center
5 - Newark, NJ – New Jersey Performing Arts Center
6 - Greensboro, NC - War Memorial Auditorium
9 - North Charleston, SC - North Charleston Performing Arts Center
11 - Savannah, GA - Johnny Mercer Theatre
12 - Knoxville, TN - Knoxville Auditorium***
13 - Louisville, KY – Louisville Palace Theatre**
15 - Green Bay, WI - Weidner Center For the Performing Arts
16 - Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theater
18 - Rockford, IL - Coronado Performing Arts Center
19 - Indianapolis, IN - Clowes Memorial Hall
*Tickets on sale Friday, August 12 at 10 AM
** Tickets on sale Friday, August 5 at 12 Noon
***Tickets on sale Friday, August 19 at 11 AM

The Cowsills, with three original members, brought a 90 minute set of crowd pleasing ‘60s music to New York City July 27th, with a return engagement to BB Kings in Times Square.  
The family pop group from Newport, RI, now features Bob (handling the majority of the lead vocals), Paul, and Susan.  These days Bob lives in the Los Angeles area, Paul hangs in Oregon, and Susan calls New Orleans home.  
As most fans know, the group was the inspiration for the hit TV series the “Partridge Family.”
The Cowsills opened with a strong cover of the We Five’s “You Were on My Mind” and then delved into their first release, “Most of All,” which never made the Billboard Hot 100. 
Among the show highlights:
-- “The Rain, The Park & Other Things” (Their first smash from 1967)
-- “We Can Fly”
-- “Indian Lake” (a song none of the brothers wanted to record and fought MGM Records on its release)
-- “Sounds Of Silence” (terrific family harmony on the Simon and Garfunkel classic)
-- “Be My Baby” (with lead vocals handled by sister Susan, who apologized for having throat problems)
-- “Monday, Monday”
-- “Love American Style” (the TV theme they recorded in the 60s for the ABC-TV show)
-- “Hair” (The Cowsills' last huge hit. It came from the 60s musical, “Hair,”  which is currently enjoying a summer revival on Broadway)
Other than the three family members who performed at BB Kings, here’s an update on the rest of the family:
John:  A member of the Beach Boys and married to Vicki Peterson of the Bangles
Mother Barbara died of Emphysema in 1985
Barry died as a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005
Bill died of emphysema in 2006
For the past seven years, filmmaker Louise Palanker has been documenting the adult Cowsills as they have gone in search of answers to questions which have plagued them since childhood.
-- Why were they so horribly mismanaged?
-- What happened to all their money?
-- What did everything they had worked so hard to achieve fall apart so dramatically?
A fan of the Cowsills as a young girl, Palanker went to see Bob play at a LA pub in 2003.  Other family members were on hand that night.  And she knew there was a story to tell. 
As a result, last week in Los Angeles, at the Paley Center for TV a private screening was done of “Family Band: The Cowsills Story.”  It’s scheduled for a World Premiere at the R.I. Film Festival on Aug. 10th at 7 pm.  It will include a Q & A with the family and a live musical performance.  A NY screening is being planned for the fall.
Film Editor Bill Filipiak, who worked on the documentary, said “We were immediately drawn into the story of the Cowsills.  To learn what the group experienced, and how they overcame so much adversity as a family is heart wrenching, heart breaking and heart warming all in the same breath.”
The film features interviews with all family members and some incredible TV clips that haven’t been seen in decades.
-- Tom Cuddy
Here are some Exclusive Photos from the show, courtesy of Stuart Hersh:


All photos courtesy Stuart Hersh