Sunday, January 26, 2014

Recent And Up-Coming Shows

Forgotten Hits Readers share some of their recent concert experiences on our pages today ... plus be sure to check out the INCREDIBLE line-up of stars coming to The Arcada Theatre right here in St. Charles, IL!   

Hey Kent, 

Greetings once again from sunny Laughlin, NV, on the banks of the mighty Colorado River! We're experiencing a pretty awesome winter here this year, with daytime highs a little above average, in the mid-to-high-60's. Certainly can't complain about the winter weather in these parts!

I last checked in to FORGOTTEN HITS just after New Year's, and mentioned that THE GOLDEN BOYS (FRANKIE AVALON, FABIAN FORTE and BOBBY RYDELL would be appearing at the Edgewater Hotel's E-Center on Saturday, January 4. I got a last minute invite to the show from a good friend with great seats just a few rows from the stage, so I did make it to the show.

A day earlier beloved Everly Brother PHIL EVERLY passed away, and I new that Phil's nephew EDAN EVERKY was in the Golden Boys band. I wondered whether of not Edan would even be playing in the show Saturday night. As it turned out, he was onstage with the band and, all things considered, it was a pretty decent show. 
Here's my review of this "Forgotten Hits Extraveganza" for everyone's dining and dubbing pleasure ...


For those of you not familiar with THE GOLDEN BOYS, this traveling musical review is comprised of three headliners from the late 50’s and 60’s, FRANKE AVALON, FABIAN FORTE and BOBBY RYDELL. Half a century before there was an AMERICAN IDOL television show, these guys were TRUE American idols … teen heart-throbs that had young girls swooning from coast-to-coast.

It surely was an enjoyable two hours, especially for us more "mature music mavens." Besides performing a few "obligatory" songs together at the beginning and end of the show (the theme from AMERICAN BANDSTAND opened the show following vintage video clips), each artist performed a solo segment of about thirty-minutes duration (with Avalon’s running a bit longer).   

The first solo portion of the evening belonged to Bobby Rydell, who was the true stand-out of the evening, IMHO. His segment was really terrific and his voice was, for the most part, spot on. I loved the performances of his top-five hits WILD ONE, VOLARE and SWAY (which he proudly announced he had the biggest hit single of … even beating out DEAN MARTIN and MICHAEL BUBLE’S versions). I particularly enjoyed a medley of songs from the classic film BYE BYE BIRDIE, performed along with cool clips of Rydell and the movie's other stars (including the gorgeous ANN MARGARET) running on the venue's two huge video screens.

Huge kudos to Rydell for persevering through major health issues (and major surgeries) back in 2012 to make such a sensational comeback to performing last year!

Fabian Forte followed. His segment paled by comparison to Rydell's. Fabian's hits were, arguably, the least memorable of the three Golden Boys. His performance of the hit TURN ME LOOSE was respectable, but hardly show-stopping. Forte threw in a few classic (and more recognizable) early 60's covers to fill out his part of the show. Fabian was clearly under weather for this show, and it's always difficult to put on one's best performance when ill. That said, the coughing, throat-clearing (and ever-present wadded-up tissue in his hand) didn't serve to enhance an already lackluster lineup of material, but he still deserves all due respect just for continuing to perform more than fifty years after his glory days as a bona-fide teen idol!

Third up for his solo segment was Golden Boy Frankie Avalon. As Kent has written in his own reviews here on the FH blog, expectations can pay a significant role in the enjoyment of a show. I guess I was expecting a lot from Frankie, thinking his segment would be the best of the three. In that regard, he fell short. Bobby Rydell was the singer to beat in this show. Avalon devoted much of his solo set to his beach movies rather than his earlier hit records, which were far more formidable from a musical standpoint than the movie songs. A brief rendition of Beach Blanket Bingo was less than exciting and, while a string of pretty campy movie clips of Frankie posing as a surfer riding the waves in front of grainy rear-projection footage (while his hair remained perfectly in place), he sang CALIFORNIA SUN, a song that wasn’t even a hit record of his (it was recorded by one-hit-wonders THE RIVIERAS and peaked at #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963.)

With the sad passing of the beloved ANNETE FUNICELLO last year, I can understand the emphasis placed on the movies he starred in with Annette. I just wish the music from them was up to par with Avalon’s earlier hits!

In the middle of his segment was when Frankie was joined by EDAN EVERLY (son of DON EVERLY and nephew to his recently-departed brother PHIL), for a tribute to the legendary EVERLY BORTHERS. They performed three classics together, BYE BYE LOVE, TILL I KISSED YOU and WAKE UP LITTLE SUSIE. Frankie sang Edan's dad's part while Edan sang his Uncle's harmonies and played some very nice guitar fills and leads. Of course, everyone in the audience, including myself, thought this was a special performance added to the show that night as an homage to Phil, which it was. But, in fact, the Everly Brothers tribute has been a regular part of the set for some time (as Edan is a regular member of the show’s band). Still, as the show in Laughlin was the day after Phil Everly’s passing, the medley was still a fitting tribute to Edan’s newly-departed uncle and surely must have been an emotional performance for Frankie and Edan, considering the circumstance. The crowd in attendance of the (sold-out) show in the 2,700-seat E-Center gave both performers a standing ovation at the medley's end.

Frankie then did get around to a few of his biggest hits from the late 50's. I really enjoyed his performance of BECAUSE I LOVE YOU, a great song which he proudly touted as "the last #1 song of the fabulous 50’s.” He then left the stage to perform two more songs from the audience, which was nice for those sitting nearby, but not as enjoyable for the rest of the crowd, who could only see him perform on dimly lit images on the venue’s projection screens. I didn’t feel that leaving the band on a darkened stage for over seven minutes was all that effective from a “production value” standpoint, not to mention that singing from the audience is usually not all that conducive to the best live performance. Thankfully, Avalon finally did return to the stage for a very pleasing rendition of his signature hit VENUS (one of my favorite hits from the late 50’s). The only shortfall was the absence of any background singers. Backup vocals would have been a welcome addition to the entire show, and I really did miss them on Venus (as they were a primary hook in the chart-topping hit). I found myself singing the haunting “oo-oo-oo-oo’s” throughout the song, much to the chagrin of those sitting nearby!

Following Frankie’s segment came the “Rock And Roll Heaven” portion of the show, where each of the three performers sang a tribute to an artist no longer with us. Fabian expectedly honored Elvis, Frankie paid his musical respects to Ricky Nelson and, once again, Bobby Rydell was the stand-out, with a dynamite rendition of Bobby Darin’s quintessential hit MACK THE KNIFE. Rydell nailed it with a killer performance and the band was at their absolute best of the entire show for the iconic song. Although I was the only one motivated to do so, I gave Bobby, and the band, my own standing ovation for this number.  

In all fairness, I heard from a local friend who was at the casino’s “meet-and-greet” with the artist’s prior to the show that it wasn’t just Fabian, but all three Golden Boys that were sick that night (although Fabian was the only one of the three who appeared onstage to be ailing). The show must go on, however, and my heart goes out to all the boys for performing like real troupers, despite their illnesses!
The Golden Boys was a very decent and enjoyable show, and, overall, a nice way to spend a couple of hours, especially for those who are fans of 50’s and 60’s rock and roll! I definitely give it a ”thumbs-up” along with a recommendation to see it if it comes to a town, or casino, near you!

-- Joe Klein  

An email from Lightning Strikes Music tells me that Lou Christie is performing a last minute concert at Mohegan Sun.  They thought of me since I am so close and it is almost sold out. 

Is he performing in Bowzer's show on January 19th?

Yes, he is.

Is he performing for Jay Siegel and The Tokens?  With the recent death of Jay Traynor, this would seem plausible.

No.  Jay Siegel will be performing.  Kenny Vance is recuperating until Spring so he and The Planotones can't make it.  Can you make it?

OH YES!  I will be there.

Over and over Bowzer uses the words:  "Treasure the music, but also treasure the musicians."  Forgotten Hits readers understand this completely.  It was a 2 1/2 hour concert with 10 entertainment acts.  Here we go folks!  There is no way I can make this long enough to credit each act so I will include internet info for further follow-ups.

First up is a teenage group from Whippany, NJ calling themselves 'The Whiptones'.  ( and facebook) They are a Doo Wop a cappella performing group proving that the music WILL go on.  A very surprising beginning to Bowzer's Doo Wop Party.

Second is Tony Middleton and the Willows (  
Their most memorable hit is 'Church Bells May Ring'; one of the top 100 songs of the genre. 

Third comes Lenny Cocco and the Chimes. ( and facebook)  Their website appears to be copyrighted 2012, but is still in the works of being set up.  'I'm in the Mood for Love', much better than Alfalfa sang to Darla, was my favorite.

Diamond Dave Somerville of The Diamonds is an 80 year old ringer for Bob Barker and what a voice!  The Diamonds brought us 'The Stroll' and 'Silhouettes' (now where have I heard that one before?) but when Diamond Dave sang 'Little Darling' the audience could not believe the strength of his vocals.  He wanted us to sing the "aiy yai yai" sections, but we were pretty awful.  I think we were fascinated listening to him.  ( and

A breath of feminine mystique comes out dressed in mango tinted chiffon as The Crystals appear.  (  
One original, and all three with fantastic voices.  So together and flirty-feminine in their performance.  The three songs I remember best are 'He's a Rebel', 'And Then He Kissed Me', and 'Da Doo Run Run'.  I love all the males, but the girl groups bring a "sigh" to a different side of romance.

The first act ended with Jay Siegel and the Tokens.  It was a definite high point.  Bowzer told us they had a tribute planned to Jay Traynor.  Out walks Jay Siegel, Bill Reid and ... Kurt "Frenchy" Yahjian.  A PLANOTONE!!??  How perfect to bring in an expected performer to help out another group.  There just is no better song and lyrics than 'Portrait of My Love' being sung by Jay Siegel.  He sang this with such sincere feeling warmth, we loved it.  The tribute to Jay Traynor?  Frenchy sang Traynor's trade song 'She Cried' with Siegel and Reid doing backup vocals.  The band, along with the audience, were wiping away tears when they finished.  WOW ... such a powerful feeling of love and respect.  ( and facebook)




These sounds can only signify that Bowzer and the Stingrays have started.  (
They open their segment with this song each time, just as they end each show with 'Goodnight Sweetheart'.  It is always fun and mayhem when our host's group performs.  Although Bowzer is an accomplished musician who has already thrilled us with classical piano pieces and the crossover 'Bumblebee Rag'; THIS is the moment we have waited for.  I cannot stand up to watusi, fly, or twist.  It is too crowded. But I am able to do a mean hand jive!  At this time, I will mention that Rocky and the Rollers have been the back-up band, and with selective musician replacements, will continue to be so.  It is quite an honor ... and much work ... to have this position in any concert. ( and facebook)

Now comes Lightning Lou Christie, who although did not originally plan to perform here, does an amazing job swinging the audience over to his side with energy, comedy and strength of talent.  My favorite is always 'Make You Mine' although 'Beyond the Blue Horizon' is such a happy glass half-full song.  His finale is, of course, 'Lightning Strikes':  a song with lyrics that made me want to slap him when I was 14.  Experience and age have made me now find the humour. (

Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl ... yes it's Gene Chandler time.  (  
He is 73 and comes out BOPPING to 'Rockin' Robin'.  And he doesn't stop until he leaves the stage after his set.  Wait a minute!   Something's wrong.  The band keeps playing the same chords over and over.  Is Bowzer trying to get the football score update?  Is someone in the bathroom?  Is someone late?  WHOA!!  The spotlight hits the back of the arena and out parades THE DUKE OF EARL.  Top hat, cape, flashing cane dancing in swirling circles up to the stage, returns Gene Chandler to perform his signature song complete with regal attitude and boppin' 'tude.  Nice finish!  I can't imagine running backstage while adding costume pieces to get to a rear entrance of a venue to do ANYTHING, let alone sing and dance after I already did four numbers.   

Time for the headliner.  I think we already had nine of them, but traditionally he who finishes last earns the title.  Little Anthony and the Imperials!  OH, sooooo gooood.  Movements in sync, voices like the records, comedy about how young and na├»ve they were when they recorded some of the lyrics.  Anthony recounted how one song came about because of his 12 year old broken heart.  (Said an Imperial, "How could you have been in love?  You were two feet tall?")  Anthony ends this song now with an appropriate gesture, and "Ehhhhhhh".  'Shimmy, Shimmy, Coco Pop', the song that surprisingly sold over a million records (Anthony:  "We still don't know why or how") showed the group's lively, catchy stage moves and youthful outlook.  (

It was a full, lengthy show that was way too short.  Bowzer has announced "Doo Wop XIV" will perform next January 14th.  What?  Tickets aren't on sale yet?  
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano

Our FH Buddy Ron Onesti has some more GREAT acts coming up at The Arcada Theatre ... with new shows being added all the time.  


6 & 7 - CHEAP TRICK 

9 -  THE BEATLES 50th Anniversary - Starring The Liverpool Legends and Louise Harrison, George's sister

14 -  GROOVIN THE SIXTIES starring Gary Puckett & The Buckinghams with a full orchestra

15 -  10,000 MANIACS "These Are Days," "More Than This," and more!

23 - A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (Beatles film) Sing-A-Long 



16 - Former Members of ELO with Classical Blast



30 - Ricky Nelson Remembered with guests Cadillac Casanovas - a multi media musical journey of the life and music of Teen Idol Rick Nelson. Featuring hit songs (“Hello Mary Lou", "Travelin' Man”, “Garden Party", etc.) performed by Ricky's twin sons Matthew & Gunnar Nelson.


12 - LITTLE ANTHONY & THE IMPERIALS, rhythm, soul doo-wop "Tears on my Pillow"

13 - Paul Revere & The Raiders

18 - CTA Tribute to CHICAGO with Danny Seraphine, Billy Champlain and Larry Braggs (Tower of Power)


26 - SURF CITY ALL STARS with Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean) and the original Beach Boy band




30 - HERMAN'S HERMITS starring PETER NOONE with guests Jay & The Americans





13 - EXILE


26 - FACES OF ELVIS WITH SHAWN KLUSH AND CODY SLAUGHTER - the world's most celebrated Elvis tribute artists perform three eras of Elvis










In addition, we're hearing talk of a Chicagoland appearance by Ronnie Spector ... and we're still trying to put together a Sonny Geraci Benefit Concert right here at home.  Like I said, more acts added all the time ... so check the OShows website often! 
Click here: oshows

re:  And Here's What Happens When Concerts Go Wrong:
We received emails and news links from several FH Readers who are outraged over the Sonny Geraci Benefit Concert debacle held down in Streetsboro, Ohio last November.  Fans of Sonny Geraci (and fans of JUSTICE!) have been keeping close tabs on this on-going story ... but the GOOD news is, it sounds like this scumbag is FINALLY being brought to justice for his actions.  Bill Thompson was arrested yesterday and, incredibly, STILL hasn't paid a DIME of what he collected to the Geraci Family.  Instead, he just keeps making promises that the money will come ... no apologies, no justification ... and no explanation of where that money really went.  (When asked by reporters why he doesn't just pay the money NOW, this asshole replied "Because I don't want to right now."  Nice!)  Over the time we've been covering this developing story, we've seen the "promise of payment" date push out several times ... and the amount of money he supposedly collected decrease from "right around $30,000" to "just under $20,000", and always coupled with a new round of excuses as to why that amount was dwindling.  Meanwhile, there's been LOTS of speculation as to where that money REALLY went ... but one has to wonder if it was really worth it.  Bottom line:  Authorities FINALLY did their job and reeled this guy in.  STREETSBORO, Ohio — A man who helped organize a fundraiser for a local music legend has now been indicted on a felony theft charge.  Bill Thompson, owner of Stringz and Wingz, was indicted by a Portage County grand jury Jan. 17.  Thompson was arrested Thursday.
Thompson admitted to Fox 8 last week that he owed the money to the family of Cleveland-based rocker Sonny Geraci, and he promised he was going to pay. 
“Within a week to 10 days, they wanted a set figure, but it will be over the next few days,” Thompson said. 
When asked why he just doesn’t go pay it right away, Thompson said, “because I don’t want to right now.”  Police said Thompson has yet to pay Geraci’s family over $20,000 that was raised during the November fundraiser.  The benefit was held for Geraci, who suffered an aneurysm about two years ago. 
“Sonny is still not walking, short-term memory problems, he is in rehab and is not at home,” said Chuck Kocisko, a friend of the Geraci family. 
Kocisko, who is also the founder of Streetsboro Family Days, said he wanted to hold the benefit to raise money to help the Geraci family pay mounting medical bills. 
But weeks after the fundraiser, the family still hadn’t received any money from Thompson, despite numerous attempts to collect the cash, so Kocisko filed a report with Streetsboro police. 
“All we want to do is get the money to the Geraci family so we can get Sonny back on his feet,” Kocisko said.
A Cuyahoga Falls man was arraigned Friday in Portage County Common Pleas Court on charges of stealing money from a concert at his Streetsboro restaurant that was held to benefit an ailing rock star. 
William T. Thompson, 48, was arrested at his Northland Street home on an indictment alleging the theft of more than $20,000 from a person who is elderly or disabled, a third-degree felony.  If found guilty, Thompson could be sentenced to three years in prison. 
Thompson sold tickets to a November fundraiser at his Stringz and Wingz concert venue and restaurant.  Proceeds from the ticket sales were to benefit Cleveland rock legend Sonny Geraci and his family.  The fundraiser reportedly collected more than $28,000.
Chuck Kocisko, founder and former president of Streetsboro Family Days, said Thompson never forked over the money.  Kocisko filed a police report in late December. 
Geraci, who performed with the Outsiders in the 1960s and Climax in the 1970s, was a performer at Streetsboro Family Days for six years, until suffering a brain aneurysm in April, 2012 that put him in a coma.  Geraci’s hit songs include Time Won’t Let Me and Precious and FewGeraci is in rehabilitation and slowly making progress, Kocisko said.
Stringz & Wingz Owner "Chef" Bill Thompson was arrested Thursday afternoon in Cuyahoga Falls, according to Portage County Sheriff David Doak.  Doak said Thompson has been indicted by a Portage County grand jury on a third-degree felony charge of theft. 
On Dec. 30, Streetsboro Family Days founder Chuck Kocisko filed a report with the Streetsboro Police Department alleging Thompson hadn't paid him money earned during a Nov. 15 and 16 fundraising concert benefiting Cleveland-based rocker Sonny Geraci, who has performed many times during Streetsboro Family Days' summer festival. 
Geraci suffered an aneurysm nearly two years ago and the funds were to help the family pay medical bills, Kocisko said. 
Thompson has said since the police report was filed he would pay more than $23,000 to either Streetsboro Family Days or the Geraci family.  As of Thursday afternoon, Kocisko said neither he nor the Geraci family has received payment. 
Doak said an arraignment is likely today. 
Stringz & Wingz, located in Streetsboro Plaza on S.R. 303 near S.R. 14, was closed Jan. 14 when plaza ownership company A & Z Management changed the locks to the business, according to Streetsboro police Lt. Troy Beaver.  Neil Lader, director of leasing for A & Z Management, said only that Stringz & Wingz is "out of business." 
Thompson said last week he was trying to sell the business after his name was "dragged through the mud" over the controversy surrounding the benefit concert. He also was returning leased audio equipment on Jan. 14.
This poor guy ... being "dragged through the mud" for what he's done ... while Sonny's family sits waiting for the money generously raised to help out with all their medical bills.  Just who is the victim here?!?!  And what the heck is WRONG with this guy!?!?!?  Personally, I think a public dragging-thru-the-mud ... in the most literal sense of the word ... should be organized ... strap this guy's feet to somebody's bumper and then hit the highway.  (kk)