Tuesday, February 18, 2014

More Concert Reviews

FH Reader Shelley Sweet-Tufano hit us recently with THREE concert reviews ... and we wanted to share ALL of them with our readers ... so you'll find a couple more up on the site this morning.  (Her review of The Teen Idols Show ran yesterday in Forgotten Hits ... scroll back to read it if you missed it!)

Shelley tells us: 

Home here again on a snow day.  Repeat of a repeat theme.  My February concert is next Friday, which is so far looking good.  It will be Chuck Negron in the Wolf Den.  Cracker Barrel wanted to give me free tickets tonight to see Brad Paisley's winter tour on Long Island, but with the forecast of today's weather I declined.  Too bad.  They gave me tickets to his summer tour and it was unbelievably good.  He drew from country past to make his country present concert note worthy.
Dang, Shelley, even WE don't go to as many shows as you do!!!  But thanks for sharing your experiences with our readers.  (I hereby dub you our OWN version of "Show-Biz Shelley"!!!)  And be sure to send us your Chuck Negron review, too!  

(Here's a picture of me and Chuck taken after last year's Happy Together concert in Aurora):

One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small.  But honestly, don't you just want somebody to love? 
I am pre-starship, going back to when the airplane was as high as you needed to go.  Given that the space age developed in the late 50's and exploded in the 60's, it now surprises me that Jefferson Spaceship was not their first incarnation onto the music scene.  However, Grace Slick's voice needed no outside power source or thrusters and the music I remember signals the start and immersion of the 60's psychedelic rock.  So, when given reserved seating for a 'free concert, but you need to stand in line and wait to get in'; I jumped at the chance.
This entity was Starship starring Mickey Thomas.  In 1965, Mickey Thomas and two friends went to a Beatles concert in one of our southern states.  After that event, he decided he was forming a band and turning music into his life.  Well, that is a refrain that is often sung.  In 1979, he was asked to join Jefferson Starship during a time when Grace Slick had left the group.  She returned, but Mickey also stayed on.  Later a split occurred giving birth to Jefferson Starship AND Starship starring Mickey Thomas.  The current members of Mickey's group are John Roth (guitar, background vocals), Jeff Adams (bass, background vocals), Darrel Verdusco (drums), Stephanie Calvert (vocals), Phil Bennett (keyboards, background vocals) and Mickey on vocals with occasional guitar.  Now, on with the show.
The first half of the show was Starship material, which was not all familiar to me.  Stephanie is a local CT girl (I did not know that) and has a truly powerful voice.  Don't compare her to Slick, because there is only one.  BUT her renditions on all songs gives a true tribute to the originals.  Keyboardist Bennett is a show all by himself, contorting his body while his fingers seem frozen to the keys.  He is given solo stage time with almost enough time for a backstage nap.  Thinking about the intensity of Starship music, the rest of the group needs this time to breath again.  For any fans, they have recently recorded a new song, "It's Nothing Like Love".  I was loving the musical intro which was longer than most, but it changed over to hard rock that on a first listen didn't seem to fit.  I have purposely not listened to it again as I wanted my first impression to be the one in print.  I do intend to revisit this song on the Starship Control page to see what I think of it on a second and third listen.  Mickey's face was very familiar to me once he appeared on stage, which means his looks have not changed much.  Still wearing dark glasses while performing, as he always has, he brings in the vocal sound required for the psychedelic sound.. 
Ok ... when they traveled back to the Jefferson Airplane time zone, they hooked me Good and Proper!  "White Rabbit", "Don't You Want Somebody To Love", "Crown of Creation".  I had a Bohemian (not quite Hippie) boyfriend ending out my high school years and these were favorites of he and his friends hands down.  It brought a smile to my face stemming from fond memories.  Now at the end they leave the stage and almost miss their own encore. (memo to performers:  Do not milk the time before your encore.  We are applauding.  We have shown our appreciation, but will get tired of waiting for you to return to the stage.  Get back quickly.  We will love you more.)  It was definitely worth waiting for though.  "WE BUILT THIS CITY ... ON ROCK AND ROLL".  Hey we got to sing along too, and it was truly a fun time that I will want to repeat. 
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano
Mickey Thomas did a show here in Schaumburg a few years ago (teamed with Bobby Kimball of Toto fame.  In fact, as tipped here yesterday in Forgotten Hits, Bobby has been added to the bill for Eddie Money's show at The Arcada Theatre, coming up on March 29th.)  Good, high energy show.  His voice is still in great shape (and one of the more unique in rock and roll history ... people sometimes forget that he also handled the lead vocals on the Elvin Bishop hit "Fooled Around And Fell In Love".)  kk   

MOHEGAN SUN WOLF DEN AGAIN!!  I love this venue EVEN though it requires standing in line for admission to the shows.  There is not a bad seat in the house, and miraculously, the sound of slots and casino announcements does not interfere with the inner comfort of The Den.  The wolf's howl from the entry gates at one time was a discomfort once the show started, but with some guest suggestions (mine included), that has been corrected.  So February 1st, there I was in line holding four places to see Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone.  We did have reserved seats (somewhere between 2 - 8 ... nobody seemed to know) so as a precaution, here I stand as the most able-bodied of my group of friends.  (The performers are not the only ones increasing in age).  We ended up with six reserved seats, and a text from my son saying his in-laws had decided to attend this concert.  I checked out their position and realized that they, and about 75 others, were never going to fit into the venue.  Last minute shuffling:  I give my son's in-laws my place in line, we get into our reserved seats and life is again good.  WHAT OR WHO CAN BE CAUSING THIS CHAOS?? As I said:  Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone.  The maximum of allowable reserved seats in this 350 seat venue and a line that would have filled the venue when empty meant that The Den was full and the surrounding half-wall was 3-4 deep with left-over spectators.
I don't even need to give a review.  That pretty much says it.  But for those of you who have yet to experience this show, I will.  (and I promised Kent).
These are seasoned musicians and performers.  The show is semi-planned, semi-choreographed, allows spontaneity, always a hoot!  Starting off with Vance Brescia and the Banned leading us in the Manchester Soccer Fight song, (as Davy Jones remarked when he watched The Beatles from stage-side on Ed Sullivan:  "We still have a better soccer team.")  we stand up, clap ... always over the head ... and watch as these musicians take their places and wait for the big announcement.  Rich Spina's voice from the keyboards ends with, "One of the top bands of the British Invasion, we are Herman's Hermits; starring Herman himself, PETER NOONE!"  The Den explodes in applause and Peter walks out ready to perform 'Something Good'.  The entire show is filled with hits from Herman's Hermits and other British Invasion groups.  Peter's characterizations of Mick Jagger, Tom Jones, and Johnny Cash puts the revelers in stitches, and I can't help but think, "You mean there are still some people who have never seen this?"  The answer is YES!  The answer also is that is still cracks us up every time.  I look over at the table containing my son's in-laws and their guests.  They can hardly stay on their chairs, they are laughing so much.  Good.  But when the music starts ... every time the music starts ... it is magic.  Sheer, beautiful, fun, melodic magic.  Peter's voice is as strong, or stronger, as the years go by.  His musicians:  Vance Brescia, Rich Spina, Billy Sullivan and Dave Ferrara get into the loving jabs and the joy of each song as we relive the decade to beat all decades.  Hmmmm Rich, I saw you slowly remove your glasses when Peter made referral to boys not listening to their priests when young and now can be spotted by their eyewear.  That's ok, just get contacts.  We'll never know.
I always love it, miss this show during the long gaps of time we have now, and look forward to a time to re-view it again.  Thanks Lads.
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano  
Peter has been enjoying the 50th Anniversary of The British Invasion (although I can't believe it feels at all like 50 years for this guy, who was barely in his teens ... yet right in the thick of it back in 1964 / 1965.)  He's even been saluting some of the great British Invasion hits on his Sirius / XM Radio Program, which airs on Saturdays on the satellite 60s network.  (kk)


New York City held a HUGE 50th Anniversary Celebration in honor of The Beatles' first visit there ... here comes a first-hand report of a concert that he had the honor of performing in from Mitch Schecter of The Rip Chords:

Hey Kent ...
Wanted to tell you about the amazing show we took part in last Saturday night, February 8th, at Town Hall in NYC. It was an all-star celebration of The Beatles' 50th Anniversary in the USA, promoted by Charles Rosenay ... and lots of greats turned out ... Al Jardine, Tommy James, Gene Cornish, Ron Dante, Gary DeCarlo (Steam), John Ford (Strawbs), Ian Lloyd (Stories), Actors Charles Grodin, Danny Aiello, and many more. 
Me, Richie and my wife Amy (who sings the high parts on the Live Rip Chords shows) were invited to sing backup harmonies with Al Jardine, Ron Dante, and Gary DeCarlo. What a great night it was. Each star sang one Beatles song and one of their own hits to the sold out house. The Town Hall in NYC is steeped in history. It was such an honor to be on that stage. 
I've attached a photo from our set with Al Jardine ... and another of Ron Dante and I sharing the stage.
Talk soon ...
Mitch Schecter / The Rip Chords