Monday, February 17, 2014

Recent Concert Reviews and Up-Coming Shows

We turn it over to our readers today for updates on some recent and up-coming shows.  Enjoy!


The other day we saluted the anniversary of The Beatles' first performance on U.S. soil at The Washington Coliseum in Washington, D.C.  THIS year the (long gone) Coliseum came back and hosted a special anniversary show, featuring some of the acts who were there the first time around, including our Forgotten Hits buddy Tommy Roe!
Here are a couple of reviews and comments from that show, commemorating this historic occasion.  
Hi Kent,  
On Tuesday night (February 11th) I attended a concert in Washington, DC, commemorating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first concert in the United States, on February 11, 1964 at the Washington Coliseum.  The old Coliseum has been closed and gutted, and is slated to be converted to retail and office space (starting today), but was re-opened for the 50th anniversary concert.  Tommy Roe opened the concert, just as he did 50 years ago.  On Tuesday, a Beatles tribute band, BeatleMania Now, covered the exact set that The Beatles played 50 years ago.  
My friend Jack Levin suggested that I write up the experience for your Forgotten Hits website.  I did so, and my write-up is attached.  It includes some pretty bad photos (by me) at the end, but also includes a link to some superb photos by Mike Mitchell fifty years ago.  Do with this as you see fit.  
Gregg Ottinger
Thanks, Gregg ... great review.  (I didn't run any of your photos ... sorry, but there just wasn't a lot to see there ... but the link you mentioned is at the bottom of your article, along with a few others ... and a shot of Tommy on stage with his band-leader, Rick Levy.)
Yesterday & Today: The 50th Anniversary Celebration of The Beatles and Their First US Concert  
Fifty years ago yesterday, February 11, 1964, fresh from their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday, The Beatles played their first concert in the United States at Washington (D.C.) Coliseum.  Last night Washington Coliseum was reopened as a concert venue and a Beatles tribute band, BeatleMania Now, recreated the original concert, with the original set list, down to the minute (The Beatles started their set at both concerts – last night and fifty years ago – at 8:31 p.m.).  Tommy Roe opened for them fifty years ago and he opened for them again last night.  The show was called Yesterday & Today: The 50th Anniversary Celebration of The Beatles.  The celebration and anniversary lived up to the hype.  
Before summarizing the concert, the venerable Washington Coliseum needs to be given its props.  It opened in 1941 as Uline Arena (owned by Miguel “Mike” Uline), then as now with the unique shape of a giant, concrete Quonset hut.  Although it originally served primarily as a venue for ice skating, the Ice Capades and professional ice hockey games, over the years it hosted a little of everything, from rodeo to boxing.  It was the home court of the Washington Capitols, whose player Earl Lloyd broke the color barrier and was the first African - American to play in the Basketball Association of America (forerunner to the National Basketball Association).  Joe Lewis made his professional wrestling debut there in 1956.  Originally a segregated performance space, it was one of the first cultural performance venues to be integrated through successful community activism such as picketing and boycotts.  
After falling into disrepair and being made largely irrelevant by newer arenas like the Capital Centre and the Verizon Center, the old Coliseum was slated to be demolished a few years ago.  It was saved from the wrecking ball by the efforts of the DC Preservation League and Douglas Development.  The distinctive parabola / barrel-shaped roof has holes in it (there was black canvas rigged along the contour of the curved roof to keep the weather out and bits of concrete from falling on the crowd) and it has been almost totally gutted and is being used as a temporary commercial car park, pending renovation and conversion to mixed-use office and retail space (which starts today).  Only the unique facade will remain.  
One end of the arena still had a few rickety folding wooden seats that had not yet been removed, but the concrete risers leading up to them were gone, leaving a phantom stairway to the cheap seats.  Five sets of two original seats were raffled off during the evening.  There was no plumbing (concert-goers had to walk past a line of twenty or so port-o-johns to enter the arena) and no heating.  Hot chocolate outsold beer by a huge margin and there was not one time during the concert, even with the crowd and chairs closely packed together, when I couldn’t see my breath.  
Fifty years ago it snowed so hard on February 11 that school was canceled.  One of the opening acts, The Chiffons, couldn’t make it because of the weather.  The Beatles themselves came by train from New York, arriving at nearby Union Station, but staying across and up town at the Shoreham Hotel.  The Washington Post last week published a picture of the Shoreham napkin on which John Lennon scrawled the set list.  It was wicked cold last night, too, but in neither case did the weather prevent the space from selling out.  
In 1964 the stage was a converted boxing ring in the center of the arena, so The Beatles had to enter through the crowd, like boxers.  During their twelve-song set, they periodically shifted their equipment and position, so everyone got to see them from the front for at least a couple of songs (and from the side or the rear for the remainder).  As the building is now gutted, a stage had been set up at one end, with plastic chairs (hooked together by those plastic-strip handcuffs you see on TV now) on the floor and standing room behind the chairs.  In 1964 there were 8000 in the crowd and tickets cost $2 to $4.  In 2014 the building could only accommodate 2500 fans, who paid $100 for a chair or $45 to stand.  The hot chocolate ($5) cost more than the best ticket fifty years ago.  
The crowd last night was partly geezers old enough to remember The Beatles’ original concert.  Based on a show of hands there were a dozen or so people in the audience last night that had also been in the audience fifty years ago.  There was also a large number of fans who obviously became Beatles fans through their parents or grandparents.  The age diversity of the crowd underscored the wide and lasting influence that The Beatles and their music had and continues to have.  (The two events that had the greatest influence in shaping my parents’ lives and attitudes were the Great Depression and World War II; the two events that had the greatest influence on my generation were the Vietnam War and The Beatles.)  Last night’s show also featured a “signer” who translated the song lyrics and speeches for the surprisingly large group of deaf patrons in the audience.  (Washington Coliseum is very close to the campus of Gallaudet University, a college chartered for deaf and hard of hearing students.)   
In 1964 Tommy Roe was only allowed to play two songs.  Last night he performed most of his Top 40 hits: Sheila, Everybody, Sweet Pea, Hooray For Hazel and a sing-along version of Dizzy.  His voice is still strong and young-sounding.  He explained that much of the British Invasion happened while he was serving in the Army Reserves, during which he wondered how he could stay relevant (and successful) as an American musician.  He hit upon the style that he called “Soft Rock” which came to be known as Bubble Gum Music.  
At exactly 8:31 p.m. the Beatles tribute band BeatleMania Now took the stage.  I’m not much for tribute or cover bands, but this group was actually superb.  They look like The Beatles (with the help of makeup and wigs), they dress like The Beatles (grey suits with black, big-collar lapels), and their instruments are the same models as The Beatles, but it went deeper than that.  Their movements, mannerisms and the way they held and played their instruments were spot on.  They have studied the history and concert footage very closely.  The personnel in the band is Scot Arch (“John”), John Hepburn (“Paul”), Chris Colon (“George”) and Eric Smith (“Ringo”).  They are all Americans, but of course spoke with Liverpudlian accents last night.  
Now for the songs.  We know that The Beatles were heavily influenced by American rhythm and blues music and artists like Chuck Berry and Little Richard.  What I didn’t know was that their set started and ended with songs by those artists.  Here’s what they played, in order, last night and fifty years ago (with parenthetical quotes from “Paul”): 
1.     Roll Over Beethoven
2.     From Me To You
3.     I Saw Her Standing There
4.     This Boy
5.     All My Loving (“Off our first Capitol LP”)
6.     I Want To Be Your Man (Ringo on vocals)
7.     Please Please Me (“One of our first hits from England”)
8.     Till There Was You (“From a Broadway musical, The Music Man,” and, we now know, the only Broadway musical hit ever recorded by The Beatles.)
9.     I Want To Hold Your Hand (“The song that started it all in America.” By now everyone in the 2014 audience was on their feet and singing along.)
10. She Loves You
11. Twist and Shout
12. Long Tall Sally 
There were blinding colored back lights flashing throughout the performance, and mostly out at the audience, making photography for the amateur (me) almost impossible.  My shots are all just a stage with an explosion of light in the middle.  The backdrop behind the band, when you could see it, was a giant screen, onto which was projected black and white film footage of screaming girls from the original concert.  There were also large screens on either side of the stage, however, from which an inept shutterbug could get pictures that, while not particularly artistic, are at least recognizable as human forms.  
I can’t mention photography without telling the story of Mike Mitchell, who was an 18-year-old photographer in 1964, who talked a now defunct magazine into letting him cover the show.  He didn’t have a flash, so all his shots use ambient light.  He put the negatives in a box marked “Beedles,” forgot about them, and in the intervening fifty years went broke, lost his house and ended up living in a friend’s basement for free.  As the craze building toward the fifty-year anniversary of The Beatles’ first visit to America began to grow, he let Christie’s Auction House sell the original negatives and photos.  They fetched nearly $362,000.  
The Washington Post told the story very well:
It also provided a gallery of the photos which are spectacular and a must see, if you have gotten this far in this summary: 
Unfortunately you have to watch a 12 second ad first, but the photos are really worth a gander.  Finally, today’s (Feb. 12) Washington Post on-line featured a video about the performance: 
The show last night, as it was in 1964, was over in less than 35 minutes.  Last night, however, after a brief intermission, BeatleMania Now returned to the stage dressed in Sgt. Pepper outfits and played songs from that era of the Fab Four’s short history.  At that point the concert had ceased to be History and had become merely a tribute / cover band concert, so I left.  I wasn’t alone.  If you were old enough to remember the original concert, as I was, it was past your bedtime. 
Gregg Ottinger
February 12, 2014

Here's a photo of Tommy Roe and Rick Levy on stage during that anniversary concert ... as well as some links to some interview clips that Tommy did in conjunction with the show.

Tommy Roe interview and transcript by Martin Savidge on CNN that aired February 9, 2014. 
(Link to Interview Video)
(Link to Transcript of Interview)

Tommy is always looking to add more dates to his itinerary ... if you're a booking agent looking for a great show, here is more information on how you can add Tommy Roe to your performance schedule this year.
TOMMY ROE is an international pop rock legend.  In 1963, The Beatles opened for TOMMY during his UK tour ... and when Beatlemania hit the USA, they asked for TOMMY to open for them at the historic Washington DC Coliseum show on February 11, 1964, their first USA concert.
This summer, TOMMY ROE will headlining International BEATLE Week at the famed CAVERN in LIVERPOOL on AUGUST 26.
With his hits SHEILA, DIZZY, EVERYBODY and many more, plus b sides, rarities, and material from his award winning album Devil's Soul Pile (MOJO mag gave it 3 stars!!), "TOMMY ROE" ... SONGS AND STORIES is an intimate acoustic two man show ... highlighting his career hits, rarities, new songs . .. all intertwined with stories and tales of the road.
This is perfect for small venues, listening rooms, etc. Of course he is also available with his full band for
bigger venues.
We are currently looking to add tour dates in USA and Canada.
JOHN REGNA 407 993 4000
RICK LEVY ... bandleader, tour manager
Speaking of which, we heard from Dionne Warwick's people last week, too ... she's been putting on some killer shows of late ... and is looking for more venues as well.  More info below:
Five-time Grammy Award winner DIONNE WARWICK brought the house down this past Monday at the prestigious Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where she headlined the annual MARTIN LUTHER KING, Jr. BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION.  Over 3,000 people waited outside and could not get seats.
With the Grammy nomination of her latest album for the 2014 Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album of the Year, 2014 is turning out very bright for this legendary Artist.
Another historic appearance, one-time-only event, will be DIONNE’S appearance on the Commemorative Special for the 75th Anniversary of Marian Anderson's historic appearance on the Lincoln Memorial steps in Washington, D.C. after being denied the opportunity to perform at Constitution Hall.  It will be streamed live and taped for later airing in Black Music Month (June).  It will be at Constitution Hall on April 12, at 7 PM.
Contact us today to discuss possible concerts for your area. We are booking concerts, festivals and special events in over 50 countries for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Best wishes,
Executive Assistant to John Regna
Telephone (407) 993-4000
To email John Regna directly send to
There are, and have been, various incarnations in the touring Teen Idols Show.  Bobby Sherman, Davy Jones, David Cassidy, Mark Lindsay, Micky Dolenz and Peter Noone have mixed and matched their talents to present a group of talent to equal or exceed The Golden Boys.  (I think Teen Idols came along first, to be fair)  On January 30th, at a fund raiser for The United Way, all but Bobby Sherman were represented.  Mark Lindsay, Micky Dolenz and Peter Noone performed.  Micky sang 'Daydream Believer' as a tribute to Davy Jones, and a bottle of David Cassidy's water (unopened of course, water not being David's choice of beverage) was handed to Mark Lindsay by Peter Noone.  These are just two specifics of the love and fun emanating from the stage on Thursday.  Are they best friends?  Who cares?  They only need to get along well on stage and rock the music.  DONE!
The opening song was 'Rock This Town'.  I heard from several different viewers that this opening impressed them and was well admired.  For my part, I heard a depth and force from Peter Noone that I did not expect.  Hearing a song not usually performed by someone can give you more insight (yay OR nay) into their layers of performing strengths and weaknesses.  When hearing signature songs I can forgive much, as I have a history of memories also flowing through my head.  We loved the singing and the dancing (???? loosely it was dancing) of all three on this one.
As each Idol takes center stage, the other two retreat to sing back-up or, in the case of Peter Noone, head into the audience to sit and ogle Mark Lindsay with other revelers, during his set.  Never fear, he makes a round through the back and returns through a side door to the performance.  Peter is known to enjoy watching fellow performers from the audience's perspective.  As I did not see Mark nor Micky in the audience at any time, I will have to assume they prefer viewing from backstage.  OR they are much quieter when they slink around us ;-)
Mark jumps into 'Just Like Me', 'Hungry' and 'Where the Action Is'.  At one time I rushed home from school to watch The Mickey Mouse Club.  When that was not my cup of tea anymore, along came a daily show to capture my heart that brought 60's music to my living room and sired a house band called Paul Revere and the Raiders, who performed their own hits and the hits of others; usually outdoors and outlandishly.  My fond memories are piqued and Mark continues into his solo years with 'Arizona' and 'Indian Reservation' (also known as 'Cherokee Reservation' and 'Cherokee Indian Reservation').  One of my friends is so busy taking pictures of him that she remarks when he finishes:  "He should have done 'Arizona'".  This is just ONE reason why I do not take photos during concerts.  I stand to miss too much.  The other reason is that I am a terrible photographer.  Ending with 'Kicks', and as I have stated before he is still a high kicker for any age, we rose and gave him an enthusiastic thank you in applause.
Well Micky, I guess your friends and family were sitting behind me for I was overwhelmed with the screams and cheers as your set started, and continued on.  Of course, each Idol brought a crowd of admirers with them which is exactly why the music will continue to go on.  The Monkee years!  A weekly show that made me laugh, cry (Peter experiencing broken hearts, Davy breaking hearts) and sing along.  You know, I do not care for the characters and story-line of the show Glee, but I do enjoy the music included.  I miss my shows:  Shindig, Hullabaloo, Where the Action Is, The Monkees.  Even situation comedies had bands and music:  The Nelsons, Donna Reed, The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family.  More music and less reality please.  So Micky can't lose ... unless he just goes home.  The song that hits my heartstrings is 'Sometime in the Morning'.  I have never heard it in concert, and it sounds so good, so natural.  As mentioned, he sings 'Daydream Believer' for his "good friend Davy".  Being armed with glow-sticks, my friends and I sway to this, one of the best songs of all times.  Others with glow-sticks and cell phones join suit.  I think Micky liked it.  I have to mention that alcohol was being served and it is for certain that some audience members had swallowed.  I will try to ignore their shortcomings and continue to play up their long suits.  The dancing in the aisles had begun and when Mark returned to stop Micky from performing 'Stepping Stone' anything said on stage was law.  There was a tenseness in the audience as Mark told Micky he could NOT perform that song as HE and the Raiders had recorded it first.  Micky almost backed down, but then reminded Mark, "But mine was a hit!"  So together they sang and together we encouraged them to continue as a team, having two lead singers.  But the question still remains from Mark to Micky:  "Are you sure you're not my stepping stone? 99 and 99/100 % SURE??"
Intermission and we glide in with Peter Noone and his Hermits, who by the way, are the backing band for the night.  Micky's guitar buddy, Wayne Avers, performs during the first act, but it makes sense that The Hermits are up to assisting the unpredictable Noone.  Let me introduce our cast:  Billy Sullivan on lead guitar and vocals; Vance Brescia on guitar, vocals, and musical direction;  Dave Ferrara on drums and all things hit with a stick; and Rich Spina on guitar, keyboards, and vocals.  These are some of the finest musicians anywhere.  We are so lucky! 
Even sharing the limelight, Peter is able to contribute not only his hits but Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, and Mick Jagger to his set.  'I'm Into Something Good', 'Silhouettes' (with more glow-stick mood lighting), 'There's a Kind of Hush', 'Can't You Hear My Heartbeat', 'Mrs. Brown' (and her daughter who I have always believed was listening the whole time), AND 'Henery the VIII'.   There were more, but since original members of The Hermits can't read the set list without glasses, original fans are excused from remembering all the songs without writing them down.  I did not write them down.  I sometimes take notes at concerts, but this was a total pleasure activity.  The lush audience ... I mean the illustrious audience ... has turned the aisle dancing into a torrid type of frenzy, but they cannot detract from Peter's skill and focus.  Thrills peak when Mark and Micky return to help with 'Henery', having learned words to ALL the verses backstage.  Both try out verses with accents from The British Isles.  Mark is quite a proper Brit, but I must say Micky pulled it off on his second try.
SO it ends.  So it must.  Bows, applause, standing ovations ... no flowers thrown, nor underwear.  It has been a long time since there was a Teen Idol performance.  Dust had to be brushed off the brains as all three have been performing separately for months.  That is professionalism.  That is music of the 60's.
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano
Speaking of Micky Dolenz, our FH Buddy David Salidor (who handles the PR for many of Micky's projects) did a recent interview talking about some of Micky's upcoming plans.  You can read the whole thing right here:
FH Reader Dave Barry sent us this article / interview with The Zombies that he found in the San Francisco Chronicle on September 1st of last year ...(Please Note:  This concert information is at least six months out of date and is provided only as part of the original article as it ran then.)
When the founding members of the Zombies got back together, it was supposed to be for just a handful of shows. More than a decade later, singer Colin Blunstone and keyboard player Rod Argent are still on the road performing faithful renditions of '60s psychedelic-pop classics such as "She's Not There" and "Tell Her No," as well as selections from the group's 2011 release, "Breathe Out, Breathe In." The Zombies play three Bay Area shows this week. We spoke with Blunstone at his home in England.
Q: You guys have officially been together longer than the first time around. What makes it work now?
A: It's kind of bizarre, isn't it? The original Zombies were together for three years professionally. This incarnation of the band came together quite by chance. Rod and I agreed to do six concerts together - it was specifically for six concerts. It felt so natural that we just kept going.
Q: Do people scream as much at your shows now as they used to in 1965?
A: I think the first two years I needn't have sung one note. I'm sure no one could hear anything. The PA's in those days weren't very powerful. Now very often, at least for the first half of the shows, people are really listening intently. At some point they will be on their feet - we do have some really great classic rock hits we can play. So we don't get a lot of screaming, but we do get an incredible reaction.
Q: It seems like "Odessey and Oracle" held up a lot better than many of the other albums from that era. Is it true you were the next band in Abbey Road after the Beatles recorded "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"?
A: That's exactly true. We literally followed the Beatles. We used some of the percussion instruments they left on the floor. We used the same engineers as them. We used the mellotron they left behind - that might not have been on the album if they didn't leave it. It was a wonderful time to be in there.
Q: Did you and Rod ever have that power struggle John Lennon and Paul McCartney had going on?
A: In all relationships there is a dynamic, isn't there? It's not an obvious one. We have a working relationship in the studio and we're friends outside the studio. We sometimes have challenging moments like anybody does. But at the end of the day, we just enjoy working with one another. {sbox}
The Zombies: 8 p.m. Wednesday. Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero W., Oakland. 8 p.m. Thursday. Yoshi's, 1330 Fillmore St., San Francisco. $39-$60. 8 p.m. Friday. Uptown Theatre Napa, 1350 Third St., Napa. $40-$66.
Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle's pop music critic. E-mail: Twitter: @MusicSF
We were fortunate enough to see The Zombies last year at Ron Onesti's Arcada Theatre when they opened up for Burton Cummings.  Great show (if a bit long for my tastes ... but hey, I was there to see the headliner ... that being said, The Zombies made for a PERFECT distraction prior to Burton taking the stage!)
You can read our review here:
Former Monkees Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz will BOTH be participating in The Monkees' Official 2014 Convention, being held from March 14th - March 16th at the Hilton Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  Micky will be performing with Buddy Blanc's Romeo Delight and Michael will be performing Movies of the Mind, his live show.  And there's more! It's a full-on family affair, with Micky and Michael's respective broods coming with them: Georgia, Ami, Emily and Charlotte Dolenz are set to attend, as are Jonathan, Jessica, and Christian Nesmith, with Circe Link and the Christian Nesmith Band set to perform as well. On Saturday, watch The Monkees get inducted into The American Pop Music Hall of Fame. Then there's singer / songwriter Bobby Hart, Monkees historians Andrew Sandoval (who's written and sung some pretty nice pop tunes in his own right) and Eric Lefcowitz, famed Monkees photographer Henry Diltz, Billy J. Kramer, the 1910 Fruit Gum Company, the Blue Meanies, the Characters, and many other musicians, singers, and celebrity guests. 
More information here:  Click here: Monkees Convention 2014
More great shows (and additions) are coming up at The Arcada Theatre here in St. Charles, IL.  Ron Onesti has put together some KILLER line-ups in the months ahead ... and we can't WAIT to see some of these shows!
Next Weekend - February 23rd - a big screen (as in 40 FOOT Screen!) showing of The Beatles' movie classic "A Hard Day's Night".  Doors open at 3 pm with Beatles tribute bands and lots of other fun planned throughout the day.  The film will play at 8 pm (and it'll be a sing-along version ... so audience members are encouraged to participate!)
March 15th - Gordon Lightfoot
March 16th - The Orchestra (featuring former members of Electric Light Orchestra)
March 28th - Three Dog Night
March 29th - Eddie Money with Bobby Kimball (of Toto)
March 30th - Ricky Nelson Remembered - starring Matthew and Gunnar Nelson
April 12th - Little Anthony and the Imperials
April 13th - Paul Revere and the Raiders
April 18th - CTA (featuring Danny Seraphine, founding member and original drummer of Chicago, Bill Champlain, former lead singer of CHicago and Larry Braggs, former lead singer of Tower of Power)
April 19th - Foghat
April 26th - The Surf City All-Stars (featuring Dean Torrence of Jan and Dean)
May 2nd - Micky Dolenz (with special guests The Cowsills)
May 9th - Air Supply
May 10th - Alan Parsons
May 17th -  Blue Oyster Cult
May 30th - Herman's Hermits (starring Peter Noone) with Jay and the Americans
June 27th - The Yardbirds
August 30th - Johnny Rivers
September 20th - Felix Cavaliere's Rascals (with The Brooklyn Bridge)
September 27th - Ambrosia, Firefall and Orleans
October 5th - Al Stewart
October 24th - Gary Wright
November 7th - B.J. Thomas
November 15th - The Little River Band
November 22nd - The Spinners 
Look for more reviews from Shelley Sweet-Tufano tomorrow in Forgotten Hits!