Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone with Jay and the Americans - Live Concert Review (from The Arcada Theatre)

I can honestly say that I have never been disappointed by a Peter Noone concert ... and I've probably seen close to 20-25 of them over the past 10-12 years.  

To this day his remains one of the most entertaining and engaging performers of ours or any other generation.  

Totally at home on stage, he covers all of the hits you'd ever want to hear ... with a whole bunch of adlibbing along the way.  No matter how many times you've seen him ... or the fact that many of the bits are recycled from show to show ... Peter ALWAYS brings something fresh and new to the table to make each performance unique and entertaining in its own right ... and Friday Night at The Arcada Theatre was no exception.  

About twenty minutes into the show, Noone picked up the set list from the floor, looked it over and announced ... "This is our set list for tonight's performance ... and we haven't done ANYTHING on it yet!"  It was damn near a true statement ... intermixed with a bunch of clowning around about fulfilling his life-long dream of performing in St. Charles, Illinois, at the Arcada Theatre, he managed to slip in tributes to Johnny Cash and Mick Jagger ... along with a couple of his earliest hits including "I'm Into Something Good", "Wonderful World" and the Herman's Hermits B-Side "Sea Cruise" ... as well as "Love Potion Number Nine" by fellow British Invasion act, The Searchers.  

Never letting up on the "St. Charles Connection", he kept the audience laughing throughout the night with frequent mentions of the rustic suburb, even incorporating its name (and that of The Fox River) into the lyrics of some of his songs.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to sit through a Peter Noone concert without a smile on your face the entire time ... he is, without question, one of the most endearing and engaging performers out there ... and, incredibly, he still looks like a kid having a blast up on stage.  (Noone hasn't aged vocally or in appearance since Herman's Hermits last hit the charts ... and his loyal legion of Noonatics still pack every single show.  Friday Night's show at The Arcada was a complete sell-out ... and he played to well-deserved standing ovations throughout the night.)  

All of the hits were there:  "A Must To Avoid", "Dandy", "No Milk Today", "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat", "Listen People", "Silhouettes", "Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter", "End Of The World", Forgotten Hits Favorite "Just A Little Bit Better", the audience sing-along version "I'm Henry The VIII, I Am" (the best I think I've EVER seen it performed) and show-closer "There's A Kind Of Hush".  Wall-to-wall hits ... and wall-to-wall fun.  

Noone is booked solid well into next year. (You can find the complete schedule ... with new shows being added all the time) here:  
Click here: Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone


Opening up for Herman's Hermits was Jay and the Americans, featuring (as he is referred to throughout the show) Jay #3.  (He's actually Chicagoan John Reincke ... and has been fronting the band for just over eight years now.) 

Joining with former Americans Marty Sanders, Howie Kane and Sandy Deanne, the group faithfully recreates the hits produced by the original band (with tributes to Jay #1 and Jay #2 throughout the evening.  A highlight for me was hearing Sandy Deanne refer to Jay #2 ... Jay Black ... as "a real pain in the ass!"  There's no love lost between these two!)   

Honestly, their between song banter needs a lot of work ... it doesn't feel at all natural ... much more "scripted" than conversational ... but once the music and the singing starts, there is no denying the power of this band ... they had the audience up on their feet numerous times throughout the night, offering up thunderous applause to many of the tracks they performed.  Forget the fact that Reincke is, to some degree, a hometown hero ... the reaction was genuine and well-deserved.  (There are other Chicago connections as well ... our FH Buddy Dave Zane plays lead guitar ... jeez, can anybody name a band this guy ISN'T in?!?!? ... and Chicagoan Billy Corston plays bass.)   

They, too, have dates booked through June, July and August ... mostly on the east coast where they are currently based (New York and New Jersey) but are also regularly adding dates.  (In fact, stay tuned for word on their return to The Arcada Theatre ... Ron Onesti has already promised to bring these guys back again.)    

Click here: Jay and the Americans    

Musical highlights of the evening included "Cara Mia" (naturally ... and, without question, the most powerful song of the night ... the audience went absolutely crazy!), "Come A Little Bit Closer", "This Magic Moment", "Let's Lock The Door (And Throw Away The Key)" and "She Cried" (which also received a tremendous response from the crowd) ... but quite honestly ALL of the hits they performed were near-perfect executions ... and they did 'em all ... "Hushabye", "Some Enchanted Evening", "Tonight", "Only In America", "Crying", "Walkin' In The Rain" and the Neil Diamond-written "Sunday And Me", his first big break-through hit as a songwriter.   

Definitely worth a look if they come to your area ... I know that I will definitely be back to see them for their return engagement at The Arcada ... maybe even as headliners next time!