Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Feelin' Groovy

It's another concert review from Shelley Sweet-Tufano today in Forgotten Hits ...

Now HERE'S a show I'd love to see them bring to Chicago!!!


Well, well Kent.  You posted this concert on Forgotten Hits stating you wished you could go.  I already had my ticket, but life having its variables, I was reluctant to state that.  Resorts World Casino in Jamaica Queens is a place I had never experienced.  Last year I took a travel by night, boogie by day road trip with friends to concert-hop.  THIS year I am inserting solo traveling to break up the work schedule and push my limits a bit more.  This does mean, however, that I can plan a jaunt that has me putting my luggage in the car, going to work, jumping back in the car, hitting a concert, going to sleep, jumping in the car, and going back to work.  It is providing me with a living sanity clause.  So, wanting so much to see the Feeling Groovy Concert and having to deal with the multiple venue changes that occurred made me doubt my decision.  It started out as a two-ticket choice.  There were VIP, meet and greet included, tickets; as well as concert only tickets.  I bought concert only.  Traffic into the city is ALWAYS a variable and paying for something I am not sure I can attend is NOT in this equation.  So I bought the concert seat only. However, a photographer friend of mine pointed out that I ended up having to stand for the entire event.  So much for that ticket!  (In fact, all photos below are courtesy of James W. Foster ... and you'll find all the headliners represented!)

Along the way "stuff happened".  Instead of being in the seated and tabled concert area, the show was moved to the 360 degree bar.  All ticket holders received vouchers equal to the price of their ticket, and free tickets had also been distributed.  The only difference was in where you were allowed to sit.  VIP, naturally, was in a roped off front and center section.  Concert only and free were on either side.  There were not enough seats.  What did I learn?  I learned that I can stand and take notes for three hours.  I learned that I was OK with taking an unused voucher home rather than also try to juggle coffee or tea.  I learned that this awkward trip was worth every minute musically.

The emcee was CBS disc jockey Joe Causi.  Somebody near me referred to him as "that Soprano guy".  He introduced the opening act: 45 rpm.  45 rpm is a 70's tribute band, although they added some 60's pieces ... maybe just for us.  They spoke about the acts that were to follow and how much they admired them and learned from them.  They certainly were good students, and it is evident they love the music.  I recognized Tony Tallarico from previous bands with which he has performed.  My favorite song from them was 'The Night Chicago Died'.  I have never heard that in live performance, but this group rocked it.  I am going to list their set so you can see their versatility and all the greats they replicated. 

Don't Pull Your Love Out on Me Baby
The Night Chicago Died
Knock Three Times
Lady Willpower
Midnight Confessions
Rock Me Gently
Come On Get Happy
I Woke Up in Love This Morning
I Think I Love You
To Sir With Love
Daydream Believer
Oh, What a Lonely Boy

Hmmmmm ... THREE Partridge Family songs.  Somebody has a crush on somebody in that family.

They were truly fun and excellent musicians.  Danny Calvagna (lead / drums), Tony Tallarico (keyboards), Linda Mackey (drums / vocals), Michael Barberich (guitar / vocals), Michael Hack (keys / guitar / vocals), and Simon Walsh (bass / vocals).

Have you seen Ron Dante?  The man looks like he is still in high school!  Maybe even junior high!  Wearing a pair of leather pants (which has got to be warm up there above the bar), he begins with the song 'I Want Candy'.  He moves on to his second Archies hit:  'Jingle Jangle'.  He talks about his friendship with Davy Jones before he sings 'I'm a Believer'.  Looks like we are getting some Monkees action at this show.  'Glad All Over' is a surprise choice, but 'Tracy' from his Cuff Links days certainly was expected and enjoyed.  We MUST get 'Sugar, Sugar' into the mix with all of us joining in just to give support and love.  Ron's final piece is 'Johnny B. Goode'.  We have been singing and dancing along, forgetting the venue change and inconveniences that surround this concert.  Thank you Ron for a grand start from our 'Vintage' artists.
The ever-youthful looking Ron Dante

At this point, I want to throw out the information about the back-up band.  I look at them and say, "That sax player backed up Lou Christie.  She is married to a drummer.  Yep, that's him!  I've seen that guitar player before too.  Have I seen the others?"  Ron Dante throws out the name 'Coda', and back home on my computer, I get to work.  FOUND IT!!  The Coda Band is a "network of professional hand-picked musicians with up to 25 years experience in the entertainment industry."  KOOL!  Looking at the website I say, "Hi Dennis." and recognize a few other familiar faces.  So now, in my reviews, I will simply refer to them as The Coda Band.  When I can, I will give credits to specific names.  Doesn't it give you a nice warm fuzzy feeling to know we have this back-drop of experts in the musical field ready to bring the 60's to life again?

Who is that in a startling red jacket, brandishing a keytar, ready to rock?  BO DONALDSON!  Wait a sec?  WHO is that 'youngster' with the hand mic resembling Vance Brescia, albeit shorter hair?  KYLE VINCENT will be singing the Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods leads.  Kyle is a former 'Roller', of the Bay City kind, from their last tour.  He opens his mouth and starts singing 'Sky High'.  Oh yeah, this voice is powerful!  His performance is sheer entertainer.  He is moving all over the stage, standing on the bar televisions, singing on his knees, singing to the mall crowd above the bar.  I am keeping my eyes on him.  I am afraid I will miss something.  I have notes written upside down and sideways trying to keep my eye on the stage.  Wonderful Heywood hits follow.  'Who Do You Think You Are', and 'Look Out for the Heartbreak Kid'.  Inserted between these two is a Chuck Berry hit, 'You Never Can Tell', sung by Bo himself.  And NOW, a word from Kasey Kasem!???  Kasey's voice rings out on a recording of his show announcing the number ONE song for that week ... 'Billy Don't Be A Hero'!  The crowd is applauding!  Kyle and Bo pump this out and Mr. Vincent runs down off the stage into the audience, with the mic, getting three willing participants singing the chorus for him.  There were a few lyric changes from them, but all in all, I was impressed with the participants, who were having a blast.  Wow!  There's more to this show??
 Bo Donaldson

 Kyle Vincent

Dennis Tufano, the original lead singer of The Buckinghams, suavely approaches the microphone.  He has a good following here, and many participants in his street team taking pictures and videos.  There is something about singing The Bucks songs that makes women swoon.  I have seen it with Carl and Nick.  I see it now again with Dennis.  When he starts singing 'Don't You Care', every woman there, cares.  There is sincerity in the delivery of the lyrics.  There is magic in the lyrics.  There is the realization that the 60's opened up our minds and our hearts, and the music continues to do so now.  After 'Hey Baby, They're Playing Our Song', Dennis pays tribute to The Rascals with 'How Can I Be Sure'.  That song is, for me, so easy to fall into ... floating and dancing along.  As 'Susan', written about a Playboy Bunny begins, I hear comments of "That's my favorite." and "I really LIKE that one."  Dennis performs a Bobby Darin tribute show, but the Darin song he chooses for tonight is a "sleeper".  'Funny What Love Can Do' never hit any charts, and I never heard it before Dennis Tufano added it to his repertoire.  It has a blues sound, with Tufano adding his harmonica.  Although I had a dance routine to 'Hey Baby', the next song is my favorite: 'Mercy, Mercy, Mercy'.  This could very well be because I can still do slinky dance moves, while my flips and spins have sllllloooooowwwwwed down.  Must all Bucks' concerts end with 'Kind of a Drag'?  I agree it is fitting.  It is definitely a drag to end any concert or set, so I must remind myself that although Dennis Tufano is leaving, he has announced that Tony Burrows will be coming up.
 The suave, non-relation, Dennis Tufano

Tony Burrows is termed a "session vocalist" and may have appeared on more one-hit wonders than any other.  I am going to try to list the names under which he sang.

Tony Bond
Ivy League
Flower Pot Men
White Plains
Brotherhood of Man
Edison Lighthouse
First Class

Sorry if I have missed any, and believe me I am not sure they are in correct sequence order.  He is a scooch on stage.  Had he been a student where I taught, they would have put him in my classroom.  "Shelley, we are giving you Anthony Burrows.  We think you will connect with him and appreciate his antics."  I would also love his British accent.  'I'm Gonna Make You Love Me' is his opening song and he does a great duet by himself, raising his pitch to Diana Ross heights.  Being British and being 60's music, we must have a Beatles hit (there were a couple, you know).  Although Tony sings 'I Saw Her Standing There', he does not stand still, but regales the back-up singers with pelvic thrusts and gallops across the stage.  This may be a good time to introduce those back-up singers:  The Chicklets.  Burrows flirts with them throughout his set. By his own admission, he needs to slow down the pace.  'IF' (aren't the Bread love songs in your heart forever?) plays out while I notice that Kyle Vincent has run by me to grab a seat in the VIP section and Ron Dante is standing to my left.  When other performers come out to watch, it says something wonderful about both parties.  A favorite of mine, and apparently this audience's, is 'My Baby Loves Lovin'' with 'Beach Baby' following.  Bo Donaldson joins Tony on stage for this one and Tony quips they are going to "fly without a safety net" together.  One of the The Chicklets comes forward to create this next duet.  Are you ready?  'United We Stand'!!  Look behind you, Tony!  As well as Bo on stage, you now have Dennis Tufano, Ron Dante, and Kyle Vincent as back-up singers.  This appears to be a pleasant surprise to Mr. Burrows, and MAN DOES IT ROCK!!!  I do believe we could have stayed all night joining in on that one, but then we would have missed 'Love Grows [Where My Rosemary Goes]' which was the final number.  I even felt as though I could still dance to that one ... maybe.

All that is left to say is ... I GOT TO GO AND THIS TIME YOU DIDN'T, KENT!  Sorry, but I am really jealous of your concert attendance.
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano

Well, this is one I would truly love to see.  Bo Donaldson is coming to The Arcada Theatre in August (in fact, I believe former Bay City Roller Kyle Vincent may be with him for that one) ... and, of course, we just saw Dennis there for The Marty Grebb Benefit Concert ... but a show including Ron Dante and the incredible Tony Burrows would put this over the top for me.  (So yeah, I'm kinda jealous, too ... but hopeful that Ron Onesti will see this and make a similar show like this happen for all our local FH Fans to see, too!)
As always, thanks, Shelley, for another great report!  (kk)