Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hot Autumn Nights

OK, we just hit you with our Triple Play of concert reviews ... we saw Tommy James and the Shondells Saturday Night, .38 Special on Sunday Night and Eric Burdon and the Animals on Monday Night ... 

So it seemed only fitting to keep the ball rolling with Shelley Sweet-Tufano's latest review of the Hot Autumn Nights show she saw this past weekend ...  

Take it away, Shelley!  

WHAHOOO!! My third concert in three weekends! I had to rearrange my work load, take vaca time, and not eat (kidding) to make this happen, but what a month September has been. 

Back at Westbury I went to see four hit performances for their Hot Autumn Nights show.  Forgotten Hits readers, I need you to jump in with information on this one.  I perched myself high up in the audience and thoroughly enjoyed the light show and sound from afar. No one is far away in this theatre in the round, and to be inconspicuous taking notes is difficult.  This dark corner worked, BUT it WAS very dark, so notes were a difficult premium here. 

Let me start and you can write back and help with my questions. First act up:  GARY LEWIS AND THE PLAYBOYS. First question? Who are these Playboys?  Gary appears to have formed a new touring team, but I find no mention of this on his site. I heard these names:  John Sender, John Montagna, Bobby Wainwright, and Mike Gladstone.  How close did I come to the actual? There are musicians by these names when googled, but there are also convicted felons with a couple of these names so … I’m ... not ... so ... sure.

Gary came down the ramp waving his hands and sporting an infectious grin.  He started with ‘Count Me In’, then donned a guitar and continued into ‘Save Your Heart For Me’. I have been told that ‘Save Your Heart’ is not Gary’s favorite song nor an easy one, so I really appreciate the performance. Of course they do The Playboys’ hits.  

3. Sure Gonna Miss Her
5. Green Grass
6. This Diamond Ring
7. Everybody Loves A Clown
8. She’s Just My Style   

However, song #4 is ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ … ”Just because I love it!” … and he gives the lead over to one of The Playboys.  A very receptive audience gives them a standing ovation, and throughout this concert each artist and band member is applauded and thanked as they leave the stage with their gear and exit back up the ramp. I don’t know where this audience all came from, but these performers really snagged a great one!   

Once again, I am viewing a group live for my first time:  The newly re-formed Box Tops.  Original members Gary Talley and Bill Cunningham have put together some great musicians that brought forth memories I had not been allowed to experience on stage before.  Manager Rick Levy joined them  along with two more veteran musicians and two “kids we found outside on the sidewalk who have lowered our average age by 20 years”.  Hailing from Memphis, TN, they have a great connection with the audience, and witty personalities that appealed to us all.     

1. Cry Like A Baby 
2. Soul Deep 
3. Choo Choo Train
6. Neon Rainbow
7. The Letter   

Song #4 was a tribute to Booker T and the MGs, another Memphis group with personal connections to The Box Tops. (Green Onions?) I apologize for not remembering what song #5 was. I wrote down the songs when the lights came up after each set and … my memory blanked on number 5 when it was time to write. Anyone who was there, jump in now! Also, feel free to jump in with the names of the four other current members. One more thing ... A question!  

Who can name The Box Top song that was stalled in the number 2 spot on the charts by Bobby Goldsboro’s ‘Honey’? AND can you name at least four other major groups who were also stalled behind Bobby’s song at the same time? HOW EMBARASSING FOR ALL OF THEM! I mean really? We just got caught up in the smaltz of that moment, I guess. Jack Levin, Gary Thereau, this is right up your alley. 

I was so excited to see this group and I was entirely engaged in their performance. I had to perform a modern dance to ‘The Letter’ in Jr. High gym class. I remember we were using scarves in some kind of wave pattern. Probably good if I just don’t try to bring forth any other recollections of that … moment. And again, as they exit up the ramp, after breaking down their set, each was greeted with applause, standing ovations, and hand shakes. 

Now comes the easy part for me. The last two acts are solid, tight, and oh so good …. always. But tonight, they seem better than ever to me. Is it the sound? The lights? My mood? I don’t know for sure but I so enjoyed witnessing these performances. 

Mark Dawson, Dusty Hanvey, Larry Nelson (Nelson? Another Nelson? Lol) and Joe Dougherty performing The Grass Roots.  Eight GREAT songs:  

1. I'd Wait A Million Years 
2. Heaven Knows 
3. Sooner or Later 
4. Let's Live For Today 
5. Where Were You When I Needed You? 
6. Two Divided By Love 
7. Temptation Eyes 
8. Midnight Confession 

This is a Grass Roots crowd! They recognize many people in the audience and they can do no wrong tonight.  They have maintained Rob Grill’s following and love of these songs, bringing forth their own personalities. Dusty receives a standing ovation for his guitar work on Temptation Eyes. They all deliver some of Grill’s “old” jokes and the audience loves to hear it.  I once personally delivered a wonderful message to Rob Grill from a friend of his with whom he had just finished a tour:  “Tell him his jokes are old and boring.”  Rob’s reply: “Tell him, he’s right.  I take a nap every show.”  They have it all together and carry a large fan base. 

For having it all together, there is none like Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone.  Twenty hit songs, albeit one from Johnny Cash and one from Mick Jagger (Tom Jones couldn’t make the cut) performed in 70 minutes.  Rather amazing count of winning songs. Drummer Dave Ferrara gets a standing ovation for his performance on ‘For Your Love’; a lesser known Hermits song, but a well-known Yardbirds hit.  Dave also gave Peter Noone two thumbs up for HIS performance of ‘Listen People’.  When your own co-workers say you nailed it … wow!   

There were times when The Hermits were surprised by a Nooneism and really laughed unexpectedly.  Peter also spent much time connecting with the audience and venturing out for fan “selfies”, which can be a risky undertaking at times.  I was surprised that the Westbury security (known for their no nonsense “Get back on that stage” approach) did not harness this in quickly. Peter even walked through his standing ovation crowd when leaving the stage to go out to the lobby for autographs.   

The set?  

1. I'm Into Something Good 
2. Wonderful World 
3. Love Potion #9 
4. A Must to Avoid
5. Dandy
6. Leaning on A Lamp Post
7. Ring of Fire
8. Sea Cruise (with the magic fingers of Rich Spina on keyboards)
9. Daydream Believer (always a thank you to Davy)
10. For Your Love
11. Jezebel (I savor this one)
12. Just A Little Bit Better
13. Silhouettes
14. Listen People
15. Jumpin’ Jack Flash
16. No Milk Today
17. Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat
18. Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter
19. I’m Henry the 8th, I Am
20. There’s A Kind of Hush 

What a great show!! By HHSPN and the other three acts.  Thank you.  Dave Ferrara was the last to leave the stage and the crowd was on its way out. When he walked up the exit ramp, they stopped moving to again applaud. Applause for every entrance, not surprising. Applause for EACH SINGLE PERFORMERS’ EXIT?  That’s an amazing show! 

Shelley J Sweet-Tufano  

Thanks, Shelley ... sounds like a great show!

And we've got a couple more lined up this weekend at The Arcada Theatre ...

Jay and the Americans and Felix Cavaliere's Rascals will be there Friday Night (September 30th) ... 

And Lou Gramm, the original lead vocalist of Foreigner, will be there on Saturday Night  (October 1st) ... we have ALWAYS wanted to see him and couldn't go the last time Lou was in town ... so we are REALLY looking forward to this.    

Tickets are still available to both shows through The Arcada Theatre Online Box Office ... ... hope to see you there!  (kk)