Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Guest Concert Review #2

Here is the second of Shelley Sweet-Tufano's Year-End Concert Reviews ...  


Headline News! 

Nelson will be back on tour next year! But that also means that Gunnar and Matthew Nelson will be setting aside their ‘Ricky Nelson Remembered’ show. Then again … maybe not. 

I see it scheduled for some gigs next year, so possibly the brothers will be presenting both shows throughout the year, tho’ that is not what they announced. I hope ‘Ricky Nelson Remembered’ DOES continue. It is a musical breath of fresh air showcasing the life and songs of a mid-twentieth-century teen idol, offered by his two best friends and obvious fans: his twin sons.  

The videos show Ricky starting at age 16 and continuing through to his country rock Stone Canyon Band. They sing his hits. They are brash and wisecracking with each other. They pose well for photography opportunities, and they know their subject well. Stories about Uncle George (George Harrison, their next door neighbor) and babysitter Cass Elliott belie the fact that they are just down to earth natural musicians. Their musical genetics is now in its third generation, earning them a Guinness Record as the only three-generation musical hit-maker family. They have videos of Paul McCartney praising Ricky Nelson and John Fogerty inducting Ricky posthumously into the Hall of Fame. When I first saw this show, it was at an outdoor fair and the videos were not visible … so they just stopped them and went on with the show. I still enjoyed it so much, I couldn’t wait to see them at Mohegan Sun’s Wolf Den, the middle of October. It surpassed my expectations.

Gunnar ended the show teary-eyed relating his emotions during a medical life-and-death struggle that Matthew endured this past year. It is expected that it would have great impact on him. This is his partner, sibling, twin. Matthew let him continue and only added a glib remark about the weight he had lost in the hospital being a good thing. He may have been uneasy standing there but he allowed Gunnar to speak freely and seemed to accept that his brother had also suffered during this time.  

Go see them! As Nelson, or as Ricky’s sons. Go see them! My favorite song that night? Definitely ‘LOVE IS SOMETHING YOU CAN’T BUY’.  


The end of October, and my last concert for the month is back at Mohegan Sun, but in the Arena to see an incarnation of Golden Boys or Teen Idols from the 50’s/60’s. In order of appearance they are: Bobby Rydell, Fabian and Frankie Avalon. Depending on when and where you see them, it could be a different line-up ... Lou Christie joins Frankie and Bobby in California next year ... BUT you can be assured you will be visited by pin-up teen idols of walls past. 

I am seven years old and walking into my babysitter’s room two houses away. Strangely, she does not seem overjoyed that I am invading her space, although she is cordial. As I look around her walls, all I see are the centerfold male singers of the 50’s, pulled out of teen magazines. Trying to fit in I say, “Who do you think is the best looking?” “I don’t know.” Is her passive response. YOU DON’T KNOW? YOU HAVE THE WORLD OF MUSICAL MEN PLAYED OUT IN PRINT ON YOUR WALLS FOR EASY COMPARISON AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHO IS THE BEST LOOKING? The fact that my teenage friends and I would disagree on this same topic in future years is lost on me here.  

Bobby Rydell is recovering from a bad cold and I will never forget his 2012 double transplant and what he has gone through. He opens his mouth and I am hearing the voice from 45 records and Bye Bye Birdie that flows out as if there is no effort needed. My favorite, ‘Forget Him,’ brings chills down my spine. For that voice …. I would forget him and go home to be sung to forever. 

Fabian does the middle of the show singing ‘I’m A Man,’ the hit he sang on American Bandstand at age 15. 



The British Invasion ran into the same thing. Boys playing as men as their popularity increases. I am surprised at how many movies (all Westerns?) that Fabian appeared in. Some with Ricky Nelson and John Wayne. Fabian’s voice has never been what others were, but he topped the pin-up list and torn clothes by fans list mightily. 

Frankie Avalon closes with Annette tributes. My impression of teenage love and commitment came from their movies, and so yes, it was unrealistic and warped. GOOD TIMES. 

The three of them sing together on songs, make jokes about growing up streets apart (Did you know that Bobby and Fabian used to throw other kids at Frankie? One of their height jokes) And I feel included, but also feel like an eves-dropper on their lives. They have musicians who have spent 40+ years with them and Frankie’s son, Frank is his drummer. There are medleys, tributes and Ethan Everly. Yes, a son of an Everly joins Frankie and his son onstage to toast his famous father and uncle.  

Tributes: Ricky Nelson, Elvis, Bobby Darin, Bill Haley, The Everly Brothers ... some from Bobby, some from Fabian, some from Frankie  

In any occupation, when successful relationships are asked to reunite to achieve a goal, magic can ensue. The difference in entertaining is that we get to watch the magic at these reunions. 

Once a Golden Boy, always a Golden Boy.
To be continued … 
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano