Friday, January 11, 2019

My New Year's Music Resolution - 2019

I have decided to appreciate and celebrate the music of our lives to a fuller extent this year.

That means no more complaining about who is or isn't in which band ...

Let's face it ...

At this point in time, more than half of our musical heroes are gone ... 

And that's just the cold, hard facts.

So many of these great artists have passed on that it has simply become IMPOSSIBLE to truly recreate the line-ups and sounds that we all grew up loving and listening to.  

So from now on if the group is paying a high-quality, respective tribute to the music and memory of those original artists, then they're all-right in my book.  Because really, that's what we want to hear ... that's why we go to these shows ... to recapture that incredible feeling one more time.

Over the past couple of years, we have even gone so far as to name some of these tribute artists to our Best Concerts Of The Year lists.


Because they're THAT good.

Groups like The Chicago Experience, The Orchestra and The Fab Four have absolutely nailed the sounds of these artists ... and faithfully reproduce this music live on stage.  There is no question as to their own love of the music ... and the utmost respect they have for these artists.

Now I know that there are some of you out there who will fight me on this.

For example, from some past conversations I've had with Billy J. Kramer, I know that he has absolutely NO interest in ever seeing a Beatles cover band ... because he has seen the real thing ... and was intimately involved with their early success.  And I get that.  I can respect Billy's decision not to go.

But in the scheme of things, how many people ever really got the chance to see the real thing?  How many people actually saw The Beatles?  (Any how many of those who did HEARD anything they played???)

And let's face it ... they played their last live concert in 1966 ... and "getting the band back together again" isn't a real possibility anymore at this point in time ... it's just never gonna happen.  Yet their music lives on ... and people want to hear it.  So why not go and appreciate the joy this music gives you ... and see it presented in its highest fashion?  

There is nothing that I can say that will chance your stance if this is the way that you feel ... like I said, I get it.  But by the same token, we have to respect the people who come for the "theater" of it all through these recreations.

I can only tell you that The Fab Four faithfully and respectfully present this music live on stage in ways The Beatles never even had the opportunity to do so.  No one will ever recreate the same magic as the original ... it just isn't possible ... so to hold that against an artist really isn't a fair assessment either.  But I can assure you that this show is well worth the visit.

The same can be said of some of our other tribute favorites, The Chicago Experience and The Orchestra.

I've gone on record stating that I have seen The Chicago Experience perform the music of Chicago better than the actual group Chicago does in concert.  This is because bring a youthful excitement and appreciation with them to the stage every time they take it. 

Likewise, The Orchestra.  We saw Jeff Lynne's ELO last year ... and named it Concert Of The Year.  But Jeff Lynne didn't tour The States for 35 years ... and I have never seen ANYBODY better at producing this music live on stage than The Orchestra, all former members of some incarnation of ELO.  And they present it in such a respectful and professional manner that the entire listening experience is pure perfection.

Then there are groups out there like The Grass Roots and Paul Revere's Raiders, neither of which contain a single original member anymore ... yet they continue to draw audiences in with their faithful reproductions of this material.  (We've heard from any number of readers over the years who argue "Yeah, but it ain't the real thing.")

So what's the real thing?  Some of the members of these bands have been performing this music for DECADES now.  They have BECOME the real thing.  (And if you don't believe me, YOU try telling Ron Foos that after 40+ years in a Raiders uniform, he's not really a Raider!!!)

And see, that's another thing ... some of these band members have been together longer than the originals ever were.  (A notable exception to this rule is The Ides Of March, who still perform with all four original members that started out in a Berwyn basement some 55 years ago!)  

MOST of the groups of the '60's burned out in less than five or six years ... and even then band members came and went on a regular basis.  

And think about this for a minute ...  

How many of these popular group members from the '60's can you identify on a "first name basis" other than John, Paul, George and Ringo?

Tommy James still has his Shondells ... Gary Puckett still has his Union Gap ... Eric Burdon still has his Animals ... Frankie Valli still has his Four Seasons ... and Peter Noone still has his Hermits.  NONE of these current back-up musicians were part of the original bands that we grew up with ... but I'll tell you what ... nearly ALL of them perform the music better today than the original bands did several decades ago.

So from now on, I'm going to go see the artists whose music I admire without any reservations ... simply for the experience of sitting back and enjoying the music I love best.

Now does that mean that I'll take in The Little River Band when they play The Arcada Theatre again on May 4th?

Yeah, I think I probably will ... because I want to experience their music with this new mind-set.  Simply put, I just want to sit back and enjoy the music ... for the pure pleasure of hearing it.  And I just happen to LOVE the music of The Little River Band ... and Ambrosia ... and The Atlanta Rhythm Section ... etc, etc, etc.

What I WON'T tolerate is any band disrespecting this music that is so sacred to us ... and those bands will be called out in our pages ... as will any other groups out there trying to deceive the public with false advertising as to who they really are and what people will actually see and hear after shelling out their hard-earned money to attend their concert.  (But other than that, I guess you can say that I've mellowed in my old age.  lol)

I am looking forward to seeing many more great shows in 2019 ... and reporting our experiences back to you in these pages.  

It's all about the music ... in Forgotten Hits.
Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits 

One final afterthought ...

We ALL know how New Year's Resolutions go ... but I will do my very best to uphold my end of the bargain here ... 

If I slip along the way, I apologize ... but it probably just means that some artist didn't hold up THEIR end of the deal (and really pissed me off!)  Lol