Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Saturday Surveys (12-20)

Kicking this off this week with this 1966 chart from WQAM (who were already celebrating the oldies, 1966-style) the week before the big holiday!

The Music Machine sit at #1 with their Garage Band Classic, "Talk Talk" (hardly #1 material but hey, it was the '60's ... so anything goes!!!)

Obviously this is the case ... since Roger Williams is at #3 with "Born Free"!!!  (Not two songs you'd EVER expect to hear played back-to-back together!  Thankfully we had The Beach Boys breaking up this mismatch with their '60's classic "Good Vibrations", down from #1 the week before.

All kinds of goofy songs and mistakes can be found on this chart ... "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron" ... by The PALACE Guardsmen?!?!  A couple of Monkees LP cuts at #23 (in addition to their legitimate hit at #18, here referred to simply as "Clarksville") ... they've also got "I'm A Believer" debuting at #37!

Being a South Florida station, I guess it's really no surprise to see wild man Wayne Cochran at #19 with his latest (up nine points from the week before), "Going Back To Miami".

DIDJAKNOW?:  WQAM reportedly stood for "We Quit At Midnight"!!!  That was the time this station signed off the air, picking up again at 6 am the following day.  (Maybe that's why their Million Dollar Weekend" ran from 3 pm to Midnight???)  Interesting!

I picked this 1963 chart from KDWB in St. Paul, Minnesota, because I like seeing a couple of two-sided hits in The Top Ten by a couple of our surfin' favorites, The Trashmen and The Beach Boys.  (The Trashmen top the chart with their classic "Surfin' Bird", backed with "King Of The Surf", while The Boys of Summer from California are sitting at #9 with their two-sided hit "In My Room" / "Be True To Your School" ... proving that not EVERY recording act in 1963 was sticking some disposable "filler" on the other side of their latest single.

"Popsicles And Icicles" by The Murmaids is at #2 ... this song was one of the very first chart successes for songwriter David Gates who, ten year later, would be topping a few charts of his own with his new group Bread.  Our FH Buddies The Rip Chords (another surfin' band apparently doing very well in land-locked Minnesota!) are at #10 with "Hey Little Cobra", their biggest pop hit.  You'll also find our pal Tommy Roe at #15 with "Everybody", down a notch from the week before.

Friday, December 19, 2014

50 Years Ago This Weekend

December 19-20-21:

The Supremes hold off The Fab Four to claim the #1 Spot on this week's Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart as "Come See About Me" jumps from #4 to #1, just ahead of The Beatles' latest, "I Feel Fine", which sits at #2 in its third week on the chart.

Other Top 20 British Hits include "She's Not There" by The Zombies, which falls to #4, "Time Is On My Side" by The Rolling Stones, which holds at #6 for the third straight week, "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks (#10), "I'm Into Something Good" by Herman's Hermits (#13), "She's A Woman" by The Beatles (#14), "Sha La La" by Manfred Mann (#16), "The Wedding" by Julie Rogers (#17) and "Any Way You Want It" by The Dave Clark Five (#19).

Making our way down the chart, we find "Willow Weep For Me" at #28 for Chad and Jeremy, "Love Potion Number Nine" at #30 for The Searchers, "As Tears Go By" at #36 for Marianne Faithful (finally making its way into The Top 40), "Walk Away" by Matt Monro (#45), "There's Always Something There To Remind Me" at #54 for Sandi Shaw, followed by "Boom Boom" by The Animals at #55, "I'll Be There" by Gerry and the Pacemakers (which climbs from last week's debut at #81 to #63), "I Can't Stop" by The Honeycombs, new at #84 and one of the biggest hits of the '60's, "Downtown" by Petula Clark, which premiers at #87 on this week's chart.

The Beatles take over the #1 Spot on this week's WLS Silver Dollar Survey with their two-sided hit "I Feel Fine" / "She's A Woman", a position they will hold for the next three weeks.

The Zombies are still hanging on ... they're at #2 with "She's Not There".  Rounding out The Top Ten are British acts Herman's Hermits (#5 with "I'm Into Something Good"), The Rolling Stones (#9 with "Time Is On My Side") and The Dave Clark Five ("Any Way You Want It", #10).

Just behind them are Marianne Faithful, now at #11 with "As Tears Go By", Julie Rogers ("The Wedding", #16), "Sha La La" by Manfred Mann (#19) and "Walk Away" (#20 for Matt Monro).

Brand new on the chart this week are The Searchers ("Love Potion Number Nine", #23), "Willow Weep For Me" by Chad and Jeremy (#23) and the follow up single for The Nashville Teens, "Google Eye" (#30).

Thursday, December 18, 2014

More Ides Feedback

Readership has been good and so has the feedback we've been receiving on our Ides Of March Christmas Concert Review ... 

So much so that we've decided to post links to a couple of other Jim Peterik / Ides Of March Forgotten Hits favorites from the recent past ... along with some brand new comments and photos of the band from a gig they did a couple of years ago in Ohio. 

We've been fans for a long time ... from the beginning of time, really ... and have certainly given The Ides their due here in Forgotten Hits over the past fifteen years ... so there's really no point in stopping now, right?!?!? 

Thanks so much, Kent, for the great review of the Ides Christmas at the Arcada ... great seeing you!
Keep Rocking!

This is great stuff!!! You really got into the show, the fashion, and the talent! Great reviews!
David Chackler
Dead Rabbit Films, LLC  

Great review and great job everyone ... it seriously was one of the best shows all around I have seen yet ... next year we need a tree and some Christmas lights on stage!
Great idea!

This was a blast  to write ... the Ides are truly a Chicago treasure!
Chet Coppock 

Hi Kent -
Thank you SO MUCH for the extra photos of THE IDES OF MARCH Christmas Concert!!!!
50 Years Together and they put CHARLES E. PIPER GRAMMAR SCHOOL and MORTON WEST HIGH on the map!!!

Just read the review.  Sounds like it was awesome! 
Great reviews and great job, Kent! 
Clark Besch
Cool to see all your vintage videos playing up on the big screen in the background during the whole show ... love the one where Dick Clark calls WLS DJ Ron Riley from the set of American Bandstand, is told that The Ides Of March are tearing up the charts here in Chicago with their very first hit record, "You Wouldn't Listen", and then watching Clark spin the tune while all the dancers get into it on the show.  Classic stuff!  (kk)   

Hi Kent -
I saw your post on the Ides of March ... here are some pics I shot from a few years ago when they played at Lock 3 in Akron, Ohio - thought you might like them.
Tom Apathy
Thanks, Tom ... great to hear from you again ... and some GREAT shots of The Ides in action!  (I think they may want to snag a couple of these for themselves!!!)  kk

All three above photos by Tom Apathy

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Ides Of March Christmas Show

Photo Courtesy Paul Braun, Cygnus Images 

Forget the aspect of the whole "Hometown Hero" thing ... these guys rocked the house as good as ANY band we've seen in the past thirty years!  ("Last Band Standing" indeed!) 

Although they've been performing it now for the past ten years, we had never seen The Ides Of March Christmas Show before ... and it was a real joy (to the world) to finally be able to catch it. 

WGN's Steve and Johnnie acted as MC's throughout the evening.  (In fact, Steve King even joined the band on stage to play guitar for the "Vehicle" finale!) 

Jim Peterik protege Cathy Richardson opened the show with what she kept referring to as her short, 30-minute set (which, in fact, went on for at least TWICE that long), joined on stage by her partner in musical crime, Anne Harris, an exceptional (and very "bendy"!) violin player who just might give the Devil his due should the two ever meet up in Georgia.  (Ironically The Charlie Daniels Band will be performing at The Arcada early next year on April 10th)! 


Above Two Photos Courtesy Paul Braun, Cygnus Images

In addition to being the new female voice fronting Jefferson Starship (who just happen to be coming to The Arcada on March 29th!), where she handles many of the lead vocals previously presented by Grace Slick, Mickey Thomas and Marty Balin, Richardson also played the Off-Broadway lead in the very successful and popular Janis Joplin tribute, "Love, Janis". (In fact, she's also been known to front Big Brother and the Holding Company live in concert a time or two!)  Her vocals are quite powerful and Harris presented the perfect foil with her exceptional fills on both violin and background vocals. 

Photo Courtesy Paul Braun, Cygnus Images

Also on hand for this very special holiday event was Marzette Griffith, another singer Peterik has been working with for the past several decades.  Griffith is the newest member of The Chi-Lites, one of the seminal soul bands from Chicago ... and he has also recently been nominated in the Black Excellence awards at the Dusable Museum.  He proved exactly why with exceptional vocals in his very brief moment in the spotlight.  (We would have LOVED to have seen more of Marzette Saturday Night!) 

Photo Courtesy Paul Braun, Cygnus Images

The Ides put together a GREAT holiday show with excellent harmonies and arrangements ... many of these songs are original Peterik compositions that can be found on the Christmas CD "I Believe In Christmas".  The set was peppered with precisely executed musical highs and lows within any given song, the dynamics of which kept their first set moving along at a very brisk pace, despite the fact that much of this material was probably unfamiliar to a large percentage of their audience.  (Two stand-out Christmas classics that were performed were the very up-tempo, rocked up version of "The Little Drummer Boy" and an instrumental, trombone-heavy arrangement of one of my Christmas favorites, "O Holy Night".)  

Photo Courtesy Paul Braun, Cygnus Images
One thing that I truly admire about Jim Peterik is his willingness to give up the spotlight and share the stage with the other artists onboard for any given performance.  (His World Stage shows have certainly set the precedent for this.)  When be brought Cathy and Marzette back out to join in on the Christmas festivities they added a beautiful mix to the already spot-on sound of The Ides.  (In fact, Cathy's Christmas song just may have been her best vocal performance of the night!)

Photo Courtesy Paul Braun, Cygnus Images

In their first set, Peterik was decked out in an all red leather suit ... but he came back in set two wearing what can best be described as a full length black boa wrapped over black leather pants and cowboy boots ... make no mistake about it ... with his purple hair and glasses, Jim will forever be the ultimate rock star on stage. (The thing is, this is no put on ... he actually goes grocery shopping dressed this way, too!!!) 

Above Two Photos Courtesy Paul Braun, Cygnus Images

Above Two Photos by Frannie Kotal
(while we clearly don't have the equipment Paul does ... 
these were taken with Frannie's cell phone, lol ... 
these shots were just too good not to share!)

After a brief intermission, the band was back and ready to rock the house.  We were treated to a couple of brand new songs from their forth-coming 50th Anniversary Three-CD Set "The Ides Of March:  Last Band Standing".  (Did I happen to mention that the four original core members of The Ides have ALL stayed together for fifty years?!?!)  Naturally we also got many of the hits we were expecting, including "You Wouldn't Listen" (their first chart single), "Aire Of Good Feeling" (the song that SHOULD have followed "Vehicle" up to the top of the charts in 1970), a new arrangement of "L.A. Goodbye" capitalizing on the violin skills of Anne Harris, the aforementioned "Vehicle" (with a longer horn instrumental than it really needed), a very powerful rendition of a song Peterik wrote for Survivor, "The Search Is Over", wrapping everything up nicely with the encore of Survivor's biggest hit "Eye Of The Tiger", which had the entire floor up on its feet.  (A nice addition to the overall presentation was a video clip that ran continuously in the background on the giant screen behind the band, showing vintage clips of the band, assembled by none other than our own FH Buddy, Clark Besch.) 

The group drew a long line of fans after the show, posing for photographs and signing autographs ...  

Jim even personalized a copy of his biography, "Through The Eye Of The Tiger", for me, thanking us again for our on-going support of the band and Jim's solo career and endeavors. 

We can't WAIT for the box set to come out ... a true career retrospective featuring some rare and collectible tracks long missing from circulation.  You can pre-order a copy now on The Ides' Website, along with some of the other merchandise and memorabilia mentioned above. 

GREAT shows, guys!  One of the best I've seen you do ... and I've got at least 25 or 30 of 'em under my belt so far!  It was a fun night of great music ... and a GREAT way to cap off not only the holiday season but of year-long series of concert events.  (kk)       

 The Final Bow - 
Photo by Frannie Kotal

The Ides of March Christmas show review 12/13/2014   

Before I get into the review of the concert I just want to say a little bit about Arcada Theatre owner and host Ron Onesti. I only know him from attending the shows ... probably upwards of 40 or so over the last few years ... but consider him a “friend” of sorts. He has always been the welcoming face of his establishment. He makes everyone that visits feel like family, in addition to putting together a fantastic bill of acts week after week. I  guess I realized this more this week as he wasn’t in attendance Saturday night as he was feeling a bit under the weather.  Thanks for all you do, Ron!
And now on with the show!
The show began with a duo of local (Elmhurst) performers, Cathy Richardson and Anne Harris, Ms Richardson on acoustic guitar and Ms Harris on violin. Cathy can be best described as Melissa Etheridge with an edge. She has played Janis Joplin on Broadway and has been the lead vocalist of the current reincarnation of Jefferson Starship. Jim Peterik has been her mentor since the beginning.  Despite her years of experience, she just recently got her first recording contract. Her set was comprised of her own compositions. While they weren’t familiar to me, she had a loyal following in attendance Saturday night. The one song that stood out was one she had written for a commercial promoting an unknown feminine product. It was a motivational song of sorts, similar to Helen Reddy’s “I am Woman”. Congratulations Cathy on your new record deal.
Next up the Ides of March. This band has been together for 50 years ... with the same members. They started out as a garage band when they  were in high school, some friends since the 6th grade. As the show progressed there were videos and stills of them taken throughout their career being played on the screens about the stage. The videos included a segment from American Bandstand. There was a large contingent of loyal and vocal Ides fans in attendance.
The first set was comprised of Christmas music ... primarily religion-based material. The band was dressed in “Christmas casual” attire, sweaters and all. Jim wore a red leather suit. The song that stood out for me was “The Little Drummer Boy” which featured a snare drum solo. 
photo by Frannie Kotal
After a short intermission the band returned as the rockers we have loved for all these years. Jeans and T shirts replaced the Andy Williams look and Jim was dressed in black with a long feathered coat and leather pants.  This set was all Ides hits including “L.A. Goodbye” and concluding with their biggest hit, “Vehicle”. The encore was the theme from Rocky III …. "Eye of the Tiger", written and recorded when Jim was playing with Survivor. The crowd went crazy over the last two songs.
Overall, the band looked and sounded great for being around for 50 years ... they never lost a beat. I’d recommend seeing them when you get the chance. I know they have been known to do a summer festival now and again. They have a new triple disc set coming out this summer, comprised of remastered material including three new compositions and a live disc.
Scott Schultz
photo by Frannie Kotal

Hey Kent,  

It definitely was Christmas at the Arcada Theatre Saturday night!  The Ides of March put on their annual show, including some special guests as well.   I have been to several Ides Christmas shows, but I have to say I think this was their best yet.  

Starting out, we enjoyed the singing of Cathy Richardson and the violin playing of Anne Harris.  Wow!  Cathy's original songs were terrific and her story of finally getting a record deal at the age of 45 was heartwarming.  Good for her, she deserves recognition.  Anne Harris stole the show, I think, performing in a skin tight white bell bottomed jumpsuit.  That only added to her excellent expertise on the violin. She was mesmerizing!  I wish they could have performed longer.    

Next, we were treated to a song by the latest addition to the Chi-lites, Marzette Griffith.  He sang a beautiful song written for him by Jim Peterik.  It was a beautiful Christmas song.   The crowd loved it.  Too bad they didn't let him sing a Chi-lite song for us as well.  We needed to hear more of him! 

Of course, Jim Peterik and the Ides came ready to rock.  The first set was all Christmas.  Jim had on his red leather pant suit, which goes wonderfully with his purple hair.  You gotta love him!  The band definitely put everyone in the Christmas mood, singing an acoustic set with the standards as well as their original songs.  Sharing Christmas brought me to tears as always. Jim and Scott May's song should be a classic, played every year for generations.  Great to see Mike up front with his rendition of Little Drummer Boy.  Perfect song for him!  And Larry gave us There Is A Boy, great song.    

This one-hour Christmas set was exactly the timing of Ronnie Spector's entire show last week at the Arcada.  I was there for her show and loved her, but felt totally cheated, as did the crowd, for such a short concert.   For that hour though, she brought down the house and had us all in tears when we heard this icon sing Walking in the Rain.  And let me tell you, for 71 years old, she still has IT!   Great voice, wonderful stage presence, I'm so happy I got to see her in person.   

Back to the Ides ...  

After intermission, the group came back to "rock" the house.  And they surely did.  Jim never fails to give 110 percent at all his concerts.  We were treated to all the hits.  I've been to the Arcada many times and I was in the balcony this time, my favorite place to sit.  I have to say I thought the sound was terrific Saturday night.  The people around us were so into the concert and respectful of the ones around them ... thank you very much ... and we could hear every note clearly.  

How many times can we hear Vehicle and still love it?   Thousands!  It never gets old.  And Jim singing a tribute to Jimi Jamison was heartfelt.  His best singing of The Search Is Over yet.  Jim brought back Cathy and Anne and Marzette for some of the songs, and that added a new dimension to old favorites.  It was nice to hear a violin playing Vehicle.  

Merry Christmas and thanks to the Ides for a great show.  Best wishes to Ron Onesti who missed the Ides because he was under the weather ... he missed a good one!  

Janet (Mom Weiner1)

Photo by Frannie Kotal

Congrats to the Ides of March.    

As a rule, I really just don't enjoy Christmas music. Trust me, when I hear "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" I grab my coat and make a beeline to the car or the bar.    

But ... that doesn't mean there can't be the occasional home run.    

Saturday at the house that the Onestis rebuilt, the Arcada Theater, the band went through a very brisk, but touching, series of Christmas tunes. Honestly, I was fully prepared to take a sleeping pill, but when the group took the stage they just resonated with a very rich brand of holiday spirit.   

In particular, Jim's vocal on "Little Drummer  Boy" illustrated that this Chicago Rock n' Roll Godfather hasn't lost his fast ball.    

Later, of course, The Ides, with Jim wearing a full length jet-black fur coat and his, now, trademark cowboy boots, came out and rocked the building.    

Naturally, "L.A. Goodbye", "Vehicle" and slam dunk covers of Survivor's "The Search Is Over" and "Eye Of The Tiger" were off the charts terrific.   

I've always had a special place in my heart for "L.A. Goodbye." It's at once soulful, ethereal and more than a bit tearful. The fact that Peterick and his band mates can still bring forth the elegant harmony and the rush of emotion is a testament to remarkably talented guys who love their music.    

Hey, I get a great kick out of Jim in his red leather pants,  I get a kick out of his purple hair. He is first, last and always a rocker.   

The Ides are celebrating their 50th year. I recommend them to anybody who wants an evening of bad ass rock 'n roll with a sassy horn section. The Ides are pulsating ... another Chicago band, much like the New Colony Six, that never got the "push" it deserved from its record labels.    

The Ides of March Christmas Show - 4-Stars. A wonderfully crafted evening of joy, funk and fun.    

Chet Coppock
Author: Chet Coppock: Laying it on the Line

Backstage Photo Courtesy Paul Braun, Cygnus Images    

Monday, December 15, 2014

Another Triple Play

It's another Triple Play of Concert Reviews today in Forgotten Hits ...
Only this time around, they come from FH Reader Shelley Sweet-Tufano ... who did the Peter Noone Trifecta ...
Catching Herman's Hermits in three different cities.  (Can anybody out there say "Serious Noonatic???")
Take it away, Shelley!
OK, just when did New Jersey become the 'Tow Truck State'?  I am constantly attending concerts there, and have had my issues with their one-of-a-kind driving situations.  For instance, to make a left hand turn, one needs to go right and loop around to the left.  I needed to learn never to leave the right lane on most roads.  Then there is the EXIT TO PAY TOLL philosophy.  Why would I want to leave a highway to pay a toll, and then re-enter the highway?  Uhm, one picture of my license plate sent to me with a toll bill taught me otherwise.  So now, of course, I WANT to leave the highway to pay the toll.  So now we can add the Jersey parking lot wars!  In the two cities I visited there are parking lots owned by one business that are adjacent to an opposing business with no parking rights.  So much so that there are, in some cases, video cameras watching.  And IF you do not enter the correct doorway when you leave your car, a tow truck appears and your car is gone.  OR someone is on duty at a visible location watching to CALL the tow truck into action.  So we now know that if you wish to borrow money in the state of New Jersey ... call a towing service.  They are raking it in!  I discussed this with a friend of mine from Jersey, who is involved in government, and he informed me that all but two mayors in the state are currently in jail.  Oh well ... thank goodness I only attend concerts here.  So let's consider how these concerts will control my mind into forgetting that at any minute ... even though I did not even drive to the theatre ... I may be towed.  Considering my first paragraph, I will not be giving credit to theatres and cities ... only performers.  NONE of whom live in New Jersey. 
The first concert opened with The Buckinghams.  YES!!!  I have not seen them since Mohegan Sun, which seems eons ago.  I will be able to see Carl and Nick in 2015's Happy Together Tour, but will miss Dave, Bruce, and Rocky.  So I am so happy for this chance and the one that comes two days later. 

This audience is of one of the highest levels I have seen in a long time.  I am seated in the front row of the balcony, so when the concert floor erupts in applause and excitement as The Bucks enter, I am loving the view.  The full rich sounds of The Buckinghams' songs I love fill the auditorium.  Radio is fine.  CD's are better.  LIVE MUSIC cannot be matched. 'Don't You Care', 'Susan', 'Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song)', 'Mercy, Mercy, Mercy' and 'Kind of a Drag' heard loud and clear in my balcony seat.  Vocals were shared between Carl, Nick, and Dave with Bruce and Rocky chiming in back-ups.  Nick sings his favorite (I am assuming this because he always takes over lead vocals with this one) 'Expressway (To Your Heart)', more widely recognized as performed by The Soul Survivors.  There is a tribute to The Happy Together Tour ... Gary Puckett, The Grass Roots, The Turtles, and Tommy James songs ring out.  (OK ... I must have missed Tommy James being in Happy Together, but it HAS been going on for many years!)  I know I will NOT hear this medley in Westbury, LI in two nights because both The Grass Roots and Tommy James are performing on the same ticket.  I muse to my friend that the Tommy James songs would be good candidates for glow sticks, as I listen to Dave Zane and Carl Giammarese pass off on lead vocals.  As Nick Fortuna points out, there is an Englishman tapping his foot off-stage, waiting to come on.  So the first act eventually must end so we can proceed to intermission, followed by act two.

During intermission, I pass out glow sticks and glow bands to be used for a couple songs in the second act.  You guessed it:  Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone.  This audience is a riot.  Just about everyone wants a chance to "glow along".  One man says, "But how will we know?  We haven't rehearsed!"  Believe me, rehearsal is futile!  Just follow my lead.  It is not rocket science here.  Some people choose to "glow" through the whole show, others choose to hide their sticks until they see my whirley-gig, glowing, spinning props emerge.

WOW, what an opening for the second act!  Again, the audience is up and cheering, sharing in the excitement.  The balcony, which traditionally is composed of people who choose not to be involved, but want to watch only, is bristling with anticipation.  "How do we crack these?"  "What are the two songs again?"  "Where did you get these?" "Do you do this for a living?"  (you can actually make money doing this???   Really???) .  What a great thing to experience this time with people who are not regular concert goers and are now open to receive the magic in this experience.  I am asked, "Does he do 'I'm Into Something Good'?  That is my favorite song!"  "After 'Vindaloo'?  When did they sing that?"  So many questions.  After being asked my name several times, someone makes a connection and tells me that they used curriculum I worked on for their autistic grandson that uses music to teach language.  "He is talking now!"  (never saw that one coming ... thank you!)

The show is rip-roaring good.  When Peter does a Monkees dedication (for his friend Davy, and also one of his favorite songs), I pull out a spinning pinwheel.  A man behind me stands up and loudly proclaims, "Crack your glow sticks!  She has started!"  You can't make this stuff up, friends.  I laugh through most of the Hermits' performance.  They are loving their performance and so is the balcony.  We make it through 'Silhouettes' with a glow stick reprisal, and stand through 'Hush' also waving and glowing.  After the show has ended, people come down to me and the common phrase is "I have never had so much fun.  Thank you!"  We gave them permission to let loose and just have fun. 

Hope no cars were towed ...
On to concert number TWO!
The next day, the second concert is also in New Jersey ...
I really must say that the audiences were phenomenal!  This was a one-group concert by Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone.  The positive side of a one-group concert is that you get to hear songs you might not otherwise hear performed.  'Sea Cruise' was switched for 'Because'.  Peter's jokes and stories, while similar to what I have heard before, have been changed a bit at each of these three concerts.  It keeps you on your toes, and chuckling in your seat.  As The Banned plays Freddie and the Dreamers' 'I'm Telling You Now', my friend and I do the 'Freddie' while seated.  I admit we could not get the main floor seating as manic as we had the balcony the night before, but they certainly cheered and enjoyed the show willingly.  These three shows were each a half hour apart in distance.  It takes great performers and entertainers to keep it enjoyable for the people who may be attending more than one show.  It's like teaching the same lesson in different ways so that it is new and exciting each time.  Also with one group and an intermission, you get costume changes.  I just like to tease in my reviews to encourage each and every one of you to get to a concert of your choice, enjoy, indulge yourself in fun, and let loose in a safe environment. 
On to Long Island ...

The annual Autumn Nights Concert on the rotating stage of Westbury Music Hall.  This venue has several other names, depending on the bank who currently owns it, but to me, it will always be Westbury Music Hall.  Last year, the rotating stage got stuck and we viewed much of the concert looking at the performers' backs.  This year the stage is functioning properly and we end our long weekend with a Fab Foursome of distinct groups ... The Buckinghams!  The Grass Roots!  Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone! and Tommy James and The Shondells!

As a crowd pleaser, The Buckinghams fly high.  They open the show with enthusiasm and talent.  My seat is about five rows from the stage and the view is clear.  (no high heads or strange hats)  This may be the last show until next fall that I see all five members together.  Carl and Nick, who are original Bucks, will be enjoying a reprisal of The Happy Together Tour this summer.  I don't know how it could be possible to get The Godfrey Townsend Band AND all current Buckinghams on tour so I need to learn acceptance that I cannot have it all ... SNAP!  However, tonight I can enjoy Rocky, Bruce, and Dave along with Carl and Nick.  They spent yesterday at the 9/11 Ground Zero Monument.  Whether this affected their performance, I don't know.  But they are even better than in Jersey.  The circling stage allows for close proximity and Carl delves into hand shakes with the audience willingly.  I watch as women of all ages smile, grab his hand and try to relay their feelings and long-term fanship.  I hate to inform all these performers, but this is a third generation-inclusive audience.  Amazing how this 60's music swells the hearts of every age.  I work in my classroom to obtain reactions from students so it is always fun for me to watch the reactions of others at concerts and compare.  Similar reactions:  if music appeals to you and you can relate to something within it, you are in love.  Many times this love includes the people serving you the music on their best 'noteworthy' platter.  It is real love, though only based on what is heard and viewed musically.  The Buckinghams carry us away through their songs to a better place where there is no need for a 9/11 Monument.

Scott Shannon is the emcee of the show!  Whoa, Kent and Forgotten Hits lovers!  I finally see the man behind the legend.  Hot Autumn Nights has become a tradition at Westbury Music and the fact that Scott is a driving force here makes it even warmer and fuzzier for 60's music lovers ... which this audience certainly IS!  The Jersey audiences were good.  This audience is immersed in the sounds.  Like me, many may be yearly attendees.  For whatever reason, it is working.

Scott announces The Grass Roots.  Good thing because they are setting up onstage!  Westbury keeps things moving.  This is good for rock and rolling a show, but not as heartwarming in the aftermath, when staff push both performers and audience out the doors ... I do mean the 'push' part.  For now though, we can enjoy the songs of The Grass Roots.  There has been much discussion (from me, included) on the fact that there are no longer original members performing here.  The music is solid.  The talent is NOT lacking.  The representation of the songs correct to the originals ... Mark, Dusty, Larry, and Joe ... we will have to agree to disagree on the name.  I have never doubted your talents, your love of the songs, nor the fact that I and many more fans, want to hear these songs performed forever.  I have spent about six months getting to know Mark Dawson, and find him matching me wit for wit, talented, genuine, and sincere.  (Also a little on the whacky side!)  I truly enjoyed this performance and remembered all the times I saw Rob Grill in this same location.

Vindaloo announces the arrival of Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone.  This rotating stage is Peter's playground.  It enables him to exceed the two previous shows in enthusiasm and talent.  Vance, Rich, Billy and Dave are just as powerful.  Third straight night of concerts?  How can it be possible?  Rich Spina, who usually gets to spotlight on 'Sea Cruise', returns his keyboards to 'Because' for this show.  I know it is not everyone's favorite, but for me, that song melts.  Rich once told me that the keyboards were the last instrument he mastered.  I think he said saxophone was the first (corrections gladly accepted).  Billy gets a push downstage in front of us for his solo on 'Henry the 8th'.  It may be the first time I was actually close enough to see the intricacies in the fingering.  Billy, I wanted the guitar pic.  Next time look up before you throw.  Oh, that would be cheating, I guess   I do wonder how the performers feel about the rotating stage.  Is it unnerving to know that there are people watching you from every angle, or are you so involved that you aren't bothered?  The Westbury venue is also a great place for T-shirt throwing.  It is not a deep audience so people in the back feel that possibility that just maybe a shirt will fly their way.  Cd's should never be thrown.  It shortens the life of the disc.  Yeah, people too.  This was just the best time, Banned.

The closer is Tommy James and The Shondells.  Let me say that last year, besides the stage sticking, the volume seemed to grow with Tommy, making it uncomfortable on ears in this smaller depth venue.  This year, I can say, I did not notice that happening.  Some of my friends thought the volume grew as the set went on, but we all felt it began at the right level.  I had a blast here!  When Tommy stepped into the audience during 'Mony Mony', security jumped into action and continuously tried to direct him back on stage.  Tommy would have none of it.  He continued shaking hands and thanking people for coming until HE was satisfied.  WESTBURY!  TOMMY DOES THIS EVERY SHOW!  GET OVER IT!  Also, have you read his book?  Uhm, he worked for a record company run by the mob.  I don't think he's afraid of men in blue jackets.  It really made me laugh watching.  Music wins out again.  Tommy's band obviously loves his music.  They rock out enjoying playing songs that have been a part of my life for a long time.  There is even a young boy who helps hook up the pedals for the lead guitarist.  Proof once again (not that I need any more proof) that all ages still and will continue to enjoy 60's music.

Time is over?  All the prior performers have been encouraged to pack up and leave and the staff is herding the audience out the front doors as quickly as possible.  This is such a fun venue, and yet the audience is given a "You came to watch a show?  OK, but don't stay too long.  We are all waiting to go home."  attitude.  They are fortunate that the promoters and booking agents are smart enough to book a show as powerful as this or they would have no jobs and plenty of time to stay home.
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano