Monday, March 14, 2016

Tommy Roe / Chris Montez / and Beatlerama: Our Concert Review

It was EVERYTHING we hoped it would be ... an entire evening of "feel good" rock and roll ... as The Arcada Theatre recreated the magic of the UK Tour that took place exactly 53 years ago this weekend ... Tommy Roe and Chris Montez, co-headling the show with the then still-unknown ... but rapidly rising in popularity Beatles opening the program.

 Vintage 1963 Poster from EXACTLY 53 Years Ago Last Night!

As Tommy Roe told us backstage (watch for that interview tomorrow in Forgotten Hits) it didn't stay that way for long ... with THREE hit singles now under their belts ("Love Me Do", "Please Please Me" and the just-released "From Me To You" climbing the charts) and their first album hitting the streets mid-tour, The Beatles were a force to be reckoned with ... there was NOBODY on the planet at the time who could have followed these guys on stage in the wake of the pure and utter pandemonium they caused during their performance.

To best set up the events of this earlier time Ron Onesti booked Beatlerama, a great Beatles tribute band, who opened the show Sunday Night with a short set of early Beatles favorites ... "I Saw Her Standing There", "Please Please Me", "All My Lovin'", "From Me To You", "She Loves You", an outstanding version of "This Boy", "Boys", "Do You Want To Know A Secret", "Misery", "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and the show-stopping closer, "Twist And Shout".

The set was then cleared to bring out Chris Montez, who displayed PERFECT voice on his soft-rock hits "Call Me" and "The More I See You", as well as a loving tribute to Ritchie Valens ("Donna", "Come On, Let's Go" and "La Bamba", all performed to perfection), a cover of the Eric Clapton ballad "Wonderful Tonight" and his set-closer "Let's Dance", Chris' first big hit, during which he went out into the audience and danced with several female audience members.  (We're hoping to talk with Chris later in the week so be sure to stay tuned for that!)

Top photo by Frannie Kotal;
Bottom two photos by Luciano Bilotti

Finally, after a brief intermission, Tommy Roe took the stage.

 Photo by Luciana Bilotti

Tommy looked and sounded great, offering up a full assortment of greatest hits ("Sheila", "Everybody", "Come On", "Carol", "Sweet Pea", "Hooray For Hazel", "Heather Honey", "Jam Up And Jelly Tight" and, of course, his BIGGEST hit, "Dizzy".)

Photo by Frannie Kotal

He also did some other rock and roll standards as well as a track he says he had written for Elvis that never got recorded called "Glitter and Gleam".  (Tommy and Elvis shared the same record producer, Felton Jarvis.)  He had some more fun (and the audience in stitches) singing the Elvis tune "One Night" to an audience member in a VERY inviting way after she had requested that Tommy sing an Elvis tune during the soundcheck earlier that day.) 

Photo by Frannie Kotal
In between he told some great stories ("Sheila" started out as a poem called "Freda", written for a girl 14-year-old Tommy had a crush on) and played some other well known rock and roll classics before bring Chris Montez back out on stage with him for the grand finale medley of early rock hits like "Johnny B. Goode", "Rock And Roll Music" and "Bony Moronie".

Above two photos by Frannie Kotal

Photo by Luciano Bilotti

All in all, a fun night of "feel good" music, performed to a very receptive audience.  (At one point Tommy asked if he could bring everybody along for tomorrow night's show to insure another satisfied crowd.) 

Our FH Buddy Rick Levy has assembled a HELL of a band, all certainly deserving of a mention.

Besides Rick on guitar (and he wailed on that thing all night long), you've got Lee Brovitz on bass (who was all over the stage last night, livening up the stage show and slapping his bass in all the appropriate places), Michael Liddy on keyboards and Michael Campbell on drums, all of whom supplied an excellent musical backdrop along with some rich harmonies and filler

Here's Tommy's VERY Impressive Hit List ...
Some Classics To Be Sure!

 Photo by Luciano Bilotti

1962 - Sheila  (US - #1 / CHI - #1)
          Susie Darlin'  (US - #34 / CHI - #19)
1963 - Everybody  (US - #3 / CHI - #3)
1964 - Come On  (US - #27 / CHI - #28)
1966 - Sweet Pea  (US - #5 / CHI - #9)
          Hooray For Hazel  (US - #4 / CHI - #3)
1967 - It's  Now Winter's Day  (US - #21 / CHI - #11)
1969 - Dizzy  (US - #1 / CHI - #1)
          Heather Honey (US - #12 / CHI - xx)
          Jack And Jill  (US - #31 / CHI - #24)
1970 - Jam Up And Jelly Tight  (US - #4 / CHI - #3)             
          Stir It Up And Serve It  (US - #27 / CHI - #21)
          Pearl  (US - #30 / CHI - #17)
          We Can Make Music  (US - #35 / CHI = #16)
1971 - Stagger Lee  (US - #19 / CHI - #9) 

And here's a list of the biggest tracks Chris Montez put on the charts ...

1962 - Let's Dance  (US - #4 / CHI - #1)
1963 - Some Kinda Fun  (US - #43 / CHI - #9)
1966 - Call Me  (US - #22 / CHI - #17)
          The More I See You  (US - #14 / CHI - #10)
          There Will Never Be Another You  (US - #31 / CHI - #24)
          Time After Time  (US - #28 / CHI - #17)

By the way, the guys celebrated ANOTHER anniversary this past week ... on March 7th, 1969, Tommy Roe's #1 Hit "Dizzy" was certified GOLD!!!  Congratulations, Tommy!