Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Another Shelley / Hermits Review

Well, sort of ...

Shelley takes a whole different approach to the concert this time around ...

Read ... and enjoy! 


I am heading to my old haunt: The Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun Casino. Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone will be there along with a group of my close friends. Peter and his Hermits have been here so many times before and many of those times, so have I. So what has changed?

Nothing … and Everything.

I get in line, holding places for Ken Michaels and his lovely family, who will be meeting me there. Ken and I work together, but he is also the creator and host of Every Little Thing, a Beatles syndicated radio program. Ken has the vertical depth of knowledge specifically Beatles related. He can answer such questions as “On what date was the third song on the fifth US Beatles album accepted as completed?” I am still counting album numbers after he finishes answering. On the other hand, I have the horizontal width of The British Invasion and 60s music that interrelates in a web of synchronicity and overall tone of the times.

We are still talking about the groups who are touring, why they are still touring and my observations about finding brand new concert attendees at every show.  These new people are the ones who keep the demand for singing the number one hits in every show. “I haven’t seen them since I was 15.” “My parents/grandparents played their songs.” “I grew up on them.”

OK, the show is starting. What will happen tonight?

Ken’s wife, Joanne, says to me. “You have British flags in your bag!” The obvious response is, “You don’t?” One must see some flags waving in the audience during ‘Vindaloo’ as the Banned emerges onstage.

Incredible high energy! Audience participation in song AND dance. Unexpected songs for the sound lady and the expected person or two who should have stopped drinking an hour ago.

When I give reviews of hotels, they ask me, “Were the croissants extra flaky?” “Was the bed super comfy?” Let me use this genre to change up my review style.

Was Billy Sullivan extra twerky?

Did Vance Brescia find victory in the kick competition?

Did Peter Noone provide lyrical revisions?

Was Dave Ferrara tamed, like Samson, when his hair was cut?

Did Rich Spina get a leg up on the keyboard solos?

Have the sound and light crew begun therapy?

Did I find joy in attending?

I was at home here. I was sitting with friends and co-workers who share my passion for music. I knew the players and they knew me.

BAM BAM BAM! The three opening numbers begin: ‘Something Good,’ ‘Wonderful World’ and ‘Love Potion #9’. During this last number, I turn to Ken and tell him, “I’m pretty sure that he ‘licked a croc’ that time.” (as opposed to ‘kissed a cop’). And so the lyrical revisions begin. YES, Peter Noone DID provide lyrical revisions to the songs.

The ninth and tenth songs provide answers to two more review questions. ‘Sea Cruise’ was performed on the opposite side of the stage from where we sat, but I could hear Rich Spina wailing away on the keyboards and was able to observe his signature ‘two hands, one foot’ playing style that completes this beachy tune. So YES! Rich Spina got a leg up on his keyboards.

‘Just A Little Bit Better’ was halted in the middle so that Vance Brescia could redo his running kick segment … just Peter throwing curve balls from the stage. You have been to many concerts, you think you know what is coming next, and then … you don’t. Adding to this song is a gentleman in the audience standing up and kicking along with Vance during his standing kicks with Billy and Peter. What to do? Have a KICK OFF! This was happening right in front of me and I was laughing so hard as this gentleman throws himself into the contest, giving Vance the challenge that Billy Sullivan never did, and ultimately seeing Vance throw his hands in the air, concede defeat and leave the stage. (Honestly Vance, you won) So NO! Vance Brescia did not find victory in the kick competition … but he returned and the Banned played on.

“Let’s do ‘Hold On’!” shouts the leader from the stage. “I don’t have that song on ANY of the lists here,” mumbles the Sound Girl in distress. Lights start flashing wildly, agreeing with the notation from the sound board. IT WAS GREAT! Only Peter and the Banned knew what was happening. (yes, I question that statement, too, but …) Ad-libbing their way through the song, Mohegan stage crews rocked it! So I DON’T KNOW! Maybe sound and light crews have begun therapy, after the valium wore off.

Dave Ferrara is still Samson as he dislocates every joint in his body playing ‘For Your Love’. He looks tamed, but the Wildman within emerges at that drum kit. Based on this observation when his hair is short, and remembering what happened with Samson when his hair grew back, I suggest warnings be put on all future concerts. NO! Dave Ferrara is not … and will not be tamed.

As I have heard in previous concerts, “pizza and fajitas” were delivered to your door in ‘For Your Love’. And ‘high definition TV’ and ‘make you go blind’ can be results in ‘Glad All Over’. Lyrical revisions galore. Some of the audience catches them, some do not. It is a great game.
It is Freddie and the Dreamers’ fault that no one can stand still when ‘I’m Telling You Now’ is heard. They did The Freddie in concert and encouraged us all to join in. Billy Sullivan takes center stage with The Freddie, adding conga moves, and modernizing the song with a twerking session. It was twerking intensive! NO! Billy Sullivan was not extra twerky, he was intensely twerky, above expectations.

As ‘Hush’ ends, Ken refers to the cover songs, etc. we heard tonight. “He represents the whole British Invasion.” That is purposeful. To honor those who cannot perform anymore, or choose not to perform anymore and also to admit the inter-connections between the bands; Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone will bring stage performances to LIFE for “another 10 years.”

I went for the joy of it. YES! I found it.
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano 

Watch for two more brand new Reader Reviews on Friday!