Monday, December 24, 2012

Life + Music = Hope

"...When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No I won't be afraid
Oh, I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me..."
Ben E. King

The healing power of music is undeniable.

Many, MANY of you reading this knew DavidsRosie. We are all still reeling from the news of her sudden passing at the age of 38 from a heart attack. She was a bright, positive light in an often chaotic and unfeeling world. Maybe it was because she gave so much of her heart that it wore out too soon. But, she wouldn't have wanted it any other way. She lived her life with such joy and she shared that laughter, enthusiasm and love with everybody she met. Her absence next tour will be felt by all. I especially send prayers of strength to her children and to her tourbuddy, Annette. xoxo

So, last night -- with the hope that some music could help soothe my sad soul -- I headed to the Hope VI concert in Red Bank, NJ. I've attended this show almost every year and it never fails to put me in the holiday spirit. And this year, with the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy, it seemed everyone in the theater was longing for that boost of optimism.

With performances by Jon Bon Jovi, Southside Johnny, Gary US Bonds, the incomparable Ben E. King and a band of nearly every Jersey Shore musician I know, led by Bobby Bandiera, it was 2.5 hours of unbridled fun. Exactly what we needed.

Jon Bon Jovi
Jon Bon Jovi (with David Bryan on keys) was on quite early in the line-up. His presence clearly energized the crowd as he sang Blue Christmas, Run Run Rudolph, The Letter and Who Says You Can't Go Home. As much as I deride the constant playing of that song, I can't deny its effect on people (yes, even me) because don't we all sometimes just want to hear "it's alright"?

After some great performances by members of the band (including favorites Layonne Holmes, Ray Andersen and Bob Burger), out comes Ben E. King..truly one of the greats of all-time. I loved Southside coming out to sing back-up on This Magic Moment, Spanish Harlem and Under the Boardwalk (#JerseyStrong, baby!) 

Ben E. King and Southside
Next up was Gary Bonds, who always "brings it." I have been to so many concerts where Gary is a guest artist and he brings down the house. Southside joined him for an absolutely raucous version of Hold On, I'm Coming.

Then, Southside did his set. I love this man. End of story.

Perfect for the occasion, Johnny opened with Better Days (I once again reiterate, if you do not own this album, your music collection is seriously lacking.) He continued with I Don't Want to Go Home (none of us did, by the way), This Time It's For Real, Hearts of Stone and Talk To Me. He sounded fantastic. He was having a great time..and so were we.

And, for a while, we almost forgot the pain and turmoil of the past year. The power of music.

This was basically Jersey's version of the 12.12.12 concert..and with a MUCH better ending -- everybody on stage singing Stand By Me, led by Ben E. King (and Southside dancing with Elmo!)

Looking through the pictures this morning, it occured to me that it was truly a night of "American idols" and the singers that influenced them.. Ben E. King --> Southside Johnny --> Jon Bon Jovi.

Here are a few more images..

Southside Johnny, Ben E King, Gary US Bonds

Jon Bon Jovi
for Rosie

Jon Bon Jovi and Lorenza Ponce
okay..last one of Jon Bon Jovi..I promise
Bob Burger
Ray Andersen
Bob Bandiera
Joey Stann, doing double sax duty..literally!

the ORIGINAL Jersey Johnny

..just don't's Southside LOL
Grinches - buy one, get one free! (Southside)

As this post (and this year) comes to an end, I continue to believe that music is the ultimate friend. It can meet you any time of day, anywhere you are. It can comfort and inspire you. And, it can bring people into your life that can change you forever.


p.s. one of my goals for 2013 is to write more .. so watch out! Lots of stuff in the pipeline for the new year -- music, books, art, shopping, travel.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fools and Friends In The (not so) Windy City

There are times when it just feels good to get back to what you know.

After spending the last five months in California*, I decided to get away this past weekend and travel to Chicago for a few days. The purpose was multi-fold ... to see Southside Johnny and the Poor Fools at City Winery, to catch up with some friends, and to simply visit the fabulous city of my childhood. The result was the realization that I'm not quite ready to leave the places I consider "home", including New York City.

I have written before about my never-ending love for Chicago. It's always an emotional rollercoaster when I return, which is basically whenever my favorite bands are performing there and I have the ability to travel. Gratefully, it was an extraordinarily mild few days in terms of weather -- rather than the the stifling heat and humidity of the summer or the cold blasting winds of winter for which the city is known.

So, first up ... the show.

Southside Johnny and the Poor Fools is an acoustic-ish ensemble made up of members of the Asbury Jukes that play a wonderfully eclectic song list ranging from Bob Dylan to NRBQ to whatever song they may have heard on the radio. Not kidding. The shows are generally pretty loose and sometimes slightly chaotic with musicians constantly changing instruments. (They don't have a regular drummer, so everyone takes a turn playing .. at times, with overwhelming enthusiasm. LOL )

Unfortunately (for me, at least), bass player John Conte is still touring Germany and was unavailable for this gig. I missed his presence, as that meant they were down one player and Neal Pawley had to cover the bass parts most of the night, rather than adding his usual brand of aural texture. Neal, however, is a pretty darn good bassist, actually better than many I've heard who call that their primary instrument! In fact, that is one of the things about the band I enjoy the most, the multi-instrumental ability of the players -- i.e. guitarist Tommy Byrnes is quite the capable piano player, piano player Jeff Kazee is a completely respectable drummer, etc.

As usual, the band did a nice meet-and-greet following the performance ... including signing special commemorative wine bottles available that evening. Surprisingly, I (a self-proclaimed wino ... err, I mean ... wine aficionado) didn't buy any as I'd have to then check my luggage on the way home. Oyy, the pains of modern-day airline travel.

Here are just a few pictures of from the evening ... (don't forget you can click on pics to make them larger)

Yes, that is a purple plastic trombone. You can actually buy one of your own on Ebay!
Let's hear it for teamwork! Haha.
Southside trying some of Tasha's wine ... we chose a bottle from the "adventurous varietals" section of the wine list ... seemed the most appropriate thing to do given the personality of this band!

Next up ... one of my absolute favorite places of my youth.

The Art Institute of Chicago is smaller than the major museums in New York, London and Paris, but not lacking in terms of variety. I rarely stay longer than a few hours when I visit a museum -- I truly believe the law of diminishing returns kicks in about hour 2.5 and one's mind goes into sensory overload. Given my recent return to painting, I was most interested in the impressionist and contemporary collections, but for a museum that I know inside and out like this one, there are a few works that I simply must see no matter what... absolute favorite Pollock *sigh*

...the Buddha at the entrance that I used to call Esmeralda when I was a child  
(don't ask...I don't know why, either. LOL)

...anything and everything by de Kooning

...the miniature versions of the iconic public art pieces of Chicago by Picasso and Alexander Calder 

sidenote: I love Mayor Richard Daley's comment about these pieces when they were installed ... "what is strange to us today will be familiar tomorrow." How very true.

...and the always-magnificent, timeless Georges Seurat

I could sit in front of this one for hours. I mean, just look at the layers and layers of paint used to create one small part of the scarf. (definitely click on this one ... insane!)  

It seemed around every corner was a flashback to visits there with my grandmother (who loved this Renoir) and my parents. If you're ever in Chicago, definitely take a trip to the Art Institute - you can see most of the highlights pretty quickly and they have a kick-butt gift shop (go straight to the back to the sale section. *wink*)  

Oh and upon leaving, be sure to look across the street at the Sears Tower (nobody, and I mean nobody, calls it the Willis Tower), the tallest building in the United States.  

Afterwards, my friend and I took a nice stroll back to the hotel from the museum, giving me an opportunity to walk down memory lane -- landmarks like the Wrigley Building, the Chicago Tribune Building, the Marina Towers (which some affectionately refer to as the Wilco Towers because of their famous album cover) and Paul Harvey Drive (named after the legendary radio man whose The Rest of the Story tales my dad could basically recite verbatim, much to my mother's chagrin. haha.)  

I will never tire of seeing these sights time and time again. It's just a few of those places that give me comfort and my sense of belonging somewhere ... something I desperately needed during this weird limbo in which I'm currently living (cue The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go")  

Well, that's all for now. Looking forward to hearing Richie Sambora's new album tomorrow. Later this week, the ticket stress of Springsteen for the Oakland show. Man, I've missed ticket stress. LOL

* for those who follow me on Twitter, you've already heard a bit about my crazy California adventure ... more on that in the next blog post, "Stranger in a Strange Land"

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I (Still) Remember

Back in 2008, I wrote this blog post...
"I remember like it was yesterday. It was the most gorgeous New York day. The sky was so incredibly blue. Today is actually eerily similar.
I remember that as I got off the subway at Columbus Circle, there was an announcement of no service south of Houston due to a police investigation.

I remember the uncertainty in our administrative assistant's voice as his father, working at One Police Plaza, abruptly ended their phone conversation with the news of the second plane.

I remember sitting at my desk in the office completely numb as we heard of the towers falling.

I remember calling every friend and colleague that I knew worked in or near the World Trade Center.

I remember going out to get a sandwich and Seventh Avenue being completely silent ... then the sound of a plane overhead, low and loud, and the quick moment of fear that flashed across people's eyes.

I remember the collective sigh of relief as we saw it was one of "ours" ... they had started military fly-overs.

I remember my boss wouldn't let us go home. I now realize that was probably the best thing he could have done. At least we were all together.

I remember opening the door to our office and seeing our administrative assistant's father in his uniform, covered head to toe in soot, standing at the door ... a look of exhaustion and profound sadness in his eyes.

I remember sitting on the subway going home and the incredible sense of connection between this random group of strangers.

I remember the funerals.

I remember."
Nothing has changed, four years later ... 11 years after that horrendous day.

There are many more details from that day that I still remember -- like finally falling asleep on the sofa still on the phone with my boyfriend who couldn't get into Manhattan from his place in Brooklyn, the TV still on with images running over and over and over again.

I still remember all the frantic phone calls trying to get/give information. And, worst of all, I remember as the names started coming in - a friend from my old firm, our concertmaster's father, a board member, our admin's uncle, and more colleagues from Cantor Fitzgerald, Marsh & McLennan and Sandler O'Neill than I could fathom.

I try (quite unsuccessfully) not to get pissy when I see all the "Never Forget" stuff in the media. For anyone who lived through it, that little statement somehow seems ridiculous.

For several years, I would pass the WTC site nearly everyday on my way to the office. I would watch the construction within that huge hole in the ground ... it seemed to perfectly reflect what was happening in our hearts ... slowly, methodically trying to sift through the pieces and rebuild.

I don't know about others, but I still have a long way to go.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I'm Not Angry Anymore

Happy Birthday, Elvis!

Confession: When I was younger, I really struggled with the music of Elvis Costello. I kept hearing how he was such a genius, a brilliant lyricist and how all these other musicians looked up to and admired him. Blah blah blah.

But, when I listened to many of his songs, I just got confused. He just seemed odd and all over the place and his lyrics would sometimes baffle me - like I was walking into a movie in the middle with no clue as to what was happening. I would try and try and then simply say "I just don't get it." It made me angry. It made me feel stupid (which I highly doubt was Mr. Costello's intent.)

Then, something changed. Maybe it's maturity or experience or familiarity, but something clicked. I liken it to when you are forced to read Shakespeare too young and you fight so much with the vernacular that you completely miss the point. All of a sudden, I realized how honest (sometimes brutally) and direct Costello's words actually were. 

If you've never listened to his work, I recommend starting with "My Aim is True" ... an album in which Elvis (unlike Shakespeare) proves that you can say a whole lot in a short amount of time. The opening track, "Welcome to the Working Week," is literally 1:23 long and is part of my Monday morning playlist while riding the bus to the office ... oh I know it don't thrill you, I hope it don't kill you.

currently playing on my speakers: Sneaky Feelings ... (song starts about 0:30) ... I've still got a long way to go ...

I had the joy of seeing Elvis Costello last year in NYC ... you can read about it and see pictures from that show here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Blog 2.0

You can turn the clock to zero, honey
I'll sell the stock, we'll spend all the money
We're starting up a brand new day.
- Sting -

February. Wow. It’s been a long time since I posted something here.

But, just because I haven’t posted anything doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it.

It is said that the only constant in life is change. The last few months have certainly been a testament to that. More on this later.


I find it amusing – and somewhat puzzling – that the subject of this blog has been so singularly focused, especially given I often feel I’m one of the least focused individuals on the planet.

My mom describes me as having a buffet mentality; my activities always seem to be intensely varied and totally non-related – a little of this and a little of that and a bit of that other thing. I tend to discover something, jump in with both feet and completely obsess about it, and then, just as quickly, move on to the next obsession. (note: apparently, this doesn’t seem to apply to people. The obsessing I do just fine. It’s the moving on I have a problem with.)

In any case, as a result of this “buffet mentality”, I’ve done some oddly diverse things in my time – like training for and completing the San Diego Rock-n-Roll Marathon (ok, that might have been a bit about the bling and the live band at every mile-marker) or getting engrossed for months writing/recording a full-length musical with some friends (unfortunate timing in the marketplace killed that one) … or taking a class in Hebrew just because it was around the corner from my apartment and I thought it would be interesting (it was.)

This is not to say that everything in my life has been so short-lived.

For example, my love of music always has been and will always be a mainstay in my life. The focus of my obsession will change but there will never be a time when I stop listening. It’s actually something that stresses me out … so much music, so little time. More on this later.

Another constant seems to be a need to create things. Admittedly, for a long time, I didn’t really comprehend that whole “need to create” idea -- I thought it sounded rather self-indulgent and elitist. I no longer think that. More on this later.

I’ve also always been a fan of the world. I truly enjoy going to new places and meeting different people from different backgrounds. As I’ve written before, I like living by the philosopohy of “have passport, will travel” which has led me to once visiting Iceland and the Peruvian rainforest in the same month. More on this later.

All this is a way of saying, there’s a lot more to my life (and hopefully yours) than one or two bands. Sure, I will still write the occasional post about my concert travails. But, going forward, this blog will no longer be so narrowly confined. It will simply cover whatever I decide to share. It might be something about a book I’m reading … or a piece of art I’m working on … or a song I have stuck on repeat in my head. Just me writing stuff ... No Apologies. (hey, I worked in a Bon Jovi reference, afterall. haha.) I have no real “plan” at this point, which is foreign (and frankly quite frightening) to me. More on this later.

Eventually, there will be changes made to the layout of this blog and even its name, perhaps. I thought about just deleting the whole thing and starting over … or not continuing to write at all. But, in the end, decided that wasn’t the way to go. Yes … more on this later.

I understand that some readers won’t remain. But, I hope some do.

So, stay tuned for … well … more ... (a bit later.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's About Doing Good

*file this post under: it's my blog and I'll write what I want to*

Hey friends! Long time, no talk to. Sorry about that! But, I'm here now.

So, I've been wanting to write this blurb for a while. And now, with all the singular focus on 'the self-destructive habits of musicians' (a phrase coined by Access Hollywood, Extra and TMZ), I finally feel annoyed enough to do it. LOL

PLEASE don't get me wrong. I'm extremely sympathetic to the problem of addiction in the music industry -- and contrary to popular belief, the classical world is not immune from these same issues. But, for every high-profile story you see in the media, there are scores of musicians (nice pun, huh?) that do good every day.

Here are just three of those stories.

The Trews
I was first introduced to this Canadian-based band when they were opening for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes in the UK last October. On the final night of my trip, I had the pleasure of hanging out with Colin (vocals/guitar) and Jack (bass) in a hotel bar in Wolverhampton just talking music, sports and life. Great guys. Their latest album, Hope and Ruin, now plays on my system on a daily basis. They really need to get their tushes South of the border more often.

Anyway, I heard the band do the song included below at an intimate gig here in NYC a few months ago and it just tore me up. Written and recorded for a lost soldier from their hometown, all proceeds from the song benefit the Canadian Hero Fund, an organization that supports military personnel and their families. No matter where you're from, the sentiment is universal.

Christine Ohlman
Petite lady. Big voice. Even bigger heart. Christine is one of those people you just feel blessed to know. She is as gracious as they come and can sing the heck out of a song.

Anyone who has any connection to New Orleans knows that the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina hasn't gone away just because the news cameras have. For me, it's personal. I have family there -- some of whom lost everything in the storm. And, an innumerable number of musicians call that remarkable city "home." One of my favorite songs by Christine is included on the "Get You A Healin'" CD to benefit the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic. Christine continues to do extraordinary work on behalf of that organization. Musicians helping musicians. I like that.

" darlin' New Orleans, where have you gone? Battered and bruised, all tattered and torn..."

Jeff Kazee
Sometimes the greatest joy can come from helping an organization right in your own backyard. Take long-time New Yorker, pianist/singer/songwriter Jeff Kazee, who wrote, recorded and donated the theme song for the Garden of Dreams Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Madison Square Garden. His song "Give Some More" is featured before every Knicks, Rangers and Liberty game in the venue. That's dozens of times per year. Pretty cool to think how many people have heard it--especially now that people are actually going to Knicks games. Haha. #Linsanity

And...I would venture to guess that if you asked Mr. Kazee, he would say that regardless of his success playing with Southside Johnny, Bon Jovi, The Blues Brothers, and a host of other artists, that this is one of the true highlights of his professional accomplishments.

So, there you go. Whether it's writing a song, volunteering for a local organization, or making a donation of time, goods or money, we all have something to offer society ... yes, Access Hollywood, even musicians. ;-)

*jumping off soapbox now. splat!*

Friday, January 13, 2012

NYC Hit Squad Kick Off 2012

Location: The Iridium on Broadway ... via Memphis, New Orleans, New Jersey and ... Ireland?

A night with the NYC Hit Squad is always a riot. Bottom line, this is a group of super-talented musicians who all have/had pretty incredible day jobs and come together a few times a year to jam on some of their favorite tunes.

My sense is that they don't rehearse and just basically go on instinct. And, regardless of Ricky Byrd's tongue-in-cheek comment "we've been together six years now and haven't gotten any better" they always sound pretty damn good.

Their regular slew of great songs -- Soothe Me, Route 66, CC Rider, Tell the Truth (Who's Been Fooling You), Unchain My Heart, etc. -- was nicely implemented by a few that I hadn't heard them do before (I think) ... such as The Weight, You're My Girl/I Don't Want to Discuss It and a fabulous song by the late Howard Tate, Get It While You Can.

As always, Christine Ohlman's "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" captivated the crowd. And in this season of award shows, she once again wins for Best Earrings of The Year. The woman has a style like no other. I'm very much looking forward to her show next Saturday night at the Stanhope House.

Jeff Kazee did his usual fun version of Van Morrison's Domino, this time highlighted by a perfectly apropos snippet of We're Having A Party in the middle ... amusing given that just about everybody on the stage has performed with the Asbury Jukes at some point in their career. He also had a nice turn singing "Delta Lady" by Leon Russell (made famous by Joe Cocker.) Fantastic keys throughout the show, not a surprise.

Always a bit casual and loose, there was a hilarious "stump the Dude" moment with Ricky calling out nationalities with trombonist Neal Pawley coming up with musical quips on the spot. Kudos Neal. Well done.

Hmmm...oh, and every time I looked at Muddy Shews, I kept thinking he was wearing a vintage Jon Bon Jovi t-shirt ... #justsaying

p.s. in actuality, it was Keith Richards. Sorry. My bad. LOL

It was a fun night with great music, friends and a bit of wackiness. I definitely concur with Ken Dashow, radio dj (yes, they still exist!) for Q104.3 here in the city ... thumbs up.

I ended the evening with a little extra New Orleans style by stopping for a quick bite at one of my regular NYC hangs, Delta Grill. The place usually has some great music coming out of the sound system and something with andouille sausage coming out of the kitchen. *sigh*

(insert shameless plug)
... and if you're ever in the REAL New Orleans, stop by family's place, Buffa's, located just off the French Quarter. Get my Uncle Chuck's Bratwurst Jambalaya. Wisconsin meets New Orleans. LOL

Anyhoo, a few more images...

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011: The Year That Was

With last year now officially done and over, it's time for a quick (not likely) recap of the musical highlights of the previous 365 days.

According to my concert spreadsheet (yes, I'm a geek) and my debit card statement (ugh), I was blessed enough to attend well over 60 concerts this past year. Among other things, this included:

- two trips to the UK (Jovi/Jukes)
- a 24-hour trip to Canada (Jovi)
- a wild and wacky trip to Chicago (Jukes)
- a slew of great benefit events (Baltimore, Starland, Best Buy Theater, Count Basie)
- a week of shows while trying to outsmart a hurricane (Jukes)
- a super-muddy night in Central Park (Wilco)

...and so many buses and trains around the Garden State that NJ Transit should send me a personal, hand-written thank you note. :-)

There were many memorable nights in arenas, stadiums, auditoriums, pubs, bars and clubs, but some simply stand out more than others. Trying to compare the diverse musical styles and diverse styles of venues is virtually impossible. So, in the end it really comes down to your personal musical experience.

Here are 5 of my top shows of 2011...

1. Early Elton Trio (October, Rockwood Music Hall)
Sometimes you find just the perfect combination of material, venue and superior musicianship ... and the result is not a concert, but a journey. From the songs you know every word to (Tiny Dancer, Levon) to those deep cuts that just make you listen. (I am still obsessed with that performance of Madman back in January.)

Good musicians cover a song. Great musicians make it their own.

I hope 2012 will bring a few Early Elton Trio shows, but given the insane schedules of the three artists, it can't be easy to find a date that works for everyone. But, when they do ... I will be the first in line for tickets.

2. Bon Jovi (June, Dublin - night 2)
Choosing just one of the 16 shows I went to was a challenge. I mean, really ... the Hyde Park show? Awesome. That Mohegan Sun show in March when Lorenza Ponce opened and then Bon Jovi took the stage with a set list that made me wonder if we had somehow been transported to Europe. (Hey the States...was Jon delirious?) Oh, and that epic night at Madison Square Garden. Three hours. Eight encores.

But, then there was Dublin. My 200th Bon Jovi show brought performances of Bounce, Never Say Goodbye, Love for Sale, Hey God, a cover of U2's Vertigo and the kick-ass combo of Damned/If Loving You is Wrong. We had a fun Q&A session with Jon before the show. And, because of the fan club trip, just about all my Jovifriends were there from Europe, the States and Canada. A good time was had, for sure!

3. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes (November, Cranston, Rhode Island)
Same situation with the Jukes. I attended 23 shows this year and a number of them were truly special. There was that incredible night with Little Steven at the Stone Pony in July. There was a fantastic show in Bristol (UK) where Johnny improvised some of the best narrative I had ever heard. There was the intimate show in Chicago where every member of the band just played like they were possessed. (in a good way. LOL)

So, why Cranston? Because there was a different energy that night. The first show after that preliminary run of Poor Fools gigs, maybe it was just everyone being back together...and Johnny knowing he wasn't going to have to play guitar. LOL The crowd and venue were great and it seemed the set list was designed to make me happy as can be (points to anyone who gets the reference.) I decided at the last minute to jump on the bus and go up for the show. Perhaps one of my best decisions of the year.

Ok, there really wasn't a usable video from that show. (Jukesfans aren't quite as ... ummm ... fervent about videos/photos as Jovifans.) So, instead I chose this beautiful performance from the Stone Pony show. No, that gorgeous sky is not a backdrop. It really was that stunning.

4. Barry Manilow (December, Las Vegas)
Now, before you start making fun, just think...the man has a ridiculous number of hit songs. He is a born entertainer. This was his final show after a seven-year residency. It's VEGAS.

Is it over-the-top cheesy? ABSOLUTELY. Does that make it any less fabulous? Not at all. Because none of that matters when he belts out Could It Be Magic, Looks Like We Made It, Mandy, Copacabana, I Write the Songs, and my personal theme for that trip, I Made it Through the Rain. Perfect.

5. Outside the Box/Southside Johnny/Jeff Kazee (June, The Stone Pony)
Every once in a while, you are just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. That's how I felt about one night at the Pony. First, Outside the Box did a set of their own material (if you haven't bought their debut album yet, do it now. Click Here.) Then, they covered an Elvis Costello album. All that was great.

But, it was the impromptu jam session that followed that made the night special. Sure, it was a bit messy. Maybe out of tune. Some words may have been missed. Didn't matter at all. To me, it was the embodiment of why people become musicians. Simply for the love and joy of music.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There you have it. A few thoughts on what shaped my 2011. There were good times. There were bad times. And, damn, there was some great music!

So, what's the coming year going to bring?

We shall see.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

p.s. I CAN'T BELIEVE I somehow forgot about Paul McCartney at Yankee Stadium! What the HECK is wrong with me? How was that not on my list? That was an INCREDIBLE night. Seeing a rock-and-roll ICON in a legendary venue. (okay, would have been better in the old stadium, but I digress.) I really wish I had my current phone that night (rather than my old trusty blackberry) because I could have at least captured a few more images as they were quite cranky about cameras. Also wish I would have splurged for a better ticket. In any case, Sir Paul ... my sincere apologies. Please forgive me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Southside and the Jukes Rock the UK

So I return to NYC and what happens? It frickin' snows! In October! Geez ... the weather in the UK was better! LOL

Speaking of my trip, you can read all about it over at Jukesnet. I still have one more entry to do, but the first four parts are posted: London, Southampton, Cardiff, and Bristol.

Top Ten Moments of the Tour (in no particular order)

1. Johnny's brilliant narrative of what men must give up in the name of love (Bristol)
2. Getting to catch up with my cousin in London after 20+ years
3. Jeff Kazee's super-cool performance of "I'm A Man" (Bristol)
4. The St. David Spa and Hotel in Cardiff
5. John Conte's bass solo in Southampton
6. Spending time with my friend BJSunnynight
7. FINALLY getting to hear "Some Things Just Don't Change" (Wolverhampton)
8. Not getting killed while crossing the street
9. Shopping at Harrod's
10. UK fashion magazines (a subscription to UK Vogue in the States is like $100!)

Here are a few of my favorite images from the shows.

...oh those eyes...

..ok..not the best quality ever, but it was a very funny moment... vs mic..

With the Fall concert season in full swing, things are kicking into high gear here. Looking forward to concerts by Gavin DeGraw, Southside Johnny and the Poor Fools, Outside the Box, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Audra McDonald this month.

As I always say, "so much music, so little time."