Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One More Time with Feeling...?

So this article has been getting a lot of attention today ... and mostly because of this quote:
* Kurz stressed the league would love to get the Philadelphia Soul team led by Jon Bon Jovi and Ron Jaworski back on board. Kurz said no one has done more for the league than Bon Jovi and his group. The new AFL has been in talks to bring the Soul back.

Well, that's the truth. Period. Jon Bon Jovi put his heart, and his Soul (literally and figuratively) into the AFL. And where did it get him? Yes, he got a championship ring and trophy. Yes, he used it as a platform to launch his foundation (which is still going and growing stronger every day.) But, in my opinion, the last league got lax and just let him do the work without strategically thinking about how they would capitalize on the opportunities presented to them. Why would he think this league would be any different? Only time will tell.

Do I want to see the Soul come back?
Of course I do.

Will I travel to Philly for all the games?
Of course I will
(hell, its a lot closer than when I did that from Cincinnati. LOL)

And until/when/if that happens, I will continue to remember the good times, good deeds and great friends that were at the core of the Philadelphia Soul.

P.S. Ironically, I just found my SSAB (Soul Strategic Advisory Board) polo shirt when packing for Hawaii. I wondered where that had gone.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Best V-Day Gift from Bon Jovi

This is my last "Aloha!" from Hawaii. The plane leaves in a few hours. I am grabbing a cup of coffee and headed for one final walk on the beach before returning to the cold and snow of the Big Apple.

Today is the ultimate Hallmark holiday - the one that keeps many a flower and chocolate company in business. (Speaking of chocolates, yes, I did stock up on amazing dark chocolate macadamia nut clusters - suitcase is a whole lot heavier than when I arrived. LOL)

But, in "our" world we received one of the best gifts ever - better than Godiva, better than roses - Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora singing "Diamond Ring." What an absolute treat at the first show in Honolulu. As always, the incomparable FM captured an amazing video. Here it is ...

Its a beauty isn't it? Not just the song and the performance, but the video quality as well. Hmmm ... time for me to get a new camera.

Ok - gotta sign off and pack up. Thanks to all who joined me on this great Polynesian adventure. Next up, I'm considering bringing back the "Legendary Performances" video polls ... what do you think? Leave me a comment if we should do those again - for we DO have some new stuff to choose from. :-)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Still in Paradise: Hawaii Night #2

Greetings fellow Jovifans. Hope this all finds you enjoying the weekend and recovering from the crazy weather that has been happening all over the place - snow in Italy, snow in Atlanta, warm weather in Seattle, craziness.

Here, it is just another typical Honolulu day - 80 degrees, sun is shining and the waves are calling to me. Though I have absolutely loved my time here in paradise, I'm looking forward to going home. Y'all know me ... NYC is just in my veins and right now I need a jolt of that energy (though it could be because Fiction Mistress and I totally polished off a lot of wine last night and I'm feeling the aftermath of that. LOL)

I'd like to thank all of you who joined me during the Twitter play-by-play. I loved reading all the comments afterwards - though sorry my tweet saying "Get Ready" never got to you and it seems to have caused some confusion. Considering how much I was tweeting and trying to take pictures and deal with my signs and actually ENJOY the show, I think things progressed rather smoothly actually.

And to those of you who are new to my blog, welcome. Enjoy yourself. Read some of the previous posts (there are links to some of the more popular reviews in the left sidebar.)

Okay, onto the show!

I was blessed to once again have a great seat due to the fan club allotment of tickets for this concert. And once again, I had a bunch of Aussies on my left - incredibly fun and friendly and sang along with every song.

Overall, I felt that Jon Bon Jovi really had to draw on his considerable ability as a showman to get this crowd going. I think about that quote in the WWWB book when his wife said that Jon makes things happen by sheer will. That's how I felt about the show last night. He just kept working and pushing to get a reaction out of them. Interestingly, FM said she felt last night's crowd was better than the first night. It always depends on who's around you and your view/perspective of the arena.

I have a feeling the setlist was altered perhaps due to the crowd (which to me was more of a "big hits" type of group) ... nonetheless, it was a great time. Highlights were definitely Only Lonely and Get Ready - both of which I hope y'all have a chance to hear during this tour. Richie was really groovin' on some of those older tunes ... and Tico, dang that boy does hit hard.

I felt there was more of a connection between the guys on the second night in comparison to the first. I always love watching the interaction between them - not just Jon and Richie - but between the rhythm section of Tico, David and Hugh. Maybe because I'm a musician, I tend to focus on those quirky moments - funky transitions, interesting underlying melodies and harmonies, etc. I will say, there were many of those during Brokenpromisedland. I loved having the chance to hear it right out of the gate, regardless of some of the first-time awkwardness. I think after they run it a few times, it will be awesome. The new stuff really does sound fantastic - like usual, Bon Jovi is great on tape, but absolutely excels live.

If you followed the pbp, you know that I brought two signs for this show - one for Jon and one for David. I thought it was very interesting the LACK of signs at these two shows - I'm used to dozens of signs in those first 10 rows. In any case, my first sign went up during "We Weren't Born to Follow" and had the Soul logo with the words The Power of We. I held up David's sign during "Love's the Only Rule" - I thought it was the PERFECT song as my sign said David - Love Will Stand. I absolutely love this song (full name is "Love Will Stand When All Else Falls") from Memphis and wanted him to know that a lot of us love and support that show. If you haven't purchased the cast album, PLEASE do so. And if you are coming into NYC for the Giants concerts (yes, I still can't call it the Meadowlands Stadium) you should try to get tickets for the show.

Okay, I think I'm going to run for now. Its my last day and I have gifts to buy and Mai Tais to drink (what IS the plural of Mai Tai?! Is it Tai or Tais? Hmmm ... inquiring minds want to know. LOL) I'm sure I'll be back later with more.

Until then ... Aloha!

P.S. Oops ... forgot to put the setlist ...

* Lost Highway
* We Weren't Born to Follow
* Bad Name
* Born to be My baby
* Get Ready
* Only Lonely
* Thorn in My Side
* When We Were Beautiful
* Whole Lot of Leavin'
* Superman Tonight
* We Got it Goin' On
* It's My Life
* Bad Medicine
* Hallelujah
* I'll Be There For You
* Brokenpromiseland
* Someday I'll be Saturday Night
* Who Says You Can't Go Home
* Loves the Only Rule
* Wanted Dead or Alive
* Livin' on a Prayer

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day Two in Paradise - Show #1


Hello hello hello ... greetings once again from The Rainbow State (or as I prefer to call it "The Land of Many a Mai Tai" LOL)

Well, day two brought more of what we had in day one -- sun, sand, surf, shopping -- with the exception of just one thing ...

THE FIRST BON JOVI SHOW OF THE CIRCLE TOUR! (well ... sort of I guess ... it counts doesn't it? its on the t-shirt)

Well, many of you followed me thru the show during the play-by-play on Twitter ... I very much appreciate all the great comments (yes, even the "I hate you" ones. LOL)

There is no doubt in my mind that this tour is going to rock! Jon Bon Jovi truly still is the best frontman in the business - his ability to work a venue is outstanding, his energy level onstage unparalleled. Even having seen this band so so many times, it just never gets old. And as a result, the fans feel like they never get old either. My heart still beats faster when the lights go down. My face still hurts from smiling so wide. Luckily, I have learned to protect my voice while still being able to sing thru the whole show. And when its over ... I still just sit grinning like a fool for the whole ride home. May that NEVER change.

As y'all have heard by now, the setlist was incredible - at one point (during Roulette) I gave David this total look of "oh my goodness, what the f--K?!" and he proceeded to laugh at me. Thanks, Davey.

The arena, as expected, is quite small in comparison to what we are used to. Considering its Hawaii, the concourses around the venue are all open-air. Fiction Mistress and I took advantage of that to have some wine (ugh ... arena wine ... its bad EVERYWHERE) and catch up with some of the girls doing the fan club trip.

Though we weren't sitting together, FM and I were both in the third row - me on Richie's side - and she on the aisle between Jon and Bobby. My friend B, however, was dead center front row ... so, here's what she got in terms of video :-)

See, I told you! If you followed me on Twitter during the show, I mentioned that there were some "odd" parts during Love's the Only Rule ... BUT the transition back to the chorus after the "hallelujah, halle halle part" was INCREDIBLE. The video catches it very well, but live it was absolutely amazing.

Anyway, I am going to run for now. But, I'll be back in a bit with more of my thoughts about last night - and prep for tonight's show.

P.S. For the two or three of you who haven't seen the setlist yet ... here it is.

* Blood on Blood
* We Weren't Born to Follow
* Bad Name
* Born to be My Baby
* Roulette
* Shot Through the Heart
* When We Were Beautiful
* Whole lot of Leavin'
* Superman Tonight
* We Got It Goin' On
* It's My Life
* Bad Medicine
* Make a Memory
* Diamond Ring
* Bed of Roses
* Work for the Working Man
* Have a Nice Day
* Who Says You Can't Go Home
* Loves the Only Rule
* Tokyo Road
* Wanted Dead or Alive
* Livin' On A Prayer

P.S.2. Here's a few pictures from FM's stash ...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day One in Paradise

Greetings my fellow Jovifans ... I am writing to you from the terrace at the Outrigger resort while I sip on a Mai Tai in the warm Hawaiian sun. (Trust me, I KNOW how blessed I am that I was able to get out of NYC before Snowmagaeddon Part Deux. How do you spell that ... no spellcheck on Blackberry.)

So, I was able to get the LAST seat on the LAST flight out of LAX last night. I arrived in Honolulu with no hotel reservation but luckily my friend B from Seattle let me crash at her hotel for the night. Thanks B!!

Because I arrived so late I wasn't able to see anything until the sun came up this morning ... But when it did ... OH MY GOODNESS. I would like to personally thank Jon Bon Jovi for choosing to do two shows in Honolulu ... I just hope I remember to get off the beach and actually GO to the concerts!! LOL

This morning while my friend was climbing Diamond Head, I took a long walk along the beach and thru Waikiki. I later sent a text to my boss that I'd like to be transferred to our Honolulu office (we do actually have one ... Hehe)

I definitely looked like a sun-starved New Yorker upon arrival ... dressed in my requisite black. Luckily, there are some great shops around to get into "the spirit of the islands". LOL

I ran into Rob from the fan club (their hotel is across the street from mine). Looks like all is good over there ... lanyards look cool, attendees are excited ... Everyone is in a great mood. :-)

Tomorrow I will focus on Bon Jovi but for tonight its just about great food and drink with tiki torches on the beach.

P.S. I promise next post won't be from the Blackberry ... but at $11/day for internet, I will concentrate on my tan for now.

Til next time.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Aloha ... from LAX

Greetings from RAINY Los Angeles (I thought it wasn't supposed to do that here! LOL). I am currently sitting in the waiting area at LAX hoping to get on an earlier flight to Hawaii. Its looking about 50/50 right now.

Luckily flight out of the "soon to be snow-slammed Big Apple" was uneventful ... actually had two seats to myself ... Nice. :)

Ironically, the movie they were showing was the Michael Jackson "This Is It" film which I had not seen yet. Why is this ironic? Well, because the last full Bon Jovi show I saw (that infamous Summerfest one) was the day MJ passed away.

Well, regardless of how you may feel about Michael Jackson as a person, you can NOT deny he was an incredible performer and his songs will live on forever (dang, I loved that whole "Smooth Criminal" sequence!). The "Thriller" portion is great ... And how about those Harry Potter-esque spiders!?

All I can say is this would have been one helluva show to see live. It really makes me feel for the dancers, designers, musicians and crew who never got the chance to see the audience reaction from their hundreds of hours of work. They all realized they were part of something special ... And its nice we get to experience a little of that too.

Okay ... That's all for now. Next post will be from the beach. :)

P.S. If you didn't hear ... supposedly our beloved Jon Bon Jovi is learning to use Twitter. Speaking of tweeting, be sure to follow me for play-by-play from Hawaii. (BigAppleJovi)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Work for the Working Man

Well, the days of Jon Bon Jovi, the Philadelphia Soul and my regular dose of crab fries are over. And though I still have a couple of Band & Drumline shirts, my binder with my notes for gameday and my football, mini-helmet and other memorabilia proudly displayed ... for me, the glory days are gone. We will never be able to re-create the magic that was the Soul. But, damn it was a good ride. Destination ArenaBowl: Mission Accomplished. :-)

One of the most devastating things, of course, about the shutdown of the AFL was it left dozens and dozens of athletes (and staffs) out of work. Well, with the creation of the new AF1, it seems many of our former Soul players are popping up in teams around the country.

But, what the heck is with all this going to Dallas stuff?! And, what will I do if my beloved Gabe ends up there?! LOL ... I'm just kidding ya know. I'm super happy these guys are getting to do what they love.

Anyway, here's the latest ...

Dallas arena football team announces name, unveils new logo

DALLAS, Texas – Dallas’ arena football franchise will be known as the Dallas Vigilantes, the team announced Thursday. The team also released its new visual identity, including a dynamic primary and secondary logo.

... The Vigilantes open the 2010 season on April 10, when they travel to play the Tulsa Talons. The Vigilantes open their 2010 home schedule at the American Airlines Center on April 30 when they host the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz.

... The Vigilantes’ new look features a cowboy hat-wearing skull with a wry, confident smile that appears to dare potential opponents to step onto the field and settle the score. The team’s colors will be blue, black, red, and silver.

... Also on the Vigilantes’ roster are three of the top players from the most recent AFL World Championship team, the Philadelphia Soul. They include defensive back and All-League performer Eddie Moten, All-AFL offensive lineman Phil Bogle, and star receiver Larry Brackins.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In a Nutshell ...

I saw this clip a couple of weeks ago, but it seems to be re-surfacing now. It made me laugh, because its just oh-so-true.

Jon Bon Jovi: "New Yorkers ... they are very proud of their guys, but then they're brutally honest." Umm ... oops ... should I delete that Summerfest review I wrote a while back? LOL

But he's right. Why do you think its that way?

Well, I have my theories on that ... but I'm not sure how popular they would be. For example, we in NYC have access to, in many areas, the best of the best - whether it be the arts or fashion or restaurants. Its very competitive and therefore the bar is always being raised and judgment of your performance or product or whatever is often raw. Competition is fierce. It may also be because its just not easy to live here, so there is a baseline level of crankiness LOL.

Whatever the reason may be, its the place I love ... where I will most likely live for the rest of my life until they dump my ashes in the East River ... well, hopefully my ashes and not just my body. Haha.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lorenza @ The Living Room, Act 1

Hello from the Big Apple ... long time no talk to, huh? I hope this finds you all happy and healthy.

I've hemmed and hawed about whether or not I was going to re-start this blog -- even resorting to flipping a coin to help with my decision. In the end, I realized that I enjoyed sharing some of my crazy experiences with you all. As I have said before, I am blessed to live in NYC -- though its not without its frustrations, sacrifices and inconveniences. But this is where I choose to live. I also choose to take advantage of some of the amazing opportunities presented by living here. I won't feel guilty about it. Okay. Enough said.

So, anyway ... what's going on? Well, I'm counting down the days til I leave for Hawaii. It was up in the air for a while, but I finally got the go-ahead from my doctor. By the way, thanks for all the emails asking how I was doing. I'm on this new experimental protocol ... so far, so good. :-)

In any case, I'm very much looking forward to sticking my toes in the sand on Waikiki Beach and letting the warm waves of the ocean wash over me. Oh, and there are a couple of Jovi shows too. LOL

But, until then I'm enjoying some great music around the city. Last week, my friend and fellow wind player Peggy was in town from "out West" and we hit the 55 Bar in the West Village to hear the amazing guitar musings of Mike Stern. It was one of those magical nights when I say to myself, "yeah, THIS is why I love New York City."

This past weekend, I was able to catch Southside Johnny's show at BB King's. Its the last one for a while which makes me a bit sad ... I was getting used to seeing them just about every month. Jeff Kazee just about stole the show with his cover of the J. Geils Band's "I'm Looking for a Love." To say Jeff was electric would be an understatement -- the poor guy literally got electrocuted in the middle of the show by one of the wires on his Hammond organ. OUCH! Jeff gave me a little treat of my own - the setlist - with his GUM on it! ROFL

(And if you weren't getting Kazee's tweets during the Grammys last night, you really missed out on a good time. My personal favorite was "What About Bob?" ... which nearly made me fall off my chair with laughter. That's one funny boy, our Jeff.)

Then, tonight I was able to catch the first of three gigs Lorenza Ponce is doing at The Living Room in support of her upcoming new album. I was happy my friend Linda was able to attend with me (AND she brought me cookies from Levain ... OMG ... that's another blog post in itself!) Sorry, I digress ... (see ... some things never change LOL.)

Anyway, most of you reading this blog know of Lorenza from her work with Jon Bon Jovi and playing on the band's Lost Highway tour. And I know some of you have downloaded her current single, Casual Girl. If you haven't, I strongly encourage you to check out her solo work (I, myself, am partial to her Mystic Fiddler album.)

So, The Living Room is this small performance space/bar/club on the Lower East Side and was the perfect setting for this intimate show. The set was rather short - about 40 minutes or so - but just enough to give you a taste that makes you want to come back next week.

She opened with Casual Girl and I was immediately struck by the sound of the ensemble which included keyboards (my buddy Kazee, again), drums, bass, guitar and strings. I had been concerned that the size of the group may overwhelm the room (which probably holds about 125ish) but, actually, it was a fantastic mix of instrumentals and vocals.

I particularly liked the song "Testify" (correct me if I'm wrong - it was the 3rd song, I believe) and the rockin' "Baby Don't Go." She also did an incredible cover of a little known George Harrison song called "Let It Down" which I am now intrigued by and will investigate a bit more.

Due to a slight technical snafu, she ended up switching the order of the setlist but I thought it actually flowed better going from the introspective "I Won't Lose Faith" to the absolute edgy groove of "What Happened to You?" The set ended with "Soul Shifter", the title track of the new album (due out in late Feb/early March.) I absolutely loved this song ... and there were some awfully cool dual violin riffs, too.

To say Lorenza is wickedly talented would be an understatement. Seriously, the girl is a force to be reckoned with musically. She has an incredible voice and moves effortlessly from violin to guitar to piano to ... ukulele?! And you can't even hate her for it because she's so darn nice.

Needless to say, I'll be back to see Lorenza next week ... and if you're around NYC, you should join me.

Anyway, its late so I better go ... ya know ... "work for the working man" and all ... but I'll be back soon. Til then. Take care.