Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Circle - Are We Halfway There Yet?

Since it had been a few days since I posted I thought I'd just stop by and say "hola!" ... I'm in Spanish mode as I've been researching flights, hotels and exactly how I'm going to break it to my firm that I would really like to have just a few extra days off to catch the Bon Jovi shows in Costa Rica, Peru and Chile. Call me crazy ... but softly though, please. LOL

You see, I have this little problem with South America ... I absolutely LOVE it! I spent two seasons playing in the Lima Philharmonic and fell in love with (and in) Peru. The "in" is a story for another time though. Haha. Seriously, Peru is a great country ... I wrote a bit about it here. Oh, and let's not forget about South American wines! hehe

Anyhoo, the massive JoviSpreadsheet is back open and numbers are being crunched as I write this.

In the meantime, we still have THIS leg to finish right? Well, one more day to work and a Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes concert (one more night to rock LOL) and then I'm off to the Windy City. Should be a fun time as everybody and their sister seems to be staying at the same place. The biggest problem I see with this is the incredibly long line it will create at the new Sprinkles cupcake place a block from the hotel. (Thanks for telling us B ... it's all your fault!)

It's hard to believe that this first major portion of Jon Bon Jovi and The Boys' "The Centipede Tour" (for it DOES seem to have a zillion legs) is almost over. For me, it started way back with those two "public rehearsals" in Honolulu (oh and a whole bunch of mai tais!) then over to Kansas City (and great bbq) and through the Northeast (those 5 shows in 7 days last spring nearly KILLED me) and back home for four nights at GIANTS Stadium (oh alright ... NMS) and a quick stop in Ohio (JUKES JUKES JUKES!) and Boston (GO YANKEES!) and now ending in my original hometown of Chicago (where I'm meeting up with my childhood best friend that I haven't seen in 15 years!)

Admittedly, there were a few low points along the way, but many more high points for sure. Here are a few (in video form) ...

They REALLY should play this one more, don't you think?! and not just because its a great song, but because that guitar is FABULOUS ... (from Honolulu)

one of many highlights from Philadelphia ...

and from Mohegan Sun ...

look! my one and only video ... EVER! LOL (from Giants) ...

oh c'mon, you HAD to know I wasn't going to post a Jovi video from Blossom ... haha

So, there are just a few of the fun moments along the way.

Now, with August 1st fast approaching (just hang on a couple more days and you'll be on the beach, Jon!) and 16 shows so far this tour I am wondering ... whoa, whoa am I halfway there? How many more shows are in our collective future? What great countries will we see? What new friends will we meet?

I'm certainly ready for the next chapter ... how about you?

p.s. ya know! I DO have a counter ... and that little link that tells me where my readers are from ... I know you're out there!! :-) So why not leave me a comment about your thoughts so far?! ... I get lonely sometimes. LOL

ADDED LATER: I was hoping to hear YOUR favorite memories and stories if you've seen a show this tour yet, not comment on MY going to shows or on the blog (though I appreciate your support!) This is an opportunity for YOU to do the writing! :-)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Jukes Bliss--Jovi Hell

Greetings from the Steamed Apple. I don't like Summer. Period. Or at least not Summer in New York City where the heat can be so oppressive you can barely breathe and you need to shower again by the time you get to work in the morning. Ugh.

Well, today has been a bit of rollercoaster ... up and down, up and down. But, let's start with the good stuff first. :-)

Jukes Bliss
I was able to snag an entry into Sirius Radio's Fantasy Football Draft Day this morning at the Hard Rock Cafe here in NYC. I am a football fan, but that's not why I was there. I am a Sirius subscriber, but that's not why I was there. I was there for the sole purpose of getting my fix of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.

Anyhoo, the band was there to perform a mostly-acoustic handful of songs live on the radio -- I'm assuming to promote their crackin' new album, Pills and Ammo. Hopefully they enjoyed looking out into the audience and at least seeing a few familiar faces (regardless of the little comments made by one sunglasses-wearing, hat-obsessed Buckeye keyboard player who shall remain nameless. *wink*)

It was really a fun time actually and just what I needed today. Here's what they played:

Talk To Me
Cross That Line
Walk Away Renee
Lead Me On
I Don't Want To Go Home
Harder Than It Looks
We're Having A Party

I particularly enjoyed Southside helping to distribute the tiny little maracas to the audience for 'Party' ... I have to say, though, as the resident crafter, I need to bring the man the proper ink so that the Jukes stamp doesn't rub off. ;-)

Here are a few blurry pictures ...

Ok ... have to post this one even though its REALLY bad because Tom gave me grief last time when I didn't post any of him from The Stone Pony LOL

...ahh and Southside Johnny (who was probably looking at me thinking hey, there's that strange girl again and she seems really happy to hear "Lead Me On" ... which I was *sigh*)

... and the aforementioned keyboard player ... not sure if he was singing at this point or just making fun of me :-(

... and Glenn and Neal (who was the sole representative of the horn section ... and also played guitar ... hope he at least got doubling fees ... haha)

All-in-all a great way to spend my lunch break -- though in truth I actually didn't go into the office this morning ... which leads me to part 2 of this post.

Jovi Hell
I still have another 48 hours of my self-imposed JoviExile. All things having to do with "that damn band" are off limits. Not looking at setlists. Not reading reviews. Not looking at pictures. Not listening to their albums.

Why you ask? Well, because I was supposed to be in Toronto right now -- yep, remember how night 1 was supposed to be my 175th show? (THANK GOODNESS that got bumped up one by the absolutely rockin' Jukes/Jovi show at Blossom!)

Anyhoo, I had been waiting for MONTHS to get an appointment with this neurologist ... and I mean MONTHS. So, of course what happens? I finally get "the call" and he can see me this morning at 8:30am. That means, no Toronto. So, that's TWO pit tickets, flight and my portion of the hotel down the drain ... you do the math.

Jon Bon Jovi doesn't like empty seats right? Well, then somehow there should be a way for (in extenuating circumstances...ya having a brain tumor) a fan club member should be able to transfer their ticket to someone else, dontcha think? But no, they wouldn't let me. So, there it sat last night -- my pretty little 2nd row seat -- empty. I couldn't even GIVE the ticket away.

I know what you're all saying ... in the grand scheme of things my appointment was infinitely more important than a show. And, you're absolutely right ... I know that ... in my head. But, that doesn't help my broken heart (or make up for the weeks of ramen noodles.) :-(

So ... What's Next
Hey, I don't want to end on a sad note though ... so, as they would always say on The West Wing ... "what's next?" Well, that would be another Jukes show tomorrow night in Tarrytown ... ironically, a seat in the 2nd row ... hmmm, maybe God did have a plan...? :-)

P.S. Added later: I'm not really mad at the band. Or even the fan club. It was just a bad confluence of events that have left me sad (and broke) ... but ya know ... in the end I'm still a fan so "Bounce! Bounce!..." :-)

Friday, July 16, 2010

...just a little teaser...

Happy Friday y'all! I know I promised you the 2nd part of the Blossom review but I actually had to go into the office and do WORK. LOL ... don't they know that I only come in to use the high-speed internet and color laser printer?! Haha.

So ... here's just something to hold you over until I have a bit more time this weekend to write ...

*awesome video courtesy of my friend B, queen of the mini-cam!*

A ridiculous amount of talent on that stage...Jon Bon Jovi, Southside Johnny, Jeff Kazee, Richie Sambora, Joey Stann, Neal Pawley, Tico Torres, Eddie Manion, David Bryan, Hugh McDonald, Chris Anderson, Bobby Bandiera. (please note this is not in order of ability, just in the order they came to me ... did I forget anybody?!)

Okay, until soon ...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blossom Blast - Part 1

Disclaimer: This is going to be long ... and in two parts ... so grab a cup of coffee before you start.

Greetings Jovinuts and Jukesfans! Where do I even begin in terms of covering the SSJ & the Asbury Jukes/Bon Jovi Blossom show in Cleveland?

Well, first I'll say ... its NOT IN CLEVELAND! Seriously, its not ... so for a vehicularly-challenged NYC girl, this was a bit of an ordeal.

After flying into Cincinnati to pick up my mom, we jumped on board the Greyhound bus on Sunday (yes, the BUS) up to Cleveland where we spent the afternoon exploring the city and hanging out at the House of Blues (where it seems we will be again in November.)

Monday morning (came so fast, what a fool to think that dreams would last ... sorry, I digress ... Jukes reference LOL) we woke up excited about the show. It was the first time my mom was seeing the Jukes and her first JoviShow since the last HAND concert at Giants. :-) We were VERY lucky (and grateful) that one of the amazing JoviGirls (will call her "D") offered to pick us up and drive us back and forth to the venue after meeting up at her house for pizza, wings and wine (ahh, now THERE'S a great trio!)

So, we're all in the Suburban - 9 of us ladies - blasting Jovi and singing and laughing when my phone buzzes and I see this tweet:
(from) Jeff Kazee: The Marv Albert of Rock & Roll? Play by Play tweeting by world famous Big Apple Jovi Girl..follow @bigapplejovi around 7:30ish for a kick.
I guess that's better than "call @bigapplejovi for a good time", right? But in any case, ain't that just swell?! Thanks Mr. Kazee. Nothing like additional pressure to be on the ball after you've had a "few" glasses of wine. LOL (By the way D, I REALLY need to get some bottles of the red from the little Italian lady. That was the best wine I've had in a long time.)

Anyhoo, we arrive safely at the venue, pick up our tickets and head inside to check out the merchandise (of course.) I was very pleased to see a nice selection of Jukes stuff there ... and even happier that I already owned just about all of it so I was able to save a few bucks. We were walking around when I suddenly heard "Cross That Line" and just about ran to the fence and ended up hearing a bit of sound check. (...I could have given a pbp of that if someone had gotten me in ... ahem ... ahem.)

Once we were in our seats though it was only a short time before Southside et al took the stage. I was disappointed that the majority of people sat thru the set ... I mean seriously, how can you SIT during a Jukes show? In any case, I was determined to stand regardless of how hot it was or that nobody else was really standing. Luckily, my mom and my friend Diana (the pics in this post are hers!) agreed to stand too. :-) And even though the audience sat, it seemed they really enjoyed hearing the band.

And, yes, I did my duty of tweeting throughout ... including a fervent request to Jon Bon Jovi to have the Jukes play on every show from this point on. Really ... they could just open with We're Having a Party and then have a 6-hour marathon alternating between the two bands and playing together. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me and would save me a whole lot of travel time following these two groups around. LOL

The set was a good mix of old favorites and songs from the new album (or "new favorites.") They sounded fantastic (of course) and it was great to see Richie, David and Tico standing in the doorway to watch them. A few songs into the set they welcomed back Bobby Bandiera and a bit later David Bryan joined them onstage.

Here's the set list:

Cross That Line
Passion Street
Baby's Gone for Good
Gin-Soaked Boy
I Played the Fool
Walk away Renee
Talk to Me (with David Bryan on keys)
Without Love
Harder Than It Looks
I Don't Want to Go Home
Working Too Hard
One More Night to Rock

And here's are a few more pictures ...

... glad Jeff took those laminates off before he strangled himself (if he wanted THAT, I could have done it LOL)

and one last picture from Diana ... *smile*

Okay folks ... that's it for now. Waiting to see video from my friend B. Will post those as soon as they're available. And there is still the whole BJ portion of the show to go. So be sure to come back soon. :-)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

While I Was at The Pony ...

While I was having a blast at The Stone Pony Jukes show on Friday night, here is what was playing on television ... :-)

*and once again, HOW ON EARTH did she not win the Tony? ROBBED!! ... arrrrrrgh*

Its been a couple of weeks since I've been to the theatre to see MEMPHIS, I think I'm getting withdrawal symptoms. But, with "that damn band" now back in the States, my July calendar is full with all those JoviShows. Hmmm...I'm sure I can find some night somewhere to catch a performance. :-)

P.S. ... and a couple of my favorite pictures from Friday night's chaos ...

Southside Johnny finally taking down the Windmill hotdog mascot! LOL

*picture: John Cavanaugh*

..... oooh and one Jeff Kazee shot ....

*picture: John Cavanaugh*

And the front row judges gave him a "10" on his dismount! :-)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Jukes+Pony=Wacky Perfection

Welcome to a lazy Saturday night in the Big Apple. C'mon, even a crazy city-dweller needs a break once in a while! LOL

New York City is absolutely ridiculous on the Friday of a long holiday weekend. The mass of humanity trying to escape the concrete jungle by train, car, boat, plane, horse, donkey or whatever method they can find, is staggering. So...what did I decide to do? Join them!

Why on EARTH would I do this?


Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes + The Stone Pony + Holiday Weekend + Beach = Potential for a Fantastic Time

After a "far too eventful" train ride, I was thankful to arrive at the Pony in time to hear a little bit of soundcheck from outside the walled-in lot. I was also able to snag one of the famous SP concert posters and even get it signed by Southside (who properly chastised me because they don't make any money on the posters. Oh if he only knew how many copies of Pills I have purchased at this point he'd probably hug me! haha) and Jeff Kazee (no, I didn't steal it from the wall in the bathroom. LOL I actually paid a whole $5 for it.)

We really couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous night to stand out for hours and have a beer and a hot dog (and there was NO shortage of all things wiener-related...long story.)

Following a couple of opening acts -- the talented young singer/guitarist from Outside the Box and Jersey Shore songwriter Steve Forbert -- Southside and the band took the stage. My heart nearly stopped because Johnny was wearing a New Holland/Fiat jersey ... and my dad (who was my golf partner, my football buddy, my musical hero) worked for New Holland. So, I was a bit emotional from the get-go. It just got more emotional from there.

Blend of New and Old
I thought that the balance between the new material from Pills and Ammo and the old favorites was pretty good. As usual, the set list played was not at all what was on the written set list, but we're all used to that. And though we didn't get all of the new record as Southside had promised, we certainly were treated to quite a few of the great tracks. As an aside, I gotta say that opening with Coming Back couldn't have been more perfect in my opinion.

There were so many great moments during the show -- Kazee's keyboards on more songs than I can count, dueling trumpets on Fever, John Conte's incredible bass during This Time Its for Real and Trapped Again, a heartfelt performance of Lead Me On (that song is so perfect for Jeff's vocal harmonies *sigh*), a blasting version of One More Night to Rock (which should be on every show going forward!), and a rip-roaring rendition of Take It Inside (I still contend it should be the slogan/song for the AFL ... yes, I know I haven't written YET about the return of the Soul. I will. I promise.)

A Night of Low-Flying Projectiles
The show was broadcast live on Sirius which was great EXCEPT that you really needed to be there to comprehend the craziness that ensued. OMG! Standing in the front row you had to watch out for things flying at you from the stage -- signed beach balls, whiffle balls, HOT DOGS, t-shirts, hats, Andy York's guitar picks, the setlist (thanks J.)

One little issue ... my friend N and I are relatively tall ... and ... well ... I'm pretty sure Southside's preferred hobby of bird-watching requires absolutely no skills whatsoever in terms of either kicking or hitting a ball! I think I would have a bit more faith in Kazee since he at least is a golfer. There was a bit of 'duck and cover' going on for sure.

I give band members a lot of credit for keeping it together (some, just barely ... you know who you are!) as this was all going down and continuing to play an ever-evolving medley of circus/cartoon/drinking tunes.

Here's how one of the ladies summed it up while writing about the set list on the SSJ board:
Hot Dog Melee (involving heavily dressed windmill hotdogs and a sling shot, accompanied by the farm music from bugs bunny cartoons, Jingle Bells [with Southside on keyboards] and Roll Out the Barrel, among others)
We're Having a Party (with an interpretive dance by the Windmill hot dog mascot guy and the annual distribution of autographed flying objects) ...
Needless to say, we all had a great time. And I'm forever grateful to N who gave me a ride up to Secaucus so I didn't have to take the midnight train from Asbury.

Here's a few more pictures:

Andy York playing ... blissfully unaware that Jeff is flinging all his picks out into the audience. :-)

I love watching the horns during the show ... some of the greatest "dance" moves (I use the term loosely.) Ok, I admit ... I basically just watch The Dude. ;-)

And John Conte in a relatively conservative outfit ... especially for him.

It was some kind of party!!

So, to all my American friends ... have a Happy (and safe) 4th of July weekend.

And to my crazy German girls ... happy footballing ... obliterating Argentina ... wow! (and on the 8th day God created the vuvuzela and promptly said "ooops, my bad!!")

And to my mom ... NO! I will not be watching Nadal extract his underwear from his bum for two hours of the Wimbledon final (I'm a Federer girl.) But, I'll see you a week from today. :-)