Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Being thankful...

*warning! mushy post alert!*

Greetings friends! Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving...probably my favorite holiday. In my family, we had so many traditions when it came to this holiday -- from homemade sweet, hot cinnamon rolls in the morning while watching the Macy's Parade to my dad making his famous cranberry-orange relish to my brother and I fighting over the last of the green bean casserole...oh, and me always getting in trouble for sneaking turkey under the table to the cat. ;-)

But, living in NYC, traditions have changed slightly. I still watch the Macy's Parade...but often in person (like tomorrow...yay to MEMPHIS who will be featured around 9am!) And sadly, my dad is no longer with us to make the relish ... oh, but I do still sneak turkey to the cat. LOL

One thing that hasn't changed over the years, however, is the reminder for me to be thankful...for my friends, my family (complicated as that is) and without a doubt ... for music. In my opinion, music truly is the universal language and the ultimate healer. It can get us thru good times and bad times. It can bring us together regardless of geography or religion. It can remind us of people and places in our past. And it's the reason we continue to make new memories.

So, thank you to...

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, for their uncanny ability to get me out of whatever cranky-ass mood I'm in...

and my beloved Jon Bon Jovi and his band of brothers, for reminding me to always take life by the horns--work hard, play hard and never give up...

And, since Thanksgiving is the official start to the Christmas season (despite the 11 times Kazee has already heard that Mariah Carey song LOL), here is a fun little ditty/video from the Jukes' Neal Pawley and his cohort in crime Thomas Foyer (aka 11 Acorn Lane)...

So, regardless of whether you live in the States and celebrate the holiday or not, it's never a bad day to just stop and say thanks.

p.s. ...and that includes saying thanks to all of you who continue to read my crazy ramblings, send me pictures/videos/comments/etc. and put a smile on my face. See y'all on the road somewhere. :-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Greatest New Venue? it possible that the best new venue could be a parking lot? Haha.

I think I should just hang out in the parking lot at the new Giants Stadium (ok, NMS ... whatever.) First, the Bon Jovi boys open the joint on an absolutely GORGEOUS day (thanks L, for bringing the coffee :-) ...

*video by my twitterpal @mezjovi

...and then last Sunday (when the Giants were painfully slapped around by the Cowboys, UGH!) Southside Johnny and his gang played the pre-game for the second time this season ...

p.s. you might not know, but the power went out in the middle of the game -- there is something about Jukes and Jovi and blowing out the electric -- Jovi did it there at the opening show in May and the Jukes blew out the power in the town on Leicester during their EuroTour. :-) With Jon Bon Jovi and the Jukes BOTH at the stadium, it was bound to happen, right?!

Well, that's all for now folks. Working hard, paying for tickets for "that damn band" ... (y'all saw they added a THIRD MSG show right? Note to Jon Bon Jovi: I'm running out of body parts! LOL)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

STILL Smiling...

Well, it's been over 12 hours since the end of the Best Buy Theatre show and I'm still smiling. :-)

Ya know ... every time I want to slap myself silly for spending an obscene amount of money on "that damn band", they put on a show that reminds me EXACTLY why I spend an obscene amount of money on "that damn band." LOL

What an incredible night! From the moment the band took the stage and Jon started "Not Fade Away" ...

I heard him do this ONCE ... years and years ago at one of the solo shows. Just blew me away. :-)

We don't often have General Admission in the States, but I'm always glad when we do. I was able to get a spot basically between Jon and David in the 2nd/3rd ish row. Ironically, growing up, I hated being the tall girl. Now, I thank my dad at every JoviShow that I'm 5'10". LOL

The set list was what I expected ... similar to Letterman but an extra few songs. But, the energy was completely different than the night before. The stage was pretty bare EXCEPT for this absolutely awesome huge gold heart and dagger at the back that would look lovely in my apartment (though I'd have to knock a big hole in the ceiling. Haha.)

And Jon Bon Jovi is no dummy. He had to know that standing at the mic in the middle of the stage that it would appear as if the wings were coming out from behind him like an angel. Art imitating life? LOL I'll post a couple of the pictures my friend B got a bit later ... serious angel-action going on. :-)

But honestly, it was a great show. Nice of Jon to mention MEMPHIS which plays 6 days a week just a few doors down the street. He also talked about the band opening what was then the Nokia Theatre ... that was a good show too by the way, launch of the HAND album. Seems like forever ago now!

And I loved when Jon messed up the words and totally rolled his eyes. The slip was barely noticeable, but his reaction was adorable. And, man, did he ever jump around and dance. He said he wasn't supposed to get sweaty last night ... yeah right, okay.

After the show, a few of us JoviGirls went out for dinner and margaritas (emphasis on the Texas-sized margaritas! Hehe.) It was a fantastic end to an incredible evening. There is nothing like celebrating the true friendships that have been created because of this band. I have met some of the most incredible ladies (and a few gentlemen too) over the years. Definitely makes up for some of the bad moments we've all experienced in the world of fandom.

So, there it is. One fabulously wild night. Up next? The Today Show ... hope my body can make it through. Ugh.

P.S. A HUGE THANK YOU (once again) to Backstage with Jon Bon Jovi for offering fan club members tickets to this! $50 for 2nd row - can't beat that!! Matt, Rob et al ... MUCH appreciated!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mid-Week Recap

Greetings JoviNuts! Well, we're halfway there (yeah, go ahead ... sing the rest of the line) thru record release week of the Bon Jovi Greatest Hits (TWO! as they made sure to point out last night. haha) festivities. I actually finally ordered mine today ... sorry I'm late Jonny, but no worries -- it still will count for units sold during release week. :-)

Standby for Status
So, a couple of my crazy German girls arrived on Sunday and we all went together to watch the "One Night Only" movie at 42nd Street Times Square on Monday. A bit of a wacky night. They actually couldn't get the damn thing to play! Surprisingly, there were only about 30 people or so in the theater ... a good portion of which were JoviStaff and crew, including among others, the mighty (and always kind) Paul Korzilius, the unstoppable Scott Casey and the guy we affectionately refer to simply as "Trainer." They were all great in hanging out and chatting while AMC tried to figure out what to do. It took nearly an hour, a theater change and a couple of mis-starts before we were able to actually view the movie. Hey, but we did get free soda and movie passes out of the ordeal! LOL

As for the movie itself, it was nice to re-live some of those great moments from the Giants shows in May. (No, I still will not call it New Meadowlands Stadium. So there!) I thought the tracking was actually much better than the MSG dvd in terms of songflow. And, yes, it was alright that they chose not to include Who Says You Can't Go Home. ;-) Not shocked they didn't include Runaway from the first night when the sound cut out, but would have loved to see that ... one of my great memories is when the crowd took over and just kept going.

Seeing Bon Jovi perform (even on film) reminds me of why I really do love this band. They can deliver a song. Period. For example, When We Were Beautiful ... on the record, didn't quite love it. But, Jon's vocal performance of it is consistently amazing. It actually became one of the songs I looked forward to each night I saw them on the last leg of the tour.

All-in-all, I enjoyed the movie and hey, got to see a show and not have my feet hurt at the end. Haha. And my commute home was like 5 minutes (I live on 43rd Street.) I did think it was too short ... and I wish they would have kept in more of Jon's comments between the songs (even if we could all recite it verbatim. LOL) I was disappointed to hear, though, that they don't plan on releasing this on DVD. I think it would be a great addition to our collections.

"The New Fab Four"
I know many of you were able to catch the Letterman webcast show last night. Thanks for all the texts and tweets of BigAppleJovi sightings (... ahh, the green shirt was a hit!) Even though the entry was ridiculous and the later people showed up, the better seats they got (ugh) it was a really fun experience. I'm not one of those people who just has to be in the first row (ok, for the Jukes yes) ... I just want to be able to look Jon in the eye. Really ... one look and a big smile from Jon and I'm toast. Still, after all these years. Haha.

For those who asked about Jon wearing a scarf ... it was quite chilly in there and it was smart of him to keep his throat warm. I wore a scarf too for that matter. LOL The place did certainly warm up though as the band played. And it was great to see them all so relaxed and having fun (especially "fearless leader.") Highlight was definitely the whole "Beatles bow" thing ... first Jon commented about playing there and the great history of the Ed Sullivan Theatre. Then he had Richie join him for a bow. And, best was at the end when Tico was able to climb down from the drum riser and do the bow with them. Very cute. (Also funny was when Jon nearly got ran over by one of the camera guys ... the look on his face was priceless!)

As expected, it was about an hour show with many of the hits we know and love. I even sang along and did the arm calisthenics during Who Says haha ... no, that wasn't me that Jon was making fun of during that song. I didn't expect Keep the Faith so that was a nice surprise. And Prayer wasn't on the original setlist so I'm glad they came back and did that. I truly think Jon was "just getting warmed up now" and would have been happy to play a few more songs, but alack and alas I will have to wait until tonight.

So, up next is the Best Buy show. Yet another teaser -- I think it's only 90 minutes. Ahh, but for $50 you can't beat that. Don't even ask how much I just spent on MSG tickets ... lordy! One slightly used, bruised kidney available for immediate purchase! :-)

P.S. Forgot to mention that Richie's mom was the next row over from me. She was standing and singing and dancing the whole time. It was great to see her and she's always so gracious with fans. Thanks, Mrs. Sambora!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ahhh...Record Release Week

Happy Monday!! Ok...normally, I would not be so enthused about the start of the week, but this isn't just any week is it? It's Bon Jovi record release week! :-)

Now admittedly, it's not like we're getting anything particularly new with this release - for it is a Greatest Hits compliation and a few songs that we've all already heard via planned "leaks" by et al.'s always an exciting time. And an exhausting one too. Blame Jon Bon Jovi. My schedule for the next few days:

Monday - "One Night Only" at AMC 42nd Street with my JoviGirls
Tuesday - Letterman webcast show from the Ed Sullivan Theatre (a huge thank you to Backstage with Jon Bon Jovi, Matt and Rob for getting us in!!)
Wednesday - the Best Buy (aka Nokia) Theater show
Friday - Today Show (ugh, early morning)

So, stay tuned for recaps of these events. I'll be tweeting from Letterman if possible ... you can follow me at BigAppleJovi on Twitter. :)

It feels good to be back in JoviMode as I have been in serious JukesMode for the past couple of months.

Speaking of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, I took a quick trip up to Niagara Falls to catch their show at the Seneca Casino on Friday. Ok, quick would not be the most accurate word ... not even close! Nine hours each way on the train (hell, in that amount of time I could have flown back to EUROPE!)

In any case, it was worth every minute. There is nothing like seeing one of your favorite bands when they are firing on all cylinders. And that's what we got on Friday. Welcoming back bass player extraordinaire John Conte (you JoviNuts might remember that he played the Starland show) it was just one of those nights when all the pieces fit in place ... including some classic funny happenings on stage (flying sneakers, flying money, flying mic stands.) Also bought my 19th (to the best of my recollection) copy of Pills & Ammo ... I swear I am single-handedly putting their kids thru college. ROFLMAO

But seriously people, if you love good music and want to have a great time, simply go to a Jukes show. (that picture of Southside is one of my all-time faves ... courtesy of Tisha ... I mean, Tasha LOL! ... I think??)

And, if you have never been up to see Niagara Falls, I highly recommend it! I will admit, at first I was thinking "it's just water, right? How exciting could it be?" WRONG! It was breath-taking. Wish I would have had more time there.

...the rapids...

...both Falls (American, close and Horseshoe, far right)... view while having a cup of coffee...(that's a whole lotta water going on!)

I did take a walk across the border to Canada for breakfast and some great shots of the Horseshoe Falls but those are on the SD card I forgot at home. *duh* Anyhoo, it was a fabulous mini-vacation.

Okay folks...that's all for now. Til tomorrow. As Obie would say, "Rocketh On!"

P.S. The JoviEuroTour itinerary is set! It's gonna be Denmark, Scotland, England and Ireland. Can't wait to see Dublin! :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Jukes EuroTour Wrap-Up

Greetings friends ... hope this finds you all well.

So ... I never really finished my Europe trip did I?

Well, I'm going to do that now ... whether you want to hear about it or not! LOL

The last post talked a bit about our day in Bremen. I was so excited to have the opportunity to visit one of my best friend's home cities ... and what a blast we had!

One of our first stops was the cathedral (or "Bremer Dom") in the middle of the city. As an American, it's always amazing to explore places with such an incredibly long history. I live in such a young country. The cathedral was originally built in 805 I think and then restored after the war ... it's hard to even fathom how old that is! Imagine the stories those walls could tell!

We spent some time just walking around and decompressing a bit. We listened to the organ and lit a candle for a couple of dear people we'd lost. A very soothing and reflective visit. Just what we needed.

Just outside the cathedral I had my first glimpse of the Freimarkt festival. But first we had to get a picture with the "Town Musicians of Bremen" statue (based on the Brothers Grimm folktale.) Supposedly, touching the hooves will bring you good luck -- and being a musician myself, and having so many friends who are also musicians, I held on for dear life knowing we could use all the luck we could get!

We then stopped to listen to the Bremen Glockenspiel ... a system of porcelain bells strung between two roofs. Watch the rotating wooden panels that depict the "Conquerors of the Ocean". You can read all about it here ... it was VERY cool!! I could have stood there for hours.

By that point, it was definitely time to stop for a pretzel and some beer!

After that we headed to Schnoor -- the oldest part of Bremen. I absolutely loved it there ... all these tiny little streets and buildings, shops and cafes. Its exactly what I pictured "old Europe" to be ...

I was SO HAPPY that our friend Iris was able to take the train in to visit!! We have 'known' eachother online for quite some time but finally got to see eachother IN PERSON (here we are, with Rike in the middle.) :-)

We then headed over to the BIG Freimarkt celebration ... oh lordy!!!

So, I learned a couple of universal laws on this trip. First: that firemen in their gear in any country are sexy -- met an awfully nice-looking lot in Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Haha. And, second: no matter where you are, festival food is not healthy ... but tastes darn good! Here's how we tried to justify things ...

A Schaumkuss: this MUST be good for you ... it's just egg whites (dipped in chocolate) ... light and fluffy! Yumm!

And, its important to have protein right? So, how about some bratwurst!?

AND!! Did you know that beer has a ton of Vitamin B in it?! See?! Healthy!!

We really did have a fabulous time at the festival. Our trip to the biergarten is a story for another time ... oh ... and me trying to get these damn frogs onto the lilypads in this game ... oh the videos ... the girls have blackmail material for YEARS to come! Suffice it to say, it's not pretty when a type-A personality is taking on flying rubber frogs! LOL

Now, keeping in mind that all us girls met eachother because of our love of all (ok...most) things Jovi, we had to get this picture ...

...and look! We were even checking out venues they should play in Bremen! Jon Bon Jovi, you can play here.

I was sad to leave Bremen, but we still had one more Southside Johnny show before I had to fly back to NYC.

So, the next day (after I cleaned the city out of the new BJ 4-track maxi single with "What Do You Got?"...we don't do singles here in the States), we headed BACK to Holland on the bus. By the way, what is it with the Netherlands and rain?! LOL

My final show on this little excursion was in Groningen. In a recent interview, Johnny called this show "a disaster". Ok, it was definitely one of the rougher nights. The venue, though attractive, was absolutely atrocious in terms of sound. I was 10 feet away and couldn't hear Johnny at all. Tom was pounding his heart out on the drums and we couldn't hear him. All I heard was bass. It's frustrating to play in those conditions, even potentially dangerous from an over-playing standpoint. Add to that, there was the sadness many were feeling about the sudden passing of former Jukes drummer Louie Appel...Johnny's a cappella performance for him of "My Mother's Eyes" took our breath away.

I was happy, however, to hear them do "Lead Me On" which is hands-down my favorite track from Pills & Ammo -- but I really missed JK's harmonies on it. I sang them myself, not that anybody could hear me in that place! (Oh, and if you don't own Pills & Ammo by now, what is your problem!? I've been talking about it for MONTHS! LOL)

The crowd was really into it ... but I'm not sure the band could feel that given the "wet blanket" acoustics of the hall. I give those guys a lot of credit for forging ahead. And for the record, it wasn't me who yelled out a request for "Soul's on Fire" ... but I fully support it! :-)

So, that was it. Four nights. Four different cities. Three Southside shows. Countless laughs. And a few sad sighs. A helluva way to spend a long weekend.

It was great to meet so many friends I've only known online ... see you all in June 2011 when I'm back for UK JoviChaos. Hugs all around!!

P.S. If you missed any of the other posts, here are the links: Amsterdam, on our way to Melle, the show in Melle and a Bremen preview.

P.S.2. So, what's next? Well, we've got the "One Night Only" JoviMovie thing on Monday, the Best Buy show on Wednesday and the (ugh, I really hate early mornings) Today Show on Friday. But up first, a trip to Niagara Falls to see the Jukes...and the wheels keep on turning! :-)