Monday, January 17, 2011

Put Me In (Cold), I'm Ready to Play Today

*blog title sung to the tune of "Centerfield" by John Fogerty*

Greetings friends! Hope this finds you well and enjoying a great start to the new year.

I wasn't going to post for a while, but I just simply had to talk a little about Friday night. I will keep it brief ... ok ... probably not.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was very much looking forward to the return to the stage of the Early Elton Trio. Having had a less-than-lovely week, I was counting the hours until the start of the show. So, after a completely unproductive Friday afternoon at the office, I headed over to Rockwood Hall. (For those of you who have seen Lorenza Ponce at The Living Room, Rockwood is basically down the block and around the corner.)

After a quick stop at Sugar Cafe for a cup of coffee, I went and got in line. As a Jovigirl, I have no problem with lining up early, but it was frickin' FREEZING outside. I honestly thought I would never get the feeling back in my fingers and toes again! (I am so not looking forward to the parking lot at Starland for Jon Bon Jovi & Friends later this month. #justsaying)

The last time I saw EE, they were playing BB King's so to see them in a much more intimate space was a real treat. It is a split-level venue with only a few tables downstairs close to the stage and mostly standing room. My friend and I were lucky to snag bar stools with a clear view of the piano keyboard ... a MUST for me.

Musicians must learn to perform in whatever environment they are thrown into. Sometimes it's an ideal situation (like Carnegie Hall) ... sometimes ... well ... it's not (for example, playing Haydn 'Creation' in the middle of the Amazon Jungle in Peru. No joke. That's a story for another time, though.)

In the case of Jeff, John and Rich, they had no time in the venue Friday prior to the show. Add to it that, for pianists, they are obligated to play whatever is rolled out in front of them. (Luckily, this seemed to be a pretty decent Steinway.) Add to that, it was like 15 degrees outside and everyone's hands were cold. After just a few minutes of getting some general sound levels and having (as Jeff described it) a "blind date" introduction to the piano, they launched the show with this:

Pretty incredible, huh?

...and then they just kept playing...and singing...and playing...and singing.

All-in-all they played a 1.5 hour set that included better-known songs like Levon, Take Me to the Pilot and Country Comfort (which I always want to call Southern Comfort. LOL) as well as deeper cuts like My Father's Gun. But the highlight of the night for me was an out-of-this-world performance of Madman Across the Water. You can find it on YouTube here ... which is great ... but experiencing it live. Lordy! It left me speechless (and y'all know me ... that is quite a feat!)

Of course, I've seen Jeff Kazee and John Conte play quite a bit (ok, A LOT) as they are both Jukes. Rich Pagano is best known as the drummer for The Fab Faux, but like the others, does a ton of other work. All three can really sing. All three can really play. Listen to this! (Oh, and don't miss Conte's super-cool lick at 4:17 ...)

Then, they followed that with Grey Seal! I honestly don't know how Kazee's hand didn't literally fall off. I am thinking that arm/hand massage gift certificates are going to be his favorite Christmas and birthday gifts. LOL

With the new website and an announcement that they will be playing later in the year in Hempstead, NY, I'm excited that I will be able to see them perform again soon. If you are in the tri-state area I highly recommend you catch their show.

Well, that's all for now folks. Until later ...

p.s. Videos courtesy of Marc M. who recorded just about the whole show. THANKS MARC! Chocolates are on the way!

p.s.2. Also, be sure to visit the Early Elton Trio's facebook page.