Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rose Trees CAN Grow in New York City

Happy Thursday friends! ...oh and since this is the first post of 2011, Happy New Year! etc. etc. etc.

Well, the year certainly kicked off with a bang ... aka Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes NYE show at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ. I really love that venue ... so many amazing memories over the years. Any of us who had the privilege of attending the Bon Jovi Christmas shows or Bobby Bandiera's Hope concerts there feels the same way I'm sure.

Historically, January and February are two of the slowest months in terms of performance activity. But not this year! The next several weeks look to be incredibly crazy, starting with the Jukes tomorrow night at HighLine Ballroom and ending with the Jon Bon Jovi & Friends show at Starland at the end of the month. And, let's not even discuss February/early March when the many-legged Jovi Centipede Tour struts thru the Northeast.

But for me, the highlight of the month is definitely Jeff Kazee/John Conte/Rich Pagano doing their "Early Elton Trio" show. The first (and actually only) time I've seen them was last March and I've been hoping/begging/praying for another performance ever since. (Note to Maestro Kazee: Sorry for all the cyber-nagging ... well ... not really that sorry.)

Anyhoo, why did I love this show so much?

First off, it's just excellent music. I mean, seriously ... how can you NOT love "Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters"? I don't know ... maybe I have a special affection for that song because I live in NYC. Or maybe because the lyrics feel representative of (my) life -- some paradoxical mix of resignation and optimism. *sigh* Whatever the reason, I can't wait to hear the guys do that one.
And now I know
Spanish Harlem are not just pretty words to say
I thought I knew
But now I know that rose trees never grow in New York City
This Broadway's got
It's got a lot of songs to sing
If I knew the tunes I might join in
I'll go my way alone
Grow my own, my own seeds shall be sown in New York City
--Elton John/Bernie Taupin
Secondly, I love to see (good) musicians doing what they love. And, you're talking some awesome talent. By the way, if you ever want to experience true kick-ass bass playing, just go to a Jukes show and listen to John Conte tear it up on "Trapped Again." #justsaying

I think it is important to say that I am not a fan of impersonators and this show is definitely NOT that. We aren't talking fake personalities and questionable costumes (no! the guys actually dress that way 'normally' LOL) ... we're just talking great songs written by great artists performed by great musicians. So, there you have it: beauty can grow in New York City.

Here's the guys at work...

Also, check out their performance of Amoreena.

I will certainly be there. If you live in/near NYC, hopefully you can join me. Here are the details:

Friday, January 14th at 8:30pm
Early Elton Trio
Rockwood Music Hall
196 Allen Street
Tickets: $12 advance/$15 day of (really, $12?! that's sacrilegious ... worth SO much more!)

Have questions? Need directions? Feel free to contact me at

p.s. also at Rockwood later in February (2/19) is Outside the Box, a good young band from the Jersey Shore (the real Jersey Shore if you catch my drift)...the 1am start time is a killer, though. I'm getting too old for this!