Sunday, August 28, 2011

Forces of Nature Tour 2011

Greetings y'all ... hope you are well ... and safe. This whole Irene Hurricane/Tropical Storm has certainly walloped the East Coast of the U.S.

I've been on a road trip around the Northeast (nice timing, huh?) with my friend Tasha ... 4 Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes shows in 5 days basically. You can find my reviews, pictures, etc. over on Jukesnet.

But here are a few quick words on how things have gone so far...
1. War protest in Pittsfield, MA
2. Hurricane Emergency Kit ... beer and Slim Jims?
3. Kazee's Crossing Guard Service
4. Naked BBQ?!
5. Dog vs Pool

...and we're only halfway through the slew of shows! LOL

So follow these links to see what the heck I'm talking about:

Part 1: Pittsfield, MA
Part 2: Freeport, ME

Monday, August 22, 2011

Black and White in Living Color

note: we take a break from our regularly scheduled Jovi/Jukes ramblings for this special worries, I'll be back with more Jovistuff soon

I will admit it. I am quite addicted to (most) pianist/singer/songwriters. They’ve always resonated with me. Not quite sure why … maybe it’s because I can actually play the piano and I can’t play guitar. Seriously! I suck. And, what’s that about? I can play the frickin’ bassoon – which admittedly most people can’t – and yet, the “every man’s instrument” that the average bloke can at least decently strum while sitting around a campfire totally befuddles me!? Ugh. Ok … rant over. Moving on.

Back to the subject at hand.

Yes, they get me every time – those black and white keys - from Elton John to Michael Feinstein, Billy Joel to Barry Manilow (oh, be quiet … they’re good songs!) And then there’s the “newer” generation of pianist/songwriters … like the fabulous (and quite adorable) Gavin DeGraw.

But today I’m writing about one of my new favorite artists. I was introduced to Jon Regen through the Jukes' Jeff Kazee (yet another pianist/singer/songwriter.)

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve seen me posting about Jon Regen’s new album, REVOLUTION. In a stroke of brilliance, he started streaming the yet-to-be-released cd in its entirety on his website sometime back. What a great thing! How often do you have the opportunity to listen to a full record before buying it? I liked the concept because it’s usually the obscure track (rather than the single) that you end up falling in love with … right?

So after listening to it for a few weeks, I finally sent Jon a message asking when exactly I could buy it so that I could finally turn my computer off. Being the nice guy he is, he immediately drops a signed copy in the mail to me. Yay! Now, I could have “One Part Broken, Two Parts Blue” on constant repeat! (When you buy the album, you will, too. Trust me.)

Born in New Jersey (what is it with me and Jersey musicians?! haha), to me, Regen’s music really just captures the feel of New York City so well. It's this great mix of jazz and pop, a beautiful way with words (check out "Spirits of the Soul" *sigh*) and a groove that just gets into you.

Gotta love that line: You hold me close then you push me away...there's a doctor you should see about your split personality. :-)

So, in short I'm telling you ... go buy this album. Period. Right here ... click right here.

And if you live in/near NYC, join me at The Blue Note on September 12th for the cd release show. You know how to reach me ... @bigapplejen on twitter.

P.S. And well, since I did mention Gavin DeGraw… if you haven’t heard his new single “Not Over You” where have you been? It’s all over the radio. His new album is coming out in September as well. Yay! Check out this great acoustic version with him and Billy Norris. Glad to hear Gavin is recovering well and looking forward to seeing him back on the road.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Not Just Another Walk in the Park

Greetings friends! Sorry for the delay ... I've been looking for my writing mojo for the past couple of weeks now. If anyone sees it, please send it back my way. :-/

Regardless of my inability to string together words these days, I figured I better just keep plugging along or I'll be still writing about the Bon Jovi UK trip from June while I'm packing for the Jukes UK trip in October!

Anyhoo, on to Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park.

It seemed that everyone and their brother was coming to this show and it was fantastic to meet up with so many friends - from the Netherlands to Italy to Australia to Germany. Though entry was a bit of a disaster (NOT the fault of the fan club, but the local security who had no clue/care what the process was) I was lucky to get a spot in the third-ish row surrounded by some absolutely AMAZING ladies from the UK.

(don't forget! you can always click on the pictures to make them larger)

(yeah, that white arrow in front of Jon's mic stand ... that would be me!)

I will not lie. It was a long day. I hadn't really slept well since I arrived and was still quite sick at this point (as could be told from my food intake for the day, which consisted of three french fries and four cough drops.)

But, the weather was absolutely gorgeous and the sun was shining ... good thing, because the red jacket just isn't right without the Michael Jackson sunglasses (sorry, Jonny ... it's growing on me ... really it is. LOL)

But, before we get to Jovi, I must mention that helping the day to move along, we were treated to several other artists prior to "our boys" coming on stage -- including Vintage Trouble (who was the support act for every show I saw) and the legendary Ray Davies, among others. But, the artist that really grabbed me was an American guitarist/singer/songwriter named Lissie.

I'm looking forward to checking out her stuff a bit interesting mix of folk and rock...and definitely that "indie" spirit.

So, eventually Bon Jovi took the stage. By now, most of you have seen videos of the show, the special that VH1 Classic did on the event or listened to the live radio broadcast (either that night or since.) Therefore, you already know that it was a spectacular night. The crowd was fantastic ... of course it helped that you had all the fan club members together right at the front, which simply created this incredible singing force! :-)

And for a guy who was very much in need of knee surgery, Jon Bon Jovi was running around that stage, jumping and "dancing" (haha) for a good three hours. Richie's solos were on fire, Tico was pounding as hard as I've ever heard and David was ruling the keys with his blond curls blowing in the breeze. In some ways it felt like the Lost Highway Central Park show ... on steroids. LOL

Here are just a few of the ridiculous number of pictures I took during the show ...

...the great Ray Davies (if you watch the VH1 Classic footage, you can see our friend @DavidsRosie rocking it out in the front row! Yay!)

...I never get tired of this shot...

...or this one...

...and the photo master, David Bergman, at work...

...and the guitar master at work... of the absolute best moments of the night..."Hey God!" ...enough said... ELECTRIC performance of "Keep The Faith"

Hey, Hugh...don't hide back there!

..ahhh, there he is!

Honestly, I haven't thoroughly reviewed the photos from the second half of the show, but flipping through, this one stood out for sure! Loved that vest, Richie!

Richie really was just incredible that night ...

...and Jon is right...that opening from Tico is all it takes. Speaking of Tico, a few shot of the elusive one ...

...they did play right up until the curfew or within the few minutes after (when they won't be paying hundreds of thousands in fines)...

...but even an amazing night like this one had to eventually come to an end...

I can't really describe the whole experience -- but it felt like you were part of history in some way. It is definitely a night I will never forget - watching a band I absolutely love along with my friends (both old and new) in a gorgeous setting on a perfect summer evening. *sigh*

Well, perfect until you try to get 65,000-plus people out of a park! But, that's a story for another time. LOL

I still have a lot to cover of my trip - there's Bristol and the two Dublins! So, come back ... I promise it won't be so long until the next post. *wink*