Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New (Sorta) Music Alert!

Happy Tuesday y'all! Seriously?! ...it's only Tuesday?! The fact that Opening Day is right around the corner (GO YANKEES!) is the only thing getting me thru the week ... oh, and that Friday is a Southside Johnny show. :-)

Speaking of the Jukes ... just wanted to give you a heads-up that Jeff Kazee (of Jukes and Jovi fame) recently made his 1998 album "No River" available on iTunes. A great collection of original songs, I've had this CD for a few years now and listen to it on an almost daily basis.

To me, there's a straight-forwardness to the songs and this fabulously ironic mix of optimism and sadness which keeps me coming back to them. And regardless of the fact it was issued over a decade ago, it really doesn't feel dated in the least. Standout tracks include She Can't Stand Me, Give, Real Thing and my personal favorite She Could've Been Mine (who knew that a simple octave jump could be so catchy and effective? ...listen to the chorus, you'll understand.)

I am hoping that Jeff makes the liner notes available (originally only published online, I believe) because he has a great way with words (well, he is a songwriter afterall LOL) Here's his intro to the album:
As if writing, recording, and throwing out a bunch of songs
onto the unsuspecting public isn't self-involved enough, I now
present a few liner notes concerning my 10 little punks that
reside on the No River recording. Basically I was trying to
catch a couple of real pivotal years in my life, change a few
names, make up a lot of stuff, channel my feelings, and
turn all of it into Popstuff.
Now, with notes as honest as that, doesn't it make you want to check out the album?

Go HERE to purchase.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Secret?

Just a quick post ... for those who haven't seen this yet. You know that Nike slogan, right? Well, this is what "it" is all about!

Soul Kitchen from Soul Kitchen on Vimeo.

For more information, visit wwww.jbjsoulkitchen.org.

p.s. I'll be back soon with more tales and pictures from the road. Jukes in Collingswood, NJ is up next. :-)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Going Global...

Greetings from soggy New York City. "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down" ... so rainy day PLUS Monday makes for an introspective morning.

I have always held the belief that music is the universal language and ultimate healer. It has a way of bringing people together like no other. It can get you thru the best of times, but more importantly the most difficult of times.

Like everyone else, the people of Japan and the incomprehensible challenges that they are facing have been weighing on my mind ... a lot. I don't know, maybe it's because I'm a Jovifan and there has been such a long and wonderful relationship between Bon Jovi and that country that it has hit many of us so hard. It is because of the band that I have friends there in the first place ... as I have in other parts of the world -- from Christchurch (where they are still reeling from their own disaster) to Berlin, Vancouver to Santiago. It really is an incredible thing, the Jovi family (complete with moments of utter dysfunction. LOL) Ya know, I was thinking ... heck, if each of the 10 million BJ fans on facebook made even a $1 donation, imagine the impact that could have! By the way, if you can donate, please check out this site for various options.

So I wanted to put together a mini-tribute to the band's great history in Japan. FYI: Every Jovifan owes a huge debt to Wowow TV and Burnn magazine. Period. Years and years of great coverage.

...ok, possibly the best vocal performance by Jon Bon Jovi anywhere, anytime, any song over the last 27+ years *sigh* (Yokohama)

...Lost Highway tour (Tokyo) ...

I love this one -- Jon actually messes up the the words a little in the opening of the second verse ... but it certainly doesn't alter the sentiment. :) (Bounce Tour, Club Zepp) ...

Living on a Prayer? Yes.

But not just one prayer -- the prayers of many, many people.

I will be back later this week with more pictures, concert goodies, etc.

Until then, be well.

p.s. I didn't even realize while I was typing this post, a message from JBJ to his Japanese fans and friends was being circulated. :-) I haven't seen it yet (blocked at the office) but as soon as I get home ...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Big Finale ... (part 1)

warning: this could be long and rambling ... sorry

Hello all. Well, after getting some grief (in jest) from friends about the fact that I hadn't wrapped up the chaos that was February and early March, here I am to do just that! :-) #WillY'allShutUpNow LOL

Anyhoo, so when I last wrote, I was about to talk about the Mohegan Sun show. Geez, what can I say? That I was a bit sick of getting on a frickin' bus by this point? Oyyy. That the show kicked off with a fabulous set by Lorenza Ponce? That it was the best set list I've experienced in quite some time? That we had a blast staying up until the wee hours of the morning laughing and drinking? Ok ... that works! :-)

There was NO WAY my friend S and I were going to miss Lorenza in Connecticut...so nothing made me happier than to have the opportunity to sit in the friends and family section on her big night and cheer her on ... quite loudly, as my seat neighbor would attest. Hehe. I even wore my lucky concert shirt for her ... (those who know me are VERY familiar with that shirt. LOL)

When you think about how much has happened in the short time between the release of Soul Shifter and now, it really is remarkable. So, Lorenza and her great young band of Andy, Zach, Brett and Greg took the stage just before 8pm, playing a slightly longer set than is usual for an opening act (yay!) We were lucky to get quite a few songs from her album (like my favorite Testify), as well as some great covers ...

We had a great time backstage between her set and when Bon Jovi was due to take the stage. Having already seen the set list for the night (as she was playing on a number of songs), I totally cut Lorenza off from telling me what was on it. I NEVER want to know beforehand. Luckily, my friend C doesn't feel the same way because she was sitting 2nd row in the pit and likes to record (her videos from that night are breathtaking!)

By now, everyone has seen the set list. When the band opened with Radio Saved My Life, we knew it was going to be special. But then to get Wild In the Streets (FINALLY! Don't think I've heard that since Giants on the HAND tour, maybe???), I Got the Girl, the gorgeous acoustic version of Superman Tonight, Living in Sin, Raise Your Hands, Thorn in My Side ... and then, there was, of course, this little gem ...

I yelled. I screamed. I cried. (Ok ... almost cried.) S and I just looked at eachother and shook our heads in disbelief ... then sang EVERY WORD .... VERY LOUDLY! We were all in shock that Jon Bon Jovi had actually given in and did a "European set list" in the U.S.

Here are a few pictures from that night ...

Thinking about it some more ... I just HAVE to include the video for Thorn in My Side ... Jonny's been practicin' LOL ... duo starts around 3:30 ... *sigh*

Okay ... yes ... the show was on the shorter side (damn casino curfews) ... but quality over quantity was definitely the right way to go! After the show, a bunch of us girls hit Michael Jordan's Steak House for the healthiest of post-concert meals -- espresso martinis, truffle oil fries, lobster mac and cheese ... you get the idea, right?

S and I finally fell into bed around 4:00am. But, couldn't sleep long, right? For the next day was ... again ... Bon Jovi Day!

Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows how much I take the bus. So, you can imagine my sheer delight when my dear friend JerzyJovi called and said "get off the bus, we're coming to get you!" YAY! ...okay, it was a little mean though that I had to sit in the car the whole way back smelling the half-baked Mystic Pizza (yes, as in the movie Mystic Pizza) that she was bringing back for her family. LOL

In any case, we made it home just in time to get ready for MSG 3. The fun that never ends! Admittedly, after the dream show in Mohegan and the marathon show at MSG 2, I wasn't expecting much out of this show. It was a good, solid show ... well, except for that little sound problem (hmmm...twice in one week...wonder what's going on there!) and I'm sure as much as Jon tried to shrug it off (seriously, sh*t happens ... it's live performance), he couldn't have been too pleased this happened in Madison Square Garden.

So ... even though I had taken so many pictures in the previous shows, it didn't seem to dissuade me from taking just a few more. Come back later ... cuz those pictures are up next!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Message to My Beloved Jukes


Date: Today
To: Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes
From: BAJG


As you are all finalizing your bracket picks for the NCAA, it is time for a REAL unveiling of picks ... my Jukes 40-song set list request for my 40th (shut up!) birthday in April.

Figured I would give y'all enough time to (warning: curse word alert!) ... rehearse.

But, look! ... I was nice ... only a few of them (note asterisks) are non-negotiable. Hehe.

So, heads-up to "the suits" ... hope you're ready for overtime charges in Collingswood. :-)

Part 1:
Coming Back
Broke Down Piece of Man
Take It Inside
Walk Away Renee
Don't Call Me Baby*
I Won't Sing*
Into the Harbour*
Lead Me On*
Soul's on Fire*
anything sung by Kazee*
Without Love
Love on the Wrong Side of Town
This Time Baby's Gone for Good
You're My Girl
Talk to Me
It's Been a Long Time
Light Don't Shine
One More Night to Rock

Part 2:
This Time It's for Real
Heartbreak City
Cross That Line
Tired Skin
Shiver Me Timbers*
Gladly Go Blind
Trapped Again
Leaving Behind
Some Things Just Don't Change*
A Place Where I Can't Be Found*
Woke Up This Morning
Livin' with the Blues
Better Days
Thank You
All I Want is Everything
I Don't Want to Go Home
We're Having a Party
Hearts of Stone

...There you have it. My birthday Jukes show ... and @Zoe211's first show!

p.s. in truth, Don't Call Me Baby, Soul's on Fire and/or I Won't Sing would probably do it for me ... but a girl can dream, right? :-)

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Greetings friends! I received some great news today that I was chosen as a MEMPHIS Super-Fan (which I would be ... regardless of a title! ... but HONORED that they think so. LOL) ...

As such, they are having a contest to help spread the word ... simply go to THIS LINK and sign up for the newsletter (if you already have signed up, do it again ... just in case hehe)

Y'all know how much I do LOVE this musical and the incredible people who have brought it to life! (I do have pictures somewhere with both David Bryan and Joe DiPietro ... I should find them ... soon.)

It's been an amazing ride so far ...

- May 2009 - Upright Cabaret Features MEMPHIS at Joe's Pub

- September 2009 - Opening Night of Previews

- April 2010 - Chad, Montego and Joe Do Live Webcast

- April 2010 - Cast CD Signing at Barnes & Noble

- May 2010 - MEMPHIS in the Morning

- June 2010 - THE (frickin!) TONY AWARDS
Part 1 (pre-ceremony)
Part 2 (David and Joe)
Part 3 (Best Musical!)

- June 2010 - First Post-Tony Performance

- August 2010 - MEMPHIS at Joe's Pub

...and I'm sure there are many more memories to make...for example, MEMPHIS in Chicago in November :-) ... and I'm thinking I just might need to take a trip to Memphis for MEMPHIS when it opens there (I believe in October???)

Anyhoo, thanks for all your support ... AND DON'T FORGET TO SIGN UP ... CLICK THIS LINK!

Monday, March 7, 2011

And Continuing On...

Going forward with the recap of the last week or so (part 1 is here), we come to a great night at the famous Iridium Jazz Club. The club, best known for the regular Monday night jam sessions by legendary guitarist Les Paul, is a tiny venue with decent food, unfortunately way-overpriced drinks, but almost always awesome music. And for you Jovinuts, if you go there ... be sure to check out the nice quote from Richie Sambora on the wall.

Alas, there was no jazz on the menu Wednesday night ... just a whole lot of good rock-n-roll with a healthy side of soul. If you liked the recent Jon Bon Jovi & Friends Starland show in January, you'd love the NYC Hit Squad gig. Made up of some crack musicians (no, not musicians on crack a la Charlie Sheen ... sorry ... I had to ... inside joke) including Ricky Byrd (guitarist for Joan Jett), the fabulous Christine Ohlman (from the Saturday Night Live band), Billy Joel drummer Liberty DeVitto, the great Jeff Kazee (who y'all know already) as well as Muddy Shews (bass), Chris Anderson (trumpet) and (this time) John Isley (saxophone), it's always a night of "oh I LOVE that song!"

Some of my favorites from the set were Hold On, I'm Coming, CC Rider, Soothe Me, I'm Looking for a Love and Tell The Truth (Who's Been Foolin' You?) as well as outstanding performances by Christine on The Shangri-Las "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" and Jeff Kazee's great cover of Van Morrison's "Domino".

Though the lighting wasn't quite optimal, I did find a way to snap a few pictures (but, of course! LOL)

...funnyman Ricky Byrd (who was, by the way, super-hooked on the whole Charlie Sheen debacle LOL)...

...the ever-hip Christine Ohlman...

...there was some incredible playing and the most soulful singing by Jeff Kazee ...

...and y'all recognize this Juke right? Cool Cat Chris Anderson ...

...and here, along with John Isley and Jeff Kazee...

It really was a fun night with good friends and great music ...

As weird as it was to miss Jon Bon Jovi's birthday show in Philly that night, the NYC Hit Squad only plays a couple of times a year as they are all busy with other work so I just HAD to go. (No worries. I did leave Jon a birthday message via phone telling him exactly where I was and inviting him down for a birthday drink after his show if he so desired.) Anyhoo, if you are ever in NYC when the Hit Squad is playing, definitely check them out. You WILL have fun ... guaranteed.

Oh, and trust me ... any regrets I could have had (which I didn't) regarding missing Philly, were certainly blown away just two days later by the now infamous "uberfan setlist show" at Mohegan Sun on Friday.

I was going to just continue on, but I think that night really DOES deserve its own post. But, here is a sneak peek of what's to come ...

...Lorenza Ponce and Her Kick Ass Band ...

...backstage: Lorenza Ponce and Her Kick Ass FANS hehe ...

...the most gorgeous acoustic version of Superman Tonight...

... and then, well, you know what happened in the encore, right? ... *insert sinister laugh here*

Well, a bottle of merlot and the rest of Keith Richards' book is calling me. So, until later my friends ...


Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Give Up (part 1)

Greetings Jovinuts, Jukesnuts ... and those that are just nuts in general!

Okay...well, so much has happened over the last week in terms of concerts that my mind is befuddled by all the details. So, I give up! Rather than cover each event with individual posts, I'm just going to do a quasi-improvisatory, stream-of-consciousness, write-it-as-it-comes type of blog post. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. And, I know y'all just come for the pictures, anyway. ROFL

Anyhoo, this is why I'm all crazed:

Thursday 2/24 - Bon Jovi MSG 1
Friday 2/25 - Bon Jovi MSG 2
Saturday 2/26 - Southside Johnny in Montclair
Sunday 2/27 - Bon Jovi in Washington, DC
Wednesday 3/2 - NYC Hit Squad at Iridium
Friday 3/4 - Lorenza Ponce and Bon Jovi at Mohegan Sun (#HolyMaryMotherOfAllSetlists)
Saturday 3/5 - Bon Jovi at MSG

Yeah ... that just about sums up the chaos. I already wrote a bit about that first duo of Bon Jovi MSG shows, so I'll just jump into the Southside show...

All Was Well in Wellmont
So, as if back-to-back nights at Madison Square Garden wasn't exciting enough, they were followed by a much-anticipated Saturday night in Montclair, NJ with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.

I had been looking forward to this show for quite some time, knowing that many of my friends in town for Jovi were going to be attending as well. After meeting up near Port Authority, a few of us girls (including a couple of the crazy Gs who were part of my EuroTour adventure) boarded a bus to New Jersey. #AlwaysAnAdventureWithBAJG (lordy I spend a lot of time on buses in the name of music! *rolls eyes*)

After some slightly anxious moments (seems the bus driver wasn't too keen on telling anybody where the bus stops are ... we were just supposed to know by osmosis!) we eventually make it to the venue with plenty of time for the girls to shop for merchandise and for me to catch up with my Jukes family. In relation to many of my fellow Jukians (Juke-ites? Juke-osos?), I came pretty late to the party. Nonetheless, I have made some great friends amongst the gang and shows are always a blast when we are all together.

I had never been to the Wellmont so I really didn't know what to expect ... the venue was fine, though not crazy about all the concrete within the hall itself (which can wreak havoc on acoustics.) As for the show, in usual Southside Johnny fashion, it was ... well ... unique. WONDERFULLY unique. It is no surprise to regular readers of this blog how much I adore the Jukes - the music, the guys, the spontaneity, the chaos. Never a dull moment ... there was a gorgeous off-the-cuff performance of Up On the Roof, amusing stage banter between Johnny and Kazee, a special guest appearance by Outside the Box keyboard player Mark Masefield, a fantastic cover of Loving Cup by Kazee and a show-ending performance of Hearts of Stone, dedicated to my friend T from Atlanta (a fellow JoviJukesGirl.)

I may have gone a little overboard on the whole picture-taking thing ... I ended up with about 4,000 images. *bows head in shame* But, I can justify it! Jukesfans don't take pictures like Jovinuts do. There isn't as much out there ... I'm single-handedly taking care of that! LOL

Here are some of my faves...

...Southside always wears his heart on his sleeve on stage...

...trumpet player extraordinaire Chris Anderson...

...Jeff Kazee, keeping it all together and moving along...

...and Tom pounding out the beat...

...Jeff and Mark Masefield... (p.s. you should check out OTB's site and listen to their songs. Suddenly Saturday and Silenced the Radio are favorites of mine! Suddenly Saturday has one of the catchiest choruses I've heard in a while.)

...Neal Pawley on trombone...

...quintessential Johnny...

Okay...I better move on given the number of pictures I COULD post of the Jukes. Needless to say, there is no longer a shortage of images. ROFLMAO

So, what was up next? Oh yeah ...

Mr. Bongiovi and the Boys Go to Washington
I always end up going to the DC show, regardless of the "DC curse" that has existed for years. It just happens that the DC show is usually after a big show in either New York or Philadelphia, and as such that show is a bit more lackluster than others. Of course when you are talking Jovi, you are still talking an incredibly high level of performance anyway. Nonetheless, the set list was exactly as I expected. Probably I could have skipped this show, but I'd promised a dear, dear friend of mine that I would take him to his first Jovi concert ever. He loved it ... and got to hear his favorite song off The Circle album (Work for the Working Man.) I got a great dinner and sangria out of it ... and was able to play hooky and work out of my firm's Washington office on Monday. So, in the end, not so bad.

Of course, I took a few pictures ...

...Jon's Mick Jagger impersonation (though in this shot, looks more like the funky chicken. LOL)...

...Richie and Hugh...

...one of my favorites from this show...

...have I mentioned that I love this guitar? (I know...two or three hundred times hehe)...

...Jon's "dance moves" up on the platforms during WGIGO...

...Keep the Faith...

Well, like all good things ... this blog post needs to come to an end at some point. So, until next time (NYC Hit Squad, Mohegan and MSG3) ... ciao for now!

p.s. no worries if you wanted more pictures ... I will be doing some random "images only" posts as I go through the nearly 10,000 pictures I took in the last two weeks. :-)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Now THAT'S What We're Talkin' About!

So, Friday night at Madison Square Garden. Geez, what can I say?

It was one of those nights that fans live and breathe for -- that perfect combination of a band at the very top of its game, in a legendary venue, doing a never-ending set of your favorite songs (ok, well a number of your favorite songs. LOL)

There was an expectation that night two in Madison Square Garden was going to blow night one away. But, I'm not sure anybody (except for our fearless leader Jon Bon Jovi) knew just how special it was going to be. I have the feeling he was determined to make a significant statement right there in the center of the universe. An epic show that people would be talking about for some time to come ... yeah, that is a nice way to take on The Big Apple.

Up until the encore set, I still thought the show was just a truly good show. The band was considerably tighter than the night before and firing on all cylinders. Transitions between songs were seamless. Every guy on stage was in the moment. Even when they came back on stage and started Dry County, I thought, "ok...not a huge surprise" BUT when they just kept playing ... and playing ... and playing ... When Jon told Tico to sit on down cuz they weren't done yet ... THAT'S when I think the "OH.MY.GOD." realization hit everyone.

With the crowd cheering them on, Bon Jovi ended up doing eight songs in the encore set Friday night. Not sure when was the last time THAT happened. Don't shoot me, but I still don't think it beats that MSG HAND show ... but it was darn close.

As an aside: As Jon kept calling out song after song, I couldn't help but have this HUGE smile on my face. It seemed like Jon was right and "the harder I worked, the luckier I got." I had worked my a$$ off for months to buy those 2nd row tickets ... teaching dozens of extra card classes, spending every free hour working on designs and cutting paper, climbing up and down 5 flights of stairs with all my class materials. It was worth every minute of it. :-)

Well, at some point the evening did have to come to a close. And end it did ... with Just Older. Did you notice that as the more we approached today (Happy Birthday Jonny!) the more that song has shown up in the set list? Hehe. I hear ya, Jon ... I'm having some issues of my own with the whole turning FORTY thing. I really don't feel that old ... well, except after four concerts in four days. But, "It's Alright!" LOL.

It was so great to see so many friends during those two NYC shows -- from Europe, the UK, South America and all across the United States. I know everybody both on the fan club trip and not had a fabulous time because THAT is what Bon Jovi is about ... bringing people together from all around the world.

...oh, before I forget ... yet MORE pictures from that night ...

I love the look on Richie's face ...

He really proved to be Superman that night ...

So close ... yet so far away LOL

Sing it, David!

Yeah, Jon ... it's me ... again ...

I do really love that guitar ...

...and Tico, the one who keeps it all together ...

...my sentiments, EXACTLY! ...

Okay, that's all for now. Yes, I still have many more pictures to go thru. Not sure what I'm supposed to do with all of them now, but ...

Anyhoo, next up on the blog is Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes at Wellmont (one FANTASTIC night) ... and next up in my concert life is the NYC Hit Squad at Iridium tonight. To all those going to JBJ's birthday show in Philly, have fun and sing loud! :-)

Ciao for now ...