Monday, December 24, 2012

Life + Music = Hope

"...When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No I won't be afraid
Oh, I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me..."
Ben E. King

The healing power of music is undeniable.

Many, MANY of you reading this knew DavidsRosie. We are all still reeling from the news of her sudden passing at the age of 38 from a heart attack. She was a bright, positive light in an often chaotic and unfeeling world. Maybe it was because she gave so much of her heart that it wore out too soon. But, she wouldn't have wanted it any other way. She lived her life with such joy and she shared that laughter, enthusiasm and love with everybody she met. Her absence next tour will be felt by all. I especially send prayers of strength to her children and to her tourbuddy, Annette. xoxo

So, last night -- with the hope that some music could help soothe my sad soul -- I headed to the Hope VI concert in Red Bank, NJ. I've attended this show almost every year and it never fails to put me in the holiday spirit. And this year, with the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy, it seemed everyone in the theater was longing for that boost of optimism.

With performances by Jon Bon Jovi, Southside Johnny, Gary US Bonds, the incomparable Ben E. King and a band of nearly every Jersey Shore musician I know, led by Bobby Bandiera, it was 2.5 hours of unbridled fun. Exactly what we needed.

Jon Bon Jovi
Jon Bon Jovi (with David Bryan on keys) was on quite early in the line-up. His presence clearly energized the crowd as he sang Blue Christmas, Run Run Rudolph, The Letter and Who Says You Can't Go Home. As much as I deride the constant playing of that song, I can't deny its effect on people (yes, even me) because don't we all sometimes just want to hear "it's alright"?

After some great performances by members of the band (including favorites Layonne Holmes, Ray Andersen and Bob Burger), out comes Ben E. King..truly one of the greats of all-time. I loved Southside coming out to sing back-up on This Magic Moment, Spanish Harlem and Under the Boardwalk (#JerseyStrong, baby!) 

Ben E. King and Southside
Next up was Gary Bonds, who always "brings it." I have been to so many concerts where Gary is a guest artist and he brings down the house. Southside joined him for an absolutely raucous version of Hold On, I'm Coming.

Then, Southside did his set. I love this man. End of story.

Perfect for the occasion, Johnny opened with Better Days (I once again reiterate, if you do not own this album, your music collection is seriously lacking.) He continued with I Don't Want to Go Home (none of us did, by the way), This Time It's For Real, Hearts of Stone and Talk To Me. He sounded fantastic. He was having a great time..and so were we.

And, for a while, we almost forgot the pain and turmoil of the past year. The power of music.

This was basically Jersey's version of the 12.12.12 concert..and with a MUCH better ending -- everybody on stage singing Stand By Me, led by Ben E. King (and Southside dancing with Elmo!)

Looking through the pictures this morning, it occured to me that it was truly a night of "American idols" and the singers that influenced them.. Ben E. King --> Southside Johnny --> Jon Bon Jovi.

Here are a few more images..

Southside Johnny, Ben E King, Gary US Bonds

Jon Bon Jovi
for Rosie

Jon Bon Jovi and Lorenza Ponce
okay..last one of Jon Bon Jovi..I promise
Bob Burger
Ray Andersen
Bob Bandiera
Joey Stann, doing double sax duty..literally!

the ORIGINAL Jersey Johnny

..just don't's Southside LOL
Grinches - buy one, get one free! (Southside)

As this post (and this year) comes to an end, I continue to believe that music is the ultimate friend. It can meet you any time of day, anywhere you are. It can comfort and inspire you. And, it can bring people into your life that can change you forever.


p.s. one of my goals for 2013 is to write more .. so watch out! Lots of stuff in the pipeline for the new year -- music, books, art, shopping, travel.