Saturday, September 25, 2010

Review: The Rat Pack is Back at The Fred

Last night I went to see the Rat Pack is Back at the Frederick Brown Jr Amphitheater (The Fred) in Peachtree City, GA. The Rat Pack was the name given to the early 60's era singer/actors Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammie Davis Jr, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. The combo wowed the entertainment world and took Las Vegas by storm.

I missed the generation that was treated to the Rat Pack's music while live. I don't think there's a person alive who listens to music or watches TV who isn't familiar with the music though.

The show was fun. They came with a small "orchestra" that was excellent! Peter Lawford was mentioned, along with a few other 'names' from their heyday, but he wasn't in attendance! After reading a bit of the history of the Rat Pack, I can understand why he isn't a part of the show.

I asked some of the people who attended whether the Frank, Dino, Sammie and Joey captured the mannerisms, the tone, the music of the shows... and got a resounding affirmative from all. Some in the audience showed up wearing their Frank Sinatra hats. Most knew the songs well enough to sing them word-for-word. Those I talked with who didn't grow up in that era, and there were more than I expected, said they got a kick out of watching, had fun, enjoyed or expressed similar sentiments.

I got a kick out of the jokes and interplay between all of those on stage. I haven't seen that kind of engagement at any concert I've attended. Sure, the musicians sometimes share tales or tell a joke or two, but it's not the same as having four "huge" stars doing a show together, ad-libbing, engaging the audience, the way the Rat Pack did. How's that for nostalgia for something I've never experienced?

Although all were good singers, the best of the bunch, in my humble estimation, was Nicholas Brooks playing Sammie Davis Jr. Bobby Mayo get's my award for looking the most like his character, Dean Martin. Mickey Joseph as Joey Bishop was a great 'Joey'. He was funny, could sing, and handled the role perfectly. I have to admit, I don't think I've ever seen Joey Bishop on TV, so when I say 'perfectly' it just means I thought he was great whether he captured Bishop correctly or not.

What can I say about Lee Lankhorst as Frank Sinatra? Given an impossible task, he did it well! There are some 'stars' that we know so well that no matter how well you mimic their style, mannerisms or music, it won't be the same. Lankhorst caught the flavor, he has a "Frank" voice and I enjoyed his 'act'.

The Rat Pack is Back re-created an era of Las Vegas style show that I doubt we'll ever see again. It's a great trip down memory lane for those who were a part of the Rat Pack era and an excellent re-enactment for those of us who've only heard about it.

I had a hard time trying to find the names of the guys who played the different characters. I gather they change at times based on watching a few clips I found on their Facebook page, the Internet. It's possible there's a touring group and a Las Vegas group --- when I went to their website it shows them in Las Vegas now, not on tour. With those disclaimers on record: I'm not 100% sure that these are the names of the four I saw last night, but I'm sure someone will set me straight if I'm wrong: 

Frank Sinatra - Les Lankhorst
Dean Martin - Bobby Mayo Jr
Sammie Davis Jr - Nicholas Brooks
Joey Bishop - Mickey Joseph

More info:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mayer and Clapton... had to share

@ibwhitty on Twitter just zapped this across. It is SO good I had to share again... I rt'd on Twitter, this'll pop across again 'cause I have my blog set up to feed to Twitter, but some things are just so good they can be shared again, and again, and again. I'll be blipping this one, too!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Leon Russell and Elton John Collaborate on "The Union"

If you'd asked me to make a list of musical greats I'd like to see paired for an album, these two would not have made the list. Yep, they'd each have been on the list, but not together. But you know what? It would have been my mistake 'cause they sound good together. I can't wait for the new release "The Union" which is slated to hit the stores in October.

To make a great sounding 'union' even better, Bernie Taupin wrote (or co-wrote) some of the songs! T-Bone Burnett produced the CD, album or whatever the heck you want to call it and he also helped in writing some of the songs. Universal Music is releasing 'The Union".

Here's a cut from "The Union" just to motivate you to save room on the old credit card to buy it in October:
@softnblue on Twitter and Blip

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Joe Satriani (@chickenfootjoe) Coming to Center Stage Atlanta! (@centerstageatl)

I was just over checking out Joe Satriani's website and, of course, pulled up tour dates to see when he'll next be in Atlanta. He's going to be at Center Stage December 1st. Now, I know it's early, but friends, if you really love me, like me, you'll think about the fact that the date makes it a perfect Christmas gift (hint, hint, HINT).

Satriani has got to be one of the best guitar wizards ever! I can still remember the first time I heard "The Crush of Love". I was hooked forever. I immediately went out and bought the CD, and a few others.

Here's a link to ticket sales on his site: He'll be on tour, so even if you're not in the Atlanta area I'd bet you'll find a concert in your area. Remember, concert tickets make a great Christmas present, especially since you can give them early and earn extra brownie points.

Don't miss out on visiting the home page just 'cause I sent you to a sub-page first. Very cool home page. Yep, I'm easily entertained... give me good music and something fun to look at and ya got me.

Satriani has a new CD coming out soon, Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards. Just the title alone makes me want it! Here's a link if you'd like to take a listen and / or buy:

And, just in case you've never listened to Joe Satriani, here's another of my favorites (I have a ton of them -- come visit with me on if you want to hear more of the tunes I like to blip).

Saw the coolest thing at The Fox Theatre Friday night...

I'd almost forgotten about this somehow. It popped back into my head as I was typing a tweet about today being the last chance to see RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Hope that's the correct title of the show, I'm doing a quick run-by blog and don't have time to go all factual on you...

Anyway, the cool thing at the Fox Friday night --- I was waiting for my co-workers in front of the theater before going inside. Someone, and I missed who it was, handed the guy who stands out front greeting guests, opening doors, etc. two tickets and said he (or she) couldn't make the concert and they wanted him to give them away.

Wow. You know they could have stood there and sold the tickets to someone, I saw some hawkers doing that down the way. They could have made their money back at a minimum. But nope, they wanted to give them away. I suppose it's possible they were in a hurry and couldn't stand there, but they took the time to come to the theater to hand them to someone who'd give them away. Nice.

I was there long enough to see them given to a couple who really, truly appreciated the gift. I know they had a fantastic time. Everyone who saw RAIN seemed to have a great time.

One other time I was at a play, forget which one, and a girl came in at the last minute to take the seat next to me. She and I chatted while waiting for the show to start. She was SO excited. She'd wanted to see the play forever but couldn't really afford to see it. She'd saved up her pennies and had enough to buy one of the cheapest seats so made a last minute decision to bite the bullet and spend money. While she was standing in line a lady came up to her and asked if she'd like to have her ticket. It was a GOOD seat, in fact, one of the highest priced tickets. She was so thankful. Her appreciation and the kindness of the anonymous ticket-giver made me appreciate the play more than I normally would have.

Nice people go to the theater!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Joe Bonamassa talking about his new album

@jbonamassa is one of my all-time favorite musicians. Love every single thing he's ever, ever done and know I'm going to love his latest. If you like blues rock, you have to get to know Joe Bonamassa! Promise he'll be on your fave list, too.

B.B. King on the new CD? I'm listening to the following post as I'm typing... catching bits and pieces. If you can't wait for the new release to hit the stores (Sept 21) go to his site: (You can get a free download of one of his tunes from Black Country... I'm multi-tasking, downloading, blipping, tweeting, posting on here... people used to sit on their back porches and whittle wood, just so you know how life has changed ;-)

Here's a bit about his new album, being released Sept 21st in U.S. I missed early pre-order (deadline was Sept 7th). Ah well, going to buy it soon as it hits the street. Here's the blurb "Black Country Communion the Anglo/American rock supergroup comprising vocalist/bassist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple Black Sabbath, Trapeze), drummer Jason Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater) and blues rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa, today confirmed the release date and track listing for their highly anticipated debut album “Black Country”. The album will be released by Mascot Records in the UK and the rest of Europe on Monday September 20th, followed by a North American release through J&R Adventures on Tuesday September 21st."

Shoot, just checked his upcoming tour schedule and he's not coming anywhere near here. I AM going to see him live. Sometime. Some place. It will happen.

Here's an earlier video from Joe:

Staying in the past...

I try to follow all the artists I can find. Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits fame is one of my favorites. How can you not like Henry the VIII, Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter, Silhouettes and his many other hits?  If you get a chance to go to one of his concerts, GO. He keeps you laughing and he sounds fantastic, too.

I don't know why this is one of my favorites by Herman's Hermits. I think it might be because I grew up in England and they used to deliver milk to our door when I was little. It was so cold that often the milk would be frozen and the caps would sit atop a spike of frozen milk. Could just be a fave 'cause it's another one of Noone's catchy tunes.

I'm posting the original and a current version.

My hands hurt from clapping! (#RainTribute #TheFoxTheatre)

Last night a fab four group of us saw "RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles" at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta. It was groovy. Totally. Our small group ranged in enthusiasm from "who cares about the Beatles, I'm here to have fun" to "I know every word of every song". All of us walked out fans of RAIN and the Beatles.

We clapped, we stood and danced, we fake-swooned, we screamed and we had psychedelic fun. I have laugh lines permanently etched into my face now! My hands are sore from clapping. I worked off the calories from dinner (I hope) dancing at my seat.

One of many things that's cool about the show is the glimpses of recent history that they show on the three huge movie screens set up behind and beside the stage. They show old commercials, shots of Beatles fans, bits of things that were happening at the time the Beatles tunes were coming onto the scene and other graphics to get you in the mood.

RAIN does a fabulous job of bringing the Beatles back to the stage. I was out in California a few years ago and the friend I was with was a huge Beatles fan. She dragged me to one Beatles tribute after another during the week we were there. Some were good, some were OK, none compared to RAIN.

RAIN sings all of the songs, it's not lip sync. And it's good singing, too.

I was a little young to be part of the Beatles craziness, but I grew up listening to the Beatles and seeing them. Although I'm certainly not an expert, it seemed to me that they captured the mannerisms and the flavor of the Beatles perfectly. Loved the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band outfits! I saw on their site or maybe it was on the Fox Theatre site that they use a number of the same instruments the Beatles used, too.

I listened to the comments of those around me during the show and during intermission. All ages were there to see RAIN. I heard not one negative from anyone of any age. "Awesome" - a teen behind me. "I'm glad I came" - a mid 30's type. "I want to do this again" - a 50 - 60 year old woman. Everyone was raving about RAIN.

The crowd all got in the mood except one older guy who didn't stand, didn't sway, didn't smile. He was sitting in front of me kind of being, well, just there. The two women who sandwiched him must have been used to his stoic nature 'cause they just danced, talked over his head to each other and had a great time. But you know what? Toward the end I caught the guy clapping to the music! And he stood clapping enthusiastically for the standing O.

We'll never experience Beatles-mania, but it was fun cutting up and letting our hair down! RAIN is talented in their own right and I think they could do non-Beatles concerts if they wanted. However, I'm glad they're doing the Beatles.

I'm hooked. I'll be watching for them to come back to Atlanta, hopefully at the Fabulous Fox Theatre again, too.

They'll only be here through the 19th (tomorrow), but I'd bet you can still grab a ticket. There are no bad seats for this show!