I Want You To Want Me

At the last minute, I decided to join a couple of the band guys at Taste of Syracuse. It had been a few years since I have gone to a festival in downtown Syracuse, but after a really great concert the night before (Ringo Starr and the All Star Band at the Lakeview Amphitheater) we thought it would be fun to check it out the headliner, Cheap Trick. I met John and Bryan on the NE corner of Washington and Franklin Streets (it’s a Plessas thing), and we wandered into the venue area where we got our $7 craft beers (Shocktop is a craft beer?) and listened to one of the bands of my youth. Well, OK, one of the bands of my high school boyfriend’s youth.  I went to a Cheap Trick concert in high school because Duck (not his real name) loved them and bought tickets for his birthday.  It must be said that later on in our relationship I drew the line at seeing Rush; I bought him a ticket and then I stayed home!

We were pretty packed into the crowd (it was a free concert, after all) and it was hard to move. Despite the cramped quarters, I was proud that I was able to get our 3 beers from the beer tent in the back to the guys without spilling a drop. My secret?  I just found the biggest guy I could and followed him through the crowd and leap frogged from guy to guy until I got back to the guys!  Now if only I could find it as easy to do that when dating, LOL.

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Top Ten Favorite Songs: Lakeview Amphitheater Version

Pitbull was on Good Morning America this morning, and his new song Messin’ Around has riffs from REO Speedwagon’s Take It On The Run. Not one of my fave REO songs, nevertheless it is so cool that kids today are exposed to some of the great bands of the 70’s!

There is a new concert venue here in Syracuse, the Lakeview Amphitheater.  The first concert was last September, then it was a bit quiet over there, but now the concert season is upon with a vengeance.  Tonight’s concert Ringo Starr and His All Star Band has inspired me to put a list together of songs I love by bands (and people) that are playing there this summer.  If you live in the CNY area, you can look forward to other concerts including Dave Matthews, Journey and Doobie Brothers, and Tesla, REO Speedwagon, and Def Leppard, among others.

 Photograph by Ringo Starr

Here is Ringo with a different sort of all star band in 2009.

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Day Ja Voo

Day Ja Voo. I have been following them for years, from fundraisers to dive bars to summer outdoor venues to my own living room. Watching them play and hearing the first few notes of a favorite song leads me to break into a smile and sing along. The love I have for the music and the guys (and their wives) is unparalleled. Let’s go back to the beginning of this journey to fandom.


The first time I went to see this talented trio was when they were playing for a fundraising walk at Longbranch Park, raising money for children with cancer. I said a quick hello to Vinnie then found a tree to lean on, away from the action, to wait for them to perform.  The teams of walkers started to stream into the picnic area, groups of people wearing tshirts and carrying signs with pictures of kids who had some form of cancer.  As the groups continued to flood in, I realized that some of the kids were no longer living and for some reason, I was so overcome with emotion that I could barely make it to my car without sobbing.  I did not see the guys play that day.

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Vinyl Live 6

It’s Friday night and I am just home late from work, sitting in front of the TV channel surfing.  No one is more disappointed about this than my dad, who admonished me for not having more exciting plans because he says he is living his life vicariously through me.  Normally I do have a lot of fun nights,  Take last weekend, for example.

Vinyl Album Live 6. This show recreated three iconic vinyl albums performed by local musicians here in Central New York.  It was sold out, with dozens of disappointed people standing outside the Palace Theater in Syracuse wondering how that they could have missed out on getting in (I heard that Vinyl Live 5 was only 2/3 full). One of the albums was Hotel California, so it does make you wonder if it would have been sold out if not for the popularity of Glenn Frey, who had died earlier this week.

Anyway, I had heard how great it was last year and thought it would be a fun night of music and invited my friends Chick and Bryan to go along. Three albums were chosen and three bands assembled from local musicians to perform each of those albums in their entirety. In addition, there were other musicians who sat in for certain songs (I think they may have been music students from Signature Music, where some of the admission money collected was donated to.)

This is where I confess that although I did own vinyl when I was younger (Barry Manilow Live counts, right?) I never really experienced it the same way so many people my age did, sitting down and listening to it from beginning to end and having an experience. This is how so many of the performers learned to love all the songs. I usually enjoyed my favorite bands through greatest hits compilations so I didn’t appreciate the lure of the album.

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The retail world has ruled my Christmases for 20 years now.   That means that before Halloween we are thinking about and starting to set up holiday displays (my apologies to all those after Thanksgiving purists!).  And even though many people think it starts too early, I do enjoy the Christmas music season.  I admit that I do sneak and listen to the radio stations that play holiday music early.  Compiling my list of favorites, I noticed that they were mostly melancholy. That’s a little weird for me, because although I am capable of my “Ho Ho Ho Your @$$” moments, I am a pretty optimistic person.  In any case, here are two of my favorite holiday people (nephews Nick and Diego) and some of my favorite holiday songs:


Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley

My mom tells me that this was one of my early faves.  For Christmas one year she gave each of us (my six brothers and sisters and I) a Christmas kit, which included ornaments, decorations, Christmas cards and a cassette tape of each of our favorite holiday albums.  Mine was Elvis Presley’s It’s Christmas Time.  Now it can be yours too!!  I love this video!  Check out the great tambourine playing.

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How I Found Alice’s Restaurant

42 years ago, or 42 Thanksgivings ago, I was in my childhood kitchen tearing slices of stale white bread into little pieces.  Three loaves worth.  I was half asleep wondering why we even had to stuff a turkey and also wondering how long the song on the radio would go on.  It was already playing for what seemed like an hour.  I asked if we could find another station and Mom said no, that this song was a Thanksgiving tradition.  So there I stood, listening to Alice’s Restaurant, tearing slices into little pieces into my Dad’s big bread raising pan.  But that’s not what I am here to talk about.

My mom and dad would listen to Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant every Thanksgiving morning. I am not sure which radio station (she thinks maybe Y94)  it was on. My mom would get up at the crack of dawn (OK, around 7 a,m.)  in order to cook a turkey for the 9 of us as well as any number of strays who would join us.  Stuffing was quite an undertaking, she mixed copious amounts in the bread raising pan and after the bird was stuffed, she put the rest in a bowl to bake (my favorite part of dinner, I didn’t like all the moist stuff that came out of the bird.)  And Arlo would sing.


Fastforward 40 years.   I was listening to Alice’s Restaurant for what seems like the very first time.  At least the very first time I can remember.  Teenagers categorically denounce any music parents think is cool, (except for Neil Diamond, in my case!) so I really don’t remember anything about those early Thanksgiving broadcasts.  I became interested in Alice’s Restaurant when my friend Lisa Kane talked about how she loved Arlo and listened to it every year on Thanksgiving.  I thought I had better check it out, so I found it on youtube.  I found it fascinating.

Of course, any song that included a load of garbage being brought to the dump is close to my heart… I do a lot of cleaning at my job and am known as Queen Pee (that tells you what kind of things need to be cleaned up).    Picking up garbage every day is how I roll.

Arlo starts singing about Alice and her restaurant, but gets distracted by the story of a particular Thanksgiving when Arlo and his buddy thought they would do a good deed and take a load of garbage to the dump.  They were arrested for littering (long story) and as Arlo says,  “but that’s not what I came to tell you about. I came to talk about the draft.”

Then Arlo sings about draft notices and then draft tests, at the New York City Induction Center, which was on Whitehall Street, where “you get  injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected,” and finally selected.  After some shenanigans there where Arlo tried to NOT be selected, his is faced with this query,  “Kid, we only got one question…have you ever been arrested?”  That brings us back to Alice’s restaurant and the story of that particular Thanksgiving.

I had no idea this spoken word performance was so entertaining and it definitely stands the test of time. Arlo does a tour for the song every ten years.  Here’s a performance from 2005 at Farm Aid.



2015 marks the 50th anniversary of that fateful holiday where Arlo got arrested and Officer Obie had those 27 8′ x 10′ color glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against them, and I am happy to carry on the tradition.  Earlier today I listened to Alice’s Restaurant while making stuffing (Mom’s recipe)  to deliver to my sister and my dad for their celebrations.  I will leave you with one of his latest performances, this one from Blissfest 2015.  Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Want To Be The Ultimate Show Biz Manager? You Need Jimmy Fallon

If you are looking to be the ultimate manager, you need Jimmy Fallon in your back pocket. Looking to reboot a TV  series?  Recreate a very special moment from the original show in a skit on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  Promoting a new album?  Show off your mad skills with the Wheel of Musical Impressions.  Want to cement your place in pop culture history?  Dance your heart out (again) with a flash mob style performance of your iconic movie dance sequence.  Want to hook the cool kids?  Try out a new app with Jimmy on the show.  Jump start your career by getting a shot on Jimmy’s show. Here are some of my favorite spots (so far) from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Footloose entrance with Kevin Bacon

Here is Kevin Bacon’s Tonight Show entrance, dancing to two of the most popular songs from his 1984 movie FootlooseNever performed by Moving Pictures and Footloose performed by Kenny Loggins.  The movie was released long before anyone ever even thought of playing ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’.


Full House reunion on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Bob Saget, Dave Coulier, and John Stamos all came to wish Jimmy luck on his move to the Tonight Show in this skit recreating a scene from a very special episode of Full House back in the 80’s. Love the hair and catch phrases…and the Teddy Bear Song!!  And there always was a lesson, wasn’t there?   I am looking forward to 2016’s Fuller House.


Jesse and the Rippers

Six months earlier, on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, was the reunion of one of the best fictional bands I have ever seen, Jesse and the Rippers with frontman Jesse Katsopolis (John Stamos).  The band performed the biggest hits of their career:  Forever (cover from The Beach Boys), Little Sister (cover from Elvis Presley, jesse’s idol), Hippy Hippy Shake (the Beatles perfomed this is 1963), and Everywhere You Look (the theme song from Full House).  Thoroughly enjoyable.


Jimmy Went To High School At Bayside with the Saved By The Bell cast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Dennis Haskins, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkley, and Mario Lopez)

This was a clever skit transporting everyone back to Saturday morning TV and the lives of the kids at Bayside High.  When Zack called a time out, it brought me right back!  It really was amazing that all these years later, they looked very much like the characters they played 25 years ago.  The inside jokes are super fun, too (I especially liked the one about Elizabeth Berkley being a stripper).


Lip Sync with Emma Stone

IMHO the best performance of any of the lip syncs I have seen on the Tonight Show.  Jimmy starts out strong with Fancy by Iggy Azelea, but then Emma kills it, with Blues Traveler’s Hook. It was amazing!!  Mr. Roboto by Styx was Jimmy’s second selection and it was well done, but then Emma closed with DJ Khaled’s All I Do Is Win and boy, did she ever!!  Epic.


Daniel Radcliffe performs Blackakicious’ Alphabet Aerobics

I had never heard Alphabet Aerobics.  I doubt that anyone can do it as well as Harry Potter did here.  Flawless.


Wheel of Musical Impressions with Christina Aguilera

I have seen some fun Wheel of Musical Impressions, but I do love Christina, so that’s the clip I am sharing.  Her impressions of Cher and Britney were dead on.  Jimmy did just as impressive a job as David Bowie and then Michael McDonald.  Also fun to check out is Ariana Grande’s ;ip sync clip (find it on youtube) where she impersonates Britney and then Christina!


Dubsmash with Selena Gomez

I had never heard of Dubsmash before I searched it for this post, and does it look fun!!  I will have to try it out and post it.  Here is Jimmy and Selena with scenes from movies and commercials, then one of Selena’s own songs, Same Old Love.


Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Neil Young sing Fancy

And finally, I do love Jimmy Fallon musical impressions.  Neil Young, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, and a cast of thousands (so it seems).  e has a knack for pairing songs with unlikely performers.  My favorite is Jimmy doing Neil Young singing Iggy Azelea’s Fancy, where he is joined by Crosby, Stills, and Nash.  So many years later and those guys are still in harmony!!



Who’s Singing, Isn’t That (fill in the blank) ?

While researching a fun post about one hit wonders of the 70’s, I noticed songs from several actors on the list.  It made me curious.  Which came first, the acting fame or the singing??  I set out to find some intel on these people.

Easy Come, Easy Go by Bobby Sherman

I’m starting with one of my teen crushes, Bobby Sherman.  Bobby was a singer long before he was an actor.  It wasn’t unti his role as shy, stammering Jeremy on Here Come The Brides that he was rocketed to superstardom.   Eventually, after guest-starring on an episode of Emergency, he left the acting spotlight and became an EMT.  Here he is, with that killer smile, singing Easy Come, Easy Go.


The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia by Vicki Lawrence

My friends and I were just talking about this song a couple of weeks ago.  We decided it was the ultimate in cheesy 70’s music.  Vicki was an established comedienne and actress long before she made musical history with her one and only hit song.  Fun fact: the musicians playing in the song are the popular studio musicians knows as The Wrecking Crew.   I found a great video of Vicki and Reba McIntyre singing the hit, which Reba covered in the 90’s.

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Love and Mercy

My very first rock concert was The Beach Boys at SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) when I was in my early teens (this was around 1972, for those of you who are trying to do the math.)  I attended a program for inner city kids at Vincent House (one of the local community centers), where I met Maureen, a college student from LeMoyne who volunteered there.  She invited a friend and I to travel home with her to Albany for the night.  It was exciting to travel overnight with someone not in my family but the thing I remember most about the trip was the slightly nauseous feeling I had that night after leaving the concert.  Now I know it was from all the pot smoking.

The next time I paid any attention to the Beach Boys, other than singing to their songs on top 40 radio,  was when they guest starred on Full House in the 80’s.  Who didn’t love the TGIF lineup?  I really doesn’t matter how implausible the plot was, it was just good fun to see the guys joke with the Tanner clan (and watching them ‘act’ was pretty funny.)  Here are the Tanners singing with the Beach Boys at a concert:

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So Long, Farewell

Saying goodbye is often hard, especially when it is a television series that you have been binge watching for weeks or months.  Fans usually rave about the writing or actors in their favorite shows, but I am sure it’s no surprise that I focus on the music.  Here is a list of my 10 favorite songs in series finales:

1.  Breaking Bad     Baby Blue by Badfinger

I started watching this show specifically because I wanted to see the series finale  (entitled “Felina”) and the final song, Baby Blue. My musician friend John started to work it out on his guitar, so of course I wanted to learn all about the song.  I was hooked by the show almost immediately and was mesmerized by the fantastic writing, binging on multiple episodes every day for two weeks.  I may have been a little dark and morally ambiguous by the last couple of days.  Incidentally, this song led me to my new favorite Pandora radio station, the Badfinger station.

2.  Freaks and Geeks       Ripple by The Grateful Dead

I found Freaks and Geeks on Netflix and savored every episode of their one season.  I thought the finale told such a compelling story of how these characters had grown and expanded their horizons throughout the series.  “Discos and Dragons”  had the cool kid role playing with the geeks, the frustrated rock drummer branching out into disco dancing, and the good girl taking a walk on the wild side.  The Grateful Dead seemed so appropriate for Lindsey’s next chapter.  I found a great version of this song that is part of the Playing For Change movement, which takes musicians from all over the world and puts them together playing popular songs,

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