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Glenn Symmonds – Beating Cancer Like a Drum – Part 2

Glenn Symmonds performs at Thunder Valley Casino Resort

Glenn Symmonds performs at Thunder Valley Casino Resort

This is part two of a two-part series about Glenn Symmonds, longtime drummer for Eddie Money and cancer survivor. If you missed part 1 you can read it here.

The Epiphany

In 2006, after spending a couple of years living on a sailboat and playing solo gigs in and around Southern California’s Dana Point area, Glenn realized his partying ways had to stop. It hit him while watching Keith Urban perform on a tiny black and white television on his sailboat. Thinking to himself, ‘I should be performing on the big stage,’ he realized he had blown through two marriages, lost his son, his home and self-respect.

That night Glenn sold his sailboat and, with his Harley in tow, jumped in his van and headed to Nashville. It was during this time Glenn’s ex-wife, who happened to own a bar, told him she served people every night and he drank more than anyone she knew, cementing his decision to clean up his act.

After 30 years of living the rock-star lifestyle, Glenn sobered up and is happy to report that he’s been sober for over 7 years.

Own your own "Beat Cancer Like a Drum" t-shirt!

Own your own “Beat Cancer Like a Drum” t-shirt!

Glenn now helps friends and acquaintances through their struggles by staying in contact and giving them words of encouragement as much as he can. Even while traveling, Glenn can be found texting friends to check-in and make sure everything is going ok.

Tami – Take 2

A few years ago, Tami and a few of her friends headed to John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Tahoe to take in an Eddie Money performance. Tami was able to score free tickets, and her friends had just won some money, so things were looking good. Her friends made a point of saying how it was the best night ever, free tickets, free food, and an Eddie Money concert to boot. Tami piped in and said, “The only thing that could make this night any better is if when the curtains are raised, it would be Glenn Symmonds sitting on the drums.” She didn’t think in a million years he would be, but when the curtains came up there he was. She had thought he was still out of the country.

For the next couple of years Tami would meet Glenn at the airport whenever Eddie Money was playing in the area. She would routinely take him to get his haircut, and then hang out with him at his shows. During this time both of them were married and their relationship remained platonic.

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Team Symmonds – Tami Landrum and Glenn Symmonds
Credit: Tami Landrum

Then in 2011, just before Christmas, Eddie Money came to Thunder Valley Casino Resort, and for the first time since Tami and Glenn knew each other, neither of them was in a committed relationship – Tami broke it off with her boyfriend the day before.

Prior to the show at Thunder Valley, Glenn and Tami were eating at Fat Burger located inside the casino when Glenn realized neither of them were in a committed relationship. Out of the blue he asked Tami if she minded if he kissed her. Tami jumped at the chance and said that was fine with her. Glenn responded, “Okay,” and went back to his meal, much to Tami’s chagrin. According to Tami, Glenn didn’t deliver on the promised kiss until “way, way after the show!” – she said it was worth the wait.

The Battle

On April 29, 2013 the battle started in earnest as Glenn went under the knife to remove a tumor in his bladder. Doctors also performed a biopsy and administered a round of chemo directly to the organ.

A couple of weeks later the results came back positive for cancer in the bladder, so the battle continued with more surgery and chemotherapy.

Glenn did his research and started eliminating meats and sugar from his diet. According to Glenn, cancer loves sugar! He also turned to juicing after reading about the Gerson Institute’s success rate in Mexico.

team-symmonds

Glenn goes in for his first operation
Credit: Tami Landrum

As the battle raged on, Tami headed to FaceBook to keep friends and family informed.

In one post Tami wrote, “Update from Camp Symmonds: Long night with little sleep, but our patient is hanging in there & doing okay I promise you I have been reading him every post, comment, message & text. I wish I could respond to everyone personally, but you guys are so amazing with the support, I just don’t have the time! I read to him for a while and then we have to take a break because he is just so overwhelmed with emotion…”

Glenn’s cancer is in remission, but he’s still undergoing some painful chemotherapy to insure it stays that way. The treatment is expected to last three years.

Glenn continues to read up on his battle with cancer and has tried a few ‘experimental’ treatments to cover all his bases. One such treatment almost blinded Tami, but that’s another story.

eddie-money

Glenn Symmonds with Eddie Money Credit: Tami Landrum

The Support

Like most musicians, Glenn didn’t have health insurance and was overrun by medical bills. Not only was he battling cancer, but the bills that go along with it.

Glenn has been overwhelmed with the support he has received from family, friends and fans across the country who have purchased his “Beat Cancer Like a Drum” T-shirts and his latest CD “Friends of Glenn’s” featuring Glenn’s closest friends, to raise money to help pay for his outstanding and ongoing medical expenses. Take a peek at Glenn’s FaceBook page and you will see countless supporters wearing his T-shirt!

Regarding Tami’s support, Glenn refers to her as the “Arms of Love that helped carry him through this ordeal.” He especially loved the way she informed everyone about his cancer. Glenn said, “Tami, would tell people, ‘We have cancer,’ not Glenn has cancer, but we have cancer. I just love that about her.”

Eddie Money jumped at the chance to help “Glenny,” by performing at a benefit concert in Glenn’s old hometown of Spokane. They played at The Roadhouse along with several other bands, raising over $6,000. It was an epic night of talented performers including, Peter Rivera, Sammy Eubanks and Chris Rieser and The Nerve.

School Teacher Shannon Kidd and her kindergarten class

School Teacher Shannon Kidd and her kindergarten class

Shannon Kidd, a teacher in Illinois, joined the cause along with her kindergarten class. Kidd, also a cancer survivor, held a Beat Cancer Day at the school and her students wore yellow in support of bladder cancer, light green for lymphoma, or purple in support of all cancer survivors. The class made yellow hearts to support Glenn and his fight, writing out, “Beat Cancer Like a Drum.”

The Album

Glenn’s latest album, “Friends of Glenn’s” came about as a way to help raise funds to pay his skyrocketing medical bills.

The album is a celebration of Glenn’s music and each track is one of Glenn’s original compositions recorded by friends. Each artist had the freedom to record the song in their own unique style, with no input from Glenn – talk about putting it all on the line!

friends-of-glennThe result is a wonderful collection of diverse music that will appeal to everyone.

Featured on the album are: Eddie Money, Tommy Girvin, Richard Bryant, Josh Harris, The Cold Hard Cash Show, NOWIKNOWFORSURE, Steve Acho, Jonathon Roniger, Larry Pancake, Jeff Symmonds (Glenn’s brother), Dustin Walker and Through His Eyes, Danny McCollim, The Delivery Men, Larry “The Wiz” Fucher and Robert Lesher and Tupelo Blue

The closing track is a brand-new recording by Glenn himself! A candid, solid cover of The Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends”.

You can find out more on Glenn’s Facebook page as he spotlights each artist on the album, providing readers with some insight into the history of the artist and their relationship to Glenn.

The Proposal

Glenn recently made the move to Sacramento to be closer to Tami “The Arms of Love” Landrum, and because the two have spent so much time together, Glenn started making it a point to tell Tami, “You know, one day I’m going to marry you.”

Glenn Symmonds and Tami Landrum Credit: Tami Landrum

Glenn Symmonds and Tami Landrum
Credit: Tami Landrum

After several hundred times of making the statement (slight exaggeration), Tami finally told him he needed to stop because it was becoming a joke.

“Ask me for real, or don’t say it at all,” Tami replied.

The following day as Glenn was thinking about Tami and the possibility of marrying her she walked through the door, overjoyed with tears, Glenn blurted out “Will you marry me?”

Tami, taken aback by the words ‘Will you,’ and not ‘I’m going to,’ paused to process the information. Meanwhile, Glenn started to panic, thinking she was going to say no.

Tami looked him in the eyes and, in her most serious voice, said, “For reals?”

After Glenn explained how serious he was, Tami relented and agreed to marry him.

And they lived happily ever after – in a rock star kinda way.

Want to see Glenn?

Anyone living in the Sacramento area will be able to catch Glenn opening for The Cold Hard Cash Show at Marilyn’s on K on June 10.

Can’t wait for June 10? On June 7, you can catch Glenn at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, where he will be performing with Eddie Money, Rick Springfield and Loverboy.

Don’t forget to say hi to Tami at the merch table!!

Glenn Symmonds – Beating Cancer Like a Drum – Part 1

Glenn Symmonds performs at Thunder Valley Casino (2011)

Glenn Symmonds performs at Thunder Valley Casino (2011)

SACRAMENTO, CA – Glenn Symmonds is the longtime drummer for Eddie Money and a solo artist. He recently moved to the Sacramento area and will be opening Thunder Valley Casino’s Summer Concert Series on June 7, when he performs with Eddie Money, Rick Springfield and Loverboy. He will also be opening for The Cold Hard Cash at Marilyn’s on K on June 10. This article is based on a recent interview with Glenn.

Enough of that . . .

Glenn Symmonds has a resume typical of most rockers – drummer, guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, teacher and father. Throughout a career that spans 4 decades, he’s had the opportunity to perform with the best of the best and continues to tour as drummer with longtime friend and fellow rocker, Eddie Money.

Last year, the rug was pulled out from under the 59-year-old, when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Devastated by the news, Glenn set out on a mission to “Beat Cancer Like a Drum,” and friends and family circled the wagons in support.

Tami Lundrum and Glenn Symmonds Credit: Tami Lundrum

Tami Landrum and Glenn Symmonds
Credit: Tami Landrum

It was April 29, 2013 when Glenn’s world of friends discovered the devastating news and were introduced to his “faithful sidekick” Tami Landrum. Tami posted to Glenn’s FaceBook page announcing to everyone his battle with cancer.

“Hey Facebook… This is Tami. For those of you who don’t know me I am Glenn’s personal assistant, faithful sidekick, and basically the love of his life Unfortunately, I am not hacking his Fbook with the best of news,” she goes on to explain, “Glenn was diagnosed with bladder cancer last week. We are on the way to the hospital this morning to have a tumor removed & biopsies done. On the bright side, a CAT scan showed his kidneys were good! I’ll be posting some updates during his recovery. Prayers are welcomed!”

And so the battle began and a relationship blossomed.

Before we get into Glenn’s battle with cancer and his relationship with Tami, let’s take a look at where Glenn has been for the past 40 years.

The Beginning

Glenn, originally from California, moved with his family to Spokane, Washington when he was 11-years-old. It was his family’s attempt to stop Glenn’s troubling behavior, which included cutting school and stealing.

Throwback Thursday  Credit: Glenn/Tami

Throwback Thursday
Credit: Glenn/Tami

Glenn attended West Valley High School, where his love for music started. During that time Glenn joined local bands and toured the area on weekends. According to Glenn, Spokane was a “melting pot” of musical talent.

Dean Rowbotham, the West Valley band director, was instrumental in developing Glenn’s skills as a musician. Graduating in 1973, Glenn left for the San Francisco Bay Area where he would eventually meet Eddie Money. A year after leaving, Rowbotham wrote a letter telling Glenn how proud he was of him.

While in Spokane, Glenn attended Tower of Power performances whenever they toured through Washington and Idaho. That’s where he met Tower of Power’s David Garibaldi. The two quickly became friends and Garibaldi invited Glenn to his hotel room to listen to him practice lessons he was studying with his teacher, Chuck Brown. After listening to Garibaldi, Glenn vowed to move to California as soon as he could and take lessons from Brown.

Own your own "Beat Cancer Like a Drum" t-shirt!

Own your own “Beat Cancer Like a Drum” t-shirt!

Soon after graduating high school in 1973, Glenn, at the age of 17, made good on his word and headed for the Golden State in search of Chuck Brown. He left in a van, with a U-Haul trailer in tow, and headed to the San Francisco Bay Area. He had no place to stay and only one destination in mind – lessons with Chuck Brown.

As Glenn was working with Brown honing his skills, he quickly settled into the music scene. In 1974, he was approached by a neighbor who had heard him practicing on the drums. The young man asked him if he could fill in for his drummer who failed to show up for rehearsal. After hearing him play, the man asked him to join the band and said, “My name’s Eddie Money and I want to be a rock and roll star by 25, I don’t have a lotta’ time!“ The rest, as they say, is history.

Glenn played for Eddie for a couple of years before joining ex-Santana percussionist Coke Escovedo to record an album and tour with Escovedo. Afterwards Glenn moved to Los Angeles where he recorded and toured with many acclaimed musical groups.

Glenn would cross paths with Eddie a few years later in Hollywood, where they recorded a song for the movie ‘Americathon’ starring John Ritter entitled, “Get A Move On.” That single went to No. 28 on the Billboard Charts.

In 1986 Glenn joined Eddie Money for the ‘Take Me Home Tonight Tour!” and has continued working with Eddie to this day.

Tami and Glenn - Stylish hat provided by Tami Credit: Tami

Tami and Glenn Stylish hat provided by Tami
Credit: Tami

Glenn meets Tami

It was in 1989, when, unbeknownst to Glenn, he would meet his future sidekick and staunchest supporter in his fight against cancer.

Glenn was performing with Eddie Money at Caesar’s Tahoe in the first of three performances. At the end of his performance Glenn tossed his drum sticks out into the crowd. Tami Landrum, one of Eddie’s biggest fans, was lucky enough to catch one of the flying sticks.91gPtkQ7e+L._SL1500_

After the show, Glenn was walking into the bar when he noticed a fan (Tami) holding one of the drum sticks he tossed into the crowd. Being the gentleman that he is, he asked, “Oh I see you caught my drumstick, did you want me to sign it?” Without skipping a beat, Tami replied, “No.”

As one can imagine, this had never happened to Glenn before. When Glenn asked her why, Tami explained, “I’ve seen you guys play over 30 times, and I know you can do some killer drum solos. I’ve seen you really nail it, but tonight you didn’t even play a solo. So I’m not interested in you signing it on a night you never even played a solo.” Tami went on to challenge Glenn, “I will be here tomorrow night to give you a chance to redeem yourself.”

The following night when Glenn came out on stage, he walked to the front where Tami was standing, bowed to her and then took his place behind the drums. According to Tami, that was the moment she fell in love with Glenn, knowing he was the one for her. In her mind she saw the two of them running away together, living life on the road on the tour bus. Only there was a slight problem – unbeknownst to Tami, Glenn was a married man.

A short time after that fateful night, Eddie Money was performing in the Bay Area. Tami wrote a letter to promoter Bill Graham explaining her perceived relationship with Glenn. Bill provided her with backstage passes and, prior to the show, Tami made her way backstage to Glenn’s dressing room and knocked on the door. She was greeted by Glenn, and to her surprise, he introduced her to his wife, devastating Tami.

The above photo of Tami and Glenn in their younger days has been hanging on Tami’s living room wall since the time it was taken, surviving numerous moves and relationships.

(To be continued)

Read: Part 2 of Glenn Symmonds Beating Cancer Like a Drum

Madison Hudson shakes it up

madisonSACRAMENTO, CA- Country singer Madison Hudson is shaking things up with her latest single “Shake It Up,” which is due to drop on iTunes sometime on Sunday.

Hudson teamed up with Michael Brandt and Fat Cat Studios in Sacramento to produce this winning song. “Shake It Up” has some great lyrics along with an awesome groove.

On the single, Hudson is joined by Brandt (drums/percussions), Stinger Davin (bass), Clint Warner (guitar/banjo) and Stephany Rae (background vocals). Brandt is also responsible for writing and producing this fun song.

As Hudson belts out this catchy tune, she has on her favorite jeans and dancing boots as she heads out the door to shake it up and break it down. The song has a perfect mix of banjo and solid driving guitar. Add to that a memorable chorus and Hudson’s pristine vocals and you have a combination for a bona fide hit.

At 16, Hudson’s vocals are truly starting to mature, sounding more like woman and less like an adolescent girl, she’s hitting on all cylinders with “Shake It Up.” Hudson’s earlier singles include, “I Don’t Care,” which was released when she was only 13, “Tommy” and “Too Shy.”

Give it a listen now at Southern Dixie Radio. If you like what your hear, let Madison know on her Facebook page.

Get it at Amazon!

Ben E. King brings ‘Spanish Harlem’ to Thunder Valley

ben-e-king

Ben E. King
Photo: Randy Miramontez

R&B legend Benjamin Earl Nelson, better known as Ben E. King, played to a stellar crowd Friday night at Thunder Valley Casino Resort.

Prior to taking the stage King’s band played a couple of instrumentals, “Summer Shuffle” and “Don’t Mess Wit Me.” It was a very relaxing 15 minutes, but the crowd was getting restless by the end of the second song as they waited patiently for King.

The 74-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Fame alumnus took the stage as the band started playing “How Sweet It is,” followed by “Up on the Roof.” King’s vocals were spotty at times, but for the most part he sounded great, especially after 50-something years of singing.

ben-e-king

Click for more images
Photo: Randy Miramontez

The mostly older crowd remained seated, with some fans clapping to the beat. There were a few fans who headed to the closest aisle or to the back of Pano Hall where they could dance.

Continuing, King talked to the crowd just before heading into “This Magic Moment” and “There Goes My Baby.” In between songs a few fans would shout out a song for the singer to perform, with many shouting “Spanish Harlem,” which is one of King’s favorites.

When King finally got to “Spanish Harlem” the crowd gave him his largest round of applause, with some giving him a standing ovation.

ben-e-king

Click for more images
Photo: Randy Miramontez

 

King’s first solo hit after leaving the Drifters in 1960 was “Spanish Harlem” following up with “Stand by Me,” written with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. “Stand by Me” went on to be voted as one of the Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America. “Stand by Me,” “There Goes My Baby,” and “Spanish Harlem” were named as three of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll and received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

King finished the evening off with “Midnight Hour,” with the crowd wanting more.

Adam Ant releases new album after 18 years

Adam Ant is the Blueback Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter

Adam Ant is the Blueback Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter

Today Adam Ant released his first new album in 18 years. The 17 song album, “Adam Ant is the Blueback Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter,” is semi-autobiographical, according to Ant, with a few songs dealing with his mental illness.

The 58-year-old made dressing like a pirate sexy back in the ‘80s, and brought us a string of hits like, “Stand and Deliver,” “Prince Charming” and “Goody Two Shoes.”

Adam Ant

Adam Ant by Andy Gotts

In an interview with Reuters Ant says he has no television and loves to read, particularly historical books. He sports a number of tattoos with one on his left arm of Admiral Lord Nelson’s inspirational last prayer before the infamous battle of Trafalgar, and below that an image of his grandfather who served in the navy during World War One.

Another tattoo on his right arm is an Oscar Wilde quote: “Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” Telling Reuters Adam said, “I can certainly say I have had that experience.”

After dropping out of the music world in 1995 battling exhaustion and mental illness, Ant spent most of that time raising his daughter while being treated for bipolar disorder. He finally emerged in 2010 performing concerts around London and beyond.

Adam Ant

Adam Ant, Blueblack Hussar, pc, Courtesy of Adam Ant

Ant, still sporting his signature eye liner, goatee beard, and bandana over his greying ponytail, says he missed music during his years out of the industry and started writing songs about three years ago. Telling Reuters, “It felt like the right time. I had missed it a great deal … It is almost a blessing to work in rock ‘n roll and play live.”

Reviews have been mixed with The Independent saying, “It’s sprawling, overdue and not for everyone, but at least it’s not a play-it-safe comeback.” One reviewer at The Guardian gave it only two stars saying, “one has to question the wisdom of a 58-year-old man singing: ‘Punky young girl needs a middle-aged man whose midlife crisis you began’.”

Ant is planning a tour in the UK and a return to the United States. He’s also working on his autobiography, “Stand and Deliver” and planning a fashion line.

Tower of Power amps up New Year’s

Tower of Power - Click for more images

Tower of Power – Click for more images

Tower of Power electrified a sold out crowd at Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s New Year’s celebration on Monday night, concluding the casino’s four day countdown to the New Year.

The band started around 10:30 p.m. and the crowd immediately responded by clapping and jumping to their feet, with a number of couples spilling into the aisles to dance.

The San Francisco Bay Area based band got their start in the late 60’s when founding members Emilio Castillo (tenor sax/vocals) and Stephen “Doc” Kupka got together.  Joining the two founding members onstage were long standing members Francis “Rocco” Prestia (bass) and Dave Geribaldi (drums), along with Larry Braggs (lead vocals), Roger Smith (keyboards/vocals), Tom E. Politzer (lead tenor sax), Adolfo Acosta, (trumpet/flugelhorn), Jerry Cortez (guitar/vocals), and Sal Cracchiolo (trumpet).

Stephen Kupka - Click for more images

Stephen Kupka – Click for more images

Starting their set with “I Like Your Style” and “Ain’t Nothing Stopping Us Now,” the horn section is obviously the cornerstone of Tower of Power’s musical style, as Castillo, Doc, and Rocco started flexing their horns causing the audience to cheer even louder.

When TOP, as their fans refer to them, started playing their slower songs like “Just When We Start Making it” and “Me and Mrs. Jones,” droves of fans left their seats and headed to the aisles to slow dance.

As the New Year arrived, the band struck up “Auld Lang Syne,” as everyone donned their hats and noise makers (compliments of Thunder Valley), as hundreds of balloons started tumbling to the floor.

It was quite a sight to see, and hear, as some people popped balloons, while others were hitting them back up into the air.

Balloon drop - Click for more images

Balloon drop – Click for more images

Once things settled down, Tower of Power continued with “Young Man” and “Soul With a

Capital S,” leaving many of their fans wanting more.

Those with any energy left headed to the casino for their 1:30 a.m. drawing, where someone won a share of $25,000, including the grand prize of $10,000.

Tower of Power still has a lot of energy left after all these years. Couple the two founding members with the younger members of the band and they still have a recipe for success.

 

 

 

Set-list:
I Like Your Style
Ain’t Nothing Stopping Us Now
Having Fun
Oil in the Ground
Can’t You See
Come Back Baby
Funkafize
Just When We Start Making it
Maybe It’ll Rub Off
So I Got to Groove
Me and Mrs. Jones
Jame Brown Medley of songs
Hard to Go
Souled Out
Auld Lang Syne
What is Hip
Young Man
Soul With a Capital S

Air Supply in demand at Thunder Valley

Graham Russell (L) and Russell Hitchcock

Graham Russell (L) and Russell Hitchcock

Crap it happened again.

Last year Air Supply stormed into Thunder Valley Casino Resort playing all their hits from the ‘70s and 80’s, pretty much nothing but love songs, and I liked it. It was after that show, back in December of last year, that I started questioning my maleness. Was it time to turn in my man-card?

 
To prove to myself that I wasn’t playing for the other team, I decided to take in a Chippendales show (review) followed by a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight (review).  That didn’t go so well. You can read those reviews and decide for yourself, but in my mind, I think I failed – not that that’s a bad thing, at least that’s what my wife keeps telling me.

Air Supply

Russell Hitchcock and Jonni Lightfoot – Click for more images


Well I got a do over as Air Supply came back to Thunder Valley Casino on Sunday night playing to another sold out crowd.

It all started out quietly enough as founding members Russell Hitchcock (lead vocals) and Graham Russell (guitar/vocals) took the stage with fellow band members Jonni Lightfoot (bass/vocals), Aaron McLain (guitar/vocals), Aviv Cohen (drums), and filling in for Amir Efrat on keyboards Davy Nathan.

Hitchcock wading through the crowd

Hitchcock wading through the crowd – Click for more images

 

They kicked of the night with “Even the Nights are Better” and “Just as I Am,” as their fans greeted them with deafening applause, mixed with the occasional scream.

Midway through the show, Russell went unplugged with “Me and The River,” as Nathan accompanied him on keys. All the other band members, including Hitchcock left the stage.

As Russell finished “Me and The River” he was handed another guitar for his next song, only it wasn’t working. As Nathan, the guitar guy, not to be confused with Nathan the keyboard guy, worked on the problem, Hitchcock came back out on stage and told a joke about an elephant and something about a stocking over his head. It was quite funny, but you had to be there.

Taking a bow

Taking a bow

Once Russell had his guitar functioning again, Hitchcock appeared stage left, walking straight into a sea of fans. He was handing out hugs and kisses to a number of fans, as he sang “The One That You Love,” with Russell wading into the crowd as well.

That’s when everything changed.

As the crowd was worked into a frenzy Hitchcock and Russell made their way back onstage to play “Lost in Love” and “Making Love Out of Nothing at All,” with the crowd still going wild.

Pandemonium broke out as the band left the stage, with the crowd on their feet clapping and screaming for more. After the requisite wait, the crew jumped back onstage to finish with “Goodbye” and “All Out of Love.”

By the time Air Supply finished their 90 minute set I was passing out hugs and telling everyone I loved them, like there was no tomorrow – Obviously the Mayans were wrong. It was then I realized I’d failed again.

Goodbye man-card.

These guys are pure entertainers and make for a great night out.

Set-list:
Even the Nights are Better
Just as I Am
Every Woman in the World
Sweet Dreams
Here I Am
Chances
Dance with Me
Power of Love
Me and the River
The One That You Love
Lost in Love
Making Love Out of Nothing at All
Goodbye
All Out of Love

 

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy roars into Thunder Valley

Scotty Morris - Click for more images

Scotty Morris – Click for more images

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy brought the roaring twenties and swing revival to Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday, as the casino continues their countdown to 2013.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has been bringing the big band era music to the masses for over 20 years. Their music takes the listener back to the days of old, when gangsters weren’t quite as scary, and a flapper was a young and trending woman, not something found in a toilet. Some say those were the good ‘ole days.

Mixing their roaring twenties attitude and big horns, the band of all things swing, fuses together some of the most prolific sounds of swing, jazz and contemporary classics to create an original and exciting array of sounds that put the likes of Cab Calloway to shame, well almost. Nobody can put Calloway to shame.

Gotta love them horns!

Gotta love them horns!

Kicking off their set with “Come On With The ‘Come On’” and “Calloway Boogie,” they had the audience dancing in their seats from the start. That was a bit strange, because at most concerts fans would be standing up in the front row dancing. Apparently this was a more subdued and polite crowd.

Thunder Valley missed out on an opportunity to provide a dance floor for the many fans wanting to get up and boogie. While a number of people were dancing off to the side, the carpet just didn’t cut it.

Still in holiday mode, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy went on to play a few of their songs from their Christmas album including “Merry Christmas Baby” and “Mr. Heatmeiser.”

Andy Rowley (L) and Karl Hunter

Andy Rowley (L) and Karl Hunter

 

As the band started up with Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher,” lead singer Scotty Morris led the crowd through the ho-dee ho-dee ho’s and the Hi-dee hi-dee hi’s. During the song the audience jumped in at the appropriate times as well.

This was an extremely fun concert with a high energy band. While some people may never give Big Bad Voodoo Daddy a listen due to their roaring twenties label and swing sound, others are quickly realizing that this is a band that has a sound all its own, with some very catchy tunes.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Click for more images

Band members include Scotty Morris (lead vocals and guitar), Kurt Sodergren (drums and percussion), Dirk Shumaker (double bass and vocals), Andy Rowley (baritone saxophone and vocals), Glen “The Kid” Marhevka (trumpet), Karl Hunter (saxophones and clarinet), Joshua Levy (piano and arranger), Anthony Bonsera Jr. (lead trumpet) and Alex Henderson (trombone).

You can catch these dapper fellows on The Tonight Show on Jan. 9, where they will perform “Why Me?”
Set-list
Come On With The “Come On”
Calloway Boogie
Merry Christmas Baby
Mr. Heatmeiser
Mr. Pinstripe Suit
Hey Now
The Reefer Man
Minnie the Moocher
Diga Diga Do
Devil’s Dance
5-10-15 Times
We Three Kings
Zig Zaggity Woop Woop
You and Me & The Bottle Makes 3
I Wan’na Be Like You
Go Daddy O

Encore
Why Me?
So Long Farewell-Goodbye

 

Brian McKnight woos the ladies

Brian McKnight - Click for more images

Brian McKnight – Click for more images

Brian McKnight entertained a sold-out crowd at Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Friday night, kicking off the casinos countdown to 2013.

This was a stripped down version of his regular show, although this format is becoming his regular show. In 2011, McKnight set out to let America get to know more about him as he embarked on his Just Me Tour, which included his brother’s band, Take 6. During the show McKnight reflects on growing up and provides anecdotal information about his songs and life.

This being the stripped down version, it was completely solo with only McKnight playing a grand piano, guitar, or keyboards.

Big Al with local radio station V101.1 introduces Brian McKnight

Big Al with local radio station V101.1 introduces Brian McKnight

As the show began, the lights dimmed and the stage was deserted as a signal spotlight lit up the piano. Off stage McKnight started singing “Should’ve Been Loving You,” slowly working his way center stage, making for a very dramatic entrance.

After following up with “Home,” McKnight went on to explain the format of his show saying, “I write these songs, but I produce them too, and sometimes you got to produce them to be on the radio, and I don’t necessarily get to perform them the way I want to, so tonight, I’m going to give you the music the way I want to.”

McKnight continued with a medley of songs of people who most influenced him in his early years, including Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E,” Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin,” and Jeffrey Osborne’s “On the Wings of Love.”

McKnight woos audience member Elsa - click for more images

McKnight woos audience member Elsa – click for more images

Working just the right amount of humor into his show, McKnight explained why he doesn’t serenade his “ladies.” Because his mother warned him about using his god given talents for his own personal purposes, and God will take those talents away, referencing erectile dysfunction commercials. That’s when he asked audience member Elsa Greco to come up on stage so he could serenade her with “Crazy Love,” as he played guitar.

This was pretty much an unplugged set, at least until his last song “Fall 5.0” when he played to a soundtrack. “Fall 5.0″ is off his new album due to be released in February.

The format just didn’t work for the testosterone laden guys in the audience, but it did work for all the ladies who were captivated by McKnight’s good looks and his smooth vocals as he belted out one love song after another.

For those fans of McKnight in the ‘90s and who have not kept up with his music, they were ultimately disappointed due to the unplugged format. At times it was difficult to determine what song he was singing.

As one of those testosterone laden guys, I’d rather have seen more standup comic routines from McKnight.

Multi-talented McKnight on the piano

Multi-talented McKnight on the piano

Setlist:

Should’ve Been Loving You
Home
The Only One for Me
Medley “L-O-V-E,” “I Keep Forgetting,” “On the Wings of Love,” “Overjoyed,’’ “A House is Not a Home,’’ “Rock With You”
Cherish
Crazy Love
Guitar solo
Can You Read My Mind
6, 8, 12
Find Myself in You
Let Me Love You
Still in Love
Still
Do I Ever Cross Your Mind
Missing You
You’re Like a Dream Come True
Back at One
One Last Cry
Fall 5.0

Rock concert breaks out at country bar

Rachel Steele and Jeff Keith – Click for more images

It was a magical night at Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill in Folsom, California as singer, songwriter Rachel Steele and country band Road 88 were joined by the venerable rocker Jeff Keith, lead singer for the rock band Tesla.

Keith joined forces with Steele and her band to celebrate the release of his new CD “Jeff Keith and Country Music Friends.” The Album is the result of a side project Keith’s been working on with friends Kent Goodson and Pat Boone from The George Jones band. Pat Boone is not the really old guy who likes to drink milk, but the not-so-really old guy who likes country music.

Frank Hannon – Click for more images

When Steele was halfway through her set Keith, donning a cowboy hat and blue jacket, jumped up onstage  singing several songs from his new album. As if that wasn’t enough to get everyone on their feet, Tesla’s Troy Luckketta (drums) and Frank Hannon (guitar), who were there in support of Keith, joined him to perform Tesla’s hit “Signs,” followed by a fantastic rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.”  Only Brian Wheat (bass) and Dave Rude (guitar) were missing from Tesla.

Frank Hannon and Billy Haggard

Road 88’s guitarist Billy Haggard and Hannon brought the house down with a killer battle of guitars, with Hannon finishing off the battle playing the guitar using a beer bottle up and down the neck of the guitar.

It gave more than a few people the goosies!

Road 88’s members include Scott Prentice (guitar, vocals), Billy Haggard (guitar), Charlie McGimsey (drums), Todd Prout (bass), Paul Southerland (lap/pedal steel, dobro) and Maggie Keith (backup vocals).

So how did Keith get mixed up in all things country?

Jeff Keith (center) and Road 88

Apparently Goodson and Boone met Keith after a Tesla concert in Canada and the next thing you know, the three of them are paddling around in a pontoon boat somewhere in the middle of Nashville, slamming down sasparillas, and singing country songs – go figure.

The album is solidly in the country genre with song titles like “Same Ol’ Cowboy,” Oklahoma Bound,” and my favorite “Oh Hell.” You can read the complete review here.

Keith also wants to assure all of his Tesla fans that he’s not quitting his day job –  or would that be his night job? He remains with Tesla and they are currently planning out their 2013 schedule, including the Monster of Rock Cruise in March.

 

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