This past Tuesday night John Waite kicked off his acoustic “Wooden Heart” tour in New Hope, PA and I was fortunate enough to be front row for the show. As with the three previous times I saw John live, this concert was excellent. However, it being an acoustic performance made for a much different atmosphere. This time around the performance was more intimate and the softer guitars placed John’s voice front and center, which is a good thing because the first time he sang a note it blew my mind how good he still sounds. The man is 63, yet his voice barely sounds any different than it did back in the 1980s. His tone is perfect and he emotes in a way few of his peers can. It’s really something to marvel. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.
I’m not going to get a chance to KISS live this year, but I am going to see the most-talked-about new KISS tribute band, Alive! ’75, twice. The first show I’m attending is on Saturday, September 19 at The Newton Theatre in Newton, NJ. And the second show is on Saturday, November 21 at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA. Stay tuned for a full recap of both shows, including great photos and videos. In the meantime, below is more information about what makes Alive! 75 special: Continue reading
Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing one of my favorite classic rock bands perform live: The Babys. No, this lineup doesn’t include John Waite, Jonathan Cain or Ricky Phillips, but that’s OK. All of these former members of The Babys are flourishing in their musical journeys and the current lineup of The Babys is doing the same. With Tony Brock on the drums, Wally Stocker and Joey Sykes on guitar and John Bisaha on lead vocals and bass, The Babys’ know how to bring it live.
On Friday I met KISS’ original drummer, Peter Criss, at the All Things That Rock Festival in Oaks, PA. This was the culmination of a terrific, music-filled year where I met and had my photo taken with all of the original and current members of KISS. I also had the privilege of being in attendance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony earlier this year where KISS’ original lineup was honored.
35 years into their career, Huey Lewis & The News are better than ever. This past weekend I saw the guys perform at the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, PA and they were fantastic. I, along with a packed room of fans, sang along and enjoyed every minute of the 16-song set.
This week Lisa Scottoline and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, released their new collection of humorous short stories: Have a Nice Guilt Trip. The book is currently a #1 best-seller on Amazon and it’s receiving rave reviews. To support the new release, these two funny and intelligent ladies made an appearance earlier today in Collegeville, PA at the Town Book Center & Cafe as part of their book tour.
Ten years ago, on March 8, 2003, I saw Hall & Oates live for the first time. Just a few months removed from the release of the legendary duo’s spectacular comeback album, Do It For Love, the concert was at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia. It was an amazing show, and I’ve seen Hall & Oates three more times since then. Tonight, I’m bringing my friend to see Hall & Oates live for the first time. And, of course, it’s at the Tower Theater. I’m sure it’ll be a wonderful show and she’ll be blown away by the musicianship and soul of two men who should have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a long time ago.
For your enjoyment, here’s the song that made me fall in love with Hall & Oates’ music ten years ago:
On my lunch break, especially when the weather is nice, I like to take a walk and listen to a chapter or two from an audiobook. This allows me to decompress and exercise at the same time. My usual destination is Rittenhouse Square, the epicenter of social activity in center city Philadelphia. Little did I know that I’d run into one of the most bizarre individuals in the City of Brotherly Love during one of my daily treks last week.
Last Friday I stared at my computer screen, realized it was lunch time and headed for the door. With my earbuds popped in and my iPhone at the ready, I picked up where I left off in the audiobook version of The Da Vinci Code as I took the elevator to the ground floor of the building. I’m revisiting the book in anticipation of Dan Brown’s new novel, Inferno, and it’s just as good now as it was 10 years ago.
The steel doors opened, I passed the security guard and burst through the front doors onto Broad Street. Passing by a motley crew of University of the Arts students, I approached the corner of Broad and Walnut Streets and gazed up at City Hall – the world’s tallest masonry building. To this day, it still impresses me every time I see it.
Weaving in and out of human traffic, I made my way to Rittenhouse Square in record time. Upon my arrival I turned left and searched for a bench where I could unwind and focus on the story being piped into my ears. As I traversed the curved path I noticed to the right a crazy-looking woman with frizzy hair. I walked forward several benches and found an empty one, seemingly waiting for my behind to rest on it.
I sat down and within two minutes the aforementioned crazy woman left her bench to join me. I ignored her but she started to speak, so I took out my headphones and said, “What?” As I turned toward her I noticed that her skin was weathered and laden with deep-set wrinkles. Her unwieldy mane of hair blew in the air as she said to me with a two-toothed grin, “Can you light this for me? They don’t let me light them.” Bemused and wondering who “they” were, I looked down and saw in her outstretched hands a cigarette and a lighter. Hoping this would convince her to leave me alone, I said, “Sure.”
Assuming everything was done and over with, I put my headphones back in and continued to play my audiobook. Then I realized Frizzy Frannie was still talking to me. I took out my earbuds again and she said, “You’ve got the power! Come on baby, light my fire. Come on baby, light my fire. Try to set the night on fire.” While I’m a fan of classic rock, having a gravely-voiced senior citizen who looks like she could give Lindsay Lohan a run for her money isn’t my idea of a good time. Thinking quickly, I acted like I received a phone call I had to take and said, “Excuse me.” To make it convincing, I stood several feet from the bench and said to no one on the other line, “Where are you? I’m in Rittenhouse Square. Yeah, I know where that is. I’ll be there in five minutes.” Then I swiftly walked away, leaving Frizzy Frannie by her lonesome.
Rittenhouse Square is a beautiful park that’s regularly inhabited by street musicians, people having picnics and doormen walking dogs. It’s a great place to unwind and soak in a beautiful day in the city. But like any urban oasis, you never know who you’re going to find on the other side of the bench…so have an exit strategy in mind.
In 2002, M. Night Shyamalan released one of my all-time favorite films: Signs. While the premise – aliens invading Earth and using crop circles for navigation purposes – sounds uninspired, at the heart of the film you’ll find a story about a man questioning his faith. It dealt with love, loss, family, and resolution, and it did so beautifully. The entire cast did a fantastic job, but Mel Gibson stole the show; his ability to convey emotion without uttering a word is marvelous. The script was suspenseful and well written, and the score, composed by James Newton Howard, was breathtaking.
What are your thoughts on Signs? Did you love it, hate it or feel indifferent about it? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments section.
Below you’ll find my favorite scene from the film as well as the official trailer.