The Final World Tour Broke My Heart and Mended It All In One Night

ryannnnnnnYellowcard has held one of the most special places in my heart for the longest time. Though I was born in 1998, a year after their journey as a band began, I was reached by their music at a very young age. They had a way of making me feel less alone, and somehow made me smile in some of my worst moments. Even now, at 17, after many changes in my life,  they are still a constant reminder that “everything is gonna be alright.”

Often, when talking about the band, I mention that Ocean Avenue was the first CD I ever bought with my own money. This CD became the cornerstone for a collection that is now built by over 100 albums and is still growing. Yellowcard made me want to listen to music and become involved in it, whether I was crying and singing “One Year, Six Months” or smiling at the possibility of forever and belting out “Ocean Avenue,” they were an integral part of my growth in music.

The prospect of them not being a band is something I am still trying to wrap my head around. Though I know that they will all go on to do great things, it is hard to accept that one of the few constants in my life will no longer be constant. However, the Final World Tour brought me quite a bit of closure. For an hour and fifteen minutes or so, I was reminded of Yellowcard’s amazing past but also assured by Ryan Key, the voice behind the lyrics that have meant so much to fans throughout the years, that though this chapter of their lives is closing, there is more to come in the future.

Dryjacket and Like Torches were amazing support. The former opened the show with melodic tunes that left the room craving more music, and the latter, a Swedish band on their first U.S. tour, were so entertaining, I was sad to see them leave the stage. Both openers shared stories of growing up listening to Yellowcard, and I believe this definitely caused an immediate connection between them and the masses of fans in the crowd. People standing around me commented on how impressed they were with both acts, and how great they fit with the tour. I was equally impressed, and hope to hear more from both bands in the near future.

Though I could write lines and lines about how absolutely perfect the Yellowcard set was, I believe the only way you can truly understand it is to attend one of their last shows. As always, they left me speechless, both from their spectacular performance and also from the fact that I sang along with every song.  They are a band that will never be forgotten by anyone who has been touched by their music, and who are unrivaled in love and support from fans. I hope everyone gets a chance to see them on this tour and is able to receive the closure I received from seeing them perform live one last time. There is something so touching about watching a band that has meant so much to you for such a long time say their final goodbye.

If you want to purchase tickets to a date near you, please visit: http://yellowcardrock.com/

You will not regret it, I promise.

All I can say with certainty is, long live Yellowcard. They are legends in my eyes, and legends never truly die.

-Rini Christina

For more photos of this show and others, please visit: http://www.facebook.com/rinicphotography

 

Vicki Lawrence & Mama Sing at the Tobin Center

This seems to be my year for checking items off my bucket list or simply doing things I’d never imagined!  Being in the same room as a comedic legend such as Vicki Lawrence falls into the latter category!

I grew up watching the Carol Burnett Show; we never missed it. It didn’t matter where we were, a friend’s house, a family get together, everyone sat around to watch Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway perform their weekly comedy sketches and Movie/TV Show parodies.  My favorite segments were the Mama’s Family skits.  Being a young girl, I found it amusing that a Grandma could be so raw, mean, and funny at the same time!  I remember how shocked I was to find out that Vicki Lawrence was actually much younger than Carol!  I actually thought she was older, or at least the same age. I believe that’s how you can judge good acting, when someone can make you believe that she IS the person whose role she’s playing!

We sat behind a taxi driver that had the pleasure of driving Vicki around San Antonio. He was scrolling through his photos and we noticed a photo of him and Vicki.  We asked if he was at the meet and greet.  He told us that she, her husband, Al Schultz, and her son, were really nice. They gave him tickets to the show and it appears that he was their driver for the weekend.

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Vicki sings (Photo by JohnDavid Scarcliff)

Vicki came out and connected with the audience by telling comical, but true stories, about routine events such as visiting the gynecologist.  She reminded some of us that may have forgotten (or those that didn’t know) that she produced and recorded the first version of “The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia.”  Yes folks, Reba is not the original redhead to sing it!  She said her then husband, Bobby Russell, didn’t like the song and she “got it in the divorce.”  In 1973, it was number one on the “Billboard Hot 100.”  She sang it for us and joked about how she was the only artist that could do a medley of her hits in one song.

Vicki also told us the story of how she was discovered by Carol at a “Miss Fireball” contest. Over the years I’ve seen articles speculating that Vicki resented being in Carol’s shadow. I didn’t sense that Vicki had any resentment for Carol at all.  In fact, I think it is the opposite.  I think she is grateful. Though I did sense a little resentment between Vicki and Mama. It seems that whenever Vicki is spotted by fans, they yell out to her, “where’s Mama?” It is as if they don’t realize that she IS Mama.  I believe she should be proud that after 40 years, Mama lives on in the hearts of fans everywhere.  Even though Mama came out of the Carol Burnett Show, she is clearly Vicki’s masterpiece.  The Tobin Center was nearly full with people that came to see Vicki AND Mama and all the laughs were for Vicki and her alter ego – Mama; no one else!

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One thing Vicki did say begrudgingly, was that Bob Mackie created glamorous sequined gowns for Carol and for her just the Mama costume! (Photo by JohnDavid Scarcliff)

Since it is not shown in re-runs, my 17-year old daughter never saw the “Carol Burnett Show” or “Mama’s Family.”  She had no idea what she was in for, but she loved it!  She screamed with laughter, just as much as us “old folks!”  By the way, Vicki advised us that “Mama’s Family” is currently showing on “MeTV,” so if you get that channel, you are in luck.  Sadly for us, MeTV is not on the Dish Network.

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Better listen to Mama! (Photo by JohnDavid Scarcliff)

Of course the crowd really went wild when Mama came out and did a rap for us! It was hysterical!  She did an “ask Mama” routine where she touched on some current issues. One question I recall was how she felt about Caitlyn Jenner.  Mama said that she didn’t understand why someone would want to become a woman at the menopausal stage of life!   The best way to describe the show is to quote Vicki, herself, “My show is not a retrospective, . . .It is a mixture of stand-up comedy, music and my observations about real life.”(http://www.vickilawrence.com/2woman2013.html) The only thing she left out is that you will be laughing so hard your sides will hurt and your eyes will tear!

“Vicki Lawrence and Mama, A Two Woman Show” is touring the country and I highly recommend you catch it if you can.  You can see the schedule on her website by following this link http://www.vickilawrence.com/VickisSchedule.html.  I hope she comes back to San Antonio next year. – BMT

Frampton: Alive 40 Years Later

I entered the Tobin Center excited to see Peter Frampton for the first time. I was just 10 years old when I was introduced to his music, and too young to go to a rock concert. Typically artists don’t allow photographs during the show, so we didn’t bring a camera. Obviously aware that fans will sneak photos anyway, Peter Frampton must believe “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” so he posted signs stating fans could take as many videos and photos as they wanted during the first three songs only.  Once inside the theater, people were holding signs and walking up and down the aisles stressing that photos could be taken during the first three songs.  After the three tunes, he requested we put away the recording devices and “live in the moment!” Bravo Peter! I find myself saying that to my daughter at least once a day – “enjoy the moment.”  Not too long ago, OK, I’ll say it, “in our day,” we had to wait several days to get our photos back from the Fotomat AND we were lucky if they

800px-this_is_a_typical_drive-up_fotomat_booth
Fotomat booth – photo from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:This_is_a_typical_drive-up_Fotomat_booth..jpg

turned out! That was IF we were allowed to bring cameras into the venue. Unless we were there with our friends, we had to tell our friends about it AFTER the concert, (usually the next day), we’d then follow-up a few days later to show the few blurry photos we managed to salvage from the roll [of film for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about.] While we were at the concert though, we screamed, danced, clapped, sang along and could care less about connecting with ANYONE other than the artist and the fans around us! But I digress. . .

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Photo taken at end of 3rd song.

As you can imagine, during the first three songs, the auditorium looked like a sea of smart phone screens! Peter later commented that he didn’t recognize us (because he couldn’t see anyone’s face, just the back of their phones!) Our seats were not close enough for our cell phone camera, so my apologies, but our pictures resemble 1970’s Fotomat prints!  Thanks to the generosity of the Tobin Center, we were able to obtain two very awesome close-ups that were taken by their photographer, John David Scarcliff.

Frampton was ready to rock the night away and he told us that he was going to play for us, “virtually all night.”  Normally, that would make my daughter and I extremely happy, but this being the night before her last final exam, we were thinking that she should have stayed home. OK, so I failed Parenting 101 by taking her to a concert during finals week, but in the end, it was worth loosing sleep and study time!  (In case you are wondering, she got an A on the final.)

He began with his classics and went into at least a half-hour set of acoustic solos from his new album released in February 2016 – “Peter Frampton – Acoustic Classics.”

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Released 2/26/16 (Photo and track list from Frampton.com)

Tracklist:
01. Fig Tree Bay
02. Wind Of Change
03. All I Want To Be ( Is By Your Side )
04. Show Me The Way
05. Lines On My Face
06. Sail Away
07. Baby, I Love Your Way
08. All Down To Me
09. Penny For Your Thoughts
10. Do You Feel Like I Do
11. I’m In You

Peter allowed the audience to connect with him by telling personal stories that were very touching.  For example, he told the story behind his song, “Hummingbird in a Box.” When he was a little boy, his grandfather gave him some type of puzzle box that once opened revealed a small hummingbird figurine.  He had several guitar changes and told us a story about one he stole from his good friend, George Harrison!  He marveled at how big George’s property was and how many “tuners” (guitars) he had and stated that it was OK because “a Beatle should have everything he needs!”  He told us about the guitar given to him by Buddy Holly’s wife – a replica of Holly’s guitar named “Peggy Sue,” which contains the fret from Buddy’s original guitar.  Maria Elena Holly gave the guitar to Peter for his participation in an artist collaboration of recording Holly’s hits for a children’s charity.  He told us that “Peggy Sue” was the very first song he ever sang in front of anyone. He sang it for a Cub Scout music proficiency badge!  He then performed a fantastic rendition of “Peggy Sue” for us!  We even got to learn about his pet peeves.  For instance, it was obvious that he was not a big fan of people screaming things at him while he was trying to tell a story!  A few times he turned up the volume, while tuning to drown out the audience noise!  He also doesn’t like when people arrive to the concert late!  He embarrassed a couple that came in around the fifth song.  He told them, “. . .there’s probably a good reason why you are late” then rubbed-in that they missed several good songs and that there was a photo rule!  So, if you have tickets to his next show, be sure to arrive on time!!

peter frampton jds 3

Photo by John David Scarcliff

A die-hard performer, Frampton never took a break.  His band got several, but he kept on playing and telling stories until his last bow.  As expected, he and the band came back for an encore.  He sang, “I Want you to Love Me. . .till the hair grows on my head.” Obviously making fun of his balding hair-line.  But don’t be fooled, at 66 years old, even though he no longer has those long golden locks, Peter Frampton still ROCKS!! The grand finale, was a tear-jerking performance of the Beatles’ “While my Guitar Gently Weeps.” I’m not sure about anyone else, but it made me cry.

peter frampton jds

Photo by John David Scarcliff

The best part of the night was meeting him and getting his autograph.  Peter had two separate and private meet and greets that night.  One, I was told, was sponsored by Budweiser and the other for people who purchased VIP tickets from the tour.  Sadly, we did not have passes for either one but waited outside with a handful of others hoping to meet him.  We were joined by two people who came out wearing tour passes. They told us that Peter’s tour manager was their close friend and that they often get backstage passes.  What was interesting was that even though they have been backstage numerous times, they have never, I repeat, NEVER, actually met Peter Frampton and/or obtained his autograph! So, it was an honor and privilege that Peter decided to come out, greet us, and sign one item. We respected his request for no photos and just thanked him for the great show and for allowing us to meet him.  He was very humble and gracious.The Manager’s friends also said that they never heard Peter tell so many personal stories!  I guess the intimacy of the Tobin Center makes artists feel comfortable with the audience.

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In case you are wondering why the ticket is signed upside down – I mentioned that we waited and were respectful, but there were a handful of rude people who came “out of the woodwork” and just pulled-up to where we were waiting.  These type of people are why artists usually don’t bother greeting fans and ruin it for everyone else!  I use a cane and was standing on the side; I could not jump down to where the rest of the people were standing, I was technically at the beginning of the line, but Peter started from the other end.  These two guys who just pulled-up, cut in front of me.  When I pointed that out to them, they said, “well come down here.” Hello?! Didn’t they see the cane?! Someone else told them that we’d been waiting there a long time, so they grabbed my ticket and handed it to Peter, upside down, (after he signed their items) and told him it was mine. Peter handed it back to me and gave me a beautiful smile.  I was upset when I realized it was upside down, but being able to thank him for a great show and getting a huge smile makes it priceless.

Frampton is still touring, currently with Cheap Trick.  I highly recommend you make it to one of his shows. Check out his tour dates here – http://www.frampton.com/live/

– BMT

Downs Thompson, Clay Walker’s Fiddle Player

 

Shared Clay Walker’s photo on my Facebook page.  In case you missed it, thought I’d share the post here.

 

Do you have a favorite band member? I’d love to hear about him/her.  Please post your comments here.

Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo at San Antonio Livestock Show & Rodeo

il_fullxfull-506151922_nzj5pat_benatar_2007-09-07

 

Hey “Heartbreaker” “Love is a Battlefield.”  You “Whisper Promises in the Dark,” you’re like “Fire and Ice” “Whatcha Tryin to do to my Heart? You Better Run.” “We Belong” at the rodeo. Come on Pat Benatar “Treat Me Right,” “Hit me with Your Best Shot.” We will be “Invincible!”
Can you tell I’m “All Fired Up” with “Anxiety” to see another musical legend and my teen idol, Pat Benatar?! I’ve been waiting for “Precious Time” and tonight I will cross off another item on my bucket list! Not even “A Little too Late.” Thanks to my daughter for her awesome and thoughtful Christmas present:)

pat benatar and neil giraldo

Rest in Peace Glenn Frey

“There’s . . .Heartache Tonight, I know.”

glenn_frey

What a terrible way to start the year for music fans. I was about to turn off my computer, when I came across this shocking post on the Eagles Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/EaglesBand/posts/1200240780005485

“There’s a Hole in the World”

https://youtu.be/WD3cnivUVXc

How I wish the news came from “Lyin’ Eyes.” Unfortunately, it is true, yet another musical legend has left us.  The Eagles founding member, guitarist, songwriter, and singer, Glenn Frey, passed away today. He was 67 years old. The post from the Eagles page said that Frey died from “complications from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Acute Ulcerative Colitis and Pneumonia.” I am saddened by this news. The Eagles are one of my favorite bands. In fact, I never met anyone that said they didn’t like them! I grew up in the 70s and 80s listening to their music and loved it all. I think it is safe to say that everyone has a favorite Eagles song.  Who hasn’t been to an event where the crowd was singing along to “Hotel California,” “Desperado,” “Take it Easy” or any number of Eagles classics?  Don Henley and Glenn Frey’s song lyrics are poetic genius; true works of art.

I got to cross something off my “bucket list”

Since they disbanded in the 80s, I never thought I’d get to see the Eagles perform live in my lifetime, but on September 8, 2008, my dream came true.  I was blessed to get tickets from one of my bosses to see them at the AT&T Center here in San Antonio. I took my,then 9 year-old, daughter with me.  There was not one song that we didn’t sing along to. We were up on our feet the entire time. (This was back when I could stand more than 10 minutes!) It was a surreal experience to be able to enjoy music from my childhood icons with my daughter. It is still one of the best concert memories we share. In fact, just last week, when we picked-up our tickets to the upcoming Pat Benatar rodeo concert (my Christmas present) we talked about how fantastic that show was. Music has always been a big part of our routine.  I’ve taken her to many concerts, but this one made a huge impression on her back then because they have so many hits, that the concert, as I recall, was over two hours long!  Also, on our way to the concert, she said she didn’t know who the Eagles were, but she recognized almost all of the songs in the set list. Each song sounded almost identical to the versions recorded some 20-30 years earlier; their voices were just as crisp. To me, it is the epitome of musical talent when artists sound just as good or even better, live in-concert, as they do on their studio recordings.

“Part of Me, Part of You”

This post seems to be more about the Eagles, than Glenn Frey, but let’s face it, as a co-founder, one of the lead singers and songwriters, Glenn Frey is a huge part of the Eagles and the Eagles are a huge part of Glenn Frey.  I imagine the band will continue to tour without him, since they were in the middle of their “History of the Eagles” tour when they took a break because of Glenn’s illness.  I think it would be an awesome tribute to him to continue, but they can never replace Glenn Frey.

Soundtrack to Our Lives

During Glenn’s solo career in the 80s, “The Heat Is On” was one of his biggest hits.  It is one of the songs on the soundtrack of “Beverly Hills Cop,” the story of a Detroit Cop (Eddie Murphy) that winds up in Beverly Hills. Coincidentally, Glenn Frey was born in Detroit on November 6, 1948. His song, “Part of Me, Part of You,” is also on the soundtrack for the movie, “Thelma & Louise.” His voice was soft yet powerful, with just the right amount of “rasp,” making his songs perfect to use in movies and really, perfect music for life’s many occasions.  Since reading the news of his passing, I’ve seen so many Twitter posts by celebrities, one that stands out, and I think most would agree with, was from Melissa Gilbert, she wrote, “Rest well Glenn Frey. So grateful for the soundtrack you gave my life. . .” I couldn’t put it better, he did give our lives a soundtrack!

David Bowie, There’s “A New Kid in Town”

Glenn joins so many great artists in Heaven tonight.  Rest in Peace Glenn, your music will live on forever.  You have the best of our love. – BMT

Rest in Peace David Bowie

The World has lost another legendary artist.

https://www.facebook.com/ReviewsoftheArtsSA/posts/Rest in Peace David BowieIMG_20140923_190125

Natalie Cole Dead at 65

Legendary Jazz Icon Natalie Cole Passes
nataliecole2007

We are saddened to learn that we lost another musical legend.  Natalie Cole died on New Year’s Eve at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles due to “complications from ongoing health issues.”  Multiple sources released a statement from her family – her son Robert Yancy and sisters Timolin and Casey Cole:

“Natalie fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived … with dignity, strength and honor. Our beloved Mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain UNFORGETTABLE in our hearts forever”

Natalie suffered from hepatitis C which she believed she contracted from her prior drug use.  She had a liver transplant in 2009 after she appeared on Larry King Live.

Maria Cole wife of Nat King Cole

Maria and Nat King Cole

Natalie Cole had Music in her Blood

Natalie was born with musical talent.  How could she avoid it?  Not only was she named after her renowned father, Nat King Cole, her mother, Maria Hawkins Ellington Cole, who was also a jazz singer that worked with Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

4761384690_4c21e137d5_bVirtual Duet Pioneer

Though Natalie had her own musical hits such as, “This Will Be” and “Our Love,” she is also know for her multi-platinum, Grammy award winning virtual duet with her father, the late, great, Nat King Cole.  In 1991, she recorded an album entitled, “Unforgettable … With Love,” which won six Grammy Awards in 1992, including album of the year. The “Unforgettable” duet won record and song of the year.  The album won every award for which it was nominated.

(http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/26/arts/cole-s-unforgettable-sweeps-the-grammys.html)

In and interview with The Associated Press in 1991, Natalie said, “I didn’t shed really any real tears until the album was over, . . .Then I cried a whole lot. When we started the project it was a way of reconnecting with my dad. Then when we did the last song, I had to say goodbye again.”

(http://bigstory.ap.org/article/6a4c103be2a74a2587334ec6eff65c13/natalie-cole-grammy-winning-singer-has-died)

The virtual duet with her father of his timeless hit, “Unforgettable, ” is still being played daily on radio stations.  Watch her emotional live performance here –

This YouTube link will play several of Natalie and Nat King Cole’s virtual duets.  Hope they make you “SMILE.”

Nat King Cole died on February 15, 1965

 

Nat King Cole - first African-American performer to host a variety TV series

The Legendary Nat King Cole

I find it no coincidence that Natalie Cole died at the age of 65 in 2015 and her legendary father, Nat King Cole, passed away in 1965 when she was 15. God’s plan is masterful.  May their memory be eternal.

What do you think? Post your comments below.

Review – Flashdance the Musical October 20, 2015 – Tobin Center for the Performing Arts

SAM_5639When I heard “Flashdance the Musical” was coming to town, memories flooded my head of how great the movie made me feel back when I was 17 and life was still so far ahead of me.  I, like most girls my age, left the movie theater feeling invincible, as if I could accomplish whatever I dreamed.  I was so excited to see this show. I hoped that I’d get to share that experience with my soon-to-be 17 year-old daughter.  Sadly, I have to admit that halfway into it, (shortly after the fifteen-minute intermission,) I found myself wishing it would end soon.  My daughter found the story-line cliché and corny.  It’s probably been over 25 years since I’ve seen the movie, which was released in 1983.  Apparently, what was entertaining to teens then is passé now.  This performance lacked the passion that was in the movie; moments that should have been dramatic were flat.  In short, I would equate the performance to reciting an action story in monotone.

flashdance program coverThe sequence of events was choppy, so if you’ve never seen the movie, as my daughter had not; it was not easy to follow along.  I also felt the set changes were too visible and the scenes ended abruptly.  Perhaps it would have been better if the lights dimmed while the singing and dancing faded-out or maybe they should have made use of a curtain. I don’t know, but actually seeing the cast and crew moving props around was distracting. The intermission occurred just after the water scene and we watched as the crew took the entire 15 minutes to dry all the water from the stage!

Despite the lackluster script, and considering this was her debut performance, the beautiful Julia Macchio did a good job playing Alex Owens, a young girl who works in a steel plant and moonlights as a risqué dancer in a bar.  Yes, you read that correctly, “Macchio.” Julia is the daughter of the “Karate Kid”.  However, I don’t think she’ll be getting a black belt for this performance.  I am certain she has natural talent, but this musical doesn’t do her justice.  She is perfect for the role of Alex because she has a fantastic body and really can dance.  However, the director(s) chose to highlight those assets only in the last few minutes of the production – in the scene when she auditions for the Shipley Dance Academy.  That was the most entertaining portion of the entire show, but it was too little, too late. Julia did dance her heart out, that’s why I credit the writer(s) and director(s) with the fail.

Alex looked very comfortable in the infamous cut-off sweatshirt.  It was not quite as revealing, but for a moment, she looked just like Jennifer Beals.  Here’s a little piece if trivia – I saw an interview where Jennifer Beals explained that the cut-up t-shirt was not planned in the script at all. Apparently, it was her own shirt, which had shrunk in the wash.  She wanted to wear it to rehearsal, so she cut the neckline off so it would fit over her head.  Director, Adrian Lyne, liked the look, so he had the costume designer make one for her to wear in the movie.  Now you know!

I would have to say that the most professional performer of the show was Tanisha Moore, who played Kiki, one of the dancers at Harry’s, the bar where Alex works. Tanisha gave a Tony-worthy Broadway performance.  When the four girls performed, “Put it On,” she rocked the house with her powerful voice.  I could see her playing lead in a musical about Gladys’s Knight or Ella Fitzgerald.  Another noteworthy actor was John Langley, who played Joe, one of the steel mill workers. The rest of the cast seemed to be over-acting ad nauseum, including Ryan Neal Green, who played Nick Hurley – Alex’s boss and boyfriend.  However, he was nice “eye candy!” The underlying plot of “Flashdance” is that a love affair is supposed to be unfolding between Alex and Nick, yet throughout the play, they only kissed twice. During several of the songs sung between Alex and Nick, instead of embracing and singing in each other’s faces like typical star-crossed lovers, they were simply pacing around the stage.

Ironically, as I was searching the web to refresh my memory about the original movie, I came across an article entitled, “Flashdance: Recalling the Film, the Actress, and the True Story Behind It” http://www.officialstickman.com/2013/03/flashdance-recalling-film-actress-and.html, which states:

Roger Ebert, a professional film critic and television film-review co-host, placed this movie on his personal list of “Most Hated” films and stated, ‘Jennifer Beals shouldn’t feel bad. She is a natural talent, she is fresh and engaging here, and only needs to find an agent with a natural talent for turning down scripts.’”

So, I guess I can say the same for my fellow Hofstra University Alum – Julia Macchio – girl, next time be more selective and insist they let you dance.

I was also disappointed that some of the songs from the original movie – huge hits in the 80s – such as “Maniac” and “Gloria,” were condensed.   In my opinion, that was a huge mistake.  To me, those tunes were sure to have engaged the crowd.  Unfortunately, just as we started getting the urge to sing along and dance in our seats, the song and the scene would end! In contrast, where a little theatrical dialogue would have been sufficient, the characters would simply walk across the set, singing songs with lyrics that were difficult to discern. I’ve seen many shows at the Tobin Center, so I know the venue’s acoustics are excellent.  However, my daughter and I had trouble hearing some of the actors, including Macchio, whether they were speaking or crooning.  A few times, I heard cackling from the microphones, so it would appear the tour’s sound equipment was in need of adjustment.

The finale, “What a Feeling,” was a culmination of the entire cast’s best singing and dancing for the entire night. When it was over, my daughter turned to me and said, “When the ending IS the musical.”

San Antonian’s must have done their research, because there were a huge number of empty seats. Since I knew the plot, I didn’t feel the need to look for reviews prior to the show. I can’t say it was the worst play I’ve ever seen, but it was by no means a Broadway show. I talked to a few people in the lobby that were of the same opinion, but I also heard some raving about how good it was.  From my view, the actors should have put a little more emotion into their roles and pizzazz in their steps throughout the show.  In conclusion, I’ll say this; “Flashdance the Musical” was comparable to a really good high school musical or a really low budget, off-Broadway production. I think if you don’t expect too much, you’ll enjoy it!  If you saw it or plan to see it, let me know what you think. – BMT

SAM_5730Postscript – Attention Litter Bugs

As a side-bar note, shame on you San Antonio! It is very disturbing to my daughter and I to see cups – both empty and full, food wrappers, and food scraps, all thrown on the floor and left on the seats at the end of performances.  Your mother doesn’t work there.  The ushers are volunteers!  The Tobin Center is not a stadium or an arena; it is a theatre for the performing arts.  Millions of dollars were spent to build the Tobin for our benefit; it should be treated with respect, so let’s keep it beautiful.  You wouldn’t toss drinking cups and food scraps all over your formal living room, would you?  Well, then, stop trashing our house!  Thank you.

Way Back Wednesday – Ringo Starr Concert Review*

Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band, at the Tobin Center – October 7, 2014

Dream Come True

What a show! Ringo Starr & his All Starr Band put on a great show at theTobin Center for the Performing Arts last night! When I was 16, I played Ringo Starr’s “You’re 16” repeatedly – so much that I’m actually surprised the record still plays! I think it was released the year my Aunt turned 16 and I remember her playing it over and over too. I pass the torch (well actually the 45 record) to my daughter who turns 16 next month. Though it was our mutual dream to hear Ringo Starr sing it last night, I guess he doesn’t consider it one of his greats – so it wasn’t on the set list. I guess it’s not orthodox to start a review of a fantastic concert with a negative comment, but now that it’s out of the way, we can focus on all the perfection that it was!

I was born after the Beatles invasion, around the time Revolver was released. I guess you could say I grew up listening to their music, but I never experienced their magic first hand. In fact, it was only a few months ago that I watched some Beatles episodes from the Ed Sullivan Show with my daughter. If you watch those clips, you see Ringo happily smiling and playing the drums but doing very little, if any, singing. Despite his being “so hard to see”, from my perspective, Ringo was the main ingredient. As my daughter says, take away the drums and you have no song! He was (and still is) my favorite Beatle! Nothing against the other 3 greats, John Lennon, Sir Paul McCartney, or George Harrison, I’ve just always had a thing for Ringo and his upbeat personality. I digress.SAM_3720

Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren

I’m embarrassed to say that I was not really aware of its members or how awesome the All Starr Band is. So, I was not expecting that last night would not only be a concert of a lifetime because we were seeing Ringo, but we also got to experience the music of Steve Lukather, (Santana, Toto, Journey) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Lukather, Todd Rundgren http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todd_Rundgren, Richard Page (Mr Mister) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Page_(musician), Gregg Bissonette (Santana, David Lee Roth) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregg_Bissonette, Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregg_Rolie, and Warren Ham (Toto) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Ham.

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The All-Starr Band

The All-Starr Band

Ringo sang one of his newer songs called, “Anthem (for Peace and Love)” but I think Todd Rundgren, dressed in a psychedelic pant suit like someone right out of 1971, sang another anthem Ringo subscribes to – “Bang the Drum all Day.” As Ringo said, “Well, that’s what I do.” He looked genuinely thrilled to be playing the drums while the All Starr Band members belted out classic tunes that made them famous, such as “Africa,” “Roseanna,” “Oye Como Va,” “Love Isn’t Always on Time,”. He even sat in the background playing the cajón drum while Richard Page showcased his new song, “You are Mine.”While he never said the word, “Beatles,” he enjoyed directing fans to sing along to classic Beatles tunes – “Yellow Submarine” and his finale, “I get by with a Little Help from my Friends.” Ringo even made a sarcastic remark after he sang, “Don’t Pass me by,” about how after he wrote that song he “was like, watch out (John and Paul), I’m coming through!”

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Despite his fame and financial status, I think all will agree that Ringo is a down-to- earth kind of guy with whom you could just be yourself and chat with at a party. Ringo’s infectiously joyful personality shined through last night at the Tobin Center. As fans yelled out his name, he acknowledged them with “don’t just say my name, say ‘Ringo, we love you’. . .it makes me feel good.” He also acknowledged a fan dressed in a pink Sgt. Pepper costume. The intimate layout of the Tobin Center allows the artist to interact with the fans and the fans to feel as though the artist is speaking directly to them. Several times during the night, I felt as if Ringo was looking right into my eyes – even though I was about nine rows back and he was behind his bright red drums. If you want him to really look into your eyes, that’ll be $3,000, but it’s for a good cause, the proceeds go to Ringo’s charity, the Lotus Foundation. Fans were also able to purchase Ringo’s artwork, drumheads, jewelry, and various other reasonably priced items to help the Lotus Foundation and of course, the usual T-shirts, photos, and other memorabilia from the band’s merchandise booth.

SAM_3699Ringo is a real star that is not afraid to let the spotlight shine on his co-workers – a technical term because I don’t think any of them were “working” last night. Music is a passion for most people, but only a select few get paid for fueling that passion. True, as fans we provide their source of income, but our reward is the wonderful feeling they leave us with when they take their final bows. The acoustics in the Tobin Center are amazing. We shot some video using our phones and small digital cameras. I think you’ll agree the sound quality is pretty good and you’ll forgive me for their jumpiness. I hope you enjoy these video clips and photographs at least half as much as my daughter and I enjoyed being there to take them. Peace & Love. – BMT

*Originally posted on Facebook October 9, 2014 – https://www.facebook.com/ReviewsoftheArtsSA/posts/754744957924532