Greetings, and welcome to my 50th column of Reservoir Music Notes! And baby, it’s cold outside, so come on inna my kitchen and warm yourselves up by my fire!
Last night, I braved the frigid temperatures to have a joyous time at The Fab Faux concert at UPAC in Kingston. What can I say about The Fab Faux that I haven’t already said in previous columns? Well, a lot, actually.
Racing to arrive on time so as not to miss the opening songs, I explained to my companion that the band was known to perform complete albums in each set. Therefore, as an example, I said that if they did the White Album, and opened with “Back in the USSR”, you wouldn’t want to walk in on “Dear Prudence” and kill the continuity. Well, we did manage to arrive just in time to hear the opening strains of…”Back in the USSR”! Once again, my musical instincts did not fail me!
Sadly, after “Dear Prudence”, they moved to a program of greatest hits. And I say “sadly” simply because it’s so nice to hear those albums in their entirety in the song order that has been imprinted on your mind for, like, ever! But it wasn’t really “sadly”. It was actually an ecstatic celebration of a certain time in our history when anything seemed possible and the future looked bright, and, of course, a celebration of the greatest success story in entertainment history, i.e. The Beatles!
When the band launched into “I Saw her Standing There”, it was an in your face reminder of how much fun The Beatles were when they first appeared on the scene. Just a simple rock n roll song with a cool guitar solo. So simple, yet so profound! But mostly, fun, fun, fun (to quote The Beach Boys).
Fab Faux really hit their stride with “I am the Walrus”, John Lennon’s psychedelic anthem with some of the most complex production values and audio effects ever, which the band somehow managed to duplicate perfectly! From there on out, it was just one moment of joy after the other!
Guitarist Jimmy Vivino shone on “While my Guitar Gently Weeps”. Guitarist and keyboard multi-instrumentalist, Jack Petruzelli blew everybody’s mind with his tour de force vocal on “Oh Darling”. Drummer Rich Pagano channeled Ringo to an amazing degree, right down to his body language and drum tunings, both of which captured the absolute essence of the Beatle drummer! Guitarist Frank Agnello sang a beautiful “Something”, and of course, the visual centerpiece was always the tall, pale, blond, rail thin bass player, Will Lee, with his chalk stripe pants, outrageous stage moves, and note perfect bass musings, who closed the show with “I’m Down”!
To make a point about The Fab Faux that I’ve made before and will probably make again, when Jack sang “Oh Darling”, as I said, it was a tour de force, and Jack sang it so powerfully that everyone in attendance HAD to take notice (Jack received a standing ovation for his performance), but what it drove home, at least to me, was what a truly amazing job Paul McCartney did on the original record! As great as Jack was on this song, it made you realize that Sir Paul’s take on it was even more powerful, and it made you appreciate, once again, how good The Beatles really were! This is something that The Fab Faux do over and over again. They give the listener deeper insight into the music of The Beatles, and that may be their greatest accomplishment, even greater than playing these timeless classic songs perfectly. Like a fine musician who tailors what he plays to the song he’s playing, The Fab Faux serve The Beatles music, and IMHO, do it better than any “tribute” band. “It’s not a tribute. It’s a recreation”! After a Fab Faux show at The Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan a few years ago, a fan walked up to Jimmy Vivino and blurted out, “Wow Jimmy! I don’t usually like cover bands, but you guys were great”. To which Jimmy replied quizzically, “Cover band? Do you consider The New York Philharmonic a cover band”? Pretty much says it all! This is the classical music of my generation, and every generation to come after rediscovers and loves The Beatles, and that’s why they are the best band ever! And the funny thing is, when I was younger, I was a Rolling Stones fan. I loved The Beatles too, but The Stones were my favorite band for twenty years. Ironically, The Stones had the bad boy image, while The Beatles were thought of as cute and cuddly. The real truth is that the two bands switched realities for images. The Beatles were juvenile delinquents, where The Stones were mostly middle class kids! And as time has gone on, I’ve grown to appreciate The Beatles more and more. I doubt that any artist will ever equal them, in either creative or financial success. And while The Stones are rock royalty, The Beatles, and people forget this, were Gods! My heartfelt thanks to The Fab Faux for doing what they do and bringing so much joy to so many people, and to Chris Silva at The Bardavon/UPAC for making this review possible by graciously hooking me up to attend this concert. A splendid time was guaranteed, and had, by all!
After The Fab Faux, this week’s naturally gonna be a little bit of a letdown, but there’s always some cool stuff to do, and this week’s no exception, so here we go with this week’s live music picks.
Wednesday, February 15 – GUNS AND ROSES return to The Ritz! Now known as Webster Hall, The Ritz on 13th Street in Manhattan was the site of a legendary and historic concert by the bad boys of hair metal back in 1987. I remember it well because it was one of the few events that I actually could not get in to! And I had carte blanche at The Ritz! My friend Tommy Tully was the stage manager! Didn’t help. Now, for a mere $125, that historic night can be relived with Axl Rose and his band of hired help. I think the original ticket price was $15. Still, would like to be there. And Webster Hall is changing their name back to The Ritz, for this one night only, to commemorate the historic nature of the event! For those of you on a tighter budget, ZIGABOO MODELISTE, drummer and founding member of The Meters, and drummer for Keith Richards’ first spin off band, The New Barbarians, stops off at The Highline Ballroom in Manhattan. This is the perfect gig for Richards to pop in at. He’s probably in town because he’s doing the Hubert Sumlin Jazz Foundation benefit at The Apollo Theater next week, and it’s just like him to show up unannounced for his old bandmate’s show. No guarantees, but the last time I felt this way, it was for Dave Edmunds and Rockpile’s show at The Bottom Line, and if you know your history, you know how that worked out! In other news, guitar whiz JOHNNY LANG pops in to BB King’s and RICHARD THOMPSON continues his three day all request run at The City Winery, both in Manhattan.
Thursday, February 16 – RICHARD THOMPSON finishes up at City Winery and LUCKY PETERSON is at The Catamount in Mount Tremper for a rare, intimate acoustic show, the first of three shows in our area this week.
Friday, February 17 – Okay, fasten your seatbelts, because we’re gearing up for a great weekend! The great ARETHA FRANKLIN starts a two day run at Radio City Music Hall and LUCKY PETERSON continues his run through the Hudson Valley with a full band show at The Bearsville Theater. Hard rock band TESLA are at Irving Plaza and the most bluesworthy RONNIE EARL will be blueswailing at BB King’s, both in Manhattan. Out in Brooklyn at The Brooklyn Bowl, OTIS DAY AND THE KNIGHTS, the RnB band immortalized in “Animal House”, will be rockin’ out for the faithful. Finally, at The Bardavon in Poughkeepsie, Stanley Kubrick’s paen to the nuclear age, DOCTOR STRANGELOVE, a Perry family favorite, will have a special showing at 7:30 pm.
Saturday, February 18 – ARETHA finishes up at Radio City, PETER FRAMPTON rolls into The Beacon Theater, DAVY JONES of The Monkees is at BB King’s, it’s STRICTLY BLUEGRASS night at Banjo Jim’s, all in Manhattan, and the legendary SKATALITES, with mostly original lineup, are at The Brooklyn Bowl.
Sunday, February 19 – LUCKY PETERSON finishes up his visit to the Hudson Valley with a show at The Falcon in Marlborough, and this week’s Pick of the Week, living legend DION, performs at the 92nd Street YMCA, now known as 92Y.
Monday, February 20 – Winner of 8 Blues Music Awards and 4 time GRAMMY nominee, MARCIA BALL, brings it at City Winery. This woman can rock and get down with the best of ‘em! Opening this show will be multiple GRAMMY and Best of the Beat Award winning band, BEAUSOLEIL, a fabulous double bill that makes this my second Pick of the Week!
Tuesday, February 21 – DION ain’t done yet! Tonight, he’s at Joe’s Pub downtown. Catch him! Dion’s much more than you think, even if you’re a fan. He’s even done a blues album!
Wednesday, February 22 – ROBERT CRAY at Tarrytown Music Hall. Robert is one of Eric Clapton’s favorites, and was the third guitarist on the bill with Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eric the night of Stevie’s helicopter crash. Yeah, he’s in THAT kind of company!
Actually, it’s shaping up to be a pretty awesome week. Have a great one!