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Monday, January 05, 2009

Obligatory Year In Review: Shows I Saw

This was something of an odd year for me regarding watching other people's shows and concerts. Now that I live out here, where live entertainment is EVERYWHERE, I seemed to have watched way more movies than live shows.

That being said I did see some great ones, most of which were more of the concert variety than anything else.

I watched Bonnie Tyler perform her hits at the Cannery Casino and had a BLAST! I am always standing at the ready to admit to a major guilty pleasure when it comes to "Total Eclipse of the Heart". So why the hell not go see a great show for a good price, right?

I finally got to go see "V The Ultimate Variety Show" at the Planet Hollywood. Mike got us some tickets just before the new year and I was very pleased. The show is held on the same stage where I filmed my commercial, but that wasn't what I enjoyed most about the experience. Watching both as an audience member and as an entertainer I was very pleased to come to the conclusion that I was not at all "worse" than any of the acts on stage. I found myself knowing with confidence that I could just as easily be one of the performers in a successful Vegas revue as anyone else on that stage. Sure there were "better" acts. Looking objectively and always being aware of my own faults, I know I was as good as many of the folks I saw that night.

April and I, after many years and as many attempts, saw "The Birdman of Vegas". "Nuff Said!

Of course The Smothers Brothers were hysterical. Like I had to tell you that.

We also took a trip to see the Kids in the Hall at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival. This was their first time ever to play Vegas. I hear they're hoping to get a regular gig out here. You can bet that I've got people working on snagging a spot as the opening act or as the fill-in act for their off nights. ;)

Perhaps the most notable show to me would be one I saw back in October at a place called the Sand Dollar Blues Club.

Before I go on about the show let me just say that the Sand Dollar is a most excellent blues room. Very reminiscent of some of my favorite haunts back in Chicago. I cannot speak for the bands they feature there every day, but I do know that on Wednesday nights, life can't get much better than spending an evening with the Ruffnecks.

Spend a little time at the MySpace page for the Ruffnecks and you'll immediately see why this is THE local band for me. Great music, played a bit too loud, in a kick-ass blues room. I hadn't had that much fun listening to a local band here since stumbling upon the Area 51 Experience at the Sahara earlier in 2008. While the Experience was great for me because they played tons of my favorite rock songs (many of which featured talk-box guitars - Joe Walsh anyone?), the Ruffnecks were great because of the hard-edged blues, the choice of songs, and the way they made me wanna drink and kick some ass. You can see and hear a bit of the Ruffnecks by watching my Instant iPod Commercial.

The Ruffnecks, while always the regular Wednesday night band at the Sand Dollar, were not THE band I went to see that night. no, I went to see the historic reunion of Jack Ely & The Courtmen.

You may recall, Jack Ely was the original singer for The Kingsmen, and is THE voice on the most famous recording of "Louie Louie". The Courtmen was the band Jack formed and toured with after leaving the Kingsmen. he had not performed with The Courtmen in some time and I had certainly not been anywhere where he was playing anytime in the last many years. I jumped at the chance to see him perform and hoped for a chance to shake his hand.

Not only was I able to hear and witness an historic show, but I met Jack Ely and other band members, got a few photos, and had a few of my 45's signed. I even shared a dance with Paula, the widow of "Louie Louie" scribe, Richard Berry. The night was filled with many great moments, tons of fantastic music, and loads of fun. More often than not I found myself saying, "I'm honored to meet you...honored to get the chance to...blah blah, honored blah."

I've posted a few videos from that show on YouTube and will re post them here for your enjoyment.

Jack Ely & The Courtmen's 1st "Louie Louie"

"Louie, Go Home"

"David's Mood"

"Louie Louie Part Two"

As you can probably tell, 2008 was an entertaining year for me. Whether it was me on stage or not, entertainment was a happening!

Next time...Who knows? A summation?

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