Let me begin this by saying up front that this is most decidedly NOT a concert review. At the end of the day, I just don't feel right about sitting in judgement around two gentlemen of Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck's stature. So let's just have some fun.............
First of all, if Clapton Is GOD as the old spray painted signs that cropped up in England circa 1966 or so are still correct, what does that make Jeff beck? I think that maybe we're talking GODS in the sense of Greek Gods and Clapton is the god of thunder and Beck the god of lightning? You pick your own gods and let's just say that this is the old argument our dads would have in the bar on a weekend night discussing who was better, Mantle or Mays. At the end of the day, they're both hall of famers which ever museum we're talking about. right? right.
Second, I had a very weird sense of sadness about seeing Jeff Beck on Friday night. I know that sounds very strange and it had nothing to do with his playing. To be sure, his playing was on a level that didn't seem humanly possible. That particular way his right thumb tickles and hammers while his pinky on his right hand is simultaneously agitating his whammy bar and his left fingers are bending on his fret board is so out of control it's beyond comprehension. I was sad thinking about all the time he just didn't want to share his playing with us. No recording, no touring, just silence. I thought of that and it almost made me sick really. His choice of course but all those gigs.....Let me just say that if some time has gone by in between visits, which is very possible given his predilection to stay at home and practice and mess with his cars, or you've never seen him AT ALL, do it! Do it NOW! Beck will be back on his own with his very tight band in the spring and make a plan to see him. It would be a shame for you to miss him and have him decide he's going back to his car garage. BTW....for a guy who's OLDER than Clapton, he's still very energetic and passionate on stage. He's close to 70 and you would never know it!
A word on song selection: The following comments are coloured by my post concert chat with our own Ian O'Malley so keep that in mind. Here's the problem for me with the inclusion of a song like Moon River in the set with Clapton and Beck: I've waited a LIFETIME to see these guys in this context and Moon River isn't my dream song to be included on the set. Jeff Beck himself stated prior to the show that he and Eric DID have some problems trying to arrive at a mutually satisfying song selections. Mind you I'm not complaining at a ballad per say, I mean a huge part of Beck's history is shredding it on tunes like "Because We've Ended As Lovers". I just couldn't deal with the flashbacks of sitting around the table as a kid and my dad putting that Andy Williams record on......you just wanted to die. It doesn't help that Chevy Chase pops into your head either from Fletch getting the old prostate tickled by M Emmit Walsh. Egad. You know, this has a lot to do with dragging all these expectations into MSG and at the end of the day they have a half an hour together? Hard to make it work.
At the end of the day I sort of feel like I'm nit picking here a bit and I apologize for that. I wasn't as disappointed with Clapton as Ian clearly was. He was bored in places and I wouldn't go anywhere near that. I DO think that if you asked me to pick one of the other as a "winner" from the night it would be Jeff Beck. I am open to the idea though that the old adage familiarity breeds contempt might apply here. We haven't lacked for opportunities to see Eric on stage at MSG lately but Jeff Beck has conspicuous for his absence for protracted periods of time.
Before this sounds like me ripping this concert PLEASE don't think that at all! There were many highlights for me right on through the show! That Jeff Beck would pick out Women of Ireland to riff on in his set was a miracle for me! I've loved that since Stanley Kubrick incorporated as a running theme in Barry Lyndon. Eric did Running On Faith which always makes me happy whenever he does it. And trust, seeing the two of them on the night closer, Crossroads, was a dream come true!
So the Clapton "Clean Up All Family Business" tours roll on! Cream, Winwood and Blind Faith, J J Cale, Jeff Beck..........Makes me want to fly to Chicago for sure to see the Crossroads Guitar Summit in a very big way! Just please God, don't have Joe Bonamassa play Moon River with Eric! gm
Well, another Super Bowl has come and gone and I certainly hope that everyone enjoyed and had a good time! Thanks once again to Ian O' for pulling the switch with me so that I could be home for kickoff!
I actually went against my better judgement and used my falling apart grill because my buddy Billy Foy, who brought over the butterfly cut, marinated lamb, INSISTED that it be done on the grill! I set up my four towers of Kingsford hickory coals (I NEVER use anything to start the charcoal!) and then just cooked very carefully as the coals burned out falling through the softball sized hole in the bottom of the grill! Hey, it worked! Everyone was blown away by that lamb! ( Yes we were all doing Sir Anthony Hopkins lines from Silence all night long!)
Other than the shocking Porter pick six against Peyton, which robbed us of what seemed like the inevitable first Super Bowl OT, it was a great game! Big plays, close through out, all kinds of stuff to talk about most notably Sean Payton's 2nd half on side kick to start things off! WOW! He really is a disciple of Bill Parcell's!
A word about The Who at halftime. I have been at war with Neil Best of Newsday who started ranting about the choice of The Who for halftime weeks before the game. I thought The Who acquitted themselves nicely. It's 12 minutes! Even Roger and Pete took a self depreciating view of what they could accomplish in their post half time assessments. Pete was humbled by the attitude of people who were really there just for the game and actually found that refreshing! Roger realized that most people just plan their halftime to get up and "slice"! That's a bathroom break for you and me!
Roger was frank in his assessment of what they could accomplish in 12 minutes. With all that being said, we had it cranked up VERY LOUD and everyone was digging it big time! That included those under 18 who knew the tunes and were rocking right along! I'm sure it doesn't come to you as any shock that I'd have friends who have practiced good parenting had have properly proselytized their children around classic rock! Neil Best has been saying to me that having the NFL book the Who was akin to having us watch Rudy Vallee, had he been alive, back in the 60's! Well. we actually DID have to suffer through Carol Channing in 1970! In case you hadn't noticed, many of our children actually LOVE classic rock. True, maybe not all of it and it certainly doesn't mean that they don't have their own groups and performers that they love as well. However, to think that they ALL felt tortured by The Who for the halftime show is just insane and a disrespect to one of the most important and influential bands of all time. I have said this a billion times and now want to say this for the record for a bazillion and one: I just wish we could make this Super Bowl party be a Saturday night affair! I just HATE The Cinderella Effect at around 10:15! All that time and effort to get the party together and then the floodgates open and your friends abandon ship and you're all alone! It's brutal isn't it? You feel like the party is just in full swing and then you're all alone doing all those horrible chores like decommissioning the grill and cooler and putting away extra chairs and tables. I'm depressed just writing this! A Saturday night start at 8:30 would have us going all night and sleeping it off on Sunday. Doesn't that sound more appetizing to you? It will never happen of course because there is too much money to be lost with hotels and bars and restaurants and on and on and on. I know many have long standing traditions of taking the day after the Super Bowl off and all you have to do is drive to any train station the day after the big game to validate that! Well, it's just my football fantasy that will never come true. But I DO love that Saturday night start time!
Now that the game is over, the seemingly endless parties to watch all the big games on the wall with the projector are over and I am feeling that void already! With The Jets having been huge part of this it's been a nice distraction to get past that post holiday doldrums syndrome. One of my buddies suggested we switch to projector Olympics gigs and I didn't dismiss that out of hand for say the hockey part of things.
It's been a nice ride and now I am plotting and planning how to turn the back yard into a sort of drive in theatre when the weather turns! I have to figure out a screen, running cables and sound issues! But I just LOVE the idea of revving the drive in theatre thing with the grill going, the cooler gurgling with ice shifting and Jack Nicholson popping his head through the door in "The Shining" saying "Here's Johnny"! Until it's time for football again!
Well, it's finally here! Don't you just hate this interminable wait till Super Bowl Sunday? This Super Bowl weekend will forever be linked with the Ass Backwards Snowstorm! Those Q listeners who are south in New Jersey will watch the game with those fresh pile of snow all around them outside! The rest of us, save for those on S.I. who got sort of rocked, just went about our pre super Sunday chores yesterday with out any shoveling or cleanup to delay us!
It' s been a very strange run up to this game for me. We've got this new gizmo projector that became a hit and so, since the holidays, while I've been on the air from the Q Studios, my friends and family who are Jets fans were hanging at the house to keep the run of luck going for Gang Green and watching the games on our living room wall! Everyone decided that there was no other way to end the current NFL season than to do the projector thing again and so we shall! The Colts and Saints on a 12 foot wall in the living room. Huge kudos to Ian and his awesome new bride Debbie who were all about me getting home in time for kickoff to be with my guests. A classic switcheroony due to a very classy rock n roll guy! ! THANK YOU!
Pre game jitters yesterday as my favorite old school smoker grill just gave out and caved in from years and years of faithful service! You know, it's a sad moment when your friend of many years just decides its had enough. The timing was awful but what are you going to do? We did the turkey inside yesterday and will do the loin of pork inside today. I will have sunset burial and readings and candle lit ceremony for the grill some time this week. My buddies are bringing gnocchi and ribs! The in laws are bringing mussles marinara! My bro in law is making his infamous chili and my sis in law is bringing rainbow cake from Dortoni's in Levittown! I will be on the elliptical at my gym tomorrow very early to do something about that!
As for the game itself: I figure I can't go wrong. First of all a salute to my friend Pat Hanlon, Corporate V.P of Communications for my football team, The New York Football Giants. Pat suggested that we should root like hell for Peyton to win his second Super Bowl ring because it would benefit the Giants. You see, Eli and Peyton take the sibling rivalry thing to a level that most of us can't even comprehend. Now, should Peyton win the Super Bowl and get that second ring, Eli will be a happy camper for his brother for a sum total of about 10 minutes. Then, his stomach will start to produce the kind of acid that the alien in Aliens produced on The Nostromo and he will be fired up! He'll cut the chains to get into the practice area at The Meadowlands at 6:00 a.m. Monday morning and that is a GOOD THING for The Giants! Some tortured logic I admit but I LIKE it and I'm going with it.
On the other hand, should the one time "Aint's" win, how cool for the long suffering Saints fans and the city of Narlin's to win the damn thing. I just hope for a great game. Two pieces of trivia related to The Saints today: One, I wish that Buddy Diliberto was alive to see his team finally make the big dance! Who is Buddy? Greg Bishop in a New York Times piece this past Friday February 5th had a nice piece about Buddy who was the man who first put on the brown paper garbage bag with "The Aint's" on it! It became a cultural phenomena and I know he'd be so proud to have been in Miami today to see his team make it to and maybe win the biggest game there is!
The other interesting cultural note as it applies to The Saints for today's game is the "Who Dat?" phenomena. There is a great piece in today's Sunday Newsday by Jim Baumbach concerning the place in the "Who Dat" history that former Met's outfielder Ron Swoboda has in the proliferation of the phrase! You may remember that Ron, after his miracle catch in the 1969 World Series for The New York Mets, became a long time sports broadcaster in New Orleans. Turns out, one of the guys on his staff at WVUE brought Ron this idea for a song based on some footage of a New Orlean's High School football teams, St. Augustine, doing this "Who Dat" chant. Well, it got adopted by the Saints fans and the rest is history! Cool right?
I'd be remiss if I didn't get a shout out to Kirk who works for Verizon. We awoke yesterday, 24 hours out from Super Sunday, to find we had no phone, no internet and........NO TV!!!! Kirk came in and under great duress, (that would be me telling him every 2 seconds..."You know we're having 25 people over for the super bowl tomorrow, right? I told you that right?" ) got us all set to go KNOCK ON WOOD!
So I wish you all a great Super Sunday! may all your boxes hit since I know my 2 - 2 box in the Q pool was just my donation to the rest of the air staff! Enjoy! Happy Super Bowl!
I'm sore and tired but it is always a great thing for the party rhinos to make the annual trek up to Okemo Mountain in Ludlow Vermont!
It was an "interesting" ride up on Thursday as we hit some classic snow squalls on route 103 on our final push towards the Okemo. I hadn't been in a true squall like that in quite some time. We would get them at my alma mater, S.U.N.Y. Binghamton, all the time. There is no better feeling than finishing a ride like that, getting all your gear set up and then hitting the bar for a cold one, or cold ones! That is what we did!
We had a classic sloppy, ooey gooey burger at Tom's Loft on Thursday that sure put us in the festive mood for our annual road show broadcast on Friday afternoon!
Okemo has been a tri-state family road trip tradition for so many years now you start to lose count! We had a ton of listeners from all over coming over to the Q broadcast table to say HEY and hang out for a bit and talk skiing, music, beer and grab some Q propaganda too!
It was freaking cold at the summit at Okemo, minus 14 Friday morning without factoring in wind chills! Hey, everybody got it done and had a good time anyway.
Thanks to Roger Cole originally from Larchmont who was up with the family for the weekend and was a long time WNEW listener eager to talk about Scotso and the crew.
Brian McDonald was on hand with his crew too. He had the weekend off from FDNY Engine 91 in Spanish Harlem. You got to love that you can go anywhere in the world and there is FDNY in the house! Big E and I have had this happen all over and Okemo was no exception! Somehow, Brian found the triple shot glasses and we felt that nice post ski burn of some John Daniels going down. Yeah!
Pete from Rockville Centre was there with his buds James, Mike, Lisa and Elysa. James and Elysa had just gotten engaged so there was lots to celebrate! And we did!
Jim Clifford for Sayville was up for the weekend too and we got some Clapton on for him during the roadshow. Can't wait for that gig coming up at The Garden as we had some history to The World's Most Famous Arena February 18th & 19th!
Ray Cruz on Bayone picked off our Okemo song of the day which was Mountain's Mississippi Queen. Couldn't resist the natural theme and West, Bruce Jr. & Lang were at The Capitol One Bank Theatre on Friday and The Wellmont on Saturday so it all just came together.
On behalf of the entire crew I want to extend many thanks to the staff at Okemo Mountain Resort, they've treated the Party Rhinos entourage with total class through the years that we make good use of our winter shaggy coats and this year was no exception! Thanks to Liam and to Jeff Alexander for taking such good care of us!
The best place to do the after ski thing in Okemo is Tom's Loft, right there at the base of the mountain. Warm beer, lousy food and a cranky owner it states outside! It is quite the opposite so when you go, you know where to go! Thanks to Tom for having us once again in our perch on the 2nd level.
The Q Crew boys Rob and Anthony busted their rumps but had a great time doing it and really tore it up on their snowboards! Thanks dudes!
Joe Cristiano was the producer deluxe! I was privileged to watch him do his thing and thank you to Jim and Shelli for letting us have him for the day on Friday!
Michael Adler is our account executive who always puts this winter trip together for us! Thank you Michael!
Thank you to The Big E for watching out and directing from back home at The Q Studios!
If you haven't made a trip yet up to Okemo or haven't been in some time, just go right ahead and get that gig together! You WILL have a blast and probably run into a bunch of people who know! President's Day Week festivities are ready to roll and you'll enjoy it immensely! We'll see you up there at some point I'm sure!