Monday, October 30, 2006

The local musical event of the year

Jerry Lopez delivers yet again...

Tonight in The Lounge at The Palms, Santa Fe and The Fat City horns welcome, with the greatest respect, admiration, and gratitude:

It just doesn't get any better than this. Music starts at 10:15 pm. No cover, no minimum. Join us. Let the Healing begin.

Expect wall-to-wall Happy Cats tonight...

POST GIG UPDATE, 3:25 a.m., Bill Champlin has a Ruff night

Well, the place was jammed tonight. We were SRO 40 minutes before the band started. Some of the regulars were ticked off because the front tables and several others had been reserved, and BobbyG got a bit of an earful about it from folks who came down way early only to not be able to get close up. I don't know if it's a fire code capacity thing here, but where I grew up playing (NY and Chicago, etc) a room the size of the Palms Lounge would have had twice the seating capacity. I wish we had better seating for everyone; there's a lot of wasted space in The Lounge. A lot of people stood all night. I ended up giving up a table and half of our seats so Prince could be seated in the back during the second show. I never did see him, it was all, like, this Presidential Security thing with the Palms earpiece security cats.

This night went down as advertised. OVER.THE.TOP! First, the band roared to life with "Intermission" and never looked back. Then Bill Champlin bopped in, along with Chicago drummer Tris Imboden. I have always dug Tris big-time. He sat next to me, and we struck up a conversation -- incredibly nice guy. I told him that I first saw him play at Rupp Arena in Lexington Kentucky in about 1979 or 1980 when he was touring for Kenny Loggins. I was on the road, with my last band, "Birdland," before hanging it up to go back to school, and we'd gotten tix to Kenny's show at Rupp. Tris remembered that tour well, and said it was the baddest band (I'm a total Loggins freak, in addition to my groveling Champlin and Santa Fe Jones).

At one point the Fat City Horns were playin' so "stooopid" (I think it was during "Living for the City") Bill Champlin and I exchanged roll-your-eyes, shake-your-heads glances and smiles.


Jerry wasted no time putting Bill to work, and Champlin was on fire tonight. Dude, you got Kennedy Center Honors in your future, gotta be. Marco, Renato, and Joey then lit the house up. People were agape. Then, Michael Ruff joined them. Jerry was not [bleeping] me; this cat is a musical giant, and a beautiful soul.

Below: Some pics from the most memorable evening of the year. Thank you Jerry Lopez and the band. Thank you Bill Champlin. Thank you Marco Mendoza. Thank you Renato Neto. Thank you Joey Heredia. Thank you Michael Ruff. The stunned, howling crowd got the Real Deal tonight.

The final throwdown of the night was perfect, everybody on stage rippin' it up to "We Are Nothing". Man!

OK, I been bloggin' for about an hour now. Fixin' to go crash. It's 4:25 a.m. More later (not going to the day gig tomorrow). Cousin Jojo (below, left to right, Bob O'Neil, John Rocker, Jojo) from The Peoples' Republic got some pics too, and I gotta do updates about other cats gigging around town this week. Stay tuned.
It was great to see all of you tonight. Adrian, my brother, especially you.


Got Michael Ruff's new Gospel CD blaring. Yikes! Highly, highly recommended even if the Jesus thing ain't your trip (it won't hurt you).

Update, below, two pics from the gig by cousin Jojo, and one sent by Dave Siefkes. The end of night lineup was Renato, Michael Ruff, and Bill Champlin on keys, Pepe Jimenez on percussion, Marco on bass, Joey on tubs, the Fat City Horns, All the guys singing, Jerry on guitar.


CODA, from my friend STEVE


What an incredible night. I’m at a loss of words to describe this event. It’s one of those experiences that would be hard to duplicate again exactly. During the show I kept thinking, I can’t believe I’m seeing this for free? This should have been a $100 plus ticket at the very least.

We gave two of our reserved seats to a couple that were Michael Ruff fans here in Las Vegas. They saw on his web site that he was performing at The Palms Hotel Monday Night. They did not know about your regular Monday night show. They called The Palms to confirm the show and the operator said there was NOT any entertainment on Monday night. Can you believe this? They took a chance and came anyway based on Michael’s web site. Not any entertainment tonight??? Let’s see, Bill Champlin of Chicago sitting in with the hottest band on the Planet and then Marco Mendoza of Whitesnake, Renato Neto of Prince and Joey Heredia with everybody from Stevie Wonder to Steve Lukather and then the amazing Michael Ruff. Yeah, there’s “nothing going on in The Lounge tonight”??? Then we find out Prince is in the audience!!!

Not to worry -- at least the VALET GUY knows something special is going on in The Lounge. When my buddy, Dave Siefkes, left The Palms at 3:30 AM the valet guy said “Can you believe Prince came just to see The Santa Fe Show in The Lounge” tonight? Maybe we can have all inquiries regarding entertainment routed to the Valet Parking Attendants, they seem to know what’s going on more than the operators. On second thought maybe not, you’ve got standing room only and people spilling out in to the casino. You’d just have to move in to a bigger room. Ha !

It’s too bad the management at The Palms does not realize that they literally have a potential “Gold Mine” of a draw to their facility with your “Celebrity Showcase”

Thanks for giving recognition to my friend, Don Capron, former lead trumpet with Wayne Cochran and the CC Riders. He said Bill Champlin remembered doing a show with them years ago in Colorado. Don was just absolutely blown away by the whole show and especially The Fat City Horns.

Thanks again for producing one of the finest “Live” music shows in the country.

- Steve Tuminello

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Thank you, MOSAIC and Tamara & Bill Champlin!

OK quickly, it's 2:30 a.m., I gotta be back up at 7. Much more later, be patient with me (I've spoiled y'all). I took about 70 shots tonight. Suffice it to say for now that tonight was a whole 'nuther level. Packed, SRO room.

First of all, we weren't expecting it, but the stunning MOSAIC sat in during the first show and blew it out totally Standing-O. Then Bill and Tamara Champlin arrived right as the band launched into "Living For The City." Jerry and the guys were so pumped. Bill was soon onstage, and it ripped from there, yikes! First set lasted two hours. Also gotta give major props to brother Tyriq Johnson, who stepped up during the second show to completely kick butt on "Soul Trilogy" (and the James Brown 360 spin & splits was over-the-top fine, LOL!)

A reader emailed me to ask what tunes Bill performed while sitting in. As I recall,
he did vocals & keys on "Turn Your Love Around," "Satisfaction," "Same Old Song," "Headed for the Top," and played keys on "Soul Trilogy" and "We are Nothing." I was busy trying to get shots, and digging everything going on, so I never did write down everything he played on and I may be missing some.

Above: everyone at the end of the night. Below, Tamara Champlin, MOSAIC, Bill, and Nathan.

My man Bobby Black made a dead-on observation about Santa Fe tonight. We chatted briefly right before I split, and he said, "Y'know, I've seen these cats 30 or 40 times by now, and every time it seems like I'm hearing 'em for the first time."

Well put, Bobby. Never thought about it that way, but I totally understand and agree.

UPDATE: OK, Bobby said that my task was to come up with some way to fully express his take (wordy cat that I am). Don't really think it's necessary, bro', but here goes, little play on words...



Thanks to everyone for coming out tonight (Joey T, bro'... 'eh?). More later. It's now ten to 3, I gotta go try to sleep hard and sleep fast.

7 a.m. UPDATE

Ugh. I'm takin' next Tuesday off. What an awesome evening, it was hard to shut off my brain and get to sleep. Oh, yeah, below: Congratulations to Zack. He proposed to his squeeze during the first set. That was cool.

UPDATE: More pics from an ass-kickin' evening...

UPDATE from my man KURT

LOL!! OK, this is too funny. Do you hate telemarketer calls as much as I do? Particularly now in the election season the political campaign callers try every little trick to get around the privacy/"do-not-call" law. Cheryl gets ticked at me a lot, 'cuz I get cut-to-the-chase rude with these cats the moment I smell bullshit when I get a call. Maybe I ought try something like this. Kurt Kolstad just sent me this hilarious mp3 clip, check it out.

'NUTHER UPDATE, some stuff from my friend Steve Tuminello. First, a couple of shots he sent me, then his email -- speaks volumes.

Above: Steve and Carmine Appice of Vanilla Fudge Monday night. Below: Pappa Lopez and Bill hangin'.

Steve's email to me:

I keep thinking it just can’t get any better and The Boys top themselves ….AGAIN !!!

I told Jerry when you look up "Tight" in the Dictionary there is a picture of Jerry Lopez and Santa Fe and TFCH.

The icing on the cake for me was after 39 years running in to Carmine Appice out in the bar area. When I was 18 years old our Louisiana "Blue Eyed Soul” 8 pc Horn Band opened for The Vanilla Fudge in 1968 when they were on the top of the charts. They left for a European Tour after their show with us in my hometown of Shreveport, La. After the concert Tim Bogert-Bass Player and Mark Stein-Hammond player and Vocalist went out to a club and jammed with us in to the wee hours of the morning. Carmine went back to the hotel, but we all got together after the jam at their hotel. Carmine remembered that show after all these years. We exchanged contact info and will stay in touch. He told me The Vanilla Fudge will be re-uniting for a tour with Led Zeppelin.

Back in 1988 when I lived in Studio City Tim Bogert was told by a mutual friend that I was living in the L.A. area. He was teaching at The Guitar Institute in Hollywood and came to a party I was hosting with my friend Ruth Mc Cartney (Paul's little Sister) just to see me. We talked about that show back in 1968 and he remembered it well and especially the great jam we had after the show. The camaraderie amongst "The Brotherhood" of Musicians is amazing regardless of the variance of level of accomplishment. I am attaching photos of Tim Bogert-Bassist of The Fudge from our re-union in 1988 after 20 years and the photo of Carmine and I at The Palms Monday Night after 39 years. Also, photos with Bill Champlin including Mr. Lopez and you. I will send you a "You Tube" of The Vanilla Fudge "You keep me Hangin on" from The Ed Sullivan Show and then “Shotgun” from a TV clip.

I am sorry it's taken me a while to comment for your blog on The Alex Ligertwood and "Friends" appearance two weeks ago. You basically know from our verbal conversation that they, like everyone that hears Santa Fe regardless of their celebrity, is just blown away. Some of the comments from Alex, Brian Howe of Bad Company, Tommy Tutone and Joe Lynn Turner of Deep Purple were "This is THE best band we have ever heard in our life!!!" As I mentioned when we all got together the next day when Dave and I drove Alex and Brian back to The Hard Rock Hotel they just kept thanking us for inviting them to The Palms and kept complimenting the band. When I called Alex's wife, Shawn, the next afternoon before our meeting she said even though Alex was exhausted from very little sleep with his AM flight all he could talk about was this great band that he had seen at The Palms. As you know Shawn is an agent in Hollywood booking musical acts as well as representing Actors and others in the film industry. Bobby, I believe we will be seeing a lot more celebrities, Musicians, Actors, Sports Stars as the word spreads about this Hot Band at The "Hip" Palms Hotel. The Playboy Club will be drawing a lot of Celebs as well. I think it is the perfect venue for you guys.

It was great, as always, seeing you, Cheryl, and Danielle.

Looking forward to next week !!!

Steve Tuminello
Stephen C. Tuminello

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bill Champlin is comin'...

Monday Nights, the 23rd and the 30th. Gonna be wild!

BTW- One thing I learned reading stuff on Bill Champlin's message board: Bill is not real big on "Stage Door" fawning/back-slapping/glad-handing, with fans pawing all over him. Cat is just a normal dude, family man, private person who just happens to write and perform the most stunning music. So, hard as it'll be for all of us these two Mondays, let's all act with class and give Bill respect and sufficient space.

MONDAY EVENING UPDATE: check this out (below, click the image to enlarge). Jerry just sent me a scan of a page from the 944 Magazine article on the band. Yeah, man, way cool.


Update below: "White & Nerdy" music video, Weird Al

Funny stuff.

OK, how about some Tower?

Yeah, bro'...


Eugene recently gave me a copy of his CD "Mr Sponge." Extremely nice straight-ahead jazz quartet. We are so blessed with such great talent here. Below: that's Eugene on the left, at The Palms one Monday night back in September with our resident guitar genius Robert Conti (center) and eminent jazz producer Joseph Donofio (right).


Went to check out Ronnie Foster's new gig tonight at the University Patio Bar & Grill on Maryland Parkway just north of Trop (4725, directly across from Moose's, on the west side of the street). Very nice room. Now if they can only be taught to put in and run pro level lights and sound. I'm really gettin' tired of the Mickey Mouse staging at these places. Ronnie has a killer voice. Be nice to really hear it. Be nice to be able to get good shots, too (like I could at the Station properties).

The band was kickin' it. New bassist tonight -- Scott Cannady, cat from Philly with a long rap sheet, most recently Music Director for Gladys Knight. Serious, serious Bad Boy. Awesome player. He danced on his axe, he was so musical. Phil Wigfall and Drew Zingg were also throwin' down big-time, and Ronnie was bouncin' up off his stool, the hump got so good. Scott just got the book yesterday. Hard to tell.

They play from 8 to 11 pm. Good turnout tonight, enthusiastic crowd. Check it out next week.


Look what I just found on YouTube:

Yeah, man...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Quite a week

Wow. What a week. Last Saturday we went to Andre Agassi's annual "Grand Slam for Children" concert at MGM Grand. David Foster conducting. Phil Collins headlining (capping off a night of great performances by a long list of artists, including the incredible John Mayer). Then on to Monday night healing at The Palms with Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns. Wednesday night we went to see Elton John's "Red Piano" show at Caesar's, courtesy of our daughter Danielle (as part of her Danny Gans Partee Fore Kids fundraiser). Elton's show takes place in Celine Dion's amazing venue, the Colosseum, huge raked stage backed by an enormous panoramic video screen that had to be about 120' x 50'). It was good (legacy hit tunes set backed by an OK, aging Hair Band), but too much emphasis on FX -- why does everyone in these major showrooms increasingly think they gotta do overkill faux-Cirque me-too-ism visuals? Asked and answered, I guess. Glad we were comped to that one (at $200+ ea).

Then, on to see Ronnie and the guys on Thursday (see prior post). Finally, Friday night we went to Danielle's final First Tee fundraiser event at the Mirage (so much for my zero $ credit card balances; open bars + silent auctions are hazardous to your FICO), and took in the Beatles/Cirque "Help" show.

OhMyGod! Click here to view the trailer (.mov file). You wanna see the aggregate pinnacle of staging technology, set designs, costuming, and creative performance talent? You gotta see this show. There are no words. I'll have to leave it there. Go see it. Worth every penny.

Coming up: Tonight, the weekly jazz jam at The Hurricane. And, remember, no Santa Fe tomorrow night, but a week from Monday we have the incredible Bill Champlin joining the band on stage. Also, remember to go hang at the Wednesday night Latin Jazz Jam at "The Church" if you can.


JoJo from Monterey just sent me this Dave Weckl clip. Yikes. Bad Boys.

Here's a link to the page that has other Weckl vidcips. Enjoy.