(Warning: BobbyG's irascible opinion to follow) The [bleeping] light grid was out again tonight (for about the 3rd or 4th time), this time for the entire three-hour show. Here's the deal: The Palms outsources The Lounge lighting hardware and service to a local Big Swingin' vendor, Encore Productions. So, if there are no lights at showtime, hey 'it's not my job' for the Suits at The Palms. And, if you can't get a timely and effective response from Encore, well, you're SOL. The light grid in The Lounge -- such as it punily is relative to professional Vegas standards -- is controlled by a laptop computer that links to the various front parcans (all wonderfully-aimed four of them, wow) and robotic swivel backlights via a single USB cable. This laptop was locked up, whereabouts unknown, and apathetically out of reach tonight. So, here's what The Lounge looked like for the entire evening.
I was all ramped up to kick major onstage photo ass tonight, after the week I've just had. It was not to be. Frustrating. What-ever.
Our awesome friends MOSAIC sat in and tore the place up as usual. We welcome their newest member, Heath Burgett!
Then, toward the end of the first show, Jerry introduced Michael Grimm, who will be filling in for Lenny for the summer beginning next Monday. Jerry made Michael come up and do Ray Charles' "You Don't Know Me" solo, guitar/vocal, to introduce him to Santa Fe fans not already hip to him.
Michael blew everyone away. Monster talent. Perfectly presented via Jerry's astute judgment. The house roared in stunned disbelief. Could not have been a better introduction.
My wife loves this kid (as do I). She wants to kidnap him and bring him to the house and just cook Southern for him, LOL!
Best line of the night: Taylor Michaels leaned over to Cheryl and said "I know you'll understand this. I just got pregnant while he was singing." LOL. Below, Elisa Furr (she's now hooked) and Taylor Michaels.
The upside for me tonight was that I got to listen to the band more, and given the lack of visuals, the musical impact was that much more intense for everyone. It was an awesome night musically. These cats remain unfazed by any adversity. Ya just gotta love it.
I'm goin' to bed. Still kinda jet-lagged from Florida. More thoughts tomorrow. Thanks to all for showing up. Thanks also to our bro' the fabulous Michito Sanchez for adding his unreal percussion artistry to the band last night sittin' in.
Regarding my post-gig maybe-shouldn't-have-had-that-last-glass-of-wine tirade above: I just want things to be right for the guys. These are our city's premier players, doing what they love, for all of us, at very little in the way of monetary compensation. They bust bootie for us all the time, and have recently suffered a terrible loss with the theft of their gear (my reaction to that outrage is essentially unprintable). They don't need the additional annoyance of a chronically and randomly subpar performance environment, particularly in a high-end place such as The Palms. End of rant.
Below: Sean of MOSAIC hangin', and then below that, Michael Grimm, Sean, and Heath out by the bar during intermission.
(Above: Dion and the late Bo Diddely) Yesterday I was enroute to Pop's new nursing home, and had NPR's "Fresh Air" on the radio. It was a replay of Terry Gross interviewing Dion (the "Runaround Sue" cat from the 50's & early 60's, i.e., "Dion and The Belmonts"). A simply wonderful interview. From the website copy:
Singer and songwriter Dion says that his latest project was inspired by a visit to Fresh Air. The acoustic CD, Bronx in Blue, has Dion exploring the blues music he heard during his youth.Stream it here. Cat has a most interesting story, particularly nice for those of us from the NYC area, and who grew up in that era. He's a lot deeper than you might have ever thought if all you knew was his legacy 50's music rep. Really nice to see that's he's still in the game.
In the late 1950s, Dion and his band the Belmonts topped the pop charts with hits like "I Wonder Why" and "A Teenager In Love," which earned the singer teen-idol status. Dion split amicably with the band in 1960 and continued to write Top 10 hits — "Runaround Sue," "The Wanderer" — until the British Invasion changed popular tastes.
Now in his 60s, Dion continues to produce, write and sing new material under his iconic single first name (he was born Dion DiMucci). He lives in Boca Raton, Fla.
BTW- you can get his new CD here via Amazon.com.
Update: so, I'm still checkin' out Dion's website, and, he's comin' to Vegas, June 8 - 10, at the Suncoast.
Dude, you gotta stay over and hang with Santa Fe.
Conti just sent me this: Mickey's ToonTown Tuners Sax Quartet Quintet performing "Four Brothers" on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World.
Also, again on the way over to Pop's new nursing home digs this morning, I listened to most of a very cool KNPR interview with Clint Holmes and his new show ("Just Another Man") Director Larry Moss.
Clint is a class act. Click here to listen to the interview (Dave Berns' "State of Nevada," mp3). Well worth your time.
BROTHER BILL CHAMPLIN, "AMAZING GRACE"
Grady Nichols and Bill Champlin performing "Amazing Grace" from the "In The Fullness of Time" TV Special.