Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 31st update

Tonight, the two-year Bette Midler show run ends at Caesar's Palace. Thanks for hiring our Fat City Horns, Bette, and for sharing your energy with us (not to mention your band incredible members, who've sat in with Santa Fe numerous times). We will miss all of you.

Below, gig at Bugsy's later today:

I'd go to that, but I'm fixin' to go do my gym rat thing this afternoon. I gotta get back in my game.

Tonight, The Bootlegger at 8:30 pm, our bro' Brian Czach (BackBeat Village US) appears with Skye Miles and friends (including Billy Tragresser on keys). I'll be there.

Tomorrow night, our post-show big band hang in the Lounge outside the Tiffany Theater at The Trop.

BTW, The Trop is continuing the $39.99 Monday hotel package Santa Fe special. Early check-in, late check-out, breakfast buffet for 2, and VIP seating at our show. Awesome deal.


Oh, yeah...


"The path used to be clear -- you got a major-label deal, they got you on the radio, you toured and recorded albums," said Steven Scott, guitarist and singer in an L.A. band called the Afternoons. "Now all that has changed, really, and the new path is . . . well, what is it? And where does it go?"

Interesting article, "The path to success is no longer labeled"
...Flea, the bass player with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, one of the most successful L.A. bands ever, said the old daydreams of rock are outdated: "When I was young, it was about the magical record-label guy who tapped you on the shoulder and suddenly you're playing the Forum, riding around in a limo, getting that shiny tour bus. All of that doesn't exist anymore."

In a way, Flea said, the new scaled-down expectations may end up being better for the purity of the art even though they may limit the audience. He also said it may be the best time to be a music fan, with the technology that makes any and all music instantly accessible. For artists, of course, that deluge makes it hard to stand out.

Some artists -- including the pop group the Black Eyed Peas, nominated for six Grammys tonight -- have responded by embracing corporate sponsorship deals and relentless television appearances to achieve stardom through the persistence of their image across media...

"Corporate sponsorship deals"? Precisely what I've been working on for our cats. My first big pitch attempt fell on deaf ears, but that won't stop me.


Skye Miles is a great performer. Total pro, and very funny. Totally in control of the house. Bobby Black and Tony Davich both sat in. Bobby did "Ain't No Sunshine" and Tony sang a duet with Skye of "When Something's Wrong With My Baby." Electric, all of it.

Yeah, that was all pretty cool.

See y'all tomorrow night at The Trop.


"The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world's most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010."

Enjoy. Ruminate...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Phoenix at Mandalay Bay

Got lucky with that shot, wow. Tony Davich was lightin' it up tonight! What a voice!

Mizuya lounge, Ya just walk in from the parking garage
in the rear and it's straight ahead about 200 feet past Rum Jungle. Huge, very nice open area sushi bar and lounge.

Nice lighting grid, with a cat running it (and FOH at the same time, too), but they need to put him on Ritalin. Sweeping robo-spots and fresnel floods, hyperactively hitting mostly everything except the stage, LOL.

Tony said it looks like they're gonna get some steady repeat dates there. That's cool. They had a nice crowd. Good hang.

Ran into Brian Czach from Backbeat Village US. His first time hearing them. He really dug it. He said he'd be doing a gig Sunday night at The Bootlegger. I asked him to email the details so I can tout it.

Fun evening.


One of my random pre-show pics from last Monday.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Brendan's Pub hang Jan 26th and other updates

I wasn't gonna go (way tired), but saw a Facebook post by Rob Mader sayin' he was goin', so, I picked up the Alpha 350 and dropped over to The Orleans. I was glad I did. A total jazz slam-fest. Brandon Fields, Windy Karigianes, Joey Melotti, Darryl Williams, Pepe Jimenez, Dirk K and Michito Sanchez.

And we got treated to Mike Miller and Sonny Emory sitting in.

Weak stage lighting environment. Michito was completely in the dark. Whatever. The music was as good as it gets. Windy is a great jazz vocalist whom I'd not heard prior to last night.



Gotta keep pumpin' this.

Below: Photoshop fun with one of my Monday night Trop LV shots.


OK, this is interesting. Reportedly, Caesars just struck a deal with Matt Goss. Word is they're gonna seal off Cleopatra's Barge and make it a new "Gossy Room" ticketed show at 40 bucks a pop on the weekends.

OK...right. We wish him well.

UPDATE: The Trop has a Facebook page, and they are today noting on it that they are continuing the Monday $39.99 room/breakfast buffet/Santa Fe show VIP seating special. Also, I see on their Facebook page that they've started a Santa Fe photo album using my blog shots. That is just too cool. These people are the best!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Unreal. Jan 25th Trop LV gig report.

Maybe it won't work out, long-term. But, I gotta say, it won't be for lack of effort on behalf of the band, the Tropicana management and staff, and you, the fans (another huge crowd!). With respect to management, we have had more on-the-spot support in the first two weeks from the Trop than we had in three and a half years at our former venue. Huge blog report coming, as soon as 250-odd 14.2 megapixel hi-res shots unload outa my camera.

This afternoon I sent this email to Lee Ann, Trop VP of Entertainment:
Hi -

Really looking forward to tonight. Given the lineup of esteemed special sit-in guest artists, it's gonna be extra special.

My request: The Tiffany Theater has an excellent light grid, but last Monday, I struggled to get many shots owing the the relative lack of "hard white"/spot/flood illumination. I'm sure Jerry doesn't expect to be accorded extensive manual "follow spot" coverage, but I would simply ask your stage light operators to ramp up the white spots in the mix (incl. backlit floods). It makes a huge difference for me. If you look back through my blog postings, you can see posts where the lighting was most effective.

I will be working hard tonight to document this show as effectively as possible.

(I'm always whining about the lighting, LOL, but I just try to do my very best. Great lighting makes for great shots)

It wasn't ten minutes before her reply:
Hi Bobby,

I know exactly what you mean. I’ve spoken to our lighting guy, in general (less movement, etc.) but did not know how to articulate the lack of hard white light. I’ll forward this to Robert – he wants to do a good job. He may have already set the look for tonight, but I’ll see if he can change it right before the show (He’s off until then, I believe). If you let me know which photos had the best lighting look, I can show Robert that as well.

Thanks for all!!

Lee Ann Groff-Daudet
Vice President of Entertainment
Tropicana Las Vegas

When I got there tonight we had a quick meeting with the Bridgett, the stage manager, and shortly thereafter I noticed cats crawling the overhead light grid catwalks, clamping down and aiming additional white spots.

You will shortly see the results of their gracious and expert efforts. Stay tuned...


'eh? They ran with my request, which made a huge difference (mainly just for me, though, for you as well if you just look carefully). I could not be more pleased and grateful. I made that clear to Lee Ann personally after the show.

More to come...


Above, they were hangin' more whites for us. Below, a quick partial FCH rehearsal for Shayna Steele's tune...

Above, my camera's internal light meter is telling me things are much better. Below, the calm before the storm.

Above, Lorraine at The Fat City Superstore in the showroom foyer prior to the show. We sell CDs before and after the show. Thanks, Lorraine!

More to come...

What a night! Much more to come (including the jazz big band late night hang), but it's almost 4:30 a.m., and I am running outa steam. More after some Zzzzz's. I have so many more photos, and reflections.


Behind the curve today. Ton of shots still to consider. Short on sleep. Slog on...

Set list highlights: Esta Noche, Ev'rybody Wants To Love You, Higher Ground, Greazy Thing, Come With Me, Si Te Vas, Soul Trilogy, Living For The City.
In the middle of "Ain't That Peculiar?" Tyriq danced down off the stage front into the crowd, and escorted Kissy Simmons back up to the stage. Dramatic moment; huge roar went up out of the audience. Very, very cool.

Kissy again blew the roof off the theater with her soaring take on "Through The Fire." It was simply amazing.

Yet more shots...

Next up, Shayne Steele and a musical smackdown contingent of her Bette Midler Show colleagues (Darrell Smith on keys, Bette Sussman, of course, on keys, Jordan Ballard on vocals, and a percussion cat whose name I missed -- but will get), along with Derek Jones on bass. Shayna did a cut from her new CD, "The 4 a.m. song," and Chaka's "Ain't Nobody." Fabulous.

Above, some of my Cuz Jojo's CA peeps diggin' the experience.

Still more to come. Stay tuned...



Above, awesome vocalist Michaelina Bellamy and jazz keyboardist par excellance Etsuko Mader.

Not done yet, but I gotta run to the nursing home and hang with my Ma for a while. BTW, I hear there's a great gig tonight at Brendan's Pub in The Orleans: Brandon Fields, Pepe, and others, if I heard correctly.



Jerry Fink gave us a really gracious nod on his fine new website. Click the image below to go there.

Bookmark his site and visit frequently.


I'd intended to make note of this anyway, so I'll just excerpt from Jerry Fink's column:
10-Hour Fund Raiser for Haiti

Las Vegas Rocks Cafe, 450 Fremont Street, will feature an all-day concert Friday, Jan. 29, to help raise money for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

The event begins at 2 p.m. and continues till midnight.

Lou Ragland of the Ink Spots is taking up the cause for Haiti relief by organizing a marathon concert with continuous top headlining performers.

Signed up so far to perform are: World Famous Ink Spots, Billy Hunt, Original Cornell Guntner Coasters, Ned Towns, Paul Stubblefield, Dean Courtney, Eddie Perrell, Rachael Kapp & 3D, Lambus Dean, Gents of Swing, Elegant Diversity, Tony Sacca, Ramon Scruggs, Carolyn Walden and Phil Flowers...

$20 admission donation.


I'm gonna buy it.