cousin brucie

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Chuck Negron and Tommy James at PNC Bank Art Center

Published September 16, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_8555Chuck Negron (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Another exciting night last night. My husband and I headed down to PNC Bank Arts Center to see Chuck Negron and Tommy James. My friend Lorraine saved us seats so we had fifth row, left.

Chuck Negron was up first. Neither of us saw him before. My husband saw Three Dog Night without Chuck when we first started dating and he called me and let me hear over the phone. And now, there we were, together, hearing so many legendary songs that we grew up with from the lead singer. My moment was “One is the Loneliest Number.” Other hits included: “Joy to the World,” and “Eli’s Coming.” Chuck’s voice was great, he looked fantastic and was a real hoot, keeping the audience in stitches with jokes. A real class act.

Chuck Negron’s site:

Next up was Tommy James. We saw him so many times before. I actually was lucky to interview him for The Verona Cedar Grove Times, as Tommy James is a New Jersey resident.

His show was incredible, as always. Early on, Tommy does my favorite, “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” which brings tears to my eyes. He also does an acoustic version of “I Think We’re Alone Now,” and later an electric version. Other hits included “Crimson and Clover,” “Mony Mony,” “Hanky Panky,” and as a finale, “Sweet Cherry Wine,” with a nod to our Lord, “Jesus is Coming!”

During “Mony Money,” Tommy James walked into the audience of 17,000 and shook hands with fans.

Tommy James website:

Cousin Brucie was the emcee for the show; another sentimental treat as I grew up listening to his show. He’s a great host and makes the show even more exciting.

After the show, my husband and I saw Carmine Appice (  in the audience. We approached him and he was cool to let us take a photo. That was awesome because I had albums he played on when I was 13!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon: and “Love Cats” which is available in paperback and on Kindle:

Tommy James/Gary Puckett Double Bill at PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ

Published September 20, 2014 by Maryanne

Tommy James Gary PuckettTwo legends! Tommy James & Gary Puckett

(I swiped this from Gary Puckett’s Face Book page — hope it’s okay!)

Last night was phenomenal! Very rare do you get to see two legendary acts in one night. My husband Dennis and I were waiting for this night all summer!

It was a perfect late summer night, a bit chilly, but nothing a hoodie and blanket couldn’t cure. The show was hosted by the legendary Cousin Brucie.

Gary Puckett hit the stage around 8:30 or so and played a very long time. He did all of his hits “Over You,” “Woman, Woman,” “Young Girl,” and “This Girl is a Woman Now.” Plus he did a medley of hits from bands he toured with in recent years like Three Dog Night and The Turtles. He also did a tribute to the veterans and at the end of his show thanked God for the glory.

Puckett’s voice is still amazing and he can also pull off hits of other artists. And he looks just as good — at 71 he could easily pass for late 40s. After the show my husband and I went to meet him at the merchandise table and he was very down to earth.

This was another one of many times my husband and I went to see Tommy James perform. Once again, he did not disappoint. He did all his great tunes, including my favorites “Crystal Blue Persuasion” and “Crimson and Clover.” He did “I Think We’re Alone Now” twice — acoustic and electric.

He also spoke about the upcoming movie based on his life and his journey with Roulette Records. Can’t wait!

We didn’t stick around to meet Tommy because it was getting very late and I had to present a lecture this morning. We met Tommy a few times before, plus I once had the honor to interview him. I’m sure we’ll meet Tommy again someday though.

Thanks for a fabulous show, Tommy James and Gary Puckett! For songs that gave me chills when I was a little girl and too young to know what you’re singing about. But, boy, I was feeling it!

The stadium was packed with over 17,000 people! And out of all those people, we were lucky to spot our friends Mair and Paul!

SAM_6054Mair and me!

Here’s a little magic for you all!



And one of my favorite songs Tommy never does (at least not when I’ve seen him). If you are reading this, Tommy, please do “I Love You Love Me!”