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Best of 2016

Published December 29, 2016 by Maryanne

monkees-good-times

For so many people, putting “Best” and “2016” together is definitely an oxymoron, and in my world it’s no different. Personally, it was a bad year with many losses and tears. It all began with the death of David Bowie (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/rest-in-peace-to-the-prettiest-star-david-bowie/) Then my favorite cat of all time had to be put to sleep, at the age of 19 (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/rest-in-peace-derick-mommys-little-heart-6-24-96-to-4-29-16/). And finally, we said good-bye to my beloved father-in-law who passed at the age of 94 a few months ago (http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/starledger/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=181972211).

It was just one of those years where the “hits” just kept on coming and there’s not enough hours in the day for me to write about all of them.

Since I really don’t like to focus on negativity, let’s just say, THANK GOD for music; it’s what makes the world go ’round, and a salvation to many. Like every other year, 2016 was no worse in the music department. There were so many live performances my husband and I attended this year, including a few of his own with Rob Fusari and Pharoah. And my “Learn + Listen” series which made the cover of the Caldwell News: http://www.mypaperonline.com/library-patrons-learn-and-listen-about-famous-musicians.html

Lucky me, I also was blessed to write about many performances for various publications.

Whether it was outdoor concerts, or indoor venues, there was not one bad show in the lot. It’s always so hard to pick a “favorite” but as every music fan knows, there are those songs and moments that keep popping into your head, days, even weeks, after the show is over. To any musician who is reading, whether you’re mentioned here or not, if I approached you after a show, I sincerely loved your act.

That said, in my humble opinion, I’d like to present what I felt was the best on my radar this year. ENJOY!

BEST SONG/VIDEO – ROB FUSARI “Let Love Down” 

TOP THREE LIVE PERFORMANCES

1 – ROB FUSARI – The Bitter End, NYC, May 24, 2016

(“Your Trap” featuring Andrea Martin, Matt, Mario, Dennis, and The Constellations)

2 – SOUND + VISION: THE MUSIC OF DAVID BOWIE (Musical Direction: RICHARD BARONE) – Outpost in the Burbs, Montclair, NJ, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016

(“Fame” featuring Richard Barone, Jeffrey Gaines, Burnt Sugar Arkestra, Nick Celeste. In other outstanding performances: Wesley Stace and Elvis Perkins)   

3 – PUNKY MEADOWS + FALLEN ANGEL BAND – B.B. Kings, NYC,  June 14, 2016

(“The Tower” featuring Punky Meadows, Danny Anniello, Chandler Mogel, Bob Pantella, Charlie Calv, Randy Gregg. Felix Robinson also performed on bass in this show)

 BEST ALBUM – THE MONKEES “GOOD TIMES” 

“She Makes Me Laugh” from The Monkees “Good Times” 

BEST VINYL – JACK WHITE “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”

How cool to hear this on a record player! 

BEST MUSIC MOVIE – “LET ME DOWN HARD” 

Starring Keith Roth, DJ 95.9 The Rat “Electric Ballroom,” performs with Frankenstein 3000 and David Johansen; songwriter for Punky Meadows and so much more! 

BEST MUSIC BOOK – CARMINE APPICE “STICK IT!” 

Stick_it_book_01Honest; and in a strange way, endearing! Loved it!

And, again, because some things have to be said more than once, in my own little world, quite a few super cool things happened to ease the pain of the sadness, like going to see so much live music, being around amazing people, being able to write for a living — and public speaking (which includes music and health programs!) Not to mention, my incredible husband who is my rock through all the hardships and triumphs. All in all, there were two stand-outs that made this year incredible.

First I got a new kitty, Nicholas Gray; my husband and I adore our new snuggle bun! How can you not?

DSC_0137Nicholas Gray

And, thanks to Ashley Valentin-Patino, I became a professional wedding officiant, and will be marrying many more people in 2017! Speaking of “bests” Ashley’s wedding to Mitchell was not only the best of 2016, but aside from my own, I’d say the best wedding of all time!

May 2017 will bring more love, music, and happiness to the world! Grim Reaper — be gone with you!

sam_1357Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and Ashley Valentin-Patino

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist, available on Amazon in paperback only: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

To contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, write her at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

Sound + Vision: The Music of David Bowie

Published December 17, 2016 by Maryanne

outpost

Saturday, Dec. 16, I won tickets to see the David Bowie tribute “Sound + Vision: The Music of David Bowie” at Outpost in the Burbs, Montclair, New Jersey.

The show was definitely in the Top 3 of all the performances I saw this year! I think they blew our minds. The Sound + Vision performance, which was directed by Richard Barone, was euphoric and touching. Over 20 songs were interpreted in honor of David Bowie, with almost all getting standing ovations.

My favorites:

  • Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber (BSA) opening up the first set with “Sound + Vision” — from my favorite album “Low.”
  • Followed by Wesley Stace, with Richard Barone on stylophone performing “Space Oddity.”
  • “The Man Who Sold the World” with Richard Barone and Nick Celeste
  • “Ziggy Stardust” by Richard Barone, glammed out in a red sequin jacket for the Ziggy tunes.
  • “Breaking Class” by BSA; another “Low” epic.
  • “Fame” by Jeffrey Gaines.
  • “Fashion” by BSA.
  • “Modern Love” by Wesley Stace.
  • “Lazarus” by Elvis Perkins, with Danielle Aykroyd on autoharp. From David Bowie’s last album, it was truly a tear-jerker.
  • “Heroes” by All (I counted at least 15 musicians onstage)
  • And the grand finale “Let’s Dance”

The Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber is made up of: Jared Michael Nickerson (bass); Leon Gruenbaum (keys); Ben Tyree (guitar); Trevor Holder (drums); Mikel Banks (vocals); Shelley Nichole (vocals).

And a shout out to School of Rock Montclair — warming up with Bowie hits. Standouts were “Golden Years” and “Under Pressure.”

Outpost in the Burbs posted several videos of the Sound + Vision performance on YouTube.

Sound + Vision: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVE1ziiwLTg

Fame: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuHruIiTMns

Ziggy Stardust: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVE1ziiwLTg&t=132s

Thanks to such great talents for an epic evening. David Bowie will live forever in the hearts of both musicians and fans. This show was definitely proof of that! I truly wish they would do this show over and over again.

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 From left: Danielle Aykroyd, Jeffrey Gaines, Mikel Banks, Shelley Nichole, Richard Barone, Elvis Perkins, Nick Celeste, and Wesley Stace (Photograph by Mair Lewandowski-Reitz)

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Mairr (left) and I — before our mascara ran all over our faces, in memory of Bowie

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List” available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X