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Rest in Peace, David Cassidy

Published November 22, 2017 by Maryanne

David CassidyDavid Cassidy (photo by Dennis Mistretta)

The photo above was taken by my husband when David Cassidy was shaking my hand. I’ll never forget being in the front at his concert, 2011, the first time I ever saw David perform. The women in the audience were screaming hysterically. At one point David Cassidy walked off stage because they wouldn’t stop screaming.

I didn’t scream. The little I knew about David Cassidy was that he wanted to be taken seriously as an music artist. I stood in silence, watching the show with a twinkle in my eye and a smile on my face.

While other women were raising their Partridge Family album covers, trying to get David’s attention, it was my husband who got David’s attention and pointed to me. David walked right over and shook my hand. We were ecstatic. We loved him and he acknowledged us.

I was too young to have a crush on David Cassidy back in the day. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s (20 some years after the Partridge Family reached it’s peak) that I realized how great he was. Not only could he sing, but he was also a phenomenal drummer. But what really made me adore David Cassidy was his book, “C’mon Get Happy.” David Cassidy was a real bad ass — my kind of person! He was funny, he was wild, and he was real. I always imagined meeting him and telling him how much I loved his book. Unfortunately that never happened.

Like other fans, and more so for fanatics, I spent the last few days shedding tears over his failing health. When I woke up this morning, my husband told me the sad news, “David Cassidy died.” We hugged each other. It’s tragic that we are now living in a world without David Cassidy. But now he is out of his suffering, may he rest in peace.

It was my husband who  totally hipped me to the musical genius of David Cassidy. He had not only Partridge Family albums, but David Cassidy solo albums. We saw David Cassidy in concert together, twice. We even visited the New Jersey home he grew up in and took photographs of each other in front of it. And shared many laughs over the jokes David Cassidy told on stage — especially about himself. He seemed like such a sweet, down to earth guy. And taken from earth way too soon.

Yesterday was our loss, and heaven’s gain. David Cassidy, We KNOW we LOVE YOU! ❤

Book Signing for “On the Guest List” for Nutley Book Club, Nutley, NJ

Published November 7, 2017 by Maryanne

DSCF0662From left – Maria Labadia, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, Kiran Patel

Last night I was extremely honored to do a book reading/signing for the Nutley Book Club, Nutley, New Jersey, at the Nutley Library.

Of all my book signings since I published my first book, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” (https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X) this was by far my favorite because the guests read the book prior to the event!

It’s the coolest feeling for an author to hear, “I wanted to meet you!”

We had a great time talking about the book and people sharing their own musical experiences. The one thing I always hear about “Guest List” is that even if readers don’t know the bands I’m speaking about, they are relating because of how my love for music translates on the pages. “Like reading a diary” I’m often told.

Prior to the reading, Maria and Kiran took me to a wonderful dinner at Luna restaurant. I had great conversation and laughs with two wonderful ladies.

It was indeed a five-star night!

Rockin’ in Atlanta

Published October 21, 2017 by Maryanne

DSCF0512Atlanta, Georgia (Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Some time ago I wrote that after nine years of being self-employed, I started working in the editorial department at a magazine. That said, I went on my first business trip with the company. My days were very full, but I had free nights. Being the music lover I am, the first night I had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe (now I’ve been to three — Atlanta, NYC, and Atlantic City).

DSCF0521Iggy Pop’s leather at Hard Rock Cafe

Being a big Iggy fan (more so for his solo efforts than The Stooges), seeing his leather was a notable for me. Other great items were outfits by Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, and Steven Tyler, plus a Led Zep concert ticket that never happened because of the death of John Bonham.

DSCF0536.JPG

Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone at City Winery, Atlanta

(Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Now, before I even got on the plane, I had it in my head that I was going to see Peter Noone at the City Winery, Atlanta. This was about the 6th time I saw him and Noone just keeps getting better and better. He did all his hits: “Dandy” “No Milk Today” “Something Good” “Listen People” “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” “Henry the 8th” and “There’s a Kind of Hush.” And hits by many others, plus imitations of Johnny Cash and Mick Jagger, because in addition to great music, Noone is a very funny guy. He makes his way into the audience a few times, shaking hands and taking photographs with fans. His energy is electrifying! The place was jam-packed and everyone was having a blast.

I gave Mr. Noone several standing ovations throughout his performance; and he even shook my hand during the show.

After the performance, fans were lined up to meet and greet. I opted out because my jet lag was so bad I was seeing blurry (without even drinking alcoholic beverages!)

Nevertheless, it’s always fun to see a live show when you’re out of your area! I wonder if I was the only Jersey Girl in the audience that night?

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is a full-time associate editor; and a three-time author. Her third book “The Gypsy Smiled” (which has a rock ‘n’ roll theme) is available at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1545447470

 

 

Queen + Adam Lambert, Prudential Center, Newark, NJ

Published July 28, 2017 by Maryanne

SAM_2969Adam Lambert bows to original members Brian May and Roger Taylor

(Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Three years and two days after the first time I saw Queen with Adam Lambert (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/queen-adam-lambert-at-izod-new-jersey-july-24-2014/) I just had to see them again! My super cool husband took me to see Queen on Wednesday, July 26, 2018.

I am a die-hard Queen fan. I’d say they are probably my favorite band; and it’s nearly impossible to have a favorite band when you have over 1000 records/CDs in all genres of music. But I loved Queen so much when I first discovered them, probably around 1976, when I was only 12 years old. The first five albums were my favorites, but over the years I’ve expanded my horizons and embraced their entire body of work.

I was very lucky to have seen Freddie Mercury on tour with Queen in 1982, when I was 18. Though I envy my friends who are a bit older and saw Queen tour with Mott the Hoople.

When Freddie Mercury died, and there was a television tribute in his honor, I thought George Michael (RIP) would have been a phenomenal replacement. Then I saw Queen with Paul Rodgers and he was amazing. And so is Adam Lambert.

Always humble, Adam makes it a point, to the audience, that he is a Queen fan too. Throughout the show, he creates pure magic with original members Brian May and Roger Taylor; and Neil Fairclough who has been playing bass with Queen as long as Adam has been on board. And new kid on the block is drummer Tyler Warren who did a great duo with Roger Taylor.

This tour was a tribute to Queen’s album “News of The World.” But they only played three songs from that album “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions” and … one of the greatest moments of the evening “Get Down Make Love.” [Side note: I saw videos of them doing other songs from “News of the World” — and “It’s Late” blew me away! I wish they kept that song in the set, but there’s just so much in the Queen collection, perhaps they had to cut some out].

After the last tour, I said that “Get Down Make Love” would be the perfect song for Lambert to deliver. Because it’s camp and fun — and so is he. He’s just that kind of entertainer, you can look at him and smile. He’s simply great at making people happy. Lambert is a five-star performer. He loves dressing up, he loves working the crowd, he embraces being on stage, yet never takes it for granted; and is so honest to always share that with his audience.

Another key song for Adam Lambert to sing was “Don’t Stop Me Now.” I said these lyrics: “I am a sex machine ready to reload; Like an atom bomb about to Oh oh oh oh oh explode” should be “like an ADAM bomb…” This song absolutely sums it up — how electrifying Adam is. And, never taking himself too seriously, he was a total pisser riding a pink bicycle during “Bicycle Races.”

He also did one of his own tunes “Two Fux” which seemed to be his rebuttal to critics. (Or maybe his turn to answer to Queen purists who don’t approve him filling in for Freddie?) While a great song, Adam Lambert should never have to explain himself. He was chosen to be in Queen, by original Queen members. After five years, I’d say he IS a Queen member.  Sure, nobody could take Freddie’s place (just like nobody could take retired member John Deacon’s place) or if the other original members left. The thing is — Adam Lambert is damn good and belongs with Queen. He has my stamp of approval as a great fit. He always did. Years ago I poo-pooed American Idol, but when my sister shared some of her video recordings of the show with Adam Lambert, I was hooked. Then when I heard he was touring with Queen five years ago, I said, “That is perfect!” I was right.

And it’s a beautiful thing to keep this music going on for generations to come! Adam Lambert is young, fresh, and exciting. He’s a team player and brings a lot to the band. I’d love to see a live album of this tour come out!

But back to the show … Guitar wizard Brian May is always mesmerizing, and hearing a bit of “Brighton Rock” during his solo totally wowed me. When May has his moments, you can close your eyes and be right at home on your bed listening to records — he is that precise. He also plays “Love of My Life” on his guitar (on the record Freddie played harp) and sings heavenly.  And bassist Fairclough’s shining moment was naturally during “Another One Bites the Dust.” I was glad to see he’s still with the band.

Now, let’s talk about the stage show. This time around was off the hook — with lazer lights, videos of Freddie, and a gigantic robot from the cover of “News of the World.” I highly recommend You Tube — though you truly had to be there to capture the essence of what it was.

Other favorite parts of the show, for me, were “Somebody to Love,” “Under Pressure” (which brought tears to my eyes, now that both Freddie and David Bowie are gone!), “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Fat Bottom Girls,” “I’m in Love with My Car,” and “I Want to Break Free.”

And, this concert fell on Roger Taylor’s birthday, so the audience joined in to sing “Happy Birthday” to him! How cool is that? If you were there, you could personalize it and say that you sang Happy Birthday to Roger Taylor! At 68-years-old, he still has that sparkle in his eyes! I can’t believe, I’ve been a fan of Queen since they were all in their late 20s!

If I had to give any critique for the evening, I’d say I could do without the teazer — as hearing just part of a recording of “You Take My Breath Away” was a bummer. (I think back to 2014 when they played “Procession” before they came on and I was thinking they’d come out doing “Father to Son.” Keep dreaming, right?) Some of the other songs were cut short too, like “Bicycle Race” and to me, that’s like censoring a masterpiece. I understand a band can only play so long — and they played almost three hours, but I’d rather hear less songs, but played in their entirety.

But, yeah, still super high from the show that was two days ago. Another night with Queen that I’ll never forget! And hey, can I suggest another ultimate Queen song for Adam Lambert to do? I’d love to hear “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy” live. How about it?

SAM_2907Me in front of Queen truck — That’s the logo Freddie Mercury designed based on the zodiac signs of the original members. 

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

 

 

The Voice Semi-Finalist to Perform Benefit at MPAC

Published May 23, 2017 by Maryanne

brenden fletcherBrendan Fletcher

[Note: This article was originally published in the Randolph News, May 23, 2017]

The Voice Semi-Finalist to Perform Benefit at MPAC

By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Brendan Fletcher, a semi-finalist on NBC’s “The Voice” last year, will be performing at Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) on Monday, June 12. All proceeds will support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

It wasn’t too long ago that Fletcher was performing at a small bar across the street from MPAC. He’d pass the theatre, look up at the marquee and wonder if he’d ever play “a place like that.” One year later, it’s a dream come true for singer, guitarist, songwriter, Fletcher, who is now touring all over the United States, and in other countries.

Fletcher grew up in Randolph and is now living in Ridgewood, Queens. While his parents weren’t musicians, they were no strangers to good music. Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, The Eagles, and Simon & Garfunkel were always played on the home stereo system.

But the main reason Fletcher got into music was because of his older brother Steve, who performed in high school bands. Steve gave Fletcher the opportunity to play rhythm guitar in the band. Each year the brothers were in the high school’s Battle of the Bands. “It [performing] was a consistent in my life,” said Fletcher.

When Fletcher went off to college at Boston University, he no longer had his brother as his support system. “I had to do it on my own,” he said. And for the first time, he found his voice. With Steve, he played heavier music like hard rock and punk. Once that got out of his system, he went on the singer/songwriter kick.

At college he studied film and television, but when he came back to Randolph, he’d play gigs at local venues doing cover songs. When Fletcher got an internship in New York at a writing room, writing scripts, it wasn’t his true passion – music was.

“The internship wasn’t what I expected,” said Fletcher, who realized he had to do something if he didn’t want to do film. That’s when he decided to pursue music seriously.

In Philadelphia auditions were being held for “The Voice” – a television show where the strongest vocalists from across the country compete with one another for a chance to win a recording contract.

While Fletcher stood in line with thousands of other hopefuls, he heard everyone around him practicing. He said, “I think I’m okay, but I heard people in front of me singing Etta James better than Etta James.”

After waiting five hours, he was chosen for an audition with 10 other people. Each person got to sing one minute of a song. Fletcher sang “Jolene” by Ray LaMontagne.

He was asked to sing another song, then got called back for another audition and got the break most musicians can only fantasize about. He becam one of the 11th season semi-finalists.

Since then Fletcher’s rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” hit No. 2 on the iTunes overall chart; and his cover of “Whipping Post” by The Allman Brothers hit No. 1 on the iTunes rock chart.

“It feels amazing,” said Fletcher, adding, “If it wasn’t for my family, I couldn’t have done it. I’m very blessed to have them.”

Still inspired by the same music he listened to growing up, Fletcher said, “Bob Dylan and Neil Young write such beautiful, meaningful lyrics. They have made a career that says, ‘I never really compromised who I was.’ That’s an admirable trait.”

As of now, Fletcher is recording an EP which should be out before the show at MPAC and wants to keep writing. “I want to stay creative and pursue the thing I always loved,” he said, regarding his musical career.

In his free time, Fletcher likes to bowl, play pool, and hang out with his friends. “I have a great group of friends,” he said.

For more information on Brendan Fletcher, visit: https://www.brendanfletchermusic.com/

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

 

The Life & Music of Nat King Cole at Cliffside Park Library

Published May 7, 2017 by Maryanne

SAM_2444Stephen Fuller and Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Maryanne Christiano Mistretta, of Pear Tree Enterprises (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/) and Stephen Fuller (http://www.fullersounds.com/) proudly presented “The Life and Music of Nat King Cole” at the Cliffside Park Library, Cliffside Park, New Jersey, on Sunday, May 7, 2017.

“Learn and Listen: The Life and Music of Nat King Cole” is a one-hour presentation, with Maryanne sharing the biography of prominent jazz legend, followed by a half hour of live music with the expressive, soul-stirring vocalist, Stephen Fuller as Nat King Cole! (http://www.fullersounds.com/)

Songs included: “Unforgettable,” “LOVE,” “Mona Lisa,” and much more.

This presentation is available to libraries, senior centers, assisted living facilities, Jewish Community Centers, etc.

For rates and availability, please contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: 908-276-1514 during business hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or email: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

We look forward to sharing with you an “unforgettable” performance!

Shape Shop ‘Angel’ Tours with Living Legend Punky Meadows

Published March 24, 2017 by Maryanne

Barbara Serbes

Here’s an article I wrote about Asbury Park Shape Shop owner, Barbara Serbes, touring as back-up singer with Punky Meadows: http://www.shapeshopasburypark.com/single-post/2017/03/20/Shape-Shop-%E2%80%98Angel%E2%80%99-Tours-with-Living-Legend-Punky-Meadows