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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

 

 

Rob Fusari — The Bitter End

Published May 25, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_0145Rob Fusari and Andrea Martin

(Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Last night Rob Fusari put on an electrifying performance at Paul Colby’s The Bitter End, on Bleecker Street, NYC.

The theme of the performance was The Beatles vs. David Bowie; with unique musical spins on both artists, as well as incredible originals in the mix. The show was put together in such a short time, Fusari joked that he didn’t even know the last names of the band members and introduced them simply as Matt (guitar), Mario (drums) and Dennis (bass). With four back-up singers known as The Constellations and special guest singer Andrea Martin, it was a surreal, five-star extravaganza — a true class act!

Songs included: “Heroes” (Bowie), “Under Pressure” (Bowie/Queen), “Young Americans” (Bowie), “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (Beatles), “Don’t Let Me Down” (Beatles), Fusari’s original “Don’t Let Love Down,” and Andrea Martin performing a gorgeous version of “Paparazzi” (which Fusari co-wrote and produced for Lady Gaga).

I can go on and on and on, but I’m purposely leaving out major musical high points of the evening, because if this particular show ever happens again, one should be surprised! ❤

A big shout-out to Paul Colby’s The Bitter End! The staff was incredibly attentive to patrons with fast and friendly service. (As a side-note, I had the honor of interviewing the late Paul Colby in his Montclair home over a decade ago before his passing. I have an autographed copy of his book, “Hanging Out in America’s Nightclub” in my collection. )

For more information on Rob Fusari, visit: http://robfusari.com/

For more information on Andrea Martin visit: http://rocnation.com/artists/andrea-martin-2/

For more information on The Bitter End, visit: http://www.bitterend.com/

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

Sometimes I Just Like to Monkey Around

Published June 30, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_1374Rain Forest Cafe, last night

Dennis and I went for a few drinks at the Rain Forest Cafe last night. Much deserved after all the stress of taking care of Billy Cat. (Who is actually improving a little. One day at a time.)

This picture inspired me to share some super cool monkey songs, since there are so many good ones to start off a Sunday.

ENJOY!

Patti Smith – “Space Monkey”

Iggy Pop & James Williamson “Lucky Monkeys”

Cramps “Monkey With Your Tail”

Pixes “Monkey Gone to Heaven”

Beatles “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey”

Plasmatics “Monkey Suit”

Rolling Stones “Monkey Man”

Dim Stars “Monkey”

Get the Led Out – SOPAC, June 21, 2013

Published June 22, 2013 by Maryanne

Get the Led Out(Photo from Get the Led Out Face Book page)

Get the Led Out at SOPAC (South Orange Performing Arts Center) last night was phenomenal!

The theater only seats about 400 people, and thanks to Billy Childs (bass) for the comp tickets, about seventh row!

This is the article I wrote when I interviewed Billy Childs earlier this month: http://thealternativepress.com/articles/get-the-led-out-will-perform-at-sopac-june-21

Get the Led Out live was truly a mystical experience

and a perfect way to spend the summer solstice.

It never ceases to amaze me, when you see a GOOD live performance, how much better you enjoy and appreciate the music. Now these guys are obviously about THE MUSIC, not just being a cover band that imitates a live show. It took three guitarists to create the Jimmy page studio sound. There was a total of six people in the band, plus a female vocalist helping out on two songs. And the most surreal moment of all was then they performed my second favorite Led Zeppelin song, “Fool in the Rain,” towards the end when the part with the whistle blows, a man come on stage just to do the whistle part. The entire band was absolutely flawless and I honestly entered another dimension. I will never hear “Fool in the Rain” the same way again.

It was truly a mystical experience and a perfect way to spend the summer solstice!

Please check out their website to see the promo video (http://www.gtlorocks.com/). There is a lot on You Tube, but cell phone videos do not do this band justice. You can’t even imagine how GOOD they are and I’m not even a Led Zep head, just someone who appreciates good music. And you can’t go wrong with a band that has such a massive catalog of work that so many other artists covered over the years.

They played over two hours. Opened up with “Immigrant Song” and blew me away from the get go. A little boy was sitting in front of us, he was getting into it 100 percent. You KNOW when someone is going to grow up and be a musician. It was adorable. The entire audience was a good crowd. It was an overall great vibe. No assholes there just because they had season’s passes (I hate that pretentious shit). True music fans, each and every one of them. Get the Led Out got several standing ovations throughout the evening. And not once did I see anyone texting during the show. Get the Led Out had the audience’s undivided attention! And trust me, I go to a ton of shows and this was a rarity.

Other favorites included, “Kasmir” and “Whole Lotta Love.” I loved the drum solo too. They did so much and the two hours zipped by. I couldn’t believe it was over.

After the show Dennis and I chatted with Billy Childs for about 20 minutes. I asked him what I forgot to ask him during my phone interview, if he liked the work that John Paul Jones did with Diamanda Galas. He laughed and said, “No.” We all talked about music a lot, as Dennis and Billy both recorded in the same studio in the 1980s when Dennis was with Pharoah and Billy was with Britny Fox.

A magical night indeed!

SAM_1334Billy Childs, bassist Get the Led Out and Britny Fox

SAM_1329Outside the theater, by sundial

Happy Summer Solstice!

Fool!

Published April 1, 2013 by Maryanne

The Fool

I LOVE LOVE LOVE April Fool’s Day!

I just love jokes, and fun and making people laugh, so today will be super fun for me!

Every year I trick people and pull fun jokes. It’s hard when you work at home, alone, but I will definitely get my husband.

The best trick someone pulled on me was when I was working in Hoboken. A young stranger asked me where “Sesame” was.

Hoboken is a fairly big city and I was confused … where is “Sesame”? I didn’t know. I was stunned, trying to think of where it could be.

He looked at me and started laughing. He said “What day is this?”

Okay … April Fool’s Day! He was going with the old, “Can you tell me how to get … how to get to Sesame Street.” (Of course there was no Sesame Street!)

Here are some foolish songs to enjoy today:

Elvis – FOOL’s Rush In

Elvis – FOOLS Fall In Love

Elvis – FOOL Such as I

Daniel Ash – FOOLISH Thing Desire

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – Why Do FOOLS Fall in Love

Elvis – FOOL

Elvin Bishop – Fooled Around and Fell in Love

Foreigner – FOOL For You Anyway

Angel – You’re Not Fooling Me

Styx – Fooling Yourself

Led Zeppelin – Fool in the Rain

Stone Roses – Fool’s Gold

Cinderella – Nobody’s FOOL