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About the Cleveland Concert

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Doug   

Warning: Long Review...

This was my 4th reunion show, and in some ways it was even better than the 1st one! Totally agree with all comments so far - sounds like everybody saw pretty much the same show I did - great!

Well, first off - Jim's drums were H U G E !! There were various vocal cue and other issues with the PA all night, but nothing long-lasting or particularly nasty. But one thing that was consistently true all night long - Jim's drums absolutely rocked! Crystal clear and loud as all get out. And he played them like he's really comfortable back there now after a few shows under the belt. He was going absolutely Keith Moon nuts during Ecstasy and Don't Know What I Want, and I noticed him grinning at somebody offstage between each increasingly mad fill. THAT was exciting - the man was on fire!

Same with Wally - the difference between the 1st show and now in terms of showmanship and fun is like night and day. He always plays great, but last night he was showing off. Doing his own windmills and his patented "that was great, and here comes something better" sneer, right out at the front of the stage, with the trademark Flying V back as the main guitar. He reminded me that when I was a kid, I thought he looked a little bit dangerous. THAT Wally. Lots of funny ad-libs ("Helloooo, Mrs. Carmen...") and a few more places for him to stretch out on guitar, like the intro to That's Rock & Roll - a fantastic choice, a great showpiece for Wally and Jim, and a rendition that proves they can play new songs and still make them their own. And he sang a lot more, too. They had his mic up loud all night, so if he sang, you heard him really clearly. For me, it was great, because the sound of Eric & Wally singing together is a big part of the musical memory. A great night for Wally fans.

Dave looked good and sang better than ever. His bass was so solid and such a big part of the great sound, that when he finally made one little mistake it was instantly obvious how great he was playing that night. And he seemed really happy to see all the interaction and energy coming from Eric & Wally. I think he was spending a fair amount of energy himself trying not to break out laughing, so it was good to see him looking happy.

As for Eric, he's always great of course, but I have to admit in previous shows I sometimes thought he played it a little too safe. Well, I hereby rescind all criticism of any kind. Last night, he "went for it" big time. And killed! Lots of high notes I haven't heard him reach for since the 70's, and amazing power on some of the ones that he was just barely getting to before. Plus - what a massive talent for rock showmanship, with the running back & forth and waving the mic stand and shaking his increasingly wild hair around. He was the most fun to watch of any of the reunion shows so far. It's clear he's starting to really get in the groove.

The O-Dubs were their usual fantastic selves as well. One of the best "new" bits is when Jennifer Lee sings two lines in IDKWIWant on her own, and although they're trying to keep the show timing tight, it would be nice if there could somehow be a song where EACH of the them gets to sing a few lines on their own. Billy & Paul both wailed nicely on their IARocker solos, and Paul was having such a good time, Wally made the band play it another time through and gave him more solo time - another great spontaneous moment! (My wife says she also enjoys seeing Paul's amazing hairstyle changes from show to show!)

Even though it's been a couple of years, it's still only been what, a dozen shows or so - they're really just getting warmed up, and last night proved it. I just can't get over the difference in attitude and energy - they just seemed really "on" and while it was a good tight show, there was so much more spontaneity than I've seen them have before.

The theatre was fantastic - the sound really bounced around nicely in that old building and the art and staff were great too. My wife and I were cracked up by the little grey-haird usher lady who served us with barely concealed glee - maybe they had a little eggnog before we got there or something?

A little personal highlight - we ran into Jim, Dave, Billy and a mess of family and friends waiting in the lobby of the hotel before the show and I talked to Jim for a couple of minutes. First of all, he and Dave looked great! And Jim was very nice and thanked us for coming and made us feel really welcome. I didn't want to gawk or make a total idiot of myself, so I left them to whatever they were up to, but it was still really neat to see 'em up close and be reminded what great folks they are.

(We also saw Billy checking out this morning, but he was having some kind of mild altercation with the hotel desk clerk and I didn't want to stick my goofy fan face in his way so we headed out. Hope everything got worked out, Billy!)

Another great show. Maybe one of the best ever. I'm completely sold on these Raspberry guys. Let's have more!

Doug

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doug,you nailed it dude!!!on all aspects,i feel the same..wally was unbelievable to say the least,very animated..so good to see him have fun again..jim's drums and playing..beyond words..dave's voice really was gorgeous sounding,better than could have imagined..and eric..you put younger singers in the dirt,plain and simple..and i love the fact you are having so much fun playing guitar again..you rock my brother!! last but not least,the overdubs were and are huge in the overall impact of the berries music,yet alone being GOOD people..the bit w/jennifer knocked me off my feet..what a voice!! paul and billy,phenomanal musicians AND singers..and tim,i remember u saying you would forget too many names at the bar when u post,u staid true to that!! this show..well,nobody can take this outa me..etched in my mind till i die..and when i do..i'll be a happy man knowing i finally saw these guys live..and all the members i got to meet..lol,chris

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hate to keep boasting about the show,but what trindy said about local fans is totally true,they felt the love and admiration the other night(the band)..i think this was a breakout show of kinds for the raspberries..could be wrong,but i do'nt think so..the biggest crowd yet speaks volumes about the band and the fans..just my opinion..lets hope for some good reviews from the sometimes lame ohio critics from the newspapers,media..etc..if ONE of them has anything negative at all from fridays show,i'm gonna get on them like you wo'nt believe..these guys are the best thing out of this state..hands down..lol,chris

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marlene   

Ok...let me go on record right now...last night's show was THE BEST concert I have EVER attended by anyone, anywhere !! I've never seen or heard more heart and soul put into a performance. The sound was incredible and the vocals were just stunning. Raspberries aren't just another great band...they have something special, a little hard to describe, but anyone that's seen them perform KNOWS what I'm talking about ! :cool:

A million thanks to my FAVORITE band and everyone involved in "making this happen". You promised, and you delivered...and I'm still on cloud 9 today !!

To everyone here on the board...you're all just the best ! It was SO nice to see you (OR meet you !!!) again. Already looking forward to NEXT time !! ;)

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James   

Trying to get a clear take on the show from these posts (a lot of lemonade's been poured and has gotten in my eyes.. ;) ) ...but my interpretation from the posts, and John Shaft's pictures, is that this might have been the best show ever.

I wasn't at the Los Angeles show but it appears they had some real problems there (though I like/agreed with Kirk's perspective on that show).

IMHO, one mark of a winner/champion is coming back from a "loss" and playing your best game. It appears they did this... and they've got my congratulations!

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JohnO   

To second what Marlene said (and it was definitely the best 'Berries show I've seen of the 7 I've been to....best concert ever? I dunno, I've seen so damn many, BUT it was right up there!)....the acoustics in the State Theater were also incredible! Ira & I were sitting in Row Z, about 4-5 rows under the overhanging balcony...and the sound/mix of vocals/instruments (aside from a glitch in Wally's guitar at the start of "Tonight") was fantastic even there!

Regarding "That's Rock & Roll"....Ira & I were thinking the exact same thing when Wally was playing the rather lengthy intro to it - and Ira finally said it - asking me "Is this "Do It Again"?", the old Beach Boys/Brian Wilson classic...because it sounded like the intro that Brian's band has been playing for that tune...and I said "I dunno, maybe....", thinking "oh boy, a new cover of another classic!" Then, when Eric started singing, we both went "Aha!!!"

The only bummer of this trip was having to cut it short (I was supposed to return Sunday on a 4:40 flight, but had to bribe Continental Airlines to move me to an early flight this morning (as did Marlene), to beat the incoming weather (they're predicting up to a foot of snow throughout N. Ohio by Monday morning, and described Sunday's upcoming weather as likely blizzard-like....)

The band certainly sounds prepared if they want to tour in '08, assuming they're willing and available...they're definitely ready!

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Art   

Everyone before me in this post has said it so well, there is not much more to add. This made my 8th show and it was the best (and that is saying a lot). I am just so happy for the guys to have been able to play before such a HUGE crowd. Happy Holidays to all!

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these guys grabbed the gig and conquered the venue,young and old..all in attendance..including the people that worked there..were REALLY listening..i know..i was looking around the whole gig and then some..i truly think this was a HUGE show for them...it was special to say the least..rock on guys,you are starting again to get the recognition you deserved so long ago..it is NEVER too late..food for thought,lol,chris

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Trindy   

I imagine we will hear from more precincts as people make it home...a lot have been trying to get out early because of the big storm predicted for tonight...I wonder how much luck some of them had, because things could be delayed here already...I saw a few folks like Bessieboo and Marcus with his family at the Rock Hall today and everyone seemed eager to hit the road/air ASAP, and I can't blame them because by the time I left at 5, the stuff was coming down thick, wet 'n' heavy.

I'm still basking in the afterglow though...it was just so amazing an experience. I really did not see any major crises this time around...I knew Wally had to get some quick adjustments made during "Tonight" but that was pretty much it, it didn't really affect things overall and I didn't get the impression he was upset tremendously. He and Eric seemed to have pretty good rapport onstage and really be enjoying playing together. Word to both of them: Guys...this is what we love to see. And hear. Please remember: you are the Wonder Twins, and when you get together and activate your powers, magic happens.

Yes, Jim's drum sound was HUGE and fantastic. Dave, as usual, looked as if he had drunk deeply of the Fountain of Youth before showing up and played like it, too. The Dubs were great and Jennifer's running up to the front of the stage to sing her parts of "I Don't Know What I Want" at Eric was probably the highlight of my cousin David's night ("You're going to go to sleep thinking about her legs, aren't you?" I asked).

And the crowd...ohh, the crowd! If anything, TOO rowdy. I don't know how prepared Eric was for all the screams and hollers during the piano solo in ABM. Every song got a huge standing O, and for the encores you had to stand just to see anything because just about everyone was. If you've ever seen that movie "I Wanna Hold Your Hand' about the kids trying to get into the Ed Sullivan Show to see the Beatles, you know that part at the end where they're playing "She Loves You" and the audience is going nuts and Eddie Deezen's character just loses it and leaps off the balcony onto a chandelier and swings on it like a monkey on a vine while grinning with glee? I almost expected something like that to happen last night.

I know...if one keeps saying "This one was the best concert ever" enough times, sooner or later people stop believing you, but damn...if this wasn't the best Raspberries concert ever (and I'm not saying it wasn't, I'm just leaving it open to argument), it has to go down in the annals as one of the greats.

Of course, for me THE ideal Raspberries concert would probably include everything I've ever heard them play in concert before, including ALL the covers they ever did, "When You Were With Me," half of Eric's catalog AND "a few new songs we've been working on." It would be at least three hours long, and after it was over, they would be exhausted and I'd be dead from overexcitement...but at least you'd be able to bury me with a smile on my face!

Here's hoping that everyone who wasn't there last night gets an opportunity to "get down and get with it" soon...I know Cleveland isn't exactly a hotbed of venue impresarios looking for an act to book, but for all of you not from this area who could not make it to this show, I can only hope that somehow someone gets wind of how well this one went over here and gets a notion into their heads: "Hmm, wonder how that would play in (Your City Here)? Maybe my people should talk to their people..."

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pierre   

First, let me start off by saying that Friday's concert was great (I also saw the first NYC concert in 2005). Here were a few of the highlights for me:

1. That's Rock and Roll - out of the blue, but they managed to make this song absolutely killer after a (relatively) lightweight treatment on Eric's solo debut.

2. Ticket to Ride - The Lennon/McCartney interplay of Bryson/Carmen was shocking...you could have sworn it was the Fab 4 up there!

3. Jim's drumming - it was powerful and miked perfectly.

4. I Don't Know What I Want - it was stunning in NYC and on the DVD, but somehow it was even better this time around. Their performance proves that it is a true lost classic.

5. It has been said before, but I'll say it again...Eric's voice gets better as the show goes on. By the time he sang Go All The Way, it was like he was just getting started.

6. Speaking of Go All The Way, the combination of the crowd and the band's obvious joy made this a blazing rendition and breathed new life into their most famous song.

Was this the best concert yet? I'm not sure. I think it depends on your individual context. For me, the NYC concert had the additional element of being my first Raspberries concert and having all of that extra "unbelievability" factor. There were some relatively minor glitches this time around (to my ears, I think Wally flubbed the beginning of Play On...and the rest of you have commented on some other flubs) and I also think the sound was a bit overloaded towards the end of the show - there was some "ringing" as everybody seemed to play harder!

Still, it was a remarkable night. There was no fat at all in the set list and, other than having 2 more songs in the encore, there is very little that I would change.

OK, there is one thing. While "That's Rock and Roll" was essential, I didn't feel the same way about "All By Myself". It was impressive to hear and yet I felt that it didn't have the same impact (particularly for such a huge hit). Perhaps it is overfamiliar? But instrumentally, Eric nailed it (as did Wally in the guitar solo). For me, "I Can Remember" left it in the dust.

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Ok. Here I am a little bleary eyed from my long day traveling(came back a day early because of the weather) :blink:

This was my FIRST Raspberries concert! :( I am so happy to have been able not only to meet them but to say a few words of gratitude. That night I went to bed with a smile on my face and very happy memories.

HT

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sllvnbil   

Hey Doug, My altercation was that I didn't get my wake up call I put in and missed my flight to New York. For some reason, my cell phone alarm didn't happen either!! I had a show in Wallingford, CT last night with Gary Lewis & Tommy James. I was able to make the next flight. Now, it looks like I'm stuck here in Wallingford because of the weather!!! I'm still on a high from Friday night!!!!!

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mannoman   

Billy, I can understand the high. What a superb evening. Saw you in the airport on your cell - you were not a happy camper -

I'm sure the Wallingford gig went ok but I can't believe it came up to the level of Friday night. Again you guys nailed it. I am certain it gave Eric, Wally, Dave and Jim great satisfaction to perform so well for the hometown crowd. Standing Os on every song - how sweet is that!

I particulary look for you and Paul on the extended I'm A Rocker. We'd like to hear more from you both - maybe as time goes on. I get the sense there is a lot more to come.

The couple sitting next to me used to see the Berries at the Agora and hadn't seen them since -They were ecstatic. The buzz on the way out of the theater was that of amazement. The audience was pleasantly surprised as to how good these guys really are.

Great Job, Billy

Is Gary doing Plant City FL this New Year's eve.?

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It was great talking with you too Trindy. I wish I could have stayed longer but maybe next time we'll get to visit more.

To Beth/Bessieboo: It was sooo wonderful to finally meet you! You and Bill are two of the most kind, wonderful people!

Marlene: I was so excited to meet you and thank you for introducting me to Gene, Mellie, Barb B and many others!

To Eric, Dave, Jim, Wally, Billy S and Paul: It was such a pleasure to finally meet each of you and thank you for being so kind to visit with me when there were so many others that were waiting.

Hopefully we'll all get to do this again soon!

Beth(HT)

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John P   

Despite having a horror show of a commute from NYC to Cleveland and back, it was all worth it! Had 5th row and center seats. Eric's mother who I briefly chatted with was sitting right behind me believe it or not. Good seeing the Berries play in a bigger size venue for a change.

I couldn't believe that the whole band showed up at the Wyndham Hotel after the show. Thanks guys!

Even got to meet Eric's brother there as well as the whole band.

Great seeing the whole gang again. Hope you all had a safe trip back home and if you experienced the same nightmare I had commuting back home, my heart goes out to you. John P

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Billy K.   

I was thinking to myself, the middle of "All By Myself", "please, NOT the 'single' version of this song!!"......and Eric delivered!!

In "I Can Remember", this was the best of the performances of this song. Keep in mind that it's perhaps the most difficult song of the Raspberries' songbook to do, in my own opinion.

On previous shows, the vocals had suffered in spots, at the expense of the good playing. You got quality on BOTH this time....

Jim's floor toms cut through the right way. I presume the acoustics of the building had a lot to do with it. Too often, despite how good the drums are played(and yes, excellent, as always, Jim!!)there sometime is a lack of "colorful" tone in floor toms. The color was there!!

Likewise, the guitar parts had these "colors"-you could distinctly hear what everyone was playing.

Wally was solid, as always, of course.

Dave was under control. Yes, there were times where he stuck to bass playing....but there were other times where he would sing and play at the same time, everything still jelled. Also, the synchronization with Jim's kick and low toms could be felt...there was no margin for error on Dave's part, and he delivered the goods!!

As for "That's Rock and Roll"....the intro set up a mystery.....was the next song going to be "Making it Easy?" Or "All Through the Night?"

or a Chuck Berry number? Or a T.Rex tune, perhaps?

We were teased, and forced to guess....and being pleasantly surprised!!

Great show, guys!!

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dianed   

Well, I finally made it home from Cleveland safe and sound !! It was an experience I’ll never forget. I left Thursday morning during from NY and my flight was scheduled to take off BEFORE an ice storm. So far, so good....Right?...Wrong !!

I get to the airport and go through the regular security check, when I am pulled to the side by two very angry looking men !! Apparently, they spotted something in my bag that was suspicious. Dumb me completely forget that I packed my Raspberries Buttons….all metal…….complete with pins……in the luggage that I didn’t check in !! Try explaining THIS to airport security !! I must have confused the hell out of them babbling on about why I had these buttons made for a band that re-united after 30 years and I was traveling to Cleveland to see them in concert !! Well, my babbling must have worked because I got back the buttons and went merrily on my way !! Now, for those of you who don’t know me that well….I HATE, HATE, HATE flying and always vowed that I would never fly in the winter. Now the ice storms hits and we’re delayed for about an hour and a half. So, here I am sitting on a plane in a runway that had to get de-iced three times before it takes off. It was the flight from hell !!! Bouncy…bouncy all the way !! My hands were clasped in prayer for the entire flight !!

Thursday night was spent at Danny Sidoti’s house with Joe (Raspyrock) for a home cooked Italian meal !! Dee-lish !!! Thanks Danny !!

Finally, Friday arrives !! I met everyone at Otto Mosers and did lots of hugging !! I finally had the chance to meet the board members that I never did……Kathy Lee (Ecstasy) who was there with her husband John and daughter Annie; Hollies65, Bessieboo, HT from MO, Mr. LOL himself Chris Hess ……along with the “regular crewâ€. Sorry if I forgot anyone !!

This concert was the BEST I’ve seen !!! They totally blew the audience away !! E-V-E-R-Y song got a standing ovation !! ABM was a masterpiece !! I literally cried during the piano solo ! I’ve been saying for years that “That’s Rock and Roll†should have been a ‘Berries tune…..well, they made that happen !! INCREDIBLE !! I don’t care what anyone says……I’ve heard these songs over and over and over and every time I hear them, it’s like hearing them for the first time. There was a lot of audience involvement at this show as opposed to the Highline Ballroom concerts. I think its very important when the band interacts with their audience and this show did not disappoint at all !! The band sounded better than they ever did !!

Afterwards, we all met up for drinks with the band and had a really great time !

My flight home was delayed again and I had another “flight from hellâ€â€¦which was no surprise considering the weather forecast. I just made it home before the blizzard hit in Cleveland. I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN IN THE WINTER !!! (Well, maybe for a solo show I would !!! )

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JohnO   

"How'd you bribe 'em John? They mugged me (for two tickets) an additional $310 to get out at 12:35p today."

Ted - Both Marlene and I lucked out - there just happened to be several seats left for yesterday's 8:50 AM flight to Baltimore, and we both got hit up for an additional $100 to change our reservations....a lot cheaper than it would have cost us, had we been forced to stay an extra day or two...

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AnneG   

The previous posts capture it all. Yes, it really was that spectacular!

I've always wanted to see them in their hometown, and what an enthusiastic crowd! Gosh, that was so good to hear (well, most of it!) smile

As Trindy said, if the show ended at Intermission, she felt she got her money's worth. They all were superb - musically tight with plenty of loose, jovial banter. And, "That's Rock & Roll" --a definite highlight.

I'm quite sure we'd all do it again --even in the dead of winter! If you need to catch a ride with someone, or bunk up with someone --do it --just get there. It's worth every bit of inconvenience.

Anne

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