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phil

Chicago HOB: Best One Ever

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phil   

To all the Berries fans who attended concerts of the reunion type:

I was lucky to attend 3 reunion concerts.....Chicago, Waukesha and Scene Pavilion of Cleveland all in 2005. I thought the Chicago concert of Jan. 2005 was the best concert I have ever been to. Now that includes later that year in October I saw McCartney at the United Center in Chicago. The Berries were as hot inside as it was cold outside (pun intended)!! I took my daughter who was 25 at the time and she had no clue as to what was coming. She told me during Ticket to Ride that .."Dad these guys are really really good! I like them better than anything new out there!".

She was getting very antsy while the warmup band was playing. She did not like them at all. But when the video ended with "They Said it would never happen......But they were wrong!"...and the guitar riff and drum rolls for I Wanna be with you started...the place lit up like an electric firestorm! People were swaing and singing and really getting into it from the get go! Every song clicked and nicely fed into the next one. It seemed like the versions of each song were just done so well and they were so recieved too! I do remember Eric started laughing and almost could not go on during "I Can Remember". I think it was the lyric ..."that I almost died"... Wally must have said something or done something to get that one going!! I think they were well rehearsed from several months of prep for the first two HOB concerts in Cleveland....Wow...such a tight band!!!! At the top of their game. Too bad it was not recorded....and we all know about the disappointment of what the future will not bring but I do not want to go there. Not worth that. I really got into that concert and will never forget it ever. Thank you Berries for that gift you gave all of us who were there! It was appreciated and thanks for sharing your God given talents.

Billy Sullivan...what do you remember about it? Am I right? Anyone else please give your review too.

Phil

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sllvnbil   

Hey Phil,, I remember that night very well. There was an energy,, both from the audience and from the band, was happening that was amazing. I remember coming off stage and turning to Eric & saying,, I just played the greatest show ever in my whole entire career!! Chicago always has great audiences,, from all the years of playing here w Gary Lewis, Mark Lindsay & Mitch Ryder,, and Moonlight Drive. Now,, I'm living here which is awesome!! I believe that it was the third show into the Raspberries reunion tour,,knowing the excitement of a possible summer tour that was on the horizon,, we {at least I was} were really feeling like a BAND at that point!! That night still was my favorite night of the whole run.

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I agree with you both. My first trip to the USA was a great one and my only goal to visit the US was to see the Raspberries in concert. I was also invited to the after party, thanks to Bernie! It was a ' once in a lifetime' experience!

Spoke to all of them, I'll never forget that night.

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I agree with you, Billy. I think there were three really special shows.

The first one at the HOB in Cleveland, just because it was the first one, the place was packed, the tension was sky high and we pulled it off after 30+ years.

The second show at BB Kings in N.Y. I just love New York and Jersey, because they "got" us from the beginning, and the people at that show were just having such a great time. It reminded me of my days playing clubs with Cyrus Erie back in the 70's.

But Chicago was the show where it all came together for me. The set was still fresh enough that we were really into it. We weren't sure how it was going to play outside of Cleveland. The Chicago HOB is just a beautiful, grand venue. I love the stage, the acoustics, everything. And the audience was so wonderful. It was 15 degrees outside and I was worried that nobody would come, but the crowd was warm and totally into it. I think that was my favorite show as well.

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Oh, and the State Theater in 2007. That was probably right up there with Chicago. The band was tight. The acoustics were great. We tried "That's Rock n' Roll" and it rocked, big time. The audience was wonderful. And we got to hang out with everybody after the show at the hotel. Great memories.

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I've seen hundreds and hundreds of shows...Ricky Nelson, Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison, Springsteen, Elvis Presley...the State Theatre was among the 10 best I've ever seen.

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I didn't know about any of the shows until 2007...so I went to Cleveland. LOVED IT!

Some of it was a blur though.

No really, I forgot my glasses and when the curtain opened up I thought---OMGOSH...everyone is blurry!

"Hair---hair--look for the lead singer dude with all of the hair." Found him...he was still blurry.

I had no idea what Eric looked like until I spotted him, backstage, signing an autograph, and then giving a gal a hug. That's when I saw him, very much "in focus" thank God, and got all stupid and giggly inside as I knew I was but a few feet away from a meeting. Chicks---you can't take us anywhere. Seriously, we act goofy and break up bands.

All in all though...because I could hear the show, I was blown away---totally! I've been to several concerts in my life, but Cleveland 2007 was one of the best. I was so happy that night as I had never been anywhere by myself, let alone a concert. I've always experienced travel and shows with another.

Oh, and "Let's Pretend." Yeah, need I say more? No, I thought not.

PS: I too was hanging in the hotel with everybody, what a coincidence. Strange I didn't see you anywhere Eric or perhaps I would have tried to speak with you. Oh...wait...I did. Never mind. :)

A brilliant night!

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Reid C.   

Call me a silly, unrelenting fan, but all the Raspberries concerts I attended were incredible. Some were better musically than others, but each had a flavor all it's own and all left me profoundly effected and with memories that will keep me in giggles for a lifetime.

If I had to call favorites of the four I was lucky enough to attend, I would go with the first Sunset Strip HOB back in '05. That ended a thirty-one year 'Berries drought and I was gasping for some good music. The key to that one was the smiles of the gang I was with. Everyone agreed, one of the best concerts they had ever seen. Both Anaheim and Sunset Strip 2 had their problems, but linking up with the EC.com people made up for any minor glitches. The best for me though, was Cleveland. Sort of a going home to Ohio trip plus the realizing of a long held dream of seeing my favorite band in their hometown. A great performance, wonderful venue, and party after with friends both new and old. It just doesn't get any better than that.

Well, "Crusin' Music," on the play list would have been nice, but you can't have everything. I'll just have to dream back to the Whiskey a Go Go in '74 for that bit of 'Berries bliss!

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sllvnbil   

The State Theater show was great as well. I had so much fun hangin out with everyone afterwords,, that I missed my flight to New York the next morning!!! Opps!! Debbie tried to warn me!!!

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Great memories of the Chicago show - It was an experience that I thought I would never have and it was pure magic! The other shows I saw: Waukesha, HOB Sunset Strip, and the State Theatre were all special in their own way, but the Chicago HOB show was just incredible!

Eric, I can't thank you, Jim, Wally, Dave, the wonderful overdubs, and the crew enough for some memories that will last the balance of my life. :)

Now...let's get the wheels turning on a Midwest solo tour for you!

Tim

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I have good memories from the 3 shows I attended - the first one in the Cleveland HOB, the second BB King's show, and the first one in the Highline. The first show was extra special though. Since there will be no more Raspberries shows, it would be really nice if any of the other shows that were recorded could be released...if nothing else, put on the website for download. I know, I know, maybe it won't sound perfect - but who cares. Certainly not me, that's for sure.

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Danny S.   

The First Cleveland Show was very special, The anticipation, The excitement,the brand new Venue, etc...After the show , hanging in the Lobby at the Hotel till 5 am (a small group of us)...Funny story, I walked back to the Hotel, and the Bar was closing. I told the bartender he was making a HUGE mistake and slipped him a $20...he kept the bar open for us till 2am, poured us all another round, and we went into the lobby...What a great experience. The Scene Pavillion show was incredibly hot and uncomfortable, But the State Theatre was , in my opinion, the BEST I have ever heard them sound...period! I was 10 rows back, center stage, Jim's kick drum was pounding my chest.

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I'll list my top 5 shows in this order:

1. State Theater

2. Chicago

3. Cleveland (opening night)

4. B.B. King's NYC (2nd show)

5. Sunset Strip (1st show)

I have to go with State Theater because at the time we had just dialed in our in-ear monitors perfectly. For those of you who might not know the technology behind it, they are the alternative to using the big wedge monitors you're used to seeing. You're able to mix all instruments into a comfortable, studio-sounding environment. You can have your vocal up as loud as you need and sing with a lot more finesse, subtleties, and power as well. It also eliminates the source of ringing feedback and stage volume that so often plagues a band that had as many inputs and live mics on stage as we were using.

I felt that having a few shows under our belt with the new system, we listened to each other so well. We played off each other as a unit and the talent and musicianship had really shown through. I had an amazing mix where I could hear everyone perfectly. We could customize mixes for each song, such as putting a beautiful nice reverb on Eric's vocal on "All By Myself" with big reverb tom fills from Jim's drums. Everyone sang great too but I think the most noticeable was Wally. He sounded great. There were many moments in that State Theater show that were bittersweet for me because I knew what was ahead with the Taylor Swift gig. I had taken the position and this would be my last show with Raspberries. Everyone in the band is like family and I looked over at everyone that night many times and took it all in. I cherished every minute onstage that night and I couldn't have been more proud to be a part of such a great ensemble.

Chicago just wailed. It was a full out rockin' show. HOB is a great venue and we had a blast that weekend.

Cleveland's opening night, like Eric said, was special because it was the first. We had rehearsed and worked so hard to make that a great night for the fans and we all knew how much was riding on it. Eric's great attention to detail, patience, and professionalism laid the groundwork of what followed.

B.B. King's was another great weekend. Doing the VH1 Classic episodes to kick it off had everyone juiced up to slay NYC. I think the intimacy of that room was very cool where we were basically on top of the audience. Those shows usually end up being some of the most memorable. And it didn't hurt that a teenage idol of mine, Jon Bon Jovi, was grinning ear to ear the entire night.

And Sunset Strip because we recorded it and captured what the band was in search for for so long. Something that really sounded like them on a recording. All the bombast and glory pouring out of the speakers. My parents flew out for the show as well as my relatives being there from California. But most of all, probably two of my biggest heroes, Rick Springfield and Paul Stanley were in attendance sitting next to my family upstairs. Getting a compliment from Rick after the show was amazing. I performed "Jessie's Girl" when it first came out in my 5th grade talent show. It was the first time I ever performed on stage. And well.. you all know my adulation for all things KISS.

I'm in Osaka right now, had a great huge festival show where we opened for Stevie Wonder. On to Tokyo tomorrow with the same lineup.

Hope you all are well! Miss the Berries fans..

Take care,

Paul

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Kirk   

Insightful take on the shows, Paul. Does your aunt still work for VC Star? I'm glad they gave the Raspberries a big promo. It was fun 'promoting' the show on this end. Enjoy Japan!

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My aunt had retired from VC Star not long after the L.A. show. And just to clarify, I actually didn't play guitar on the new single. I will let you know which track I played on when the album hits October 25th. It's my favorite uptempo on the album, not just because I played on it.

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I saw three of the shows and they were all very different. The first one in Cleveland was simply amazing, as I had not seen Raspberries since 1973 and never thought I would again. Well worth the drive in a snow storm!

The Chicago show was one of the best rock shows I have ever seen. It was SO LOUD that my ears were ringing afterwards! I was right at the front and enjoyed every second of it. I had called every radio station and every newspaper and every reviewer I could to get people there. My kids even handed out flyers of the ad that was in the paper at shows they went to in an effort to do whatever we could to pack the place. I will never forget the afterparty, getting a chance to rub elbows with guys I grew up idolizing.

The Wisconsin show was very loose, as it was outdoors, but was still alot of fun. I believe that was the first outdoor show they had done in like thirty years. I know the guys were hot onstage, but they still sounded awesome. What an incredible day that was for me, as my daughter had played basketball at the United Center that afternoon, then I jumped in the van and flew down 94 to Wisconsin just in time to literally run into the show as they played "I Wanna Be With You".

All great shows, but all VERY different!

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Paul Sidoti said:

I'm in Osaka right now, had a great huge festival show where we opened for Stevie Wonder. On to Tokyo tomorrow with the same lineup.

Not to go off on a tangent here, but how did the combo of Taylor and Stevie come about? Did they get to share the stage at all? Just wondering... :)

Safe travels!

Tim

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So exactly what are you saying?

That there is still a light at the end of the tunnel?

A small ray of hope shimmering through the dark clouds?

A possibility that things can change?

Perhaps---maybe---kinda---sorta? :lol::D;)

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