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  1. Would certainly have to add my vote for the Brothers Gibb and big brother Barry. From the standpoint of their personal hits and compositions that spanned the 60's through late 90's as well as the numerous hits they composed for others they are tough to top. As far as Led Zeppelin I thought they were always one of the most overrated groups of all time. Hard to think of anything more repulsive than the bare bellied, effeminate Plant's ear splitting screeching that was somehow considered to be a voice. If there was ever a group that was appropriate only for a small period of time and totally out of place at any point before or after it was them.
  2. There's a reason why All By Myself now shows the composer as Carmen/Rachmaninoff.
  3. Well first off and foremost I thought the concert was absolutely fantastic. As an original fan from the early 70’s, to be able to see the original lineup live and in great form was something I could have never imagined. I’m sure I speak for a lot of us here when I say that whatever the motives of the band are for re-grouping what they have ultimately done is provide their long legion of fans with the greatest gift imaginable……….the chance to see them perform. I know that I won’t ever forget it. What follows are my random comments and observations presented in no particular order. Will be hard to forget the opening video followed by the wild burst of sound that is the opening of I Wanna Be With You and then the curtain parting to reveal the Raspberries. You would have to be a small town Florida boy like me who never had a prayer of seeing the Raspberries live in the 70’s to appreciate the thrill of finally, (thirty plus years hence), seeing them in person. I am an unabashed Eric Carmen fan and he was always my favorite in the group, mainly because it was his songs that I liked the most on the albums. Seeing him live, even if an older version, was a great thrill. While it was obvious to me that Eric’s voice is not what it once was I have to admire that he didn’t drop from the set those songs that would tax his voice the most. Frankly, I didn’t really expect him to hit all the tough notes and didn’t feel the songs were compromised because of it. Part of being a fan is that you allow for the failings and shortcomings and realize that even a 55 year-old representation of the 22 year-old fixed in your mind is still a helluva thing to behold. What does bother me though are the postings from those who claim that Eric still hits all the notes when even he has admitted (note his comments about that during his Hall of Fame performance) that he can’t. Even a casual observer of his performance would see many instances when he didn’t even attempt to hit the notes and relied on Jennifer, et al to do it for him. Again, I don’t fault him for this and don’t consider it a big deal but I am baffled by those who continue to not state the facts. In fact I got a nice chuckle from Jennifer when I complimented her on her contributions after the show and told her that I could see where Eric was coasting at times because he knew she was there to pick up the slack. The first highlight of the show was Don’t Want to Say Goodbye. So great to hear just Eric and Wally without much more than a single guitar and piano. Also liked Wally’s intro about “writing the song over the phone.†This was just a knockout of a song that sounded as good if not better than the original. It was obvious from Wally’s comments after the song that this one is dear to his heart and he was truly bothered by comments (from those unnamed) that the song should be dropped from the set. He ended up by saying as long as we wanted to hear it he would keep playing it. If he’s reading this I can’t state strongly enough that this song HAS to stay on the set list. BTW, if anyone noticed, the set list showed I Saw the Light and DWTSG in the same slot so it appears that it was a showtime decision as to which one of the two would be played. I liked the covers although I think they could improve on Can’t Explain. Ticket to Ride has always been my favorite Beatles song and I know that they have been playing that song in their act forever and I always wondered what it would sound like so I was glad to finally hear it. No Reply is a perfect song to highlight the Eric/Wally harmony singing and Needles and Pins is the knockout that most said it was. We all know the story of how Todd (Runt) Rundgren copped a major hit for Grand Funk with Locomotion after hearing the Berries do it in concert. Would love to see them trade Can’t Explain for it. Was fortunate enough to share our Opera Box with some great fans: Laura (and sis Donna), Susana (and friend Karen), Eric H. and Marilyn (and even Merchandise Man who we invited up for a look) which made the whole experience that much more pleasurable particularly when witnessing the reactions of everyone after they were knocked out by certain songs (witness Susana after I Can Remember). Besides having a fantastic view of the stage it also provided me with a great vantage point to observe the packed crowd and all the bobbing heads and dancing bodies. The Drysdales and their family and friends were in the two boxes next to us and they were all thoroughly enjoying the show. Also got a chance to meet Gina (who gave me a nice underserved hug) and Blackhawk Pat after the show. Two real nice people. Wally’s guitar mastery was amazing but I felt robbed on certain songs (e.g. Ecstasy) as to my ears the guitar wasn’t as prominent in the sound mix as it could have been. Wally’s guitar is such an important component of the songs, particularly on the Side 3 tracks, and I was really set-up when listening to the songs for the great solos and was left a bit flat as the sound wasn’t upfront where it belonged. Also, I have never like Party’s Over but this song was absolutely fantastic live and Wally’s vocals were virtually identical to his performance on the disc. I’ve got to play this again now on disc and see if I was wrong all along about this song. It’s Cold Outside is really a great little tune and I was surprised to hear Dave on lead as I never knew all that much about the tune. Dave showed some vocals talents that I didn’t know he had. What puzzled me though is that he didn’t provide any background vocals on the tunes as it seemed that entire role was tuned over to Billy, Paul and Jennifer. Overall I think the ballads came off better than the rockers which really surprised me. DWTSG, ICR and Overnight Sensation were all absolute show stoppers. Was also surprised by how songs that I have never particularly liked on disc sounded so good live. The back-to-back play of Drivin’ Around and Crusin’ Music was an ingenious idea and sounded great. As if the show wasn’t enough, my wife and I were able to meet and chat with the entire band after their performance. Jim was the first to come by and short of a quick hand shake and thanks from my compliments he didn’t say much and moved quickly along. Billy was next up and we had a nice chat and I mentioned how I saw him give an enthusiastic gesture after playing the guitar riff on Ticket to Ride. Billy said he played the riff Paul McCartney had played on the tune. I also complimented him for his guitar work on DWTSG which is a pivotal part of the ending of the song. I spent a lot of time watching Billy and he really covers a lot of guitar work that one might think Wally was handling if you didn’t look real close. I found Billy to be a real down to earth and engaging guy and wished we could have chatted some more but Wally was getting ready to walk right by me and I didn’t want to miss my chance (sorry again Billy). Shook Wally’s hand and told him how great the performance was and what big fans we were. Wally was very nice, very matter of fact and was soon besieged by others. Jennifer was next by and was very friendly, (I mentioned earlier a comment I made to her) and she said that besides the background vocals she felt like she was a real musician and I noted how she was one of three people on keyboards during ICR. Was getting ready to ask her about her unique frontal tattoo when I spied Dave and Eric enter the room so never found out whether it was permanent or not. Anyone know? We walked over to meet Dave and he was just the most friendly and down to earth guy. I asked him why he didn’t sing Should I Wait and he put his hand on my shoulder and leaned in close and said that they forgot to put it on the set list!! What a great moment that was! It was like two old friends sharing a laugh, that’s how down to earth he was. I told him that based on his comments during the show that I thought they had decided to play Makin It Easy instead of Should I Wait but he said no that they just plain forgot to put it on the list. I expressed my disappointment and said that it would have been one of the highlights of the show which I’m sure he appreciated hearing. Last but not least was Eric who was still complaining about the heat. Some gentlemen approached him and told him he needed to make an appearance in a certain room (where I think Bernie had assembled some people) and Eric said “Is it cooler in there?†Had to wait my turn but was finally able to shake his hand (he had to move his cigarette from his hand to his mouth to shake my hand) and tell him how great the show was and how we were longtime fans. Eric was very gracious and appreciative. My wife told him what a great dresser he was and how he added a lot of class to the proceedings with his natty attire and shiny shoes and he seemed to get a kick out of her comments. We eventually got a picture with him (BIG thanks to Susana – hope the picture came out good!) and said our goodbyes. Couldn’t have asked for a better evening.
  4. In today's Chicago Reader, which is a very popular local weekly paper, with a large separate section covering music, live theatre, films, etc. there is an absolutely stunning article on the group written by Bob Mehr. The group is first mentioned in "The List-Music" which notes by day the major shows and lists the Raspberries show on Saturday as a "Critics Choice". A few pages later in a section called "The Treatment" which has short articles/comments on the shows by day there is an article about the group below a picture of the lads performing at one of the two Cleveland shows. It is once again noted as a "Critics Choice". I have typed the article below. Some of the comments are just stunning. Enjoy. The recent re-formation of Cleveland pop legends the Raspberries is the most unlikely concert event this side of the Pixies reunion last year ----and, for those who regard power pop as a religion, a moment on par with the Second Coming. The group broke up in 1974, after a postshow fistfight between singer Eric Carmen and guitarist Wally Bryson in a Chicago parking lot; ever since, they’ve been unfairly deemed a lesser contemporary of the likes of Big Star and Badfinger. Their Tiger Beat good looks and early affinity for white leisure suits discouraged critics from taking them seriously; it didn’t help that Carmen pursued solo success in the late 70’s and 80’s as a hairy-chested AOR god, or that Capitol was disinterested in keeping Raspberries albums in print in the U.S. Yet their music remains the gold standard for all power-pop bands: the group’s epochal Who-Beach Boys pastiche “Go All the Way†is untoppable, but each of their four albums, recorded in a remarkable two-year burst between 1972 and 1974, is studded with exquisite highlights. The reunion was originally planned as a one-off hometown gig in November, but the success of the concert ---which sold out in minutes—encouraged the group to consider a tour. (This’ll be their first show outside Cleveland since.) Their set list leans heavily on the hits but also includes songs from the pre-Raspberries combo the Choir and some Beatles and Who chestnuts. The Drysdales open.
  5. There has been quite a bit of promo over the last couple of days with the radio spots and newspaper articles. My guess is there will be a nice bunch of ticket sales today and tomorrow. Just got off the phone with my contact at HOB with the Opera Box and she told me all the boxes had been sold. Seems one of the band members of the Drysdales has a whole contingent coming to see him perform and he purchased several boxes for them to view the show. (so more than just berries fans will be there)
  6. The Friday Chicago Tribune had an actual ADVERTISEMENT (not a mention blip among the masses as the Sun-Times)for the Saturday HOB concert, complete with the Raspberries logo and mention of the original members as well as the names of the lads. Pretty good size ad.
  7. I'm still waiting to hear back from some who had earlier expressed interest in some of the Opera Box seats. If I don't hear back by this weekend I will have some availability. Anyone who might be interested should that occur please send me an IM. I can't guarantee anything at this point though. Please see this thread for details.
  8. For those that are using the box seats please check your emails. Thanks.
  9. This is the first promotion of the show by HOB as their ads and website to date have not noted the performance. I would expect ticket sales to start to dramatically increase over the course of the next week. Anyone still on the fence for this show might want to consider acting fast.
  10. Well Bernie one of my few posts on this board was about my favorite berries album which was Fresh. As we all know "Wanna" and "Let's" are probably the top two songs that require Eric to use the very upper range of his vocals (..."so BAD" and ..."I couldn't BEAR"). When I have read the posts about Eric hitting all the notes I figured it was mostly hyperbole from loving fans. I also wrote that hearing Eric go apoplectic at the end of "Change" was also one of the crowning moments of that disc. When I heard that "Change" was in the set list I was very surprised because even though it was one of my favorites I never heard much from anyone else about it. I also wondered just how Eric would pull off that great ending. Frankly I figured I had a better chance of hearing Eric hit the high notes than ever pulling off that raw screaming in tune wail on "Change". Reading your post just now I'm even more excited about Chicago's performance than I was before. Hope the guys bring what has been their "A" game in Cleveland with them to Chicago.
  11. You're right Fresh, Mark officially retired with last year's New Years Eve performance (or maybe it was the year before). His age finally did catch up with him as you noted. I didn't know he was still around until I stumbled on his website and while it is always heart-warming to see these 60's icons are still performing it is still shocking to see how some have aged (which they are supposed to I know but you always picture in your mind how they looked in their primes)Especially Lindsay who was probably one of the most handsome guys around from that era. Gary Lewis was always a minor talent in my mind and not worthy of any 60's adulation although some of the tunes were good but not because of anything he brought to the table. Billy, would also like to know who you played with on the IN bill (sounds like both) and whether you'd be willing to share some scoop on what your impressions of these guys were.
  12. Thought this might be worthy of its own thread as it was getting buried in the "Rolling Stone" thread. Mike was the keyboard player and lead singer of the DCF as well as writer/co-writer of their original hits. In September '03 Mike had a fall at his home in Spain and suffered irreversible spinal cord damage and is now a quadraplegic. He is still hospitalized over a year later and still breathing with the help of a ventilator but after some additional surgeries to reduce spasms has been able to use a wheelchair off and on. Mike also lost his only son in a diving accident shortly before his own accident. Sadly, Mike had just started touring again with a new band in 2003 after a 30 plus year absence and as Tom noted received a great tribute on Letterman's show from Paul S. (who btw has started a fund for Mike along with Little Steven). I was never a big fan of the DCF (loved "Catch Us If You Can" though) but clearly remember always being drawn to Mike Smith whenever I saw them perform on TV or in clips as he was the lead singer and also a very charasmatic performer. He also held up very well through the years and looked great at his advanced age.
  13. Don't know whether you guys know this or not but Mike Smith was in an accident a little over a year ago and is now a quadraplegic and of course will never perform again. He also lost his son about a year ago.
  14. Always liked "Break it to them Gently" from DOAC especially the ad libbed "roll the ol' lady" at the end. The best "lounge song" on DOAC is Shiny Stockings which is an excellent example of Burton's vocal range and ability. Listen to his vocal performance on that song and then compare it afterwards to his bonafide screaming rocker vocals on "American Women" and tell me who else in music could pull off both vocals.
  15. Eric: I have responded to your email. Thanks.
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