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Where is the Choir review?


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Song List

Feel a whole lot better

We gotta get out of this place

It'a All over Now

I Only Did It Cause

When You Walk In The Room

So tired of Waiting

Bad to Me

Tell Her No

When You Were With Me

If I Needed Someone

Save the Last Dance

Ferry Across the Mersey

Laugh LAugh

The Kids Are Allright

We got a good thing going

Gimme Some Lovin'

It's Cold Outside

Encore: Route 66

No surprise guests, the guys were loose and had a great time.

Jessie played great too.

Great Party!

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They came on around 10pm. The ES-Shades were a good band. The Alarm Clocks rocked. Wally backed Jessie on one song they did as the Bryson Group in the tavern after the Choir show. And no, I do not believe Jessie is scheduled for tonight, but there should be some good local acts playing in the bar after the show.

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From my standpoint ( at the lighting board) It sounded great! The guys were having a great time and the crowd was very enthusiatic. Any one notice the newest member Ernie( Roadie # 3) on the shaker during Save the Last Dance? What doesn't that man do? Hope to see more of you there tonight!

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I'll be there!

Hey, I heard Gene on the XM Radio yesterday morning! Phlash Phelps was doing his request show and I was sitting there at work thinking "Should I put in another request for the Choir because of the reunion concert?" But I never got the chance because before I did, GENE called one in! He said he was on the road in northern Colorado, driving to Cleveland for the Choir reunion concert! Phlash did not know about the reunion and was quite surprised. (He also revealed that his knowledge of Choir history is a bit spotty--he thinks Raspberries were just a later evolution of the Choir, or a new name for the Choir. But hey, it got him to play a few bars of "Go All the Way" on the '60s channel!) So he played "It's Cold Outside" again! Classic!

I'll be at the Beachland tonight...so look for me!

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I never saw the Choir play in their prime, but I heard all of the stories and the accolades over the years. So, as I clapped along with the other 500 or so fans tonight at the Beachland Ballroom I tried to imagine what it was that made them stand out back in the day. Was it the musicianship? The sound? The energy? The set list? What? Then I heard the answer. As the band launched into the opening salvo of "The Kids Are Alright," I was there. Dave Smalley and Dann Klawon on guitar, Dave Burke on bass, Kenny Margolis on keyboards, Jim on drums, and Wally—ohmygod, Wally!—on lead guitar (I could swear I saw smoke rising from his fingers!) And the icing on my time-machine cake? Eric standing to my left watching the Choir run through their set, just like it was back then. Only I'm, there, too. And awfully glad I was :-)


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Well, you probably won't be too thrilled by any of my details, but I'll provide them anyway.

I went with my two older sisters. While the Choir was great, we were overall pretty disenchanted with the evening. The place was jampacked and there was no place to sit, which meant my one sister who had been on her feet all day doing hair and really needed a seat had none unless she stayed in the tavern near the front. When she tried to go into the ballroom she encountered lots of people who stepped on her feet without so much as an "excuse me," and one gentleman who even used the toe of one of her boots as a place to stamp out his cigarette. Combine that with the fact that she wasn't feeling well, and you have some unhappy campers. My sisters ended up spending most of the show in the tavern sitting on chairs, unable to hear the band at all. It also didn't help that the Choir's sound check lasted for at least a half hour, if not more. Had the sound check not been so long, it might not have been so discouraging to spend so long standing around.

Me? I was on the side of the room for a while after the band finally got on stage, but then I got tired of people walking past me constantly to get to the bar at the back of the room, so I moved to the back, finding Bernie and Kathy at that point (Kay was back there too, at least part of the time). From then on I stayed either in the doorway or near the back of the room. Spent a lot of time behind Bernie, with Eric and Susie right near us. Wasn't planned that way, but it turned out that way.

I thought the sound system was bad, but the band played great. Unfortunately, this was not the way I would ideally have wanted to hear them. Maybe it would have been more enjoyable to come on the first night, the non-sold-out one, because this one was like being trapped in a can of sardines. In the end I had to leave early because one of my sisters wanted to, and I think they were maybe only one song away from the end. We didn't even get to hear "It's Cold Outside." And we had other logistical irritations that happened during the course of the evening that contributed to the unpleasantness that had nothing to do with the band.

It was nice to meet Danny Klawon in the tavern before the show--turns out my hairdressing sister has done his hair many times and he's even followed her loyally from salon to salon--this in addition to the coincidence that as I said earlier, he and my nieces are second cousins (we saw their dad at the show too). But it would be really nice to see these guys in a place where we didn't have to be crammed in, seatless, with a million other people, while we waited for a sound check to end that lasted more than a half hour. I can only imagine how unbearable it would have been in there had it been the middle of the summer.

Suffice it to say, I won't be able to lure anyone out there to do anything like that with me again.

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What a fun, fun show! I know others are into the details, but I was just enjoying the moment. It was as if someone put me in the Wayback Machine. All the bands were super AND loud AND having a great time. I agree with Bernie that "The Kids Are Alright" was a highlight of the show (only one of many). All the guys seemed very relaxed and it was kinda delightful to see "Smilin' Dave" as the frontman. Indeed, it was another hot winter night in Cleveland!

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Sorry you couldn't enjoy the show. Initially we were camped out toward the back of the room, but we went up front when the Choir started to play. People in front were VERY considerate and even "made way" for folks coming through. The back was a little crazy with everyone funneling around the sound and light stuff. We commented when we walked in that it was a lot like the old days in high school (hence the Wayback Machine). It's hard when you're with someone who is uncomfortable -- I told my hearing-impaired husband that I'd go with my sister and leave him out of it 'cause I knew that his hearing aids couldn't handle the decibel level!

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I too am sorry you didn't enjoy the show....from the technical side of things I can explain some of what was happening...the soundcheck that you were referring to was not a sound check at all. All 3 of the bands used the same sound system, 1 board, so between each of the performances, the board had to be reset to accomadate each one, yes it does take a bit of time to do this, different instruments, different requirements. Each band uses their own instruments, so before the next band comes out their equipment must be moved and the next bands set up, again this does take time.The sound on Saturday night was much better and believe it or not, not as loud as it was on Friday. All 3 of the bands have not played in some 20 years so alot of people were very anxious to be there for this, it was a sold out crowd, yes it was crowded, again Friday was not as packed.Just like the House of Blues and various other venues,and due to the age of the building it is a standing room only facility, except that at House of Blues you can spend 100.00 or more for a seat in the balcony. I'm sorry that you missed "Its Cold Outside" I think it was the highlight of the whole show.I wish you could have had a more enjoyable eving and I hope that the info I gave you cleared up some of the confusion .

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I attended the Saturday night show with my brother, and despite my warnings about standing for hours in a smoke-filled room, my 74-year-old mother. Overall, we enjoyed the bands. The EsShades were pretty good, the Alarm Clocks were well rehearsed and presented new material, and the Choir played extremely well.

The sound system was poor. For us older folks, the lack of seating was a real problem, and detracted quite a bit from the evening. We stood from about 7:45 through the end of the Choir set, which was sometime after 11.

What we saw were three very good local bands, with the Choir far and away the best. But it was easy to see that the Choir lacked a true lead man to get them over the hump from a good local band to one with star potential. Dave, Wally, and Jim were good last night with their Choir mates. But Dave, Wally, and Jim were excellent last year with Eric Carmen. Clearly, Eric was the catalyst that helped turn three very good musicians into a top-notch group.

Seeing the Choir was fun, and as a Lyndhurst native something I felt compelled to do. Nevertheless, seeing the Choir was just seeing another old local band play a comeback show. Nice at the time, but not something I'll remember throughout the years. Contrast that with seeing the Raspberries live five times last year: those shows I will never forget! One more thought: the Choir will never be more than an old band playing a few originals but mainly covering other groups from their era. The Raspberries, if they choose to do so, can be a band of TODAY. How many nostalgia acts have that ability? Next question: will the Raspberries sieze the opportunity? For this fan, I sure hope so.

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Thanks for the explanation, Sis. Just wish it had been easier for my sisters and me to cope with. What can I say, we haven't got even the coping skills of Art's 74-year-old mother, I guess.

I forgot to mention the other people I saw...I saw Paul, too, and Barb Bonfanti, and incidentally the maid of honor at her wedding, whom I ended up standing next to at one point near the front of the room while waiting for the band to go on. All this was very cool; I just wish my sisters had been able to hang on for a few songs more. But I wasn't driving, so I had to leave when they wanted to leave. I still think the whole experience would have been easier to take had the environment not been so hard to deal with.

When I look back, I realize that one of the most wonderful things about the BB King's concerts was their blessed smokelessness. That's the way things are in New York, but go to a club show in Ohio and you're immediately swathed in a cloud of cigarette smoke. I am not sure what kind of laws Chicago or Illinois has about this, but it seems to be the Chicago Raspberries HOB concert was smokefree, too. That one was also especially nice because I had a place to sit down and enjoy the band. Standing up the first night in New York wasn't as bad as it could have been, although having a seat for the second show was heaven (even if it meant waiting for hours in the restaurant).

Nothing could have diminished the joy of the first Raspberries reunion concert, so I didn't care then how long I had to stand or how much smoke I had to put up with. The second, however, between the lack of air and lack of hydration for people on the floor, just about did me in.

Call me crazy, but I'm not 20 anymore, and I really like concerts that aren't tests of physical endurance. Unfortunately, for us, this one was. For the Raspberries it would probably have been worth it. For the Choir, not so much. Going to see them turned out to be something I'm glad I did because now I can say I did and I have seen it. But I'm with Art--it was the combination of guys that made up the Raspberries that really made the magic. This is not to say anything against the non-Berry members of the Choir, and it is not to say that it's Eric that makes all the difference. But there is indeed something magical, to my mind, about the combination of Dave, Wally and Jim with Eric that no other combination will ever have. And I hope with all my heart that I get to see it again.

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It sounds like the band was amazing, just as they were back in the days of yore! I'll bet Bernie was in paradise--and how cool that Eric was there to support the band and go back in time as well. I so regret not being able to be there, but I'm glad everyone had a blast.

Trindy, I'm sorry logistics were difficult for you, but I'm glad you got to see the band. Not every venue provides perfect sound--how well we all know that! But you *did* see quite a piece of musical history, and an historic night in Cleveland for sure! I envy you that! I hope there will be more Choir concerts in the future. I'll be there!

smile --Darlene

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Heres the review from the Cleveland Plain Dealer today :

The Choir delivers rousing rock 'n'roll reunion

Monday, March 06, 2006

John Soeder

Plain Dealer Pop Music Critic

"We probably played at your high school," guitarist Dave Smalley reminded the 500 fans who squeezed into Cleveland's Beachland Ballroom for the Choir's sold-out reunion concert Saturday night.

"We might've played your back yard," Smalley added. "We did a few of those, too."

Without further ado, the local rock 'n' roll legends resumed a joyride down memory lane to the chiming tune of The Who's "The Kids Are Alright."

The middle-age dudes onstage weren't half-bad, either.

The band played a triumphant two-night stand over the weekend to celebrate the Beachland's sixth anniversary; the club was packed Friday, too. The gigs marked the first time the lineup of Smalley, guitarists Wally Bryson and Dan Klawon, keyboardist Ken Margolis, bass player David Burke and drummer Jim Bonfanti had performed together since 1967.

The Choir got off to a shaky start Saturday with tentative renditions of the Byrds' "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" and the Animals' "We Gotta Get Out of This Place."

To underscore a verse from the latter tune -- "Watch my daddy in bed a-dyin' / Watched his hair been turnin' gray" -- Bryson grabbed his long gray locks.

Not to worry. The Choir soon hit its stride with the Rolling Stones oldie "It's All Over Now."

Bonfanti and Burke made a dynamic rhythm section, while Smalley, Margolis and Bryson took turns handling lead vocals and sweet harmonies throughout a nostalgic 70-minute show.

Klawon added harmonica to a couple of numbers and sang the Drifters chestnut "Save the Last Dance for Me."

A handful of Choir originals, including the achingly beautiful "When You Were With Me" and the Merseybeat-influenced hit "It's Cold Outside" - held their heads up proudly alongside well-executed blasts from the past ranging from the Beatles' "If I Needed Someone" to an over-the-top take on the Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'."

The Choir not only relived an adolescent rock 'n' roll dream, but with brio the group also reclaimed a rich musical heritage.

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I just got back from Cleveland....was at both shows and enjoyed every m1nute!!! Mostly covers, but very, very well done! I talked with Billy and Miriam from Norton Records (there for the Alarm Clocks), and they might release highlights from the 2 Alarm Clocks' set on CD. Sorry I didn't see Eric, but got to talk with Wally Saturday night before the show started.

I also checked out the R&R Hall of Fame. It's funnny - in the "Hang On Sloopy" exhibit about Ohio music, there's a sign there stating that a Gibson Flying V, circa 1970, belonging to one Wally Bryson is there...but it's not! I suspect I had seen it at Beachland the night before....(and later that same night). ALso finally got to see such artifacts as Eddie Cochran's main guitar, Muddy Water's old candy apple red tele, pieces of wreckage from Otis Redding's plane....and oh yes, Handsome Dick Manitoba's red sparkly jacket and wrestling boots from the Dictators Go Girl Crazy LP cover...well worth the trip!

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You're right! Wally's trademark Flying V had to be removed from its trophy case at the Rock Hall when the Raspberries reunion started rolling. I guess we can use that display case as an indicator of future outings. As long as the V is "on loan" to Mr. Bryson, there's a good chance there'll be some music emanating out of it :-)


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What a night ... sometime tonight I'll put the photos up that I took from both Friday and Saturday along with various random thoughts and memories from a wonderful weekend ... however, I'm at work right now and I don't think the boss would appreciate me uploading all of the pics and telling everybody about such events like Kathy & yours truly's tearing it up on "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" (a duet that would make Marvin Gaye & Tammi Turrell proud) or singing old Fotomaker tunes with Wally backstage on Staurday night while on the company's clock and dime so look for all of these stories along with my (not so hot) photos later on ... same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel

... sadly, back to work I go ...



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