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I Had The Time of My Life...


darlene

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I knew it would happen someday, but I couldn't begin to imagine how INCREDIBLE it would be...

The pre-show party was fantastic.

We found Bernie and Kathy (who looked so radiant!)

and were quickly surrounded by the warmest, most wonderful friends from the board. Kisses, hugs and pictures with EVERYONE--and the prevailing mood was ABJECT HAPPINESS! HOB really took care of things... and then...into the music hall, where the atmosphere was a mixture of JUBILATION AND WIRED ANTICIPATION! (I mean, REALLY wired!)

We were in the balcony,not far from Bernie and Kathy,just in front of Marvin and Marlene, and next to Larry and Larry--a perfect spot. It seemed surreal...were we REALLY waiting for Raspberries, at long last???!!! You could cut the expectation with a knife...HOB kept running upcoming events on the screen, and every time "RASPBERRIES--SOLD OUT" flashed on, I would read it in a half-scream and applaud. I put on my glasses--(a rare occasion)--didn't want to miss one detail--and THEN...

THE VIDEO!!!!It was brilliant! (Thank you, Bernie!) It built suspense every step of the way until we saw a raspberry-colored "RASPBERRIES" roll by--and then, the word "TONIGHT" flash on and off, and the screen went up, AND THERE THEY WERE!!!(SCREAMS ECHOED THROUGHOUT THE HOUSE, AND NOT JUST MINE!!!) Playing my favorite--IWTBWY! When they played the first chord, my heart felt like it would burst, my eyes welled up with tears, and I was smiling. They were INCREDIBLE!!!! And the ENTIRE evening was just as exciting. They were better than ever, that gorgeous blend of voices back again and the band tighter and more exciting than ever!!!Electricity so tangible you could see it, feel it and even smell it, thanks to what smelled like Raspberry incense! Jennifer Lee, Billy Sullivan and Paul Sidoti were amazing. It was so perfect!!! I got my old Raspberries High the second they started to play and I haven't come down yet.

Jim was so into the music, he seemed to be in another world, maybe thinking about another time, long ago...Eric was in beautiful voice, witty as usual, and seemed genuinely happy...Wally was as pleased as punch, just exuding pride all over the place, and Dave had this perpetual grin on his face that said "I'm just so happy to be here." Everytime I looked at Dave, he was grinning.

They did two songs by The Choir (!), which I loved, and Eric mentioned Scott McCarl. Everything they did was world class.

Just before the last song, I turned around and said to Marvin, "The only thing I miss is those jumps Eric used to do on cutoff. But that's okay. NEXT concert he will..." The next thing I see is that jump!!! I turned around to Marvin and yelled, "He JUMPED!!!" Marvin was grinning.

The band was always electric, but they exceeded the wildest expectations at this concert. Raspberries live is indescribably out of this world. Everyone who was there now knows what I mean.

The guys had worked so hard, that I really started to wish they didn't have to do a meet and greet, because the number of people that attended it was huge, almost frightening...A verbal meet and greet might have been okay, but thinking about how much autographing they were doing made me feel very sorry for them. They were more than gracious--they bent over backwards, but the line was so long, like Bernie and Kathy, I decided I would wait till the end. Marvin introduced me to Kay Bryson, and when she mentioned she had lived for awhile in Piscataway, NJ, I reminded her that she and I had met (in the BATHROOM of a club in NJ called Joint In The Woods!) at a Raspberries gig, when she was going with Wally. We had such a great talk! Herman and I then had the good fortune to talk to Jennifer Lee, Paul Sidoti, and Billy and Debbie Sullivan, and had some great conversations. They are the best!

Near the end of the M&G, I got in line behind Bernie and Kathy. However, I had the great fortune to meet Dennis "The Fly!" Ferrante in the line, and spent so much time talking to him (what a great guy!)--he's not only one of the best engineers in the world, but I found out that he knows my ex-band leader and even he engineered some of the records I played on! Small world, huh? (I even got him to tell me how he got the nickname, "The Fly," but that's another story.)

By the time I finished talking to Dennis, I found that the camera lights were out and the Meet and Greet was over...! I managed to slip in at the end and briefly thank the guys and tell them how incredible they were. They were more than gracious, even after the never-ending Meet and Greet ordeal.

And if anyone EVER doubts that Eric reads the board, think again. He knows who we are and sees what we write. He obviously has an amazing memory...!

By the time I met the band, the photos were over, but then someone put the camera lights on AGAIN,(poor band!), and somebody behind me pushed me up in the line and said "It's the last picture, get up there." And I did.

I was ready to leave for a long time, but just stood in one place, thinking back on the events of the whole evening, and just couldn't move. As people left, I just kept thinking, "SO MANY PEOPLE!!!" The hall had been packed. "SOLD OUT"...

I always knew it would be.

I also knew that if the band did it just one more time, they would reexperience why they loved doing it so much together in the beginning: Four immensely talented artists who loved being together and loved the music they created. I also knew that if they did it one more time, they would realize they could still do it. They proved that last night. Better than EVER! And I had the time of my life...Thanks again, guys.

smile --Darlene

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What a great wrap up of what was a great night for you Darlene -- reading these reports are so much fun -- I am so glad for you and all that attended. This has been one heck of a year for us.

New book, new song, reunion concert...doesn't get much better than this!

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My apologies to Marlene. I KNEW it was Marlene with Marvin behind me (I was holding their hands most of the night!), but knowing that Marvin and Jen were together most of the time, I got mixed up for a bit. Marlene, I recognized you instantly the moment I saw you from your beautiful picture. You're just as beautiful in person.

smile --Darlene

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Excellent and thorough post, Darlene. I have to say I felt really sorry for the guys in the band during the meet and greet, but I hope they know how happy they made all those fans. It was a long night, but such a dream come true for so many people! I enjoyed meeting so many board members, especially you, Marvin, Marlene, Ted, Kazumi, Andy, and of course, Bernie and Kathy. Also, meeting Ken Sharp was such a kick in the pants - the guy is absolutely exuberant and made everything seem just a degree more fun, if possible. I only wish I'd been able to meet Craig Benfer, who's been very generous to me with his rare music collection.

Jennifer

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Darlene,

Paula/Razzy and I were sitting right in front of you and you're right...it made the night that much more special sitting around all the board people. Your enthusiasm throughout the show really added to the excitement. I apologize if I ever blocked your view when I stood up, but it just couldn't be helped at times. I tried to sit most of the time so you could see, even when everyone else was standing because I knew how much it meant to you. Yes, it was a memorable evening. There really aren't enough words to describe it.

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Jeff, Not to worry, NOTHING blocked my view! I think I was standing almost the whole time! I thought once about the poor people behind me and started to sit down, but looked back and everyone else was standing too! My enthusiasm was certainly unbridled! My throat was sore from screaming so much, but I haven't had this much fun in a long long time! I loved having you and Razzy in front of me!

smile --Darlene

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