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My Raspberries Anniversary


Raspbernie

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"So we beat on,

boats against the current,

borne back ceaselessly into the past."

—F. Scott Fitzgerald

On October 25, 2004 Ken Sharp and I drove into a parking lot in Willoughby, Ohio. We were at least four hours early, but that's how early you are when you can't sit still. Or think straight. Or breathe normally. That's how early you are when you're about to have one of your dreams come true, in a world where we all know that dreams only come true in fairy tales. Well, this was our fairy tale, happy ending and all. But back to the parking lot.

There wasn't much to look at in that old parking lot. Lots of scrub brush reaching high up along the sides of an old abandoned building steeped in history. Not real history, mind you, but Raspberries history. This was the site of the old Utopia. The very same Utopia where Eric, Wally, Dave and Jim rehearsed back in the early '70s. The same Utopia that packed them in back when record bins smelled of sweet 'scratch-n-sniff' perfume. The same Utopia where the band was currently rehearsing for their upcoming reunion.

We were four hours early. But we were going to actually see Raspberries play live. For real. Right in front of our very eyes. This wasn't going to be an old degraded videotape of the band playing a short set on Don Kirshner, it was going to be four men, four musicians, four heroes, plugging in and allowing us to share in the super special world known only to those who 'have.' In a few short hours we, too, will 'have' seen Raspberries play live.

Needless to say it was quite a thrill. They stood no more than four feet from us and finished the night by honoring our request to play "Go All The Way." Afterwards, Ken and I floated home.

A month later, as we sat in the crowded House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio, I turned to Ken and said, "Ken, we're at a Raspberries concert!" I suppose that said it all. But it wasn't just a concert. It was a lifetime. A lifetime of moments where songs—Raspberries songs—became a part of who we were. And there we sat…all of us together…sharing this common bond with the very musicians who unknowingly spoke something deep and emotional to each and every one of us.

I can't begin to thank Eric, Wally, Dave, Jim, their wives and families, the Overdubs and crew for treating me like I was part of the family. We love you guys, each and every one of you. And how about a 'shout out' to the fans who visit this web site? You're the best! Thank you all for making me feel like "somebody" each and every time one of you has approached to shake my hand and thank me. Thank me? No, thank you!

I've received a few e-mails since Friday asking when I was going to post my review of the L.A. show. I've attempted to write something down once or twice but just couldn't put into words what I was feeling watching the band play that night. I couldn't help but think as the band launched into their last chord on "Go All The Way" that it could be over. So I slowly scanned the stage from left to right and took everything in: Billy, Jen, Dave, Jim, Eric, Wally and Paul.

There was enough time to move my eyes slowly, savoring each player for a moment or two, as it seemed like that last chord was hanging in the air an unusually long time. Possibly each band member was hanging onto it, too, hoping that maybe it wouldn't end, that it would just keep ringing. Then, my eyes were pulled center stage as Eric sprung up into the air and it was over.

If there are more concerts—I will be first in line for tickets. A new CD or DVD—put me down for two each! But if that was it, then I have no regrets. After all, this is a band that I never thought I would ever see perform. And now, counting rehearsals, sound checks and shows, I've seen them eighteen times. Heck, the genie in the bottle only gives three wishes!

Bernie

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Beautiful, Bernie.

You've written so beautifully, there's really nothing to say in reply that doesn't pale by comparison. Celebrate your anniversary to the max, and thanks for sharing the story and the day with us.

Here's to many more - so the "have nots" can become "haves", and those of us lucky enough to be "haves" can (greedily, but giddily so) have more.

*susana*

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Happy Raspberry Anniversary!

I am so glad that instead of just creeping around the board every so often, I decided to become an active board member last December! You deserve all of the praise that comes your way Bernie! You are the "Dad" of this happy (Sometimes dysfunctional) family! Maybe I'm being too optimistic, but I don't think that we are done seeing them live! "I Can Remember" looking toward my Sister at the Chicago show and saying the same thing to her that you said to Ken - "We are at a Raspberries concert"!

Let's keep the Raspberry momentum going! happy

Tim

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Happy Anniversary, Bernie (and Ken)! What a neat story!

Gotta admit, this has been an incredible year musically for me as well. Never thought I'd see Brian Wilson in concert, saw him perform magnificently in August in St. Louis. Never thought I'd see McCartney in concert, now looking forward to catching him Sunday in Omaha. And I never thought I'd get to see Raspberries together on stage....and got the treats of a lifetime in both Chicago and New York, January and July. Considering all that, I'd have to agree with Tim that this is not the end of the road. Though I'm still flying high from 2005's events thus far, I have the feeling that some live dates are still in the offing for the 'Berries.....and though I may be reading too much into comments from Eric and Jim, I think that even greater surprises await.

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Bernie-as I've probably told you ten times-I carried those wonderful Raspberries singles in my head for years but I guess,I too,just never revisited this passion,never even considered finding their old albums or buying them in the 70's.After all they were only a "singles" band with four good songs right? I always loved Eric's music and was more a fan of his than the 'Berries" but here too the only albums I originally had was "Boats" and that treasure trove "The Definitive Collection".(Actually I now recall having a "Greatest Hits" cassette on Arista and raising the roof at "The Wiz"-a forerunner to Best Buy-when I got home and realized "Make Me Lose Control" was not on my copy but was on newer copies of the SAME cassette in their store-I won and got a new one.Anyway at some point when I got my wonderful Dell and got less computer-phobic I typed in Eric Carmen on "Search" and the rest is history- at least for me.I met you in August 2004 when your book did not arrive and you were truly gracious in taking me at my word , meeting me at your home,and giving me a copy of "never say die" along with your book which I wanted to have for my Vegas vacation the next day.I couldn't go to Cleveland but when Chicago came up I realized it was not during airfare peak holiday rates. I diddled around on the computer,sampled airfares,hotel rates, called my friend Mel in L.A.- he diddled around on his computer and Voila!we are in the 3rd row at the HOB in Chicago, standing,watching, your amazing video,seeing the words "TONIGHT",watching the curtain go up and Freaking.I went to Chicago- allowing myself a luxury weekend like I've never done before or since -for one reason.Just like you posited on this page-at the time- I didn't know if there would be any more shows.Well there were. For me two more(I am afterall on a budget with a son at NYU)one better than the next.But that moment when the curtain went up in Chicago,and they became real, and the first chords of "I Wanna Be With You" lofted through the air,and Mel and I looked at eachother grinning like teenage idiots,knowing we were seeing history-nothing beat that.While I'm rambling,Bernie- youtalk about feeling like a "somebody" I just got mentioned in Darlene's response to sterling on his "Amboy" posting along with Ericcarmen.com founding fathers, (like yourself)and longtime members, as a prominent denizen of the Garden State. I feel like a "Made Man! Thanks for everything.Here's to more new memories (hopefully).-Ira

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Happy Anniversary, Bernie!

What you wrote at the beginning of this thread is some of the most beautifully heartfelt prose I've ever read.

Many people are technically excellent writers. But you are among the few who so gracefully and accurately express emotions through words, which is not easy.

Thanks to you for your labor of luv with the site, the board, the books, bringing us all together... I could go on and on, but I'm sure you understand.

All The Best,

Joyce happy

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Bernie, you rock. Warm and thoughtful sentiments and expression. This band needs to get on Letterman or Saturday Night Live etc. Hope this is not the end. Always difficult to achieve objectivity when youre a big fan, but these truly have been right at the top of the best pop concerts Ive ever witnessed. Seen many, moved by few.

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Bernie as you have said if this is it what a great run. This has more than exceeded my initial hopes when I first talked with Wally and he said "we're putting it back together and I need my roadie" No questions asked I was there. Originally, this was to be a one show event and look what has happened. My prediction; this is not the end but a beginning. Eric, Wally, Dave and Jim are all great musicians, however when they play a group they become extraordinary. I just have a hard time thinking its over there is still too much to do. So save some cash and prepare to take in more shows soon. On a personal note; thanks for making me part of your family. All of the help and support you have provided can never been repaid. Just because of that I will tell the boys strike it up lets get going.

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Bernie...well done. Though I am sure things have been strained from time to time over the last couple of years, but there has been a huge volume of there have been some majestic moments too...E, D, W and J have been a part of our collective lives for years...the music lives on and more music will follow...perhaps not as a group, but imagine trying and beat those four incredible albums ...it's like trying to paint another mona lisa...a bitter sweet smile with secrets behind the grin, only known to those that painted on that canvas...the Raspberries did it better than anyone and they will have a place in our hearts...

bahoodore

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I'd like to take the opportunity of this anniversary to add my thanks and congrats to all involved with this incredible reunion! I'm sure most everyone has a day job, but come showtime, you were all there for us! Thank you! On a personal note, the L.A. show was like the missing bookend of my Raspberries experience. I could make more room on my book shelf if necessary, though smile Kirk.

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Wow! It's been an interesting journey the past few years.......initially, I didn't think ANYBODY liked Raspberries music the way I do. I was proven wrong, and definitely don't feel bad for being wrong.

I'd never thought I'd ever see the day when these guys get back together....but here I am, seeinng two great shows in New York. And I also thought that even if they did play, they would never play the West Coast....and here we are again---they are playing in L.A....

And in the past few years, I have all these new friends from all over the country and the world.

Thank you Bernie and Kathy!!

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Bernie,

Very cool post, Raspbuddy.

I hope the ride isn't over --- the ultimate Raspberries' triumph is ahead. There is also no need to break up the band ever again (lots of groups take breaks and members do outside projects, but they stay together).

To me, Raspberries are the new American icons --- what The Beach Boys once were; the All-American band. The critics love them, the fans are the greatest "street army" around (give us our deployment orders, gentlemen) and the guys truly love one another.

This is a beginning; a new life, and life is good with Raspberries around.

Don smile

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Happy Raspberries Anniversary, thanks and love, to Bernie and Ken and Kathy! Bernie's Anniversary Tale is a beautiful expression of the dream of a lifetime come true. Langston Hughes once asked if a "dream deferred" dries up like a "raisin in the sun." The answer is: NOT if the dreamer is a Raspberries fan!

In 1975 I began nurturing the same dream we all had. I never had any doubt that it *had* to come true, but had no idea how it would, or how I could help bring it about. I knew that Raspberries was meant to be, but always believed that I, too, was "all alone."

Funny thing about Destiny: it's "written in the stars," and there's no way to know how it will become fulfilled, but it always does. A website with modest beginnings that grew exponentially in a very short time, a "Raspbernie" and a Ken, and...voila, "Fate" knocks on the door and a miracle begins to unfold.

I agree, Roadie #3--the Destiny of Raspberries hasn't even *begun* to be fulfilled. But the first year has been packed full of miracles. If it had ended at midnight on November 27, 2004, we would have all been ecstatic enough for a lifetime, but it didn't. And Ernie and I must be looking into the same crystal ball, because I also believe this is just the beginning for Raspberries.

Happy Raspberries Anniversary to everyone who not only nurtured "the dream" in their hearts, but also had the courage to express it here and on the Raspberries website to help Eric, Wally, Dave and Jim realize that their Destiny lay not behind them in the past, but ahead of them on the stage.

Most of all, Happy Raspberries Anniversary, thanks and love to Raspberries, Overdubs and Crew.

The best is still to come and more than any of us dream.

smile --Love, Darlene

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Without you Bernie, and all of the mesmerizing fans, I would have never known about The Raspberries, because I only knew about Eric's solo career. It was not too long ago that I found out about this site, and there I was, last Friday, October 21, 2005 at The House Of Blues, seeing Eric and that incredible band play. It really would have been something special to see them at The Utopia, decades ago. Do they have that 'touch?'. More than a little bit. They leave people spell-bound with happiness beyond measure.

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Happy Rasp-anivers-berry, Bernie.

Loved your post -- so thoughtful, sentimental, patient.

Thanks for everything you have done to make the Raspberries tour happen, and to provide us a haven where we can chat about our love of their music and -- for those fans who were lucky enough to know the Raspberries way back when -- to reminisce about the concerts from the 1970s.

P.S. It was a thrill to meet you at LA HOB. happy

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A MESSAGE FROM ERIC:

Hi Bernie,

I just wanted to let you know I thought your "Raspberries Anniversary" piece was beautifully written and personally moving. It's amazing how that Fitzgerald quote works on so many levels.

I can honestly say this would never have happened without the talent and devotion of you and Ken. It has been an incredible year. What started out as one performance grew into something that was more than we ever really anticipated. It has been alternately exhilarating, exhausting, fantastic and occasionally frustrating.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet many of the people I had previously only known by their screen names on the message board. They are truly a remarkable group.

Just for the record, we haven't really discussed where we go from here, primarily because we decided when we agreed to do the first Cleveland date to take things one step at a time. I promise you'll be the first to know when anything happens and, without divulging too much, I can say that there may be some very interesting developments over the coming months.

To Darlene and Herman, June and Jim, Gina and Anthony, Julia and Stevie, Kozumi, Tony C., Seattle Steve, Julie and everyone else, thank you for the flowers and gifts, the special surprises but most of all your enthusiasm that has enabled us do the performances we have. You are the reason we are still here, playing together again after all these years. And a special Happy Birthday to Gina, just from me.

I just wanted you to know how much you've really meant to us.

All our love to you,

Eric

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Ooh! I like "interesting developments"!

Thanks Eric, Wally, Dave & Jim for making our rock & roll dreams come true. And to paraphrase a great line of poetry -

"And if I had one wish that I could make and knew it would come true..."

A live DVD, CD, something to document these shows! smile

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Thanks for your message, Eric. The reunion tour has been an incredible experience for so many of us. It's been the thrill of a lifetime for me to have seen the band perform over this past year. From the bottom of my heart, thank you..Like others have said, I believe this is only the beginning...and whatever the "interesting developments" might be, you know we'll be right here, cheering all the way, because this couldn't be happening to a more wonderful bunch of people ! happy Marlene

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