Category Archives: Music

Midlife Isn’t Scary If You’re In An Abba Musical

Capture - Mamma Mia 2 VideoWhat better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon than to escape into a musical? Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is set in an idealized world of bright colors, music, choreography and kindness. And in this alternate universe young and old play nice, care about each other sing and dance in some over-the-top costumes, where the characters reminisce even as they move forward in their glossy lives.

In this sequel, we’re still on the Greek island of Kalokairi. Sophie is grown up, in love (with one guy) and she transformed her home into a high-end hotel. It’s time for the grand opening, with family and media invited. Continue reading Midlife Isn’t Scary If You’re In An Abba Musical

Punk Nostalgia

The Ramones mural 6-12-16Who would have thought, back in the Seventies, that people would be so nostalgic about The Ramones that their hometown would be falling all over itself to honor them? Continue reading Punk Nostalgia

Seven Surprisingly Sad Songs

We sing along and maybe dance to them, but some of the most durable, crowd-pleasing music is not so happy. In no particular order:

  1. Don’t Stop Believing. Great sentiment, though.
  2. Livin’ On A Prayer. Tommy and Gina had it rough.
  3. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant. Just a little better for Brenda and Eddie.
  4. Hollywood Nights.  Fate was unkind to this couple too. It would be great to be one of the backup singers though.
  5. Layla. Supposedly, Eric loved Pattie but she was already with George.
  6. Born In The USA. In 1984 Ronald Reagan cited his song when discussing America’s “hopes and dreams,” apparently unaware that the song is about a returning Vietnam veteran trying to rebuild his civilian life.
  7. All I Want For Christmas. If Mariah Carey had to plead, is there hope for the rest of us?So sad

Guess What Auntie Is Doing on a Saturday Night? (Hint: She’s not Knitting You a Blanket)

This has been the Summer of Free Music: concerts in the parks, jazz and salsa in the local main drag, Seventies music on the street where I work. It’s a joyful way to end a summer day.

At the cover-band concerts featuring the music of Chicago, Springsteen and Wings, the audiences have been mostly Boomers and near-Boomers. That makes sense; this is the music of our youth. It’s life-affirming to be able to jump up and dance without judgement. There is laughter and singing and bonding over shared memories. Yesterday, one guy brought homemade, delicious brownies that were, well, brownies. The humor was not lost on me, though. Continue reading Guess What Auntie Is Doing on a Saturday Night? (Hint: She’s not Knitting You a Blanket)

Papa Loves Mambo

The London Daily Mail (I love that site!) ran this piece once that, in essence, says that young adults like the music they heard in the home, and that the rest of the (not so young) adults most liked what they heard in their twenties. It’s all about happy memories.

That makes sense. We heard a variety of music in the home growing up, from Latin to jazz, country to the standards by Johnny Mathis and Sinatra. Back in the day, my father and his brothers and my grandfather would sing and play guitars at our family parties. I don’t know when this ended but I miss that. Like us, this tradition was different from the other families that we knew and that made it all the more special.

Continue reading Papa Loves Mambo

Singing Along With Billy Joel

Last night my daughter and I had a blast at Billy Joel’s concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The huge venue was packed, thousands of mostly middle-aged fans (and their kids, who grew up with this music) singing and swaying along with the gifted storyteller. He opened with Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway), which I find funny, this being 2014 and the song is from 1981. We may have been the only two, at least in our section, who cheered the line, “They said that Queens could stay.”

Pressure was next, with its raw truth.  The lights and graphics added to the nervous energy of the song. (Off topic word of advice: if you listen to Pressure and James back-to-back you will need a drink or baked goods afterwards. But he didn’t play James so we were okay.) It was a weird going from that to the sedate This Is The Time.

Continue reading Singing Along With Billy Joel

12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief

The Conce12-12-12 Releif Concertrt for Sandy Relief was one of the greatest musical fundraisers of all time, joining Billy Joel, Clapton, The Who, The Stones, McCartney, Chris Martin, Roger Waters and other rock gods. Now there’s a documentary about how this all came about. It features the “behind-the scenes” interspersed with performances, including the ones that are omitted from the concert video I bought on iTunes. (Springsteen and Bon Jovi performing together? Adam Sandler’s “Sandy Screw Ya” to the tune of “Hallelujah”? Those were highlights, not expendable material!)

What we viewers didn’t see the night of the concert was that the computer system couldn’t handle the volume of potential donations (people are good) and the frantic efforts during the show to get it working properly. Paul McCartney is one of the producers but he’s not depicted as acting like Mr. Grand Poobah. It was fun watching all these important people interacting as peers. Remember Alicia Keys’ voice that night? Even her speaking voice was off but she performed anyway, and that was pretty brave because she had the closing song, “Empire State of Mind:”

New York! Concrete jungle where dreams are made of. There’s nothing you can’t do.

An appropriate way to end the show, which was kind of a love letter to New York and New Jersey.  And a final reminder of why this all came about.

Proceeds from the film go to the Robin Hood Hurricane Sandy Relief fund: http://www.robinhood.org/sandygrants

Photo: ©Robert Caplin via The Weinstein Company