Tag Archives: singing

Self review of my latest performance at Addison Court

Greetings, readers. On Friday, December 1st, on my late father’s birthday, I performed my latest show for all my friends at Addison Court Apartments. The Mimic (the persona I use for performances) and friend Mike Weaver rocked out to the Beatles and to some Christmas tunes. I performed the live album The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl. Here’s my official review.

I started my show rather oddly with the song I was going to do in the middle of the show. My friend Tasha from work, who had every intention of coming but wasn’t able to, wanted me to sing Luke Bryan’s “Move”. For weeks I struggled with it and wasn’t sure rather or not I was going to be able to learn it in time. But once I put that cowboy hat on and the tape was running, I nailed it to the wall. Tasha watched the video I made of it and was deeply moved.

Then I grabbed my sport jacket and began the first segment of the Beatles show, with “Twist and Shout” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. I know these songs like the back of my hand, so not much practice was needed for those. Then came the bugaboo called “She’s a Woman”, sung by Paul McCartney. Though I’ve heard it many times, I really had to study the lyrics; if you’re not careful it can be a tongue twister. Continuing on with songs such as “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” and “Can’t Buy Me Love”, the show sped along. Before I knew it, it was time for “Roll Over Beethoven”, the last song before my break. Then Mike Weaver took over.

His segment was Christmas carols. My two favorite songs he did were “Jingle Bells” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. He used a small Christmas tree prop and literally walked around it as he performed the song. He also acted out and sang along to “Frosty the Snowman”. (It reminded me of the old 1953 “Frosty the Snowman” short cartoon video from my childhood, which was shown during commercial breaks on my local channel 6 during the Christmas season.) Well done, Mike.

My second Beatles set began with one of my favorite Ringo Starr songs, “Boys”. Not only did I nailed it, I crushed it. I think people could sense that I was really having fun. I followed that with “You Can’t Do That” and later in the set, was a Paul McCartney early classic “All My Loving”. I must admit, I did have a little difficulty with his higher pitch on this song, but I trudged through willingly. Running out of steam, I ended the show with some air drumming and back-up vocals for “Long Tall Sally”. I didn’t quite know all the words because it is a quick song, so I just did the best I could. The response from everyone was quite positive and a couple of people gave me heartfelt compliments on the job I did.

I would have to give myself a solid 8.5 out of 10 for this performance. It was way better than the last one was.

Before I close, within the last week the world lost a dear friend in actor and singer Jim Nabors. I don’t care how many times I watch the Indianapolis 500 from now on, no one will ever be able to duplicate Jim Nabors’ rendition of “(Back Home Again in) Indiana”, which he sang at the beginning of the event for many years. R.I.P to Jim (Gomer Pyle) Nabors.

Rebecca will be blogging tomorrow because I am taking a much needed day off. We’ll be back together next week on our usual Wednesday. So until next time, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

Things in my world today, November 30, 2017

Greetings, readers. A bizarre thing happened last afternoon and evening that I wish to share with you in case any of you know what it might be and can give me advice in the comment section. I woke up from a nap to find both my hips and lower back stiff as a board. Occasionally I would have a sharp pain on one or both sides. It did not keep me from walking down to my appointment, though I was uncomfortable. Later, when I was watching television, I got a knife jab in my right side that made me consider going to the E.R.

I woke up in the middle of the night to find that the pain was almost gone, much to my relief. I don’t remember making a false move or lifting anything heavy, but obviously I strained something. Thank goodness this morning the pain is gone. I still wish I knew what it was and will it come back. Now on to other news.

Rebecca, Darren, and I are proofreading our copies of Four’s a Crowd. I’ve already found one scene that there is going to be head-butting about. It involves the female lead character saying a word I’m not comfortable with. The question is, with Darren the author of the novel, and me the author of the play it is based on, who should get the final say? Hopefully we can compromise.

More news. My Beatles sing along show is tomorrow, but at 3:30pm, not 1:00. There was a slight mix-up in the entertainment schedule and my show will start after the country line dancers are finished. It should make for a wonderful day’s entertainment. I will be singing along to the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl CD, and my friend Mike Weaver will be singing a few Christmas carols while I take a break between my two sets. I’m a tad worried that Mike and I have not had a practice session yet, but we’re not professions and if a clunker is made, it is okay. I’m sure folks will love the show.

It will be very odd not to go to my other job tomorrow and I do thank my manager Savannah for giving me the day off to do the show. I will work at my fast food job on Saturday, probably have off Sunday, and return to my regular schedule next week.

After Rebecca and I are finished with this blog entry, I am going to go on the Zipcar website and reserve a vehicle for the my Christmas Eve Light Ride. This year I want to book early to make sure I get a vehicle. I believe my other job will be closed that evening, so a work shift should not get in the way.

On a sadder note, I was in a bit of a funk yesterday when I learned about NBC’s Matt Lauer being fired for sexual misconduct. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade has lost its shine for me now. He was the co-host of it for many years and that team was part of my special day. I watched part of it at David’s this year and have it set in my YouTube queue to watch anytime, but will probably not watch it after this. Next year it will be Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie and ?. If the allegations are true, Matt Lauer deserves to be locked up. I guess you never know about people. It is getting harder and harder to trust anyone in this world, but with my jolly personality, I shall try.

Lastly, I’ll be doing my show tomorrow and most likely be doing my own write-up about it for a blog post. Rebecca is unable to attend and if memory serves this will be the first show she has missed since we began working together. I just know that I am going to criticize my every mistake as most artists do. I promise I won’t be too hard on myself and cut myself some slack.

Until next week, which should be a two-day work week for us, have a wonderful weekend, take care, wish me luck on my show, and, as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe performed the Beatles last Friday, May 13th

Joe took a chance against the curse of Friday the 13th last week, with a performance of Beatles songs in the community room of the Addison Court apartment building. Except for a few problems, one of which delayed the show for half an hour, which I’ll get into in a moment, he defied the curse with a great show.

Joe did a bit of air guitar and air drums, but mostly he sang to the sounds of the Beatles playing through his speakers. Most of the songs were ones he had performed before in shows, but some were new for him, like “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” He started the show with “Twist and Shout,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and, and a new one for him, “You Really Got a Hold on Me.” Another song from his first set that he also performed for the first time was “Norwegian Wood (This Bird has Flown).” It has a different tempo than the others, and Joe did a great job adjusting to the change.

By the end of the first set, people were starting to join in the singing here and there. People were coming in and out of the room, and the audience size went from small to big and back again throughout the two and half hour show. But for one song, the one Joe has in almost all of his shows, the audience was spell-bound. He started “Yesterday” and it seemed that everyone got still and focused. By the end of the third line, we started singing in a low chorus, sounding mournful and reverent. Joe connects this song with a woman who lived in the building until she passed away, and he sang it for her in a tribute concert he did for her in July of 2013. He may not have been the only one thinking of Erin as we sang it with him. Looking back in the archives, I see that the first time “Yesterday” was in one of his show, in December of 2012, it was played on the cello. I remember that and it was uplifting and special, but I was more moved last week, as we all softly sang the song with Joe. Then he finished the set with “Dizzy Miss Lizzy,” a song that lifted the energy and party mood again for the break.

Joe started the second set with two special songs, one to his girlfriend Traci Harter and the other a special request from the videographer. The one for Greg Brown, “And This Bird Can Sing,” was added less than two weeks before, so Joe warned the audience ahead of time that it would be rough. He did a good job with it though. Greg worked hard on the video and Mike Weaver did an equally good job taking still photographs.

The special song for Traci as a surprise, which Joe had to spoil the night before for unforseen personal reasons, was the theme song to Traci’s favorite TV show Reba, “I’m a Survivor,” by Reba McEntire. Traci liked it very much and was touched. She had someone record it on her phone, so she can watch it again. I used to watch Reba and knew the theme song, but the version Joe did was the full song from her album, which included lyrics I had not heard before. I was a little teary-eyed too, from the touching lyrics, and the sweet gesture of Joe singing them to his girlfriend.

Songs in his second set included “Lady Madonna,” “Come Together,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” and “Lovely Rita.” One song in particular impressed me. Joe sang “She’s Leaving Home” for the first time in a performance, and I was not familiar with the song before. In the chorus part, there is a section with lyrics from the parents in the story, sung a little softer and in between the main chorus lines. Most people would sing the more prominent lines, I think, and let the back up sing the softer words, but Joe did the opposite, giving voice to the confusion and hurt of the parents who don’t understand a daughter being so eager to move away from home. It was poignant and brought out the sad side of the piece. I thought it showed talent from Joe, to make that choice and to sing the section almost underneath the main part.

Joe was getting tired by the middle of the second act, and needed another short break, but he rallied. He finished the show with “Get Back” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise).

I mentioned that there were a few Friday the 13th issues, including the show being delayed at the beginning. The community room has a door to the bathrooms just behind where Joe was set up to perform. Just before start time, one of the toilets overflowed on the floor in the bathroom. The water had to be turned off at the pipe, and a maintenance man came through to fix and mop up. The mop was then left in view in a corner of the room, apparently the only place for it. Then later in the performance, a staff member had to bring back a big trash-gathering bin, go through Joe’s space, and return it to the closet. Joe understood, and stopped to let him through, then began that song again. Despite these challenges, and that he was getting tired toward the end, Joe gave it his all. It was a great show, that I enjoyed very much. We sang, we clapped, we bopped along, and we had fun. Good work, Joe.

We will get pictures of the performance up as soon as we can. It might be a week or two, but we intend to get it done.

Yesterday’s visit to Lisa went well

Greetings, readers, and happy Thursday. I wanted to follow up on yesterday’s hospital visit to my friend, while the events were fresh in my mind. I arrived at the hospital around 3:45 in the afternoon, but I had to stay in a waiting area while technicians put in a fresh I.V. When I finally walked into her room, she beamed a big smile. Lisa was very happy to see me.

Much to my surprise, she had another friend already in the room. He was a guitar player and occasionally dressed up like Ace Frehley from KISS. That blew my away. Very cool. He left shortly after I arrived.

But back to the visit. The nurse brought Lisa her dinner and asked me if I wanted some coffee; I told the nurse thank you, it would save my life. In my back pack, I had brought my computer with songs from iTunes to sing to. I told her I was going to do that. I was trying very hard to cheer her up. I plugged in my computer and showed Lisa a couple of videos from my memorial KISS show for my friend Erin. She loved them.

She made a phone call to another friend, whom she wanted me to meet. I told Lisa I would wait to sing until he arrived. It took her other friend about a half hour to get there. We all chatted a while but then Lisa wanted to hear me sing the theme from The Love Boat. I must say it wasn’t my best effort but I made up for it by doing an excellent job on Billy Joel’s Worse Comes to Worst.

Lisa got some good news during my visit. She was being discharged after five days. She couldn’t wait to go home to her dogs. I know from personal experience that after a few days in the hospital you are antsy to go home.

Around 6:00 I wrapped up my visit, gave Lisa a hug, and went down to the coffee shop to have a breakfast food dinner. My cab was scheduled to pick me up until 7:00, so I had some time. I must admit I was exhausted by the time I got home, but I would do it again in a minute, for it made a dear friend of mine happy. I was always taught to treat people the way you wish to be treated. Live by example.

Tomorrow there will be that top ten list. Today’s entry was just a little surprise. Until then take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe performed the Beatles last week

Joe gave another of his shows last Friday, April 10, 2015 in the community room of Addison Court, and it was a good one. He did air guitar and air drums to some of the songs and sang all of them. His playlist was mostly early to mid Beatles music, with a few songs from other artists included. Joe started the show with a disclaimer to the audience; he used a music service called Spotify which does not own the rights to the original Beatles music, but does have a cover band called the Coverbeats. He said that the Coverbeats are a good band that sound enough like the Beatles for the show to work, and I agree. I could not tell the difference during the show.

Joe started the music with a tribute to the veterans in the audience by playing the “Star Spangled Banner.” In a spontaneous moment, when the anthem began, all dozen of us stood up and put our hands over our hearts, for the duration of the song. Joe followed the anthem with the sound of fighter jets flying overhead. He finished the tribute with a song called “Real American,” also known as the Hulk Hogan theme.

Joe had a different format this time, where he performed three songs at a time then took a minute to catch his breath and introduce the next three songs. I think it worked very well and kept the show moving a bit faster than in the past.

His first trio of Beatles songs was “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and “I Should Have Known Better.” The performer chose a mix of well-known as well as lessor-known songs from the Beatles. Selections in the first half included “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” “We Can Work it Out,” “If I Fell,” and “Boys.” He finished the set with the trio “Come Together,” “Slow Down,” and “Roll Over Beethoven.”

Joe had invited a few friends from outside the building to come, and a couple did arrive during the break between sets. Joe had put a few songs on the playlist that he would do for friends who showed up, so the second set began with two of those. “The Love Boat theme” and “Billie Jean” got people back from the break for the rest of the show.

Then the first trio of the second set was “Love Me Do,” “Eight Days a Week,” and “A Hard Day’s Night.” Other songs included “Ticket to Ride,” “Act Naturally,” “Twist and Shout,” and “She Loves You.” Joe included a song that meant a lot to him, “Yesterday.” He had played it in a tribute concert for a friend who had passed away, and he performed it in this show again in her honor. Many of the people in the audience remembered this late friend, and were touched by the song. He closed the show with the trio “Dizzy Miss Lizzy,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” and “St. Pepper’s {reprise}.”

Halfway through the first set, we in the audience started singing along and dancing in our seats. Joe was happy for the participation. Joe performed to ten to fifteen people. Though some came and left as they had to, most stayed.

Joe, as usual, gave the show his all. He didn’t have as much time as usual to practice for this show, due to some unforeseen events that took some of his time in the previous two months, and he did look really tired by the end of the concert. But he made it through to the end, drumming, strumming, and singing to the last note.

From Rebecca: Official report on Joe’s September performance

As readers of this blog know, Joe performed a show of music from the 70s and 80s on September 12th in the community room of Addison Court apartments. We have both mentioned it a few times in the past month. We also put the pictures in the Performance Pictures page of this blog. So forgive us if we are repeating ourselves too much. We have a tradition that when Joe does a performance that I write up a report on it afterwards; two weeks after the performance, here is the official write-up.

The room looked a little empty just before 1:00 pm, but it didn’t take long for it to fill up with people ready to watch and hear Joe. He did more singing this time, with just a bit of air drumming and air guitar, and even less lip-syncing than before. As usual, he practiced a lot for the show. When he did his KISS shows, he knew the words to almost all of their songs, since he has been performing to them since he was a kid. He chose an eclectic selection for this show and though he knew and liked all of them, he didn’t have them memorized as well. He told me that one of the songs he had chosen turned out to have different lyrics than he had been singing all this time! So he had to find and learn lyrics to the songs on his playlist.

One of the songs Joe sang in his first set was one he chose because it reminded him of when he and I would hang out in high school. The school library had a place people could listen to music under headphones, and Joe had a Elton John album he and I would listen to, which included the song “Honky Cat”. Eight songs in to the show, Joe told this story and sang this song. It brought back memories for me too.

 

Joe singing during his 70s and 80s show on September 12, 2014.
Joe singing during his 70s and 80s show on September 12, 2014.

 

He started his first set with the Dominik Hauser version of the Love Boat theme, to get people in the mood. He followed that with “Enjoy Yourself” by The Jackson 5 and “Drivin’ My Life Away” by Eddie Rabbitt. Other artists he sang to included Highway 101, the Beatles, KC & the Sunshine Band, and the Bee Gees. Joe finished the set with a song from the film Rocky, “You Take My Heart Away” by DeEtta Little and Nelson Pigford. It is a duet and he sang both parts.

 

Joe doing a dance move, for the song Billy Jean by Michael Jackson, during his 70s and 80s show on September 12, 2014.
Joe doing a dance move, for the song Billy Jean by Michael Jackson, during his 70s and 80s show on September 12, 2014.

 

Joe started the second set with “Love Me for a Reason” by the Osmonds. Then he had me speak for a moment while he ducked into the bathroom to change his shirt and put on a dress coat for his next number. He came out, put on one glove (black instead of white because that is what he had) and he was ready. He sang and danced to “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson. He had more dancing in the show, but found out in a rehearsal that he couldn’t do it very well. So this number represented all his dancing. Afterward, he changed back to the other shirt for the rest of the show. This set included “Knock Three Times” by Tony Orlando and Dawn, “The Hustle” by Van McCoy, and “I’ve Got the Music in Me” by Kiki Dee. He finished the show with Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”.

In between the sets, Joe took a break while a friend of his did a song. Mike Weaver sang and performed “Take Me Home Country Roads” by John Denver. It was a good performance, and many of us sang softly along with him.

 

Mike Weaver sang and did interpretive dance to a song by John Denver at Joe's show on September 12, 2014.
Mike Weaver sang and did interpretive dance to a song by John Denver at Joe’s show on September 12, 2014.

 

I grew up with these songs, so I really enjoyed hearing them again. As usual, a good time was had by all. Thank you Joe.

 

Joe doing a drum move during his 70s and 80s show on September 12, 2014.
Joe doing a drum move during his 70s and 80s show on September 12, 2014.

 

Beautiful late summer day

Greeting, readers. Keeping to my after-camp resolution, I am getting up early and going to bed early. This provides me the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful cool mornings that we had yesterday and today. Although both afternoons were a little steamy, it’s nice to have that contrast between the day’s warmth and the morning’s coolness.

I was so hoping not to get back into my rut of being a night owl. I think I’ve finally broken that habit. I am tired between 10:30 and 11:00 at night and I’m waking up just before my alarm goes off at 6:45. Being a regular at Panera, I love the fact that only the early morning regulars are there at that time. When I arrive at 7:30, I can usually find a table near an outlet for my computer. I get myself my morning coffee and a pastry and I’m set for a nice long morning. Okay, it’s not like fishing in Maine, but it is a nice long morning nevertheless.

After my September 12th performance, I will be writing longhand in the mornings. I have chosen that to be my creative time. I’m really psyched about the upcoming year. As for the current project, the third Bear Spring Camps book, I’ve already had to get rid of a few ideas because those stories have already been told in another form. The one thing I refuse to do it tell the same story over again just to fill up pages. I fully intend to come up with 20 – 26 new stories about my experiences at Bear Spring since the age of five. So stay turned for updates on that.

Lastly, an update on my rehearsing for the show. My singing is coming along quite well, but I have not gone full-scale rehearsal yet. I have permission from the office manager to rehearse tonight in the community room if I keep noise down to a minor dull roar. I need to work on any dancing moves that I can do. My apartment is not big enough to move around in. Hopefully my balance and coordination will allow me to give the folks at my apartment building a good show.

Until Friday, have a good week, take care and happy reading.