I didn’t complete this list until after 2014 came to a close, as two December concerts made it to the list. See part 1 of my list here.
(6) THE BRITISH INVASION 50TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR: These were some of the groups that followed The Beatles success in the wake of their explosion onto the American music scene in 1964-1965. I missed the Paul Mc Cartney concert this year, but this great summer night at the Saban Theater more than made up for it. Hosted by Peter Asher who later became a well honored producer for Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, 10,000 Maniacs and others, was originally Peter of “Peter & Gordon.” He was a close friend of Paul Mc Cartney and Paul dated his sister Jane Asher in the early days of The Beatles. A little known fact, Paul even introduced Peter and Gordon on the intro of one of their early singles. Peter and Gordon (now deceased) racked up many hits including “A World Without Love,” “Nobody I Know,” “I Go To Pieces” and “Lady Godiva,” all of which hit the Top 12. Peter added humor and sang many of his hits while also emceeing this great show. The songwriting team of Paul Mc Cartney and John Lennon also gave Peter & Gordon several of their hit songs, as they did Billy J. Kramer who performed three of them “Bad To Me,” “Do You Want to Know A Secret”and “From a Window”.
Denny Laine who became famous in Paul Mc Cartney’s Wings band was first a member of The Moody Blues. He sang the very bluesy “Go Now” which was the first Moody Blues hit. Mike Pender appeared representing The Searchers who clicked with Jackie DeShannon’s “Needles & Pins” and the Clover’s “Love Potion # 9.” Terry Sylvester represented The Hollies and sang their early hits “Bus Stop” and “Carrie Anne.” Interesting how well Terry performed these songs, as Graham Nash sang them originally. Terry actually replaced Nash when he left The Hollies in 1968 to join Crosby Stills & Nash.
Chad & Jeremy were also early favorites of the British Invasion. They haven’t lost their touch as they performed “A Summer Song,” “Willow Weep For Me” and “Yesterday’s Gone” flawlessly. All of the artists were on hand for chit-chat and autographs after the show except Peter. I was saddened by the fact that Gerry & The Pacemakers had to cancel their appearance as headliners, due to Gerry’s illness. Gerry was there with the Beatles in Liverpool in the early days and amassed some beautiful timeless hits including “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” and “Ferry Cross The Mercy.” I hope he recovers soon. It was a great night of memories that easily surpassed the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles show at the Hollywood Bowl. Dave Stewart of Eurythmics hosted and attempted to re-create the night the Beatles first appeared at the Bowl. Many who attended told me they were disappointed with the Bowl show, especially when “Hey Jude” was performed with (get ready)…….BILLY RAY CYRUS !
(7) CROSBY,STILLS & NASH: When the first big stage appearance of your career is at Woodstock, you are destined for success. CSN were the best I have seen them since the 1970’s. The fans wailed as Crosby shrieked out “Almost Cut My Hair” which he doesn’t always perform anymore. Nash had his adorable grand-daughter next to him at the piano for “Our House.” Stills is my favorite. He is simply one of the best Rock/Blues guitarists in history.
(8) DIANA ROSS: Since 1970, I have been mad at her for leaving The Supremes. When I saw her excellent show in Long Beach late this year, I finally forgave her. A dozen costume changes, and countless Supremes and Diana solo hits later, I was amazed at both her energy and dedication to her fans. Her son Evan is one of her back-up singers, and daughter Tracy is currently on the big hit show Black-Ish.
(9) MANHATTAN TRANSFER: I hadn’t seen them since the 1980’s when at their peak. The current line-up has performed together since the mid 1970’s, and the loss of their founder Tim Hauser has clearly shocked surviving members, Janis Siegel, Alan Paul and Cheryl Bentyne. It was an unexpected passing, but Janis is still the virtuoso she always was. Her voice is like a musical instrument. You name which instrument, she can sound like it. Alan Paul sang Sinatra’s “All The Way” to a loud reception, and Cheryl still has great command and presence. This was a Christmas show highlighted best by the obscure 1940’s Claude Thornhill composition,”Snowfall.” This one is featured on the first of two Manhattan Transfer Christmas CD’s. The 2nd one is all a capella, which their harmonies are so well known for. The Manhattan Transfer brought back the music of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s when it was all considered dead in the water. Tim Hauser created a juggernaut. They are still one without him, but I must say I missed Tim greatly. After all, his nickname was “Eldorado Cadillac” when they performed Doo-Wop.
(10) RINGO STARR & HIS ALL-STAR BAND: This is a revolving group of talent fronted by the famous Beatles drummer. He does one show in LA every year, usually at The Greek Theater. This year was his best line-up yet, featuring Todd Rundgren, Greg Rollie (of Santana and Journey),Toto’s Steve Kukather, and Richard Page of Mr. Mister. All sang the songs they were best known for, and Ringo played The Beatle’s “With A Little Help From My Friends,” “Act Naturally,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “Honey Don’t,” “Boys” and “Yellow Submarine.” Ringo always has a good tome with this, and so does the audience.
HONORABLE MENTION: DW3 every WAVE Sunday Brunch at Spaghettini Seal Beach, and a young saxophonist from Connecticut who plays at least 8 other instruments, and all of them well, Vincent Ingala. Vincent now appears at the new Spaghettini in Beverly Hills, but ushered in 2015 in Seal Beach on New Year’s Eve with his unique mix of everything from Al Green & the Isley Bros to Santana, plus a little Philly Soul & Dance on the side. A great young talent!
FOOTNOTE: Denny Laine (Wings/Moody Blues) will perform the entire Band On The Run album, (considered the best ever by them) this Saturday night at Mc Cabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. Terry Sylvester (The Hollies) will also be on the bill. Looks like another great show !