That time Diana Ross stopped traffic to be a diva.
That time Diana Ross stopped traffic to be a diva.
As Madonna once said: “Music makes the people come together.” I’m no big fan of Madonna, but maybe she had a good point there.
Music does bring people together in way that nothing else can. I suppose it can also stir up debate between friends, but in the end music will still bring people together. But as I inch closer to my 40th birthday in March, I’ve been thinking a lot about the music in my life. Some of the questions and thoughts that have popped into my head are:
Then, a couple of days ago I started thinking about all the concerts I went to when I had a life. So that’s what this Turning 40 blog will be about, My Top 10 Favorite Concerts, some of which might surprise you. And here they are:
I saw Aerosmith live for the first time on June 26, 2001, but it seems like it was just yesterday. The show was held at what was then called the Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts in Mansfield Ma. The concert was part of the band’s “Just Push Play Tour,’ a tour that was much better than the album. Just sayin’.
I’m glad I got to see Aerosmith back then because this was back when the band was still in its prime. Joe Perry was great, and Steven Tyler, didn’t look like an old witch yet. The boys from Boston played some new stuff, but they played all the hits and that’s what everyone in Great Woods that night loved the best.
9. No Doubt
1997 was a huge year for me. In fact, 1997 was one of the most important years of my life. In 1997, I graduated high school, saw my first live WWF even, got into college, and saw No Doubt at the Centrum in Worcester Ma.
Despite the arena being flooded with kids dressed like Gwen Stefani, and Gwen saying “Hello Rochester” instead of hello Worcester, it was still a fun night and one heck of a show.
8. Bon Jovi
Yup, I saw Bon Jovi in concert. I originally bought the tickets for a friend who shall remain nameless, but they went to see Weird Al that same day. Instead, I went to Bon Jovi with a co-worker who I later found out may have been a vampire. Don’t ask, it’s a very long story.
The Bon Jovi show was also in 2001 at Great Woods in Mansfield, and it was awesome. Not only did they play their greatest hits all night, but they also interacted with the crowd quite a bit which was cool. The band was so good in fact, that I don’t even remember if they had an opening act or not.
7. John Mellencamp
I saw John Mellencamp in concert a total of three times. But it was the first time in 1999 that makes my list. My friend John and I had nose bleed seats, but it didn’t matter. John Mellencamp put on a great show, and he never let up. I think he only spoke to the crowd once or twice all night.
As I mentioned above, I saw John Mellencamp live three times, but there was supposed to be a fourth time in 2001. I had tickets to see him on September 11 or 12 of that year. obviously, the show was postponed until later that week. But I just wasn’t ready for a rock concert, so I gave the tickets to a friend’s sister.
6. Carlos Santana
I saw Carlos Santana twice in concert. The first time was in spring 1999 when he was one of the opening acts for the Dave Matthews Band. Seriously, Santana was the OPENING act. But to his credit, Santana and his band stole the show.
By the summer of 2000, Carlos Santana was a headliner again thanks to the success of “Supernatural” album. That summer I was lucky enough to land lawn seats at the Tweeter Center (Great Woods), and the show blew me away. This was no mere concert, it was a party. Even Macy Gray got into the fun, and she was amazing too.
5. Shania Twain
1999 was a big concert year for me, I went to 10 shows that year. But the most surprising show of 1999 was Shania Twain in June, at what was then the Fleetcenter. I actually didn’t buy these tickets, I was lucky enough to win them on the radio. Going in I thought I’d like the concert, but I didn’t expect to love it.
However, Shania Twain put on an epic performance. I don’t know where she got the energy to do some of the stuff she did, but the crowd loved it. This concert was just plain fun, and today I would gladly pay to see her once more.
4. Julio Iglesias
Me too. But the reason the 2003 Julio Iglesias show makes my list is because this was one of only two concerts I took my grandmother to. I got the best seats I could at the South Shore Music Circus, and tI even took her out to dinner before the concert.
My grandmother sang and cheered all night, it was a show she never forgot about. Even when she got sick, she might confuse me with my uncle now and then, but she still talked about the Julio Iglesias concert I took her too.
3. Neil Diamond
The first concert I took my grandmother too was Neil Diamond in 2001. This was my first concert after 9/11, and you could tell the crowd was still not sure we should be there celebrating just over a month after the attacks.
But when the show opened with a giant American flag draped over the stage, and Neil Diamond began singing “America,” the crowd was all in. This was one of the few times that I saw my grandmother cry, and the concert is something I won’t forget. Come to think of it, this may have been the first time I had fun after September 11.
2. Fleetwood Mac
Believe it or not, this 2003 Fleetwood Mac show at the Fleetcenter in Boston, was the last concert I went to. Yup, you heard right. I have not been to any concerts in almost 15 years. The only reason for this is because I’ve pretty much seen everyone that I wanted to see.
Anyway, this particular Fleetwood Mac show was filmed for a cd/dvd combo, so its a concert I’m still able to re-live again, and again. The best part of the concert was seeing Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks duet, and kiss each other while the film crew did something. The only band member missing that night was Christine McVie, who had retired. But if the rumors of a final tour with the entire band next year are true, I am totally in.
1. The Rolling Stones
The 40 Licks tour kicked off in Boston in 2002, and I was there for what was supposed to be the first show. But after I got my tickets for Gillette Stadium, the band added a show before mine, which kinda pissed me off at the time.
However, all that was forgoten the minute the Rolling Stones took the stage. This was an incredible atmosphere because I think I was the youngest person in my section. But age didn’t matter, not when everyone there was having so much fun. For the record, my favorite moment came when the Stones performed “Sympathy for the Devil.” Even from our seats we coul feel the heat from the pyro. Awesome band, and an awesome show!
As I mentioned in last week’s Turning 40 post, this coming March i will hit a life milestone I’m not too pleased to reach. That’s right boys and girls, this is the year I will turn 40.
This means the end of my youth, and the beginning of the end. Therefore, I am expecting a mid-life crisis to strike before summer. Perhaps I’ll go skydiving or bungee jumping, time will tell.
For now however, I shall continue to write a bunch of Top 10 lists of stuff that’s mattered to me over the course of my life. I’m still trying to come up with different things to write about, but for now I leave you with my Top 10 Guilty Pleasure Songs:
10. Squirrel Nut Zippers – “Hell”
Although I’ve always beef a fan of older music, I can’t say that I was ever a fan of swing music. But that all changed in 1998 when the North Carolina band Squirrel Nut Zippers showed me how good swing music can be with their album “Hot.”
The album taught me how styles of music can be updated for a new generation. But it all began with the song “Hell,” and its music video. The tune was catchy, and the old school video just added to the fun of the song.
9. Jamiroquai – “Virtual Insanity”
One day, towards the end of my senior year of high school, I was driving to Wal-Mart when Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity” came on the radio. For some reason the song immediately caught my attention, this was weeks before I saw the music video.
After I graduated that June, I tried finding the “Virtual Insanity” single, but nobody had it. I ended up buying the CD, but the rest of the songs weren’t as good. However, over two decades later, I have to stop whatever I’m doing when “Virtual Insanity” comes on MTV Classic or on my Satellite radio.
8. White Town – “I Could Never Be Your Woman”
White Town’s “I Could Never Be Your Woman” is another song from my senior year in high school. At first, I gravitated to the song in hopes of figuring out what the heck it was about. The best conclusion I could come up with was that the song was supposed to be sung by a woman. But whether I was right or not, I never found out.
After a while I realized I should stop worrying about such things, and just enjoy “I Could Never Be Your Woman” for what it was: a catchy, quirky song that would always remind me of my senior year in high school.
7. The Box Tops – “The Letter”
“The Letter” is one of my favorite songs from the 1960’s, which is saying something. I first heard the song when my mom would listen to Oldie’s 103 in Boston. And I’m not positive, but I think my mom and I went into the city one summer to see the Box Tops at one of Oldie’s 103 free saturday night concerts.
Anyways, I love this song, and I think its one of the more underrated songs from that era. But If I had one complaint about it, it would be how short the song is. Even by 1960’s standards, “The Letter” is one short song. Oh well, guess I just have to listen to it over and over.
6. Air Supply – “Making love Out of nothing at all”
Don’t judge me.
Unless you were around in the late 70’s or early 80’s, you probably don’t realize how big Air Supply were. Their songs were all over radio, and eventually their videos were too. So maybe they’re not considered one of the decade’s all time bands, so what?
I still like this song, and its cheesy video. And if you don’t think Air Supply had staying power, then why are they still touring?
5. Juanes – “A Dios Le Pido”
“A Dios Le Pido” was my introduction to the music of Juanes, and I’ve been a fan since. This song grabbed from the first time I heard it in the summer of 2002. Again, this song reminds me of the time my aunt who I hadn’t seen for two years came for a visit.
I also liked “A Dios Le Pido” because of Juanes’ clever world play and upbeat message, something that I needed at the time. Today, this song goes with me everywhere as I’ve downloaded it to multiple devices, much to the wifeys chagrin.
4. Rick Astley – “Never Gonna Give You Up”
Funny story: I was grounded for about a month when “Never Gonna Give You Up” was released in 1987. Don’t ask me what I did, it’s not important and for the record, that lady’s hair grew back. The point is that since I wasn’t allowed to watch TV during this time, the radio became my best friend, and of course Rick Astley’s tune was all over the place.
It was weeks before I saw the video for myself, and I couldn’t believe Rick Astley was a nerdy looking white guy. Why? Because if you listen to the song, Astley’s vocals are just plain ridiculous, and I mean that in a good way. It also helped that “Never Gonna Give You Up” was catchy.
3. George Michael – “Freedom ’90”
To say George Michael’s “Freedom ’90” was on heavy rotation when it came out, would be an understatement. I can still remember delivering newspapers after school and listening to this song at least four times every afternoon.
Perhaps that’s why this song has stuck with me for almost three decades. For my money, “Freedom ’90” will always be George Michael’s best solo outing.
2. Hot Chocolate- “You Sexy Thing”
Yeah, “You Sexy Thing” is a disco song, and I do not care.
As I mentioned earlier, my mom liked listening to older music and introduced me to a lot of it. One Christmas, she gave me a 70’s CD, and this song was included. I liked it because it wasn’t your typical disco song, and the band actually played instruments.
But my memory of the song completely changed when “You Sexy Thing” was included in “The Full Monty.” From then on, the song reminds me of the movie, but it’s still a cool song.
1. Eagle-Eye Cherry – “Save Tonight”
“Save Tonight” was released at the same time that I was having relationship problems with my then girlfriend. Things were rocky between us, and this song just called to me. But my girlfriend hated this song with a passion, why I’m not exactly sure. But she couldn’t listen to it whenever we were in the car together.
Anyways, one night a bunch of us went to a local restaurant that had karaoke on Thursday nights. For reasons known only to her, my girlfriend got on stage and performed “Save Tonight.” Strangely enough, that was the last night we spent together, as we broke up two days later. Which makes me wonder if she was trying to send me a signal by singing this song.
Possible spoilers ahead!
“The Greatest Showman” takes a look at the life of P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), the founder of what would eventually become known as the famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In the film, P.T. Barnum is a man struggling to make ends meet as he raises his two daughters with wife Charity (Michelle Williams).
Desperate to provide for his daughters, and to fulfill promises he made long ago to his wife, Barnum swindles a bank into giving him a massive loan, which he uses to buy a museum full of wax figures. But after failing to sell enough tickets to his attraction, Barnum shifts his focus to live acts that are unlike anything seen at the time.
His new show featuring oddities proves to be a smashing success, but the general public and the press are unimpressed with Barnum’s so-called “freak show.” Looking to legitimize and appeal to a wider audience, Barnum hires playwright Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) as a promotions man and ideas man. Together, they bring to America Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson) to be the show’s new headliner.
But as Barnum becomes more and more successful, and his shows begin earning rave reviews, he begins to risk losing what’s most important to him: his wife Charity, and their two daughters, Caroline and Helen.
“The Greatest Showman” is a showcase for Hugh Jackman and his non mutant powers. In this movie Jackman gets to display his tremendous singing and dancing talents, and the joy you see on his face carries the entire film. From the opening number, to his last, Jackman never lets up. He makes Barnum a likable guy we can root for.
Hugh Jackman is wonderful in everything he does, whether his fighting Magneto or singing about dreams. Whatever he does next, I’ll be there on opening day. Unless of course he makes “Swordfish 2,” in which case I may pass.
Anyways, for better or worse, “The Greatest Showman” is Jackman’s show. While that’s mostly a good thing, it means the screenplay shortchanged just about everyone else in the supporting cast. Barnum is the only character with character development and a complete arc. The relationship with his family is barely developed except for an early scene after Barnum loses his job.
Same goes for Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron), who gets a few lines of background, but his story never really goes anywhere. Efron was fine in the role, even if his voice failed to reach a few high notes. But I felt his arc could have used a polish.
For instance, Carlyle falls in love with Zendaya’s Anne Wheeler, but even this isn’t explored too much other than they are attracted to each other. But the two do have one killer performance together.
As for the rest of the cast, I have to give it up to Michelle Williams. This was the first time watching her when I didn’t think to myself, “That’s the girl from Dawson’s Creek.” She was terrific in “The Greatest Showman,” both in the dramatic parts and during the musical moments. I also felt Williams had good chemistry with Hugh Jackman, and they made a believable couple.
Also of note, was Rebecca Ferguson as Jenny Lind. Despite the fact that Ferguson doesn’t do her own singing, she still pulls off one of the best musical numbers in the film. There’s no doubt that Ferguson commands the screen whenever she’s on, and for my money, she has the best eye expressions of anyone in movies.
When I saw “The Greatest Showman” over the weekend, the theatre was packed with kids. Oh no, I thought. These kids are gonna talk throughout the movie, but to my surprise, they stayed quiet. All of them were fascinated by what they saw on the screen. And although I have some script issues with the film, I can not deny that I still enjoyed the heck out of this movie.
This was a labor of love for Hugh Jackman, and it shows on-screen. The music is terrific, the songs are catchy, and if you’re not emotionally involved by the end, then you’re not human. At the end of the day, I would say “The Greatest Showman” is a fun and entertaining musical, and one worth seeing on the big screen.
“The Greatest Showman” final score: B
Ahh, the dog days or summer are finally here, and that can mean only one thing: MTV once again tries to pretends it’s still a music channel when it airs The 34th annual MTV Video Music Awards!
This year, the award ceremony will take place at The Forum in Inglewood, California, and will be hosted by the one and only Kat Perry.She takes over the hosting duties from nowbody, because last year MTV was too cheap to hire a host.
Anyways, as per tradition, I don’t plan in watching the VMAs on Sunday night. But I couldn’t let the event go without notice either. Therefore, I am pleased to bring you the fifth annual TNU Video Music Awards!
Now, before we get started handing out awards, I need to let you know that my buddy (and fellow TNU member) Laneit, ran off with all of our petty cash so he could buy more Pop figures. This means the 5th annual TNU VMAs are running on a smaller budget, and won’t be giving out as many awards as we did last year. Also, thanks to the smaller budget, there is no trip to Steak ‘n Shake after the show.
One last thing to keep in mind: I don’t listen to current music, so most of the music videos listed below are old. And with that, here are the 2017 TNU Video Music Awards…
Sure to Give you Nightmares winner
Stone Temple Pilots – “Sour Girl”
All these years later, “Sour Girl” is the only Stone Temple Pilots song I like. I’m not sure what it all means, but it’s still a good song. But the fact remains, the video for “Sour Girl” is scary as hell.
Thanks for Wrecking my Childhood winner
OPUS – “Live Is Life ”
Believe it or not, I actually remember when this song came out. “Live is Life” was my cousin’s favorite song for a long time, so I listened to it over and over in 1985. However, I hadn’t seen the video until recently, and now I wish I hadn’t seen it all.
15-20 Years winner
Marty Balin – “Hearts”
Three guesses as to what is going on in this music video:
1. He killed her, and that’s why he’s in prison
2. Poor guy’s been in solitary for so long, he’s now starting to hallucinate.
3. She framed him for murder for wearing that ridiculous speedo.
Lonely Hearts Club winner
Elton John – “I Want Love”
Robert Downey Jr. looks so sad in this video, no wonder he wants someone to love. But maybe, just maybe, he’d be happy with some furniture.
Best Special Effects winner
The Darkness – “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”
Any music video that has giant alien monsters and guitars dropping from the ceiling, is okay by me.
Does it Really Matter What She’s Saying? winner
Bibi Gaytán – “Mucha Mújer Para Ti”
What can I say? Bibi Gaytan was one of my first crushes.
Best Video of Some Random Year
Blu Cantrell – “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)”
I know “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)” seems like an odd choice for me, but allow me to explain: This song was everywhere in the summer of 2001, and because that was an important time for me, I always put the two together.
Then again, I may just have fond memories of this song because of my co-workers did a strip tease to “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)” on my last day at Blockbuster Video.
As much fun as I had with my Video To Go friends, one thing we never really did was party. We went out and always had fun, and sometimes got into trouble. But to go to an actual party, or host one, that’s something we didn’t do.
I remember in early Summer of 2004, one of our younger co-workers, Paul, was graduating from high school. His mother was throwing a huge bash at the Tirrell Room in Quincy, and she very kindly invited everyone at VTG. But not all of us could go because the store had to remain open. Instead, our manager Krysty drafted Ali and me to represent the store at the graduation party.
I met Ali at the store and we drove together from there. I remember neither one of us was looking forward to the party because other than paul, we wouldn’t know anyone there. Once we got to the Tirrell Room, Paul and his mom were very nice to us. They offered us something to eat and drink, but we declined, and I think we gave him a present from everyone at VTG, but I don’t remember what.
As soon as Paul and his om were out of sight, Ali and I bailed. We couldn’t have been there more than 10 minutes, if that. We sped out of the parking lot and went to a nearby Wendy’s for some Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers and fries. The entire time we were listening to this 10 CD 80’s collection Ali had just bought. Don’t judge us, there was some good music back then.
Anywho, since it was still early, we decided to do something else. After a quick stop at Ali’s place so she could change, we then drove to a mini golf place on Route 18. I can’t remember the name of the place, but I think it was in Whitman. We went there because this place had a mini golf course, go-karts, batting cages, bumper boats, and other stuff.
We played one round of golf, which I lost badly from what I remember. In my defense however, I was often distracted. The same thing happened a few years later when we finally had our rematch but that is another story.
Even though I got my butt handed to me on the golf course, this was still a fun day. Good food, great company, and a ton of eighties music. Who knew skipping a graduation party could be this much fun?
Celebrities popping up in comic books has been going on for ever: David Letterman showed up in an issue of The Avengers, Muhammad Ali boxed Superman, several Presidents have made appearances, and even Charles Barkley fought Godzilla in a comic book.
The list could really go on and on. But there is one 90’s celebrity comic book appearance that still makes me laugh today. The comic in question is Shadowman #19 from November 1993, written and drawn by Bob Hall. The issue, for reasons I didn’t quite understand then, guest starred Steven Tyler and the rest of Aerosmith.
In case you’ve never heard of Shadowman, the series was about successful New Orleans saxophonist, Jack Boniface. One night Jack got involved with the wrong girl and ended up possessed by a strange power. Each night, Jack’s “soul” comes forth and forces him to hunt evil spirits. But none of that matter in issue #19 because for some reason, this issue opens with Jack jamming with a couple of old friends who just happen to be members of Aerosmith.
During this, a young man named Moondance, (who idolizes Stephen Tyler), has been made an offer he can’t refuse by Master Darque. He was the big bad in Shadowman, although I never really understood what exactly he was after. It may have been Shadowman’s mask, but I’m not entirely positive. But let’s get back to Moondance…
Moondance made his way into the backstage area seeking an audience with Aerosmith, but I guess he got distracted because Steven Tyler catches him rifling through his stuff. Quite frankly, I don’t know if I would do that, you never know what Tyler is hiding in there. Anyways, Stephen Tyler and the Moondance fellow start duking it out, but soon Shadowman comes running with the rest of the band when they hear the struggle. They get stopped up by Moondance’s bodyguards, a pair of undead goons belonging to Master Darque. But fear not, because its Steven Tyler to the rescue!
Seeing how many times Tyler got to be heroic in this issue, makes me wonder whether Aerosmith had any input on the script. I mean, how it’s not often that the guest-star is gets all the good stuff in the story. Regardless, Moondance makes his escape with Tyler’s hair and belongings, taking them back to Master Darque so that he can steal all of Steven’s musical mojo. And yes, this was as bad as it sounds.
This is more of less where I lost interest in Shadowman #19. By the time Master Darque burns down Shadowman’s house, and tries to transfer all of Steven Tyler’s talent to Moondance, I was wondering why Aerosmith would agree to this.
Valiant Comics made some strange and indefensible decisions in the 1990’s, but Shadowman #19 has to be the strangest decision they ever made. To say it was bizarre seeing Shadowman sharing a stage with Aerosmith would be and understatement. Plus the fact that the entire issue feels much more like an issue of Aerosmith featuring Shadowman didn’t help.
This crossover of sorts just didn’t make sense to me in 1993, but something told me to drop $2.50 on the comic when it came out. That was a lot of money for a single issue back then, and of course now you can probably find a copy of Shadowman #19 for 50 cents.