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Help Me Ronnie

Ronnie Spector
City Winery
December 21

The sweet sounds of the sixties are alive and well in the songs and sultry singing of the still super sexy Ronnie Spector.  A living legend still going at it, and she still totally has got IT.  Let her be your baby, and baby, you will love it when you hear her music.  Man, could I hear it!!!  I’m not into Xmas music, but there’s something so warm and so cozy about hearing Ronnie belt out ‘Frosty The Snowman’ and ‘Sleigh Ride’ during the holiday season.  And outside of holiday cheer, we cheered on her perfect covers of the likes of Ray Charles, Bee Gees, like-minded Beach Boys, and Amy Winehouse.  Winehouse seemed to be the heir to Ronnie’s voice and style, and the one to keep that 60s flame alive, but burned too bright and has been extinguished forever.  Sad that Ronnie has to pay tribute to someone who was paying tribute to her.  Luckily we still have Ronnie, a spector-cle to behold, and be heard!

Setlist – Frosty the Snowman / Do I Love You / Don’t Worry Baby (The Beach Boys cover) / It’s Christmas Once Again / Baby, I Love You / When I Saw You / Sleigh Ride / What’d I Say (Ray Charles cover) / So Young / (The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up / Walking in the Rain / Best Christmas Ever / How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? (Bee Gees cover) / Back to Black (Amy Winehouse cover) / You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory (Johnny Thunders cover) / Be My Baby (The Ronettes song)

Encore – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus / Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band cover) / I Can Hear Music

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Something So Special, Something So Real

Jessie Reyez
The Bowery Ballroom
November 28

There is just something about Jessie Reyez.  She commanded everyone’s attention with a brief, but brilliant stint at the Tidal X marathon concert back in October, and I wanted MORE, and so I got it – in 45 glorious moments at the Bowery Ballroom.  The crowd was more her age than mine, and they seemed to know every single one of her songs… even the unreleased ones.  This even came as a surprise to Ms Reyez herself.  It was zero surprise how fresh and fantastic her show was, which alternated between roaming and rapping the stage, to sitting on a stool and strumming, while everyone hummed and hollered along, loving EVERY single minute of it all!!!!!    

Man, love this girl.  Her future is so bright, but next time, I want 90 minutes of show!

@JessieReyez is the truth, yo!

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Setlist – Phone Calls / Shutter Island / F#ck Being Friends / Hard to Love / Cocoa Butter Kisses (Chance the Rapper cover) / Colombian King & Queen / Gatekeeper / Figures

Encore – F#ck It / Blue Ribbon / Happy Birthday

crowd surfing will never die. long live @JessieReyez!

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It’s Sorta Him, Babe

Bob Dylan
Mavis Staples
Beacon Theatre
November 21

I never wanted to see Bob Dylan.  I respect Bob Dylan, but I’m not a giant fan, and everyone always said how awful he was in concert anywayz.  But when Tom Petty died, I was like, OK, let’s not mess around here – Bob aint gonna live forever (and probably has already lived longer than any of us have ever thought he would) – and I need to see him before he goes.  HAVE TO!

To my surprise, a Bob Dylan show is wholly and udderly musically enjoyable.  His band is incredible!  And Bob totally seems with it, switching between piano jangling, and straight-up crooning, with a microphone stand in hand.  And shockingly, he sounds like Bob Dylan!  The problem?  He’s not singing the Bob Dylan songs the way that the Bob Dylan songs sound, or at least on how they are suppose to sound.  Also, he didn’t play guitar, AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WTF BOB????  Look, he’s earned the right to do whatever he wants to do with his music, and while I’m not a deep Dylan catalog guy, the songs I knew that he played, I could barely recognize.  Oh, that was ‘Tangled Up In Blue’?  FOOLED ME!!!

Still, it had to be done. And while the concert was nice, it almost felt more like a chore, which I can now add a giant check mark next to…  

see Dylan before he dies

Real best part of the show?  Opener Mavis Staples.  Long security line made me miss 2 of her 7 songs played, but the 5 she beautifully belted made me wish that she was the headliner, and Dylan the opener

@mavisstaples did it. she took us there. she really did

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Dylan Setlist – Things Have Changed / It Ain’t Me, Babe / Highway 61 Revisited / Why Try to Change Me Now (Cy Coleman cover) / Summer Days / Melancholy Mood (Frank Sinatra cover) / Honest With Me / Tryin’ to Get to Heaven / Once Upon a Time (Tony Bennett cover) / Pay in Blood / Tangled Up in Blue / Soon After Midnight / Early Roman Kings / Full Moon and Empty Arms (Frank Sinatra cover) / Desolation Row / Thunder on the Mountain / Autumn Leaves(Yves Montand cover) / Love Sick’

Encore – Blowin’ in the Wind / Ballad of a Thin Man

it’s sorta him, babe

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Honored Thy Father

Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen
Bell Centre
November 6

hey, that IS a way to say goodbye #LeonardCohen

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My birthday was once soiled by the public announcement that Magic Johnson has AIDS.  I’ve always wanted that stain on my birthday replaced by another more significant event, and while I wish Leonard Cohen had lived forever, he left this world on my birthday last year, and I’ll take that over MJ’s admittance as the ‘thing’ that happened on my day of birth  

Leonard is still gone, but he will never NEVER ever be forgotten, especially in his hometown of Montreal, where 364 days later, his son Adam put together a tribute concert to beautifully honor thy father

So with Leonard as an excuse, the wife, my parents and I descended upon Leonard’s hometown, to say goodbye to my 30s, and to Leonard Cohen, with a cast of WOWsands.  Big names like Sting, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang and Lana Del Rey commanded much attention and awesomeness, but it was the lesser known (to me), fellow Canadians who really shined on their takes of Leonard’s finest works.  Standouts include Ron Sexsmith (who is no stranger to Cohen covers), FeistPatrick Watson and the haunting (Irish, not Canuck) Damien Rice 

It’s really hard to screw up a Leonard Cohen song, and while I didn’t really take to Sharon Robinson nor Betty LaVette’s contributions, they at least weren’t sacrilege… which is exactly what Courtney Love’s rendition of my personal favorite LC song ‘Everybody Knows’ (thanks to Pump Up The Volume) was.  An ear-sore and a blasphemous disaster, Love brought hate out of me on a night of pure… love.  I mean, not even Seth Rogen bothered me on this noche, and he always bothers me!  Take that Courtney!!  But why Courtney anyway?  Couldn’t she be replaced by someone more deserving and probably more loving, and actually talented, like dual US-Canadian citizen and LC fanatic Rufus Wainwright???  And while we’re here, Sting and Elvis C are lovely and all, but Leonard wasn’t beloved enough by the likes of McCartney, Dylan, Paul Simon or Neil Young to drag any of them out to this event?  Were they even asked?  

Whatever, dumb gripes aside, the event was perfect (aside from Cunt-ny Love) – it made my mom tear up often, and I did too, but mainly cause I was with loved ones and just so overjoyed.  And a big thanks and hug has got to go out to Leonard’s son Adam, who stirringly dueted on 4 of his father’s songs.  Dad would be proud.  The rest of us certainly were.  Son should go on tour and play pop’s music on the road – keep the legend alive, even though the legend will live on if son does or not.  Leonard’s still our man.  Not even death can change that

First SetSting – ‘Dance Me to the End of Love’ / Feist – ‘Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye’ / Patrick Watson – ‘Who by Fire’ / Sharon Robinson – ‘I’m Your Man’ / Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites from The Lumineers – ‘Democracy’ / Ron Sexsmith – ‘Suzanne’ / Elvis Costello – ‘The Future’ / Damien Rice – ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ / Adam Cohen and The Webb Sisters – ‘So Long, Marianne’ / k.d. lang – ‘Hallelujah’

Second SetShaar Hashomayim Choir – ‘Tower of Song’ / Sting – ‘Sisters of Mercy’ / Adam Cohen and Lana Del Ray – ‘Chelsea Hotel #2’ / Betty LaVette – ‘In My Secret Life’ / Courtney Love – ‘Everybody Knows’ / Seth Rogen – ‘Field Commander Cohen’ / BØRNS and The Webb Sisters – ‘If It Be Your Will’ / Adam Cohen, Coeur de pirate and Damien Rice – ‘The Partisan’ / Elvis Costello – ‘Bird on the Wire’ / Sting – ‘Anthem’ / Shaar Hashomayim Choir – ‘You Want It Darker’ / Adam Cohen and Basia Bulat – ‘Coming Back to You’ / Basia Bulat – ‘Closing Time’

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Music To Watch Girl To

Lana Del Rey
Terminal 5
October 24th

I don’t do festivals, cause I’m old and don’t want to stand around for 243992494 hours (sitting is a different story) or see my favorite artists play really short sets, and because of this insist-stance, I had never seen Lana Del Rey live, cause she only seemed to play festivals.  DAMN YOU FESTIVALS!!!  Well, Lana Del Rey finally set up some solo shows, and so I had to make it happen – and I did!

THIS woman with THAT beautific voice is a marvel to behold and be heard.  Odd then that at times she was singing along with her own recorded backing vocal.  Other times she wasn’t, and she sounded just as angelic.  LET THY VOICE FLY FREE BABY!!!! 

With a rockin backing band, she dropped love to 6 songs from her latest – Lust For Life – my favorites being ‘White Mustang‘ and ‘Cherry‘, while WE made love to the classics she bopped like ‘Blue Jeans’, and the song that gives us the opposite of sadness…

Setlist 

 13 Beaches / Diet Mountain Dew / Cherry / Shades of Cool / Chelsea Hotel #2 (Leonard Cohen cover) / Pretty When You Cry / Blue Jeans / Born To Die / White Mustang / Lust for Life / Music to Watch Boys To / Change / Ride / Love / Video Games / Summertime Sadness / Off to the Races

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