Results tagged ‘ Nelly ’

Nelly Made the Trop Smolder with Heat

 

 

 I headed to the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday afternoon game wearing my jeans, an old Disney character polo and of course, my old Air Force Ones. It wasn’t Nostalgia Day or even 80’s Day, it was my own way of celebrating Hip Hop Night at Tropicana Field. Think about that wording for a minute…Hip Hop at the Trop…..Word to your Mother!

 

People seem to forget if it wasn’t for Nelly’s emerging talent at the mic he, Nelly might have made his way someday onto the Field Turf of the Trop on his own as a baseball player. He had some mad skills in the middle infield growing up and could turn the corner on a double play like his idol, former St. Louis Cardinal Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.

 

And as soon as the ball settled into the Tropicana Field stands, and the team concluded their on-field Team Meeting with Aybar as the guest speaker, then it was Aybars turn to get a ceremonial shaving cream pie to his face and head and begin getting in Nelly mode.  I was already feeling the rhythm and the pulse of the bass to get out on the field and take a spot where the photos would fall like rain, and the crowd would swing in unison to the verses and song of the minstrel named Nelly. But I made a cardinal sin ( at least in my book).

 

I had a photographer’s pass from the Rays and I wanted to get deep into the action, so I posted up on a L-shaped corner in the right end of the “Mosh Pit”. At that moment it just seemed like a natural move and perfect move going from shooting the Rays first concert from the middle sections for John Fogerty, to right behind the VIP section during ZZ Top, to down in the pulsating action and sea of motion of the proverbial front row. It seemed like a natural progression….But a hasty mistake on my part.

For I had put myself in the eye of the swallowing storm on the wrong side of the steel barriers. I have been in the front rows tons of times before, but not with a camera, and surely not with a group of most teens to 20-ish fans who wanted to move and groove to every single sound wave of beat or vocals coming out of the supercharged bass system right in front of the assembled mass. From the first deep drumbeat from the DJ, there was pushing and shoving from the side and back as people began to crush forward wanting a taste of Nelly and the music.

 

But then again, I would have done the same thing myself 20-odd years ago. Well, I know I did. And the audience was definitely transfixed as the beats got deeper, and the crowd behind me got more animated and pulled into the rhythm and music. Out of the 480 photos I took that night, I had to trash about 200 photos due to the hands in front of the camera lens or  small waves of motion around me that caused the photo to appear out of focus produced by my arm and shoulder constantly getting hit during filming. But I took the commotion and the frustration in stride as I got popped like a pinball for a few songs but within me I now wished I had taken a position on the stage side of the barrier.

But the music was the center of everyone’s attention tonight as even some of the Rays players like Carl Crawford,Dioner Navarro, Reid Brignac, Joaquin Benoit, Matt Garza and B J Upton swayed and rocked to the beats while doing their own version of Nelly Karaoke on the West side of the stage region. Upton seemed to be totally into the concert as you could see him singing the words and doing his own set of dances to the beats. It was great to see the players having as much fun as the Rays fans that night.
 
 

And it is sometimes weird that Hip Hop has now been around long enough to have Nelly “classics” like Ride Wit Me , “Air Force Ones” and “Batter Up“. I still remember watching the first broadcast of MTV at a college viewing party complete with free MTV swag and music until we left transfixed by this new style of selling the music to the public. How much we have all grown accustomed to this video and music combination that now most of us never hear the song without also seeing a video interpretation of the song at the same time.

 

And from the moment Nelly first emerged wearing a stylish white Rays T-shirt, the crowd on the field and in the stands were immediately consumed by the tunes and the chatter from Nelly.  From his classic Nike Air Force Ones on his feet, to the diamond-encrusted dog tags, and glittering diamond watch bevel, Nelly was quickly transporting us to a part of St. Louis with his music we would never venture into alone. We were taken instantly into Nelly-ville, and he was the Mayor and the man that was definitely large and in charge.
 
 

And the Trop almost seemed to take flight the moment Nelly as his crew began to sing ” E.I.” as well as “C
ountry Grammar
“. The moment the first beats hit the speakers, the entire crowd began systematically swaying and singing to the tunes. It was definitely a well needed audience participation segment, and the assembled crowd did not disappoint as it rang out loud to an almost deafening level all around me. But people forget, it was not all about the music tonight.

But people forget it was not entirely about the music tonight as there was a large amount of young and older women inching towards the front of the stage area hoping to catch an eye glance with Nelly or getting some sort of savoring trinket to take home and cherish forever. At that moment you knew the focus and the attention was firmly bulls-eyed on Nelly as the player of the moment. When one of his crew announced he had a gig later that night at a local St. Petersburg nightclub, it was the assembled women who screamed and quickly asked the surrounding people the 5 W’s of finding this club. Nelly was in full effect, and the ladies were going to be in massive tow tonight at the Push Lounge.
 
 

And with that announcement, Nelly had just found the perfect segway to pop into his classic “Hot in Here” as he quickly removed his Rays  white t-shirt and threw it straight into the teeth of the crowd as people frantically pulled and yanked and finally separated the t-shirt into two sections before it fell into someone’s hands firmly encasing the prized possession for the night like a prized jewel. It was a white Rays gift from one of the Hip Hop chosen ones, and it now had to be guarded and cherished from that moment.

 

And as Nelly let the crowd know about his forthcoming album to be released some time this Summer you could feel the crowd letting go a bit knowing their dream might end soon. Usually when a singer or group mentions this tidbit, it is nearing the end of the concert. And when he asked for three volunteers from the audience the sound was deafening as every woman within reach of the stage began cheering and more than eager a chance to be on stage with the Hip Hop icon. Three women were finally selected and it was the beginning of some interesting final moments to the concert.

Nelly even gave one of the chosen ones a photo opportunity of a lifetime as she snapped a photo with her phone of Nelly facing her with the screaming crowd behind him. Then he quickly quizzed them as to their singing abilities and then broke into his tune “Dilemma” which he did originally as a duet with former Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland.

 

The girls instantly fell into the rhythm and the rhymes of the song and began to sing and dance along with Nelly and his crew. It was one of the slowest moments of the concert, but helped the crowd recharge a bit before the night ended too soon for so many in the crowd. People wanted to hear every song from all his album in his unique styling that some have called a “Missouri Twang”.

 

The night quickly condensed into a meandering of unforgettable song hooks based on schoolyard songs with double-dutch chants. But what is amazing is the simple fact most people do double dutch lyrics as a rap, while Nelly has primarily done them in song, which is a major reason so many see him as a Hip Hop icon. The night was truly an adventure into Nellyville (also the title of his 2nd album) that I will not soon get out of my head.
 

 

But that is the thing about great music no matter what the format or lyric style. If it is good, it stays with you for a while and maybe drills into your subconscious for a future moment or even visual stimulation brings it out again for a great memory. People say that Rap or Hip Hop artists are this generation’s storytellers. They give their versions of the action and stories of life through their musical lyrics and prose. Nelly is a great example of this sage of wisdom and urban existence being told through music. And through it all, we also get a chance to see life through Nelly’s eyes.   

Rays Photo Homage to Past Celebrity and Musical Guests

 
 
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It is one of those photo collages that takes your breathe away when you first see it. Basically the magnitude of the talent and faces that have crossed within the confines of Tropicana Field is amazing. Sure we might not have Kate Hudson in our stands every night, but she was here when the New York Yankees touched down within Tampa Bay for a few games. And people like John Cusack and author Stephen King have also been known to try and sneak in a Rays game without a lot of attention.

 
But the photo collage on the concourse wall right behind the Home Plate 102-104 sections of seating in Tropicana Field shows just how much music, motion picture stars and great moments we have endured over the last few seasons. From the moment the Rays concluded their November 2007 unveiling of their new logo and uniforms, to the upcoming Hess Express/Rays Saturday Night Concert Series featuring John Fogerty, the team has shown both talent on the field, as well as on the Concert stage. And the list of artists featured on the wall collage is impressive indeed.

 
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There are currently 28 photo cut and pasted upon this collage section featuring the artists and actors who have made the Rays part of their baseball family. And it all began in November 2007 with the free concert to Rays fans who attended the Rays logo and uniform fashion extravaganza as actor/musician Kevin Costner and his band Modern West brought their own special spin to the festivities. But he was only the beginning. Since that time fellow actors/comedian Paul Rieser ( Mad About You), Chris Rock, Former SNL star/ Impressionist Darrell Hammond, Barry Williams (Greg Brady) last but definitely not least, Bill Murray who we all loved as Carl the Groundskeeper in “Caddyshack” and is a minor league baseball part owner.
 

 
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But there are also local Florida athletes or players who have trained in St. Petersburg in the past who are immortalized on the concourse wall such as former Tampa Bay Buc running back Mike Alstott, Baseball Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr., Ozzie “The Wizard of Oz” Smith and another Oriole great Jim Palmer. The collage also includes NFL Hall of Famer and Tampa Bay Buc legend Lee Roy Selmon , WWE past Champion John Cena and Orlando Magic Center/Power Forward Dwight Howard. Broadcasting and announcing legends both National and Internationally also grace the collage with the addition of ESPN Basketball Guru and 2004 Inductee to the Pepsi Rays Fan Wall of Fame Dick Vitale and the immortal Boxing/Wrestling announcer Michael ” Let’s get ready to Rumble” Buffer.


But also several members of this new display in Tropicana Field either performed the National Anthem or “God Bless America” such as former American Idol David Archuletta, the Backstreet Boys, and Green Day. But most of the rest of the artists posted upon the wall have performed in the Rays popular Saturday Night Concert Series over the last few seasons. Groups such as 3-Doors Down, Pat Benatar, Daughtry, L L Cool J, Flo Rida, Ludacris, and legendary groups the B-52’s and M C Hammer. Who reminded us “When the Devil went out ( of the team name), the Wins came in!”.


 
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Country artists Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy and Trace Adkins also have provided hours of great entertainment to the crowds of Rays fans attending the game, plus who danced in the aisles and landing around Tropicana Field during their music sets. And do not forget there is still some space upon that wall collage that might include this year’s artists, John Fogerty (April 24th), ZZ Top (May 1st), Nelly (May 15th), Hall & Oates (May 29th), the Go-Go’s /Farewell Tour (July 10th), Train (August 14th), Adam Lambert and Orianthi (Sept. 18th), Country Star Dierks Bentley (Sept. 25th) and two other concerts artists not yet announced on June 12th and June 26th.

 
Talent galore has graced both the field and the stages of Tropicana Field in the past, and the future looks even brighter as the Rays thrust again towards the top of the American League East. This photo collage is just a small sampling of the stars and the people within the entertainment field who have either sat within the main bowl of Tropicana Field, or in the Suites and attended Rays games in the past.

 
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The collage is just a great way for the Rays fans to gather and remember and relive these great acts and people as they became members of the Rays lore. So sometimes in the future be sure to wander up the main concourse just to the east of the Rays main elevator system and have your own great flashbacks into these performances or sightings of the great people who also have adorn Rays jerseys and attended games. Some times it is great to look at the past so that we can see just how far we really have traveled since the ultimate changes made in 2007 to the Rays legend, and the way we will remember our moments within Tropicana Field.

 
 
 

Rays 2010 Concert Series Band Facts

 


I got to admit here, I was holding onto the secret to one of the Tampa Bay Rays Hess Express Saturday night Concert Series performers as close to my vest as I could this past weekend. I did tell a few close friends who would not throw it all over the place the artist, and I got a great reception to them coming to Tropicana Field in 2010.

The Concert Series list some say is a group of band that could soon be lifetime members of the AARP, but that is fine with me because I am no spring chicken myself. But this is also a special time for Rays fans as the team has gone a combined 16-2 during the Concert Series, with sell-out crowds and people swaying and singing in their seats, and people dancing in the aisles of Tropicana Field.

 

They are a nice collection of the bands of my youth, which also includes the second concert I ever saw when the Go-Go’s performed at the (now gone) Bayfront Center. And yes, I did wear my parachute pants with the red velvet inserts and swanky punk rock shirt to the concert to try and influence the ladies who I knew would come out in droves to support the first all female band on the Billboard charts to write and also perform with their own instruments.

And I also got to attend a Go-Go’s concert the last time they were in St. Petersburg, Florida at Jannus Landing and got a chance to meet the band during a “meet and greet” arranged by a friend in upper management at Pepsi.

 

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So to say I am not excited to see all five of these bands come into Tropicana Field would be insane. For these bands, Hall & Oates, John Fogerty, Nelly, Z Z Top and the Go-Go’s are very much a fabric of my musical roots, and great selections by the Rays Front Office, and we still have five more to be announced later. But this group of five are such an interesting meshing of bands that could sooth even the savage baseball fan.

So I decided to today to post some facts about each band that you might not know, and give you a little insight into the bands heading for the Trop. during the 2010 season. I will also list the game date and the opponent so you easily purchase your tickets when they go on sale to the public at 9 am on Friday.

 
 

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John Fogerty            April 24th           Toronto Blue Jays

 

1) 25th Anniversary of “Centerfield” being released to the world. In 1985, John Fogerty finished his first solo album for Warner Brothers records. But you had to think that when Fogerty wrote the title track to his album, it was going to be sung and imitated at Major League and minor league baseball stadiums for eternity. When “Centerfield” hit the stores, not only was the title track an instant hit, but another track off the album, “Old Man Down the Road” also was a Top-10 hit for Fogerty.
 

2) Fogerty also got one of those rare honors in Hollywood California on October 1, 1998 when he was enshrined on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His Hollywood Walk of Fame star is located at 7000 Hollywood Blvd right alongside 63 other inductees which include Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and actors Angela Bassett (St. Petersburg native), Tony Danza, Dudley Moore, Tom Hanks, Eddie Murphy, Chuck Norris, Glen Close and Renee Zellweger. Also included in this section is fellow musicians’ Nancy Sinatra, Donna Summers, Patti LaBelle, Pacido Domingo, and fellow baseball lover Alice Cooper.
 

3) Fogerty pulled off a great “double feat” during Thanksgiving 2006 when he appeared at halftime during both National Football League games held on that day. He started that day singing at the Miami Dolphins at Detroit Lions game, then got on a plane and went to also do the halftime festivities at the Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs game later that day. Fogerty was in the house on April 16,2009 to help celebrate the first home game in the new Yankee Stadium. 

Fogerty (of course) sang “Centerfield” from Centerfield prior to the New York Yankees first game in their new home. At one point, the infamous “Bleacher Creatures” that shout players names for “Yankee Rollcall” during the first innings of Yankee games, shouted out for Fogerty to acknowledge them. Fogerty got accepted in the new stadium…New York style.

 


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ZZ Top                May 1, 2010             Kansas City Royals

 

1) Most people might not know that there is a double reason they selected the name ZZ Top for the band. First, it was a hybrid name formed from the two names of rolling papers Zig-Zag and Top. The second reason it is a duo homage to classic Blues legend ZZ Hill. ZZ Top guitarist Bill Gibbons also wrote in his autobiography Rock+Roll Gearhead” that it also derives from Blues master B B King. The band originally planned to call themselves ZZ King, but they reconsidered thinking it might seem to similar to B B King. But since BB King was at the “Top”, they chose ZZ Top as their final band name.
 
 

2) Even before their hit “Cheap Sunglasses” in 1979, the band always wore darken sunglasses on stage for their gigs. Guitarists Gibbons and Dusty Hill also wear similar black clothing, usually biker leathers, and either black Cowboy hats or baseball caps when performing on stage. Gibbon also wears a trademark neck chain of beer bottle openers around his neck when he performs to remember those early days in the Texas Honky Tonk bars. While Gibbons and Hill wear chest length beards, their drummer Frank Beard ( love it!) usually has a well manicured beard and mustache.

 
 

3) Keeping with the “beard” theme for another moment, both Gibbons and Hill were offered $ 1 million each by the Gillette (razor) Company if they would shave off their chest length beards during a television commercial. The duo declined saying,” We’re tool ugly without them.”

 
 

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Nelly                 May 15, 2009                Seattle Mariners

 
 

1) Most people know Nelly’s (Cornell Haynes Jr) obsession with everything related to St. Louis, but did you know that he was also a pretty good baseball player before he turned to rap music. He honed his baseball skills watching video of his idol Cardinals short stop Ozzie Smith during St. Louis amateur Summer Leagues and always considered playing professional baseball.

Even though Nelly was not drafted out of High School, he has attended several Major League Baseball Spring minor league tryout camps including the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves. Some people close to Nelly think he accepted his rap music career as a consolation prize to his first love….baseball.

 
 

2) Nelly has built himself a small empire outside of his music interests with the establishment of two clothing lines, Apple Bottom for women and Vokal for men. He also had a contract with Nike back in 2003 to design and develop a “Air Derrrty” shoe which was a retro remake of former NBA star Charles Barkley’s signature sneaker. He also signed a contract with Reebok on June 20,2005. Nelly is also became one of the owners of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats when it was announced on May 19,2008 he would join the Bobcat’s owners group along with Robert L Johnson and NBA legend Michael Jordan.

 
 

3) Most people instantly know him for his first album “Country Grammar”, which was his debut album with the Universal Music Group. The album was certified 9x platinum on April 27,2004 and includes a track with inspired baseball metaphor s called “Batter Up”. Another interesting fact is that Nelly once played in the Main Event at a World Series of Poker event in 2007.

 


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Hall and Oates       May 29,2010            Chicago White Sox

 

1) I personally have an axe to grind with Hall and Oates. They sang the National Anthem of Game 5 during the 2008 World Series at Citizen Bank’s Park on October 27,2008. The reason I have a beef with them is that I think they wished for rain and that made the game be postponed and I had to fly back to Tampa Bay without seeing the conclusion of Game 5, which happened several days later. They did a great rendition that night, but it was a rainy and cold night and my teeth were chattering. 

 
 

2) The two Philadelphia native sons met during a band competition at the Adelphi Ballroom back in 1967. They were not there to compete together, but was put together after gunshots rang out in the venue after two rival gangs converged on the arena. Daryl Hall and John Oates were both thrown into a service elevator together and they started talking and noticing they had multiple similarities in music and both were attending Temple University.

Not bad for two guys always immortalized by the sit-com “Friends” where Ross Geller (David Schwimmer), was once shown as a young man-fro keyboardist who was in love with the Hall and Oates music.

 
 

3)
In a play on the band’s name, the NHL’s St. Louis Blues manufactured a tongue-in-cheek line of hockey apparel called “Hull and Oates” to play homage to players Brett Hull and Adam Oates. Also with a Hockey linage is the fact that their song “Private Eyes” was the unofficial locker room song of the 2008-2009 Edmonton Oilers. But there was no doubting the band’s 7 platinum and 6 gold records and their 34 hit singles on the U S Billboard charts.
 

 
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The Go-Go’s         July 10,2010           Cleveland Indians

 
1) The band originally formed in 1978 and played together until their first split-up in 1985. The band has been back together in some form and has toured regularly since 1999, but recently lead singer Belinda Carlisle announced on her Facebook page that the 2010 tour will be their Farewell Tour . The band previously reunited back in 1990 with their classic line-up for a benefit concert for the California Environmental Protection Act, which was on the California 1990 state initiative ballot. The band Green Days Billie Joe Armstrong co-wrote the song “Unforgiving” the only released single from the 2001 “God Bless the Go-Go’s” compact disc.
 
 

2) here are some wild facts about each member of the group:

Belinda Carlisle(Lead Singer) once dated former Los Angeles Dodger Mike Marshall and he should have a nice section in her upcoming biography “Lips Unsealed” that will be out in bookstores on May 20,2010. She also was a contestant during 2009 on “Dancing With the Stars”, and performed in the production of “Hairspray” on stage in London’s West End.

Gina Schock (Drummer) co-wrote the title track on Miley Cyrus’s second album “Breakout”. The song debuted at #1 in the summer of 2008. She also wrote tracks for Selena Gomez and The Scene’s release “Kiss and Tell.” The Go-Go’s had to stop touring in 1983 while promoting their “Vacation” CD after Schock developed health problems and had to have surgery for congenital heart defect.
 

Karen Valentine(Bass Guitar) During their Go-Go’s “hiatus moments”, Valentine went back to her Texas blues-rock roots and formed the Blue Bonnets. The group did two albums before they morphed into The Delphines, which included Schock as their drummer,

Charlotte Caffey (Lead Guitar/Keyboards) Caffey and Jane Wiedlin co-wrote Country star Keith Urban’s first # 1 single hit “But for the Grace of God“. Caffey and Wiedlin also performed several concerts back in 1997 as Twisted and Jaded, in which they performed acoustic versions of Go-Go’s songs and debuted any new materials they wrote during the bands existence.

 

Jane Wiedlin (Vocals/Guitar)  is always one of the fan’s favorites, not only for her quirky sense of humor, but for her “obsessions.” Wiedlin is a devoted “star Trek” fan and once formed a band FroSTed as a homage to the ultimately popular television and movie series. She is an ordained wedding officiant who performs her wedding services as Reverend Sister Go-Go. She is also the main subject of an upcoming comic book called “Lady Robotika“, and was endeared to millions on the reality show “The Surreal Life” when she came out of the closet about her fascination with Domination.

 
 

3)
Over their career, which started in 1978, they have sold over 7 million albums and made rock history as the only all-female band who also plays their own instruments to top the Billboard charts. Their first album “Beauty and the Beast” was considered a “cornerstone” of the New Wave music movement. This album reached double platinum which at the time made it one of the most successful debut albums of all time. The album is still today listed at # 413 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
 
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This is only the first set of five bands to be announced in the popular Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series with more being announced in the near future. But if you want to mark those dates down on your calendar, they will be June 12th (Florida Marlins), June 26th (Arizona Diamondbacks), August 14th (Baltimore Orioles), September 18th (Los Angeles Angels), September 25th (Seattle Mariners).

With tickets going on sale to the General Public on Friday morning, it might be a great idea to purchase tickets for these days in advance to guarantee a chance to see concerts on these dates. I will again bring you some facts and great baseball related situations concerning the bands that the Rays select for these additional dates. At this time there are no previous games selected for these Saturday Rays games by either for a possible Fox Baseball Broadcasts or by ESPN.

 
 

I am looking forward to these concerts with great anticipation, and also hope that we can again sell out Tropicana Field and boost our record to 26-2 with a 10-0 run in 2010. When the Trop. Is full, the Rays players feel the presence of the crowd and gain additional energy from us in the stands. So do not forget to get up early tomorrow and get your coffee and your fingers ready to select seat locations for all five of the already selected bands in concert following Rays games in 2010. Tell me you are not excited!
 
 
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