Results tagged ‘ Rays Concert Series ’

Barenaked Ladies Filled the Trop.


 

 

The first time I saw the Barenaked Ladies or BNL in concert, It was with my pre-teen daughter on a Father and Daughter excursion to Universal Studios in Orlando during their yearly Spring Mardi Gras celebration. One of the crowning moments of this event on Saturday night was a concert by a band that evokes fun and dancing from the assembled crowd. And I had done a bit of musical research before buying the tickets to the after hours concert put on that evening by the Barenaked Ladies.

 

What I remembered most about that 1 ½ hour musical adventure was the way the band used an up-beat tempo and a catchy set of guitar riffs to keep the crowd motivated and dancing throughout the concert. What I got that night was one of the greatest memories with my then pre-teen daughter, plus a bit of flirting with a girl dressed up in a flamingo costume. The woman flirting with me was great, but the smile on my daughter’s face was priceless that night, and that memory still warms me up today.


 

So when the Tampa Bay Rays announced that the BNL were going to be part of the 2010 Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series, I was immediately transformed back to that time, with hope of not only reliving that great evening in Orlando, but to expand on it and make it burst with a musical explosion. The band did not disappoint me that evening as they were just as exciting and as exuberant as the first moment I saw then stroll onto stage what seemed so long ago. Some people call BNL a Canadian alternative band, but they are of a musical fusion all their own.


 

Their music is tempered with bits of Jazz and Blues and mixed vigorously with plenty of different string instruments from electric guitars to the authentic bass to becoming the first band to use technology to promote themselves. Barenaked Ladies were the first band to use a floppy disc as a “Interactive Press Kit”.

 

In 2003, they initiated a band blog, with band member Ed Robertson also providing pod casts to the website to keep their fans informed on some of the bands antics and travels, including the band’s first trip on a cruise. But BNL were also at the forefront of the social network revolution having a Myspace, Facebook and Twitter account to keep the juices flowing with their fans with multiple updates and ideas thrown out there for the fans to interact with the band.

 

They were also one of the first recording artists to utilize the USB technology by offering their 2004 “Barenaked For the Holidays” album on a customized flash drive in the MP3 format. Even if they might be considered a technology savvy band, it is their stage presence that has mesmerized their faithful fans for so long.

It is not unusual for the band to have a set list in pencil with additions and deletions right up to the moment they hit the stage, also complete with impromptu rap songs and humorous banter between numbers.

 

This moment was perfectly captured on Saturday night when BNL lead singer ED Robinson let the crowd know that the Rays needed a win, and who did they call, but the Barenaked Ladies to the rescue. That classic moment had me laughing and really enjoying the whole Barenaked experience, the band, not the unclothed part.

It was great to hear “One Week” again, but I still have a feeling most people associate the song with Jim’s dance sequence on the web cam to Nadia in American Pie than remember the song just for its own merits. But the catchy riffs and wording catch you instantly bopping along and trying to keep up with the truly over the speed limit tempo and rhythm of the song. Partner that with their classic hit “If I Had a $1000000“, and you got the makings of a great evening on your hands. Most people below the Canadian border might not know about their numerous Juno Awards, but might remember their Grammy nominations during the 1990’s.

 

There were other hits I heard that night that had escaped my mind when reviewing them in April like “The Old Apartment” and “Pinch Me“, but the night was made for good natured fun and frolicking, and BNL achieved that and more. The set really did not seem that long, but it did flood my mind with a great collection of instant video flashbacks and memorable moments. Bass Guitarist Jim Creegan is still one of the best in the business, and the talents of Kevin Hearn from the piano to the keyboards to the guitar simply made the evening a success.


 

But it was the vocals of Robertson, who took over the lead singer gig after one of the founding members, Steven Page left the band that sealed the deal for me that night. Even with a active storm front about to hit the Tampa Bay region right as the concert ended, the band kept the crowd into the music and totally forgetting about some of the things going on around them. And that is what great music is suppose to be about. It is suppose to make you leave your everyday struggles and trails for a few moments and relax, stress-free and enjoy the times of your life.

 

 

 The last time I saw the band my daughter and I lost her mother a short time later to melanoma cancer,but every time I hear the band’s music since then, it has reminded me of that special day with my daughter. One I will never get back, but one that was based in Barenaked Ladies music.

There are more Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series photos on my new Flickr.com page under Rays Renegade. All photos are selected for the public, and feel free to download or even print them if you desire. I did this to give people an additional way to enjoy the Rays concert series this season.

 

 

Barenaked Ladies Fill the Trop


 

 

The first time I saw the Barenaked Ladies or BNL in concert, It was with my pre-teen daughter on a Father and Daughter excursion to Universal Studios in Orlando during their yearly Spring Mardi Gras celebration. One of the crowning moments of this event on Saturday night was a concert by a band that evokes fun and dancing from the assembled crowd. And I had done a bit of musical research before buying the tickets to the after hours concert put on that evening by the Barenaked Ladies.

 

What I remembered most about that 1 ½ hour musical adventure was the way the band used an up-beat tempo and a catchy set of guitar riffs to keep the crowd motivated and dancing throughout the concert. What I got that night was one of the greatest memories with my then pre-teen daughter, plus a bit of flirting with a girl dressed up in a flamingo costume. The woman flirting with me was great, but the smile on my daughter’s face was priceless that night, and that memory still warms me up today.


 

So when the Tampa Bay Rays announced that the BNL were going to be part of the 2010 Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series, I was immediately transformed back to that time, with hope of not only reliving that great evening in Orlando, but to expand on it and make it burst with a musical explosion. The band did not disappoint me that evening as they were just as exciting and as exuberant as the first moment I saw then stroll onto stage what seemed so long ago. Some people call BNL a Canadian alternative band, but they are of a musical fusion all their own.


 

Their music is tempered with bits of Jazz and Blues and mixed vigorously with plenty of different string instruments from electric guitars to the authentic bass to becoming the first band to use technology to promote themselves. Barenaked Ladies were the first band to use a floppy disc as a “Interactive Press Kit”.

 

In 2003, they initiated a band blog, with band member Ed Robinson also providing pod casts to the website to keep their fans informed on some of the bands antics and travels, including the band’s first trip on a cruise. But BNL were also at the forefront of the social network revolution having a Myspace, Facebook and Twitter account to keep the juices flowing with their fans with multiple updates and ideas thrown out there for the fans to interact with the band.

 

They were also one of the first recording artists to utilize the USB technology by offering their 2004 “Barenaked For the Holidays” album on a customized flash drive in the MP3 format. Even if they might be considered a technology savvy band, it is their stage presence that has mesmerized their faithful fans for so long.

It is not unusual for the band to have a set list in pencil with additions and deletions right up to the moment they hit the stage, also complete with impromptu rap songs and humorous banter between numbers.

 

This moment was perfectly captured on Saturday night when BNL lead singer ED Robinson let the crowd know that the Rays needed a win, and who did they call, but the Barenaked Ladies to the rescue. That classic moment had me laughing and really enjoying the whole Barenaked experience, the band, not the unclothed part.

It was great to hear “One Week” again, but I still have a feeling most people associate the song with Jim’s dance sequence on the web cam to Nadia in American Pie than remember the song just for its own merits. But the catchy riffs and wording catch you instantly bopping along and trying to keep up with the truly over the speed limit tempo and rhythm of the song. Partner that with their classic hit “If I Had a $1000000“, and you got the makings of a great evening on your hands. Most people below the Canadian border might not know about their numerous Juno Awards, but might remember their Grammy nominations during the 1990’s.

 

There were other hits I heard that night that had escaped my mind when reviewing them in April like “The Old Apartment” and “Pinch Me“, but the night was made for good natured fun and frolicking, and BNL achieved that and more. The set really did not seem that long, but it did flood my mind with a great collection of instant video flashbacks and memorable moments. Bass Guitarist Jim Creegan is still one of the best in the business, and the talents of Kevin Hearn from the piano to the keyboards to the guitar simply made the evening a success.


 

But it was the vocals of Robinson, who took over the lead singer gig after one of the founding members, Steven Page left the band that sealed the deal for me that night. Even with a active storm front about to hit the Tampa Bay region right as the concert ended, the band kept the crowd into the music and totally forgetting about some of the things going on around them. And that is what great music is suppose to be about. It is suppose to make you leave your everyday struggles and trails for a few moments and relax, stress-free and enjoy the times of your life.

 

 

 The last time I saw the band my daughter and I lost her mother a short time later to melanoma cancer,but every time I hear the band’s music since then, it has reminded me of that special day with my daughter. One I will never get back, but one that was based in Barenaked Ladies music.

There are more Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series photos on my new Flickr.com page under Rays Renegade. All photos are selected for the public, and feel free to download or even print them if you desire. I did this to give people an additional way to enjoy the Rays concert series this season.

 

Huge Rays Crowd take in Hall & Oates at the Trop

 RRCollection

Darryl Hall and John Oates. Who would of thought two guys who met backstage at  the Adelphi Ballroom back in 1967 would still be cranking out music and singing today. Some might say that time does damage to some of our idols and songsters from our past, but Hall & Oates still bring the hot guitar licks and the high register singing chops to the microphone tonight at Tropicana Field. I heard them do a short diddy on “American Idol “ just this week, but thought maybe someone might have tweaked their vocals a bit.

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 And I got to say, that even though I was only allowed to take photos for 3 of their songs tonight, I sat outside of Tropicana Field and could still clearly hear their songs just as I did nearly five minute earlier squatting and jockeying for position to take about 200 photos before finally leaving after their third selection. And sure I was a bit bummed, but I also follow the order that the Tampa Bay Rays Communication Department gave me, so off I went, but the halls and the corridors surrounding the seating bowl of the Trop. were ringing to the melodies and guitar strums as I walked out Gate 6 into the warm night air.

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It was at that point that I decided I had followed the Rays directive to leave the stadium after the third song selection. But before I exited the stadium, I took a second to cruise my eyes throughout the stands and noticed the assembled huge crowd all either dancing, singing or swaying to the music just as some of us had done in the 1980’s. Weird how these songs that seemed to so modern and catchy were penned more than 40-odd years ago, but still remain not only classic, but relevant even in a new century.

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As I left the Trop. through the back entrance at Gate 6, I decided to sit down on the adjacent hill embankment just to the right of the Trop’s loading docks and listen to more of those tunes that shaped my 80’s and also got me a few women by singing the lyrics to them. Here were the ballads and smooth dancing songs of my misspent youth, my 80’s music past revisited as it was being amplified towards the crowd assembled in the Trop. It brought back a few distant lost memories of “ones that got away”, and also brought back a simpler time in my overall life.

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These songs now echoing out of the Trop. were the anthems and the tunes that defined my 20’s both as a music lover and as a college student struggling to make ends meet singing in bars on the weekends after football season was over. Brought me instantly back to my days slinging a Moog keyboard around with me and singing some of the same songs now bouncing all around the atmosphere. Some memories might be best left alone, but the ones connected with some of these Hall & Oates songs definitely had me smiling from ear-to-ear.

 RRCollection

Songs like “Sara Smiles” that reminded Rays Manager Joe Maddon of the night his daughter Sarah was born which was actually based on Hall’s girlfriend at the time, Sara Allen.  And I know more than a few of my friend who took a intense desire to hear “She’s Gone” while we sat either at John’s Pass sipping a few adult beverages after a bad break-up, or an unexpected turn of romantic events. Hall & Oates definitely colored a few tunes in crayon in my comic book of life.

 

And what relationship back in the 80’s did not have “Kiss on My List” pegged for their relationship. It usually wasn’t until after the whole enchilada began to sour that we pushed the relationship into either “Rich Girl” territory. But then I also remember the first time I ever heard a rendition of the Righteous Brothers “Unchained Melody” it was done by Hall & Oates and made me a fan of their rendition for life. And it still amazing to me that most of these songs are over 35-years old and still could be totally sung today.

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But I would be totally absentminded if I did not mention or even acknowledge some of the great tunes that Hall & Oates popped out after 1982 like the upbeat and totally hip “You Make My Dreams” that reached number five on the Billboard charts in July 1980, but is still a hot jam today. Or their soul oriented ballad “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” or their biggest hit to date, Maneater” that hit the top of the charts in December 1982 and stayed there four weeks straight.

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But I could not get up from my perch sitting there listening to the tunes flow outside of Tropicana Field without staying and listening for the tune I waited all night to hear, the one that speaks to me like a goddess or angel. That song would be “One on One” which had some pretty clever usage of words that could relate to either basketball or a relationship. But that was the Hall & Oates song I played on my personal cassette deck before football games and used as a inspirational song for m
e to get totally hyped for a game. 

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But how soon we all forget that these two artists met in Philly back in 1967 by accident because of some ruckus outside the Adelphi Ballroom. What if there was not a commotion outside the auditorium that night. We would have probably not been graced with the classic music this duo has penned and scored for not only us, but future generations to enjoy and love too. And how soon do we forget they also were two of the original singers on the first “We Are The World” video and performed on “Live Aid” or outdoors in front of the Statue of Liberty on July 4th 1985 to help with the restoration funding needed to preserve that iconic American symbol.

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Hall & Oates is an American classic that set the tones and moods of rock and soul of America’s heartlands and inner cities. Some people might even remember they have a Rays tie before tonight when they sang the National Anthem before rain-shortened Game 5 of the 2008 World Series in Citizen Bank Park in Philadelphia. Even way back in 1984, the Recording Industry of America dubbed the group the most successful duo in the history of recorded music.

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High honors for a band that started by accident. And even in 1991, when they released “Starting All Over Again” another generation got to experience the Hall & Oates magic. So I decided to get off the ground and then walk slowly towards First Avenue South and my car, but the bellowing vocals of Hall were still fresh in the air and the bass and rhythm guitar were still pumping through the amplifiers as I got in my car, a block away. I was a great night to rejoice, revisit and of course remember some of those classic 80’s moments that shaped most of us from that era’s future lives. Extremely glad I got to experience this duo’s magical tunes once again.

 

   

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.   

Bret Michaels to Rock the Trop

 
 
Jonasbrotherfan4@Flickr.com

*** Country star Dierks Bentley Rays/Hess Express Concert has been rescheduled for June 12,2010 after the Rays battle the Florida Marlins.
Rock and Jazz band the Barenaked Ladies also being added to Rays/Hess Express Concert series on Saturday, June 26 after the Arizona Diamondbacks game.


Bret Michaels has been having his own shares of ups and downs lately both on television and also in his personal life. I think any one of us who have been watching this season’s installment of the “Celebrity Apprentice” have been a bit transformed to see that the former Poison front man is as versatile and as passionate as he is about his Diabetes charity as he is about his music.


And I have to admit full circle here that I am stoked that he will bring his solo show to Tropicana Field on Saturday, September 25,2010 as a member of the Rays famous Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series. I have seen him in concert as a member of Poison, as a solo act right after the conclusion of his first season of VH-1’s “Rock of Love” franchise, plus seen him at an outdoor venue in Texas last Fall.

The man is a ball of uncontrollable energy on stage, and hopefully by the September date, Michaels will have regained enough of his past poise and vocal talents to have the crowd singing with him all night long. And the guy does it the right way in concert stopping and telling tales and exploits you usually do not get to see or hear in the “plain Jane” rock concert formats we have become a custom to nowadays. Michaels seems to take the audience on a journey with him from his Poison high points (Talk Dirty to Me), to some of his low moments in his own life (Every Rose Has its Thorns).

There are not many people in this world who can take on the title “Rock Troubadour” like Michaels who can incorporate his rocking out tunes with his well known solo ballads. I can guarantee you a night of fun and adventure you did not expect unless you have experienced his solo concert the last time he played at Ruth Eckerd Hall in 2008. But we also hope that he will have fully regained his energy level and his endurance by this date.

Most people know of the simultaneous family situations that came upon Michaels in the last few months from his daughter Raine being tested for possible childrens diabetes, to Michaels own health going south and suffering a brain hemorrhage on April 21st while sitting on his home couch. Michaels felt an increasing amount of pressure and pain, which was caused by a build up of blood at the base of his brain stem region.


Only a week before Michaels had undergone an emergency appendectomy was on the road to recovery at home. But the prognosis on Michaels has been simply positive since his emergency surgery to relieve that blood and pressure and he is getting ready to start physical therapy with hopes of hitting the road by the end of May again on his Concert Tour.

I really have to say if you can get tickets to this event, please do because Michaels is incredible on stage both as a singer and a storyteller. And even if you think the hair is fake and the many Cowboy hats a bit.. hokey, the guy gives you everything he has on stage and is well worth the price of admission.


Got to say, I was not always a favorite of this glam rock icon back in his Poison days, but through his Reality Television revelation, I got to see that Michaels is just a working father who also loves the ladies and his occasional adult beverage on the side. After his first season of “Rock of Love”  I bought tickets to the Ruth Eckerd Hall show in the middle of the third row back, and got to see the guy really reel in the audience and pulsate from their energy. Truly have to say if you want to mix Rays baseball with some kicking music, this is the Rays Concert series event you can not miss…..Honestly!

ZZ Top Photo Blog…Extended Cut

 
 

 

I got about 15 Emails and Direct Messages yesterday asking me to post a second photo blog of the ZZ Top Tampa Bay Rays Concert last Saturday night, and of course I am more than willing to throw up another 18 photos from my small segment I shot that night. But along with it will come a small story about that night that I hope all of you enjoy.

 

 

Before the Rays season began, I was talking with someone up in the Rays Front Office about the possibility of maybe getting an up-close vantage point during the 2010 Rays/Hess Express Concert Series. With some great acts coming into Tropicana Field, I wanted to provide a bit of extra photos and concert review that might entice other Rays fans who had not seen one of these Concerts to come down to the ballpark for the remaining 8 Rays concert dates.

 

 

So I came up with the idea of maybe submitting my name into the Rays Communications Department as a Photographer for the Concert series in 2010. The idea did have some basic merit as I decided in 2010 to try and get the bulk of my photos and special shots myself instead of using the stock photos or daily photos submitted by the wire services. And I had a pretty fool-proof plan, or so I thought at the time. I did not want access to the field for pregame photo opportunities, or even position myself in one of the photos wells on each side of the dugouts.

 

 

So I submitted my name and credentials request to the right person and awaited a hopefully positive answer concerning my request. I got back an answer that did not rattle me, but showed that the road was not going to be bright and yellow, but I had to have a bit of luck on my side. For the Rays had to submit my name to the band’s management team and either I would be approved or denied a photo credential to take photographs of that band performance.

I actually thought in the beginning this might be a smart way to proceed because hundreds of fans would be on the Tropicana Field turf taking the same photos and videos without the band’s consent. I was banking on the fact I was being honest and upfront to be my entry into this special world.

 

 

So I submitted my request for the first concert when John Fogerty was going to play a week or so ago. I got a denial letter back from the Rays Communication Department and was a bit humbled by my idea going through 100 percent without a problem. But I also did not take it as a total slap in the face, but as a wake-up call to either get serious about this adventure, or forget it all and take photos from my seat with a telephoto lens.

I shot my photos of the Fogerty concert and was not totally impressed with them and knew that I had to again grind it out and hope to get access to the field to take photos of ZZ Top when they came into Tropicana Field. So again I submitted my email to the Rays Communication staff and was very anxious to see if it was “Strike Two” or if I might have actually cut the mustard and gotten a chance to show my stuff.


 

 

The minutes did feel like hours and I was constantly checking my email box every hour hoping that I would get a chance to give the Rays some confidence I was going to use this to do positive things and not use it as a tool to use or abuse my credentials. Finally an email came back from the Rays Communication Department, and I at first did not want to open it for fear of that second “X” high above my head. But I also had the confidence that someone in one of the ten band’s management teams might give me a shot in 2010 to do something special.

 

So I finally got the nerve to open the email and got the first glance at either success or failure in trying to get some exclusive photos in 2010. For some odd reason the words “granted permission” seemed to jump out at me from the page and instantly I did the infamous “crab dance” around the room. For I was finally going to get a chance to expand my blog postings again with photos taken within feet of the artists, and with a greater clarity than in my Rightfield seat.

 

 

I got my first green Rays photographer credentials the afternoon of the concert from the Media Table at Gate 4 and instantly could have gone to field level and enjoyed the pregame festivities, but I wanted to chill and just enjoy the game and after the contest take some great photos of the band. No agenda on my mind but taking post-game concert photos. But it was a special moment in my mind. Sure it will not guarantee or even get me anything in the way of priority from that moment on, but the thought that I finally achieved it and brought back some great shots is enough for me.

 

The night was incredible for me. Not only did I get a chance to provide some of my first photo credits of a concert date in 2010, but I had the time of my life reliving and revisiting every song that ZZ Top sang and played that night. And it was special to again get down on the field again and be a part of the Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert experience.

Sometimes moments in your life just seem to come out of the blue that provide a different direction for you. On that night, on the floor of Tropicana Field, I again saw that I love doing my posts and taking photos for other to enjoy. I again got to remember and feel why I wanted to work for the media as a kid, and wanted to again feel that rush of accomplishment and knowing I provided some extra information to others that would never have been given if not for my photos or posts. I remembered why I loved to write again….And that is a scary thing. 

Giving the Rays Some ZZ Top Lovin’

 

With Texas Rockers ZZ Top set to perform after the Tampa Bay Rays play the Kansas City Royals tonight, it only seemed appropriate that maybe I should try and pair up a few of the Rays players with some classic ZZ Top songs. Every once in a while it is fun to just take a moment out and sit back and relax and either poke fun or show the respect I have for this Rays team and their stable of workhorse style players.

I could have rambled towards a posting of Kentucky Derby hopeful candidates that currently play for the Rays, but we already know that coming in one-two in that race might be the sprinter Carl Crawford and the long strides of B J Upton neck and neck at the wire. Honestly might come down to if CC has a forward neck bob at the moment he hit’s the finish line. But it only seemed fitting that I take a few names and personalities off the Rays roster and give them a one-night only ZZ Top song. I can tell you that I-Tunes is going to love me today with this research.



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Sharp Dressed Man:


Now this one might seem like a pretty self explanatory song choice for Rays fashion plate and G Q model in residence slugger Carlos Pena. But I actually have two Rays figures in this choice. The first is of course Pena who has been the fashion sensible member of the Rays since day one. But my other selection might fool a few people, but he is trying with what he’s got, and for that I got to give Rays Television announcer Brian Anderson an Honorable Mention in this song choice.

Anderson might not have the fashion runway swagger of Carlos Pena, or even the handsome looks that make more than a few women faint, but Anderson is a budding fashion police poster child who seems to get better with every road trip. Maybe Pena is secretly taking Anderson out on road trips and getting him a new tie or stylish sports coat or tie to go with his daily ensemble on the Rays broadcasts. No matter what the true story is, we all know Pena is the true fashionista on the Rays roster, but Anderson might be raiding his closet if Pena is not careful…maybe.


 
Raysbaseball.com/ MLB.com

Gimme All Your Lovin’:

I got to go classic tongue-in-cheek here and give this royally down to Rays All-Star and female heartthrob Evan Longoria. For during the last Rays road trip while the team was in Boston for a 4-game series, Longoria made the Boston papers with complaint letters that he was sending multiple texts to a unique collective group of women in the Beantown area. What was so amazing is that people somehow seemed a bit shocked about all of this.

I do not see how this could be a surprise to anyone. Major League Baseball players get handed cellphone numbers and even room keys all the time for prospective romantic interludes, but most disregard them as “groupies” or even trouble waiting to happen. But the fact that is totally humorous is that these same women had Longo’s digits in their cellphones, so they can not play as innocent either here as they might have had conversation with Longoria either before they met their current squeezes, or during their courtship.

Either way, it really has just up the ante and further advanced the mystic and allure of Longoria to women from coast-to-coast. So the next time your “significant other” gets a text message that she either smiles at or giggles like a schoolgirl, just ask her point blank is it from Longoria. It probably is not, but you never know, some guys might think it was an ultimate compliment if Longo was texting his girl….Not me, but there might be someone like that out there in the Rays Republic.


 
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Legs:

This actually might have been the easiest song to place with a Rays player basically because I seem to smile and chuckle every time I see him attempt an extra base or turn the corner for a try at a triple during a Rays contest. Carl Crawford has streamlined his glide around the base paths over the last several years to provide more energy and push to accelerate his speed within a few strides. But still when he rounds the First Base bag and he seems to be leaning at a 45 degree angle and chugging those arms back and forth, his legs always seems to come out in my photos as magical blurs or looking like time lapse photography.

So it was a perfect choice to include Crawford’s name as the player associated with “Legs”. And even if this song ultimately illustrates a love for the female form, I hope Crawford can take that I am using a bit of literary license here to portray this song towards his burst of speed and not the way his lower lips seems to drag like a English Bulldog when he is pumping towards an extra base. And I want to apologize in print if you read the lyrics to the second verse and think I am referring to Crawford with hair down to his fanny….I am not….Seriously ( My Grey’s Anatomy voice)….Seriously!

 
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Cheap Sunglasses:

You might think this would be a natural for Rays Manager Joe Maddon, but I have another victim, I mean choice for this classic ZZ Top tune. To me this song screams out Rays starting pitcher Matt Garza. Maybe it is just me, but Garza sporting that James Shields T-shirt during his side Bullpen session yesterday showed me that he is ultimately the “Too hip for school” guy on this team. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Garza has always had that persona to me. The one where he seems to display and cool and clam demeanor under that bundle of emotions and inner frustration sometimes with himself on the mound. He usually can wear those cheap sunglasses as a outer shield to keep him from actually showing his highly charged confidence and emotions. But then again, Tom Cruise pulled it off with the same pair of cheap sunglasses in “Risky Business” and it turned him into a movie superstar. Maybe Garza can turn his cheap sunglasses into a Cy Young?

 
Rob Carr/ AP

Blue Jeans Blues:


I am not sure why this next one seems to fit just by the title of the song, but I see Rays fifth starter Wade Davis as the perfect poster child for this song. Maybe it is that outer shell he has that eludes most strife and controversy as he seems to glide through his starts even against some of the opposing teams top pitchers. Davis has provided some interesting performances already in 2010, and has been totally in control and often times kind of in his own personal zone of tranquility while attempting to provide pitching brilliance so early in 2010.

And I am not trying to play on his nickname “W D-40″ to provide some raw angle of southern gentleman meets ferocious beast, but the guy is from Lake Wales, Florida and is as calm as a cucumber and soft-spoken as they come. But then again, when things are clicking like they are right now for Davis, there is nothing to worry about anyways….really.

 
Steve Nesius/ AP

Got Me Under Pressure:

For some reason I think this song actually could apply for most of this Rays team this season. Sure I could of thrown this out as a Rafael Soriano selection based mostly on his new role as the Rays closer, but in actuality, I think this entire Rays roster is feeling the pressure this season. Most of them know that this might be the last season that this collective body of players get a chance to revisit or remove some of the pain and feeling of not completing the task at hand that still lurks within some of their minds from 2008.

It might be the last time Crawford, Pena and even Dioner Navarro and possibly Jason Bartlett all hit the field at the same time to try and right a situation that seemed to melt them apart like the cold weather on that unusual October night. Maybe it is the mantra adopted by Maddon for 2010 that no longer uses mathematical situations, but asks the simple question: ” WIN or What’s Important Now”. Maybe it is that urgency of completing the mission, of finally breathing a sigh of relief that will act as the whistle from this pressure cooker called the MLB season.

ZZ Top is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member. They got their start just like so many other musicians did struggling in the small bars and honky tonks in the Texas landscape. But their telling of the stories and the message in their lyrics, they got the rest of the country to not only experience a bit of Texas, but of their own personal cultures and rituals.

But hopefully in the next several months the Rays can duplicate the success and get the admiration of the rest of the Major League Baseball world to again see them for the hardworking and diligent team that they are….And maybe after it is all said and done, the Rays could actually shadow another ZZ Top song as a team.

 
Chris O’Meara/ AP

For if the Rays hit that desired pinnacle they seek so dearly in 2010. If this Rays team can climb that last rung of the ladder and stand proudly at the top with a golden trophy in their mitts, then maybe they can all collectively sing “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide” on the pitching mound as they shower each other with praise, champagne and memories just like ZZ Top has given all of us over their long career.

Got to go people. Got a small errand to do since I am getting Photo Credentials to shoot the ZZ Top Concert tonight. And yes, tomorrow will be a ZZ Top post Concert Photo blog. See you later Gator…

Bentley is no Country Clunker

 

I have to be honest here, I might live in the South and been intertwined with Country Music for a long portion of my life, but I have strayed in recent years towards that demon rock and roll again and have not been so aware of a few of the new horses in Country Music like Dierks Bentley. But I did pop online to I-Tunes and checked out a few of his latest offerings and I got to tell you, the guy has that deep voice that reminds me a bit of Trace Adkins, who graced the Rays Concert stage in 2008.
 

And you might ask why I am tuning into Country right now with the season at my doorstep. Well, in the next day or so the Rays will release their final 5 bands/artists for the Hess Express/Rays Saturday Night Concert Series, and …..Dierks Bentley will be the featured artist after the Saturday, September 18th game against the Los Angeles Angels. And after watching a few of his videos and listening to some of his songs online this week, I am excited to see this Country artist play within the confines of Tropicana Field in 2010.
 

I presented another band yesterday (Train) to MLBlogs.com that will also grace the Rays Concert series in 2010, but Bentley right now is about to release another album in 2010 and based on his past success, this year might just be the year people talk about him from stem to stern. And Bentley does have some lineage to the Rays having attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn , the same fine institution that gave us Rays starter David Price.

And even though Bentley has only been on the National County Music scene since his self-titled debut album hit the stores in 2003, he has turned that into 13 singles on the Country Music charts in which 7 reached the #1 spot. On that debut album he released “What Was I thinking”, which became his first #1 Country hit. Both his debut album and his follow-up release “Modern Day Drifter” were certified platinum albums.

 

But Bentley might be better known for the hits “Come a Little Closer”, “Settle for a Slowdown”, “Every Miles a Memory” “Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)”, “Feel That Fire” and “Sideways”. It is rare that an artists, no matter what music category has the ability to produce a “greatest Hits” album after only 7 years in the Country ranks. But this country singer who was named for his maternal grandmother and born in the western state of Arizona has had his share of wild adventures and cross country jaunts.

 

Early in life his mother moved him to the more rock-oriented city of Lawrenceville, New Jersey where he finally graduated before heading to University of Vermont before heading south to Nashville and Vanderbilt University and spending time with the SAE (Sigma Alpha Epsilon) Fraternity. And I hate to tell all the female Rays fans, but Dierks is a married man with a beautiful baby girl who was born in October,2008. And Bentley got one of his first introductions to the Country Music scene while working for The Nashville Network (now Spike TV) researching old concert footage.
 

And maybe that small position has come in handy as some say that he is a master in using the entire stage while performing in concert. I have to say that I have a hidden closet of warmth and admiration for Country Music artists and their unique brand of storytelling via the songs and inspirations behind the melodies. But again the Rays have brought in an artists that will appeal the mass Country audience that is situated with the Tampa Bay region. You can expect another sold-out crowd and a few 10-gallon hats during this night’s performance, and maybe even a few Texas two-steps within the hallways and floor of the Trop.
 



Got to tell you the one song I am really looking forward to is “Sideways”, which is a bit of most fans weekend ritual songs….or is that just me? But with the inclusion of Train and now Dierks Bentley, the Rays still have three more artists to reveal before the season begins and who knows, maybe it could be another great band like Hoobastank or……..who knows. But when I find out, you know I will definitely let you all know as soon as possible.

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!
 
 

Beach Boys seduce Rays fans with Music

 


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Could that really be true? Can they really be ready to start their 50th Anniversary Tour in 2011? And can I really be this  darn old, but feel so young the minute they begin to play their harmony-induced So Cal classics? It is actually a bit funny that I always seem to go through a time machine and transform into my 20’s every time I hear one of the bands that blared from my old 1969 Camaro’s AM/FM radio in my youth.

The thought of the band again coming into Tampa Bay and making me remember countless weekend strolls and drives up and down Mandalay Avenue and Gulfview Blvd. on Clearwater Beach, Florida with the rag top down and my trusty side kick Hansel, my black German Sheperd in the passenger seat checking out the girls and loving the summer nights. During those cruises, one of my favorite cassette tapes was the Beach  Boys  1980 album”Keeping the Summer Alive”

And with the forever young voice of Mike Love and the Beach Boys, the trip down memory lane was going to be perfect for me last Saturday night. Not withstanding, the Rays loss for only the second time in 32 concerts did put a bit of a bummer on the night, but the minute the band began to play those surfer classics, all was beginning to become right in the world again.


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The concert was a  night of reliving some of my old beach cruising magic, and remembering those lazy days of summer in my 20’s.  Now I know a majority of the people reading my blogs were not even alive when the Beach Boy first formed in 1961 out in Hawthorne, California, but the music is so borderless that even Rolling Stone magazine has proclaimed the Beach Boys “America’s Band.” They told yarns of the surreal world of the surfers and car jockeys that was the culture in South California in the 1960’s.

And everyone, no matter what you age can remember and even sing some of the lyrics of many of their tunes. Considering the band ended up with 36 US Top 40 hits along with 56 Top 100 hits, they are the best selling American band in history. And who has not heard many of their songs in classic movies or even television as a backdrop to the beach scenes. They might not be the same members that originally hit the stage back in 1961, but they still have the same energy and envoke the same thrill they did years ago when i saw them in concert.

Even if the band doesn’t hit the same high notes as in their earlier years, this band still brings back a great flood of emotions and memories when they begin to sing their songs. And the awesome sight of seeing three and sometimes four generations of family dancing and singing their songs speaks volumes to their longevity. Seriously, I saw grandparents holding small infants and dancing with them in their arms in the aisle of the Trop that night, and seeing young and old dancing closely to their slow dance classics just reminded you of those wild dances and proms of our youth.


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I know the pictures do not do justice to the sights and sounds going on all over the Trop that night, but the music bouncing off the back walls and cascading down to our ears was a sweet ambrosia that all of us hungered to taste again. The music took all of us to a place some of us had not been in a long time, but left everyone with a smile.

Classic was the moment near the end of the concert when Love thanked the crowd for the experience, then his original band mate Bruce Johnston told him they had to have at least two more songs in them. They then erupted into “Barbara Ann” and “FUn, Fun, Fun”.  Even as I was heading for the exits of the stadium, some fans were still singing the songs and dancing in the breezeways under the stadium.

Funny, I even went searching on my FM radio on the way home hoping to catch a Beach Boys classic song on the radio before I hit my driveway. I was amazed when less than five minutes later the song ” Sloop John B”, which was recorded back in 1965 began to play over the speakers. I was quickly transcended to a time when I used to sail on a small catamaran on the Gulf of Mexico with my small tape recorder strapped to the mast.


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But that is the gift that band like the Beach Boys give us every time we hear them. They take us back to times and memories that sit close to us, and remind us of easier time, or less stressful moments in our lives.  Bands like this provide a great example of just how great some of that music in the earlier years of rock and roll can become iconic.

Even the classic “Kokomo” can be heard at any cruise ship or travel agency on the Musik now, but always bring us back to a sandy white beach, and a loud shirt or shorts.  But that is the gift, the ultimate compliment to the band and our culture if we hum a few bars, or even think of the beach culture for a moment while the song is playing.


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I could almost fee the sand between my toes that night even though I was sitting in the box seats at a baseball stadium.  I could imagine those hot, but breeze-filled nights cruising the beaches with my dog and some of those Beach Boys tunes strumming in my ears. All I was missing was an exotic drink with a umbrella in it.

( I do have more photos of all of the Rays Sat. Night Concerts this season I stayed for on my Myspace Photo area. If you wanted to check out other pictures, just go to http://www.myspace.com/www.raysrenegade.com  ).

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