Results tagged ‘ Rays Saturday Night Concert Series ’

I am Ready to Hoot and Holler for Rucker

 

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You know to this day people all around the World still possibly daily refer to him as “Hootie” and not by his given name. But that is one of the drawbacks of being a singer in a band. Sometimes your name can get lost in shuffle. Missed by millions when even on the CD cover it lists you name as Darius Rucker, not “Hootie”. You have to wonder if anyone ever called Ian McCulloch by the name “Echo” since he fronted Echo and the Bunnymen.

But even with the common name snafu hitting his ears every day, you have to think Rucker has risen above the strife and is feeling pretty good about his solo career. Sure the South Carolina native might get a little annoyed at the constant name misfortune, but after 5 studio albums and 6 Top 40 chart hits…you can let some things slide.


430-Pebble_Beach_Golf_sff_embedded_prod_affiliate_70.jpgRucker also has a unique Rays connection line having just playing in a golf foursome with Rays fan Kevin Costner and Bill Murray at the PGA Pebble Beach National Pro-Am where Rays All Star Third Baseman Evan Longoria also attended.

Rucker name has been “officially” announced by the Tampa Bay Rays (I told you via Twitter months ago) for the Saturday, May 14 show after the 4:10 pm Baltimore Orioles contest. Especially great is that on May 13th, Rucker will celebrate his 45th birthday (May 13,1966). So maybe Rucker and I can celebrate together since that concert date is also my birthday. Since the Rays have gone 0-13 on that date (May 14th), possibly Rucker & I can high-5 after he helps us break our losing streak on that date (I am betting on it).

Most people might not know that Rucker finished his first solo R&B album back in 2002 and the album did not chart any of the singles. Then six years later after signing with Capitol Records and redefining himself more towards his Southern roots, his first single “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” showed if he stayed true to his country twang, he was on the road again to stardom.

Another really amazing thing to come about after the release of this first single off his “Learning to Live” CD is that Rucker became the first African-American artist to chart a number 1 hit since ex-baseball player Charlie Pride back in 1983. Suddenly the World rediscovered Rucker in this solo light and he also had hits like “It Won’t Be Like This for Long” and “Alright” shoot up the charts to the top spot, with “History in the Making” falling just short at number 3.

Still the rejuvenation of his music also made him the first African-American artist to ever win the New Artist Award at the CMA Awards in 2009. It was also only the second time that an African-American singer had ever won an award from the Country Music Association (Pride was also the first). His latest Cd ” Charleston, South, Carolina 1966 pays homage to his hometown and the year of his birth.

You can bet his father, who Rucker only saw on Sundays since he was a singer in the gospel band called “The Rolling Stones” is now glad his son decided to follow his childhood dream of singing. Looking forward to hearing Rucker sing in Tropicana Field,. I am wondering if it will happen on “Country Night“, or possibly the popular “90′s Night“.


75-uscopening1_lead_art_horizontal_prod_affiliate_74.jpgNo matter what themed night Rucker performs on it has to feel like a million miles away from his stint on the celebrity “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” , as the singer at Tiger Wood’s wedding (along with the rest of the Blowfish) or as the chicken tender crisp cowboy on a Burger King television ad.

Rucker, an avid sports fan who has the Miami Dolphins logo tattooed on his body knows that when life throws you a curveball, you just lean back and crank it to the Moon. That is the type of clutch singer who could end a Rays May 14th losing streak. Heck, maybe we can get lucky enough to hear Rucker do another stirring National Anthem like the one he did at this year’s past Sugar Bowl game in the Superdome. He sure sounds amazing in domes!

 

 

General Lambert and the Glam Nation Invade Tropicana Field

 
 
It was kind of funny to hear Depeche Mode’sPrecious” being played before the beginning of Saturdays night’s Tampa Bay Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series event with Glam rocker Adam Lambert. More for the fact it set the pace of the evening where our master of disguises, Mr. Lambert himself showed us why he is going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. And as soon as he came onto the stage tonight it was evident why people see him as a hybrid of so many great legends of music all rolled up into one.  

Lambert has the stage presence of Elton John, the wardrobe changes of Cher, and is boosted by a voice that seems to scream the vocal artistry of Queen’s great front man, the late Freddie Mercury. Boosted by enough glitter on himself and his entourage on stage to make any Mardi Gras float envious and jealous, it was Lambert’s voice tonight that made you forget some of his stage distractions and immediately concentrate upon the lyrics and the songs we have all come to associate with Lambert’s flair for the theatrical. 

And his theatrics on stage both through his stage riser in the center of the stage mixed with a brisk and totally popping choreographed dance segments push the envelope between both an audio and visual extravaganza that makes you take a step back and collect your breath, then begin to sing along with the singer on his tunes that have shocked, awed and also entertained us ever since he broke off the American Idol stage.

And we definitely got the PG-rated show because of the impressionable youth in the crowd, but the diversity of the crowd definitely shows that Lambert is crossing all type of boundaries and stereotypes to entertain and push his Glam Nation prerogatives towards some new listens. And I kind of like his style of thrusting his views and opinions at you with gusto, but keeping his on stage image bordering on the brink of surreal. But just as you are about to pigeon-hole him with simply a meshing of  androgynous music with his tunes like “Strut” and “For Your Entertainment“, Lambert whirls you into a 180 degree turn and pushes your ears and eyes into another defined direction. And that is the reason I can see Lambert being pushed into the mold or direction of the always theatrical Mercury.

That zest and energy to attack the vocals and invite musical accompaniment to throw the eyes and ears into different angles and directions while still tapping your foot or clapping your hands to the beat.  Another section of music that Lambert has seemed to attack with vengeance is acoustic sets of music to his songs like “Whataya Want From Me” and even “Soaked” which has a really familiar Queen feel to it. When Lambert goes into his acoustic sets, you really get a great indication of the unfolding talent and incredible vocal range he is exploring more every day.

Sometimes his musical mannerisms and moves on stage did seem to play more towards Broadway than pop culture. But if you are not entertained at a Lambert show, then you came into it with a closed mind. He reminds me of some of the classic 80′s groups like The Pet Shop Boys or even Depeche Mode in his booming bass lines and rhythms that take you beyond the lyrics. If you are not into club music or have an allergy for glitter, than Lambert will not be your cup of tea. But as someone who has pushed his way through the Punk Rock stereotype and the epic explosion of experimental techno music and electronically enhanced House music’s New York minute, Lambert is a lion pretending to be a kitten. In a way, Lambert reminds me of a splash of David Bowie with a more pronounced sensual sexuality about him, but with lyrics that catch your attention and your mind simultaniously. 

All you have to do is hit up any music site and click on a small snippet of “If I Had You” and you will see that someday, the whole world could be come a Glam Nation colony. Lambert definitely takes you on a sensory explosive adventure with his music, the color hues of his stage lighting with high accents on purple, aquamarine and even a pinkish burst here and there for added dimensions. This color pallatte explosion of lights made it a bit difficult for some photo shots, with the always changing background colors and formatting, but that was also part of the “Glam Nation’s” intention. 

Lambert definitely can put you off by his many wardrobe changes (I lost track at four) during his performances, but we have already concluded, that is Lambert’s ultimate intention. All your sense have to be ready for overload if you are ever going to enjoy Lambert’s theatrical and vocal sideshow. But his costumes were all done in the basic black format of most of the gone, but not forgotten Punk Rock groups. With the splash of hues of aqua, purple and red, the outfits somehow took a life of their own at times.

I was a bit upset that Lambert did not get a chance, or give us an extra bit of magic tonight with his rendition of Foghat‘s “Slow Ride” with Allison Iraheta, who opened the show for Lambert. But even without this tasty morsel, it was a hearty meal of great music and theatrical fun.

 I came into this show expecting to be impressed, and I was quickly blown away by the vocal range and the true artistry of Lambert’s band and dancers. Might have been over the top for a few moments as Lambert had to remind one of his guitarist it was a “PG show”, but well worth staying here until the Witching Hour.  The diversity of the crowd was not even apparent once the music began and everyone began to sway and use their cellphones to record photos or video moments of the concert. Was a great peek into one of the artists that might help shape the future of rock as we know it today.

Still curious as to how the Rays grounds crew are going to get all that silver metallic glitter up before Sunday’s game.

Not to worry, I think we are going to be talking about this show long after the last tinsel or freckle of glitter is gone

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Allison Iraheta’s Raspy Vocals Energize the Trop


 

 

Most people who have known me outside of the baseball park, and usually during the off season know that I used to play and sing in a band for a long time, plus have done my share of hitting the Karaoke microphone both as a KJ and as a performer.

 

 

It is one of those hidden little passions and talent some people know about, and other find out through the grapevine or by accident step into a bar you are playing at the time.


 

 

And that is one of the reason I have always had a liking for the rocker chicks who perform on shows like American Idol. I am a huge closet Alternative and Rock guy who has done everything from Depeche Mode to Journey on stage. I do it not for the chick and ego, nut it is my calming force, the place I head to if life get too hard, or the road too long. And that is why I feel a distant, but connective bond with a singer like Allison Iraheta.


 

 

Most of us know her as the pint size crimson-haired leather-clad singer who can belt out anything from Heart’s Anne Wilson classics, to Aretha Franklin without anyone questioning her vocal range. And believe me, on Saturday night during the Tampa Bay Rays/ Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series as she opened for Glam rocker Adam Lambert, she definitely got the party started right. Even with her limited exposure and only one album under her belt, Iraheta had her vocals bouncing off the Trop’s roof and delighting the crowd.


 

 

The way she hit the stage reminded me of those old red bouncing ball that never seemed to lose energy or slow down at all unless you trapped it under a box or snagged it with your fingers. She was energetic, juiced-up and rocking to all types of vocal heights as she performed a half hour set before Adam Lambert was to hit the stage. Heard the song “Robot Love” for the first time last night and loved the bass pumping and wonder why this is not a good club hit, or maybe I am hitting the wrong clubs.


 

 

But the one tune everyone was waiting for was “Friday I’ll Be Over You” and she nailed it and was prancing across the stage like a veteran rocker instead of someone out on their first tour. Also had not heard “Don’t Waste The Pretty” before and might be headed to Best Buy soon and getting myself a new CD for the old collection. She performed “Still Breathing” and I could almost see a bit of the range and vocal talents of Gwen Stefani hidden inside her ready to unleash its carnage on the World.


 

Iraheta might have been an opening act, but she definitely showed all of us her name will be heard a lot in the future with her rasp voice that reminds me a little of Janis Joplin with a hint of Joni Mitchell for good measures.

 

And that is high praise when you consider Iraheta’s age and that she is growing more and more in talent and abilities every day. And she is also a cross-over star being bi-lingual and could be a budding star in both English and Spanish recording.

 

But I guess the best praise I can give Iraheta right now is for her to Rock On and keep striving for that special place where music and life make their crossroads.
 

Allison Iraheta to Open for Adam Lambert Saturday Night!

 

Just got confirmation from a really reliable source within the Rays cloak of silence that scheduled artist Orianthi, who was to be the opening act for this Saturdays nights Rays/ Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series event featuring Adam Lambert. Orianthi had to back out of her tour commitment and will be replaced by another American Idol alumni who is on her own course to stardom.


You might remember Allison Iraheta, the spunky Latin California cherub we all got to love during season 8 for her stirring rendition of Heart’s classic “Alone” during that season’s American Idol finals. But even before she bellowed out ” (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” at the San Francisco American Idol auditions back in 2009.

Most people might remember the look of immediate shock on then American Idol music director Rickey Minor when Iraheta was eliminated and had to settle for a fourth place in the singing competition.


And all through her Idol performances, Iraheta was given astonishing critique about her growth as a budding artist and in an interesting twist, fellow American Idol judge Paula Abdul once compared both Iraheta and Lambert together had a “special sauce”.

Before auditioning for American Idol, the los Angeles based Iraheta won a singing competition on the Telemundo reality show “Quinceanera” back in 2006, which used a format of singing in either English or Spanish songs during the competition. The program had Grand Prizes of a $ 50,000 purse and a recording contract. The Telemundo program did not offer the final prize of a recording contract.

But after her time on American Idol, Iraheta was signed by 19 Entertainment and Jive Records and they collectively released her first album “Just Like You“, which contained her songs “Friday I’ll Be Over You“, “Scars” and “Don’t Waste the Pretty“.


On April 2010, Iraheta was announced as the opening act for Lambert’s “Glam Nation” Tour. The addition of Iraheta actually makes the double billing a bit more of a true entertainment bonus for everyone as some will come to see the flamboyant and vocally entertaining Adam Lambert, and others will come to the Trop Saturday night to hear Iraheta sing some of her tunes off her own first album.

But hopefully they can both come out on Saturday night and do their stirring rendition of their American Idol Finals Week duet of their rendition of Foghat’s “Slow Ride” which was the performance that Iraheta did with Lambert when Iraheta was being considered a “rock goddess” by American Idol judge Kara DioGaurdi, and inspired that weeks musical mentor Slash who thought she ” possessed a better voice than most women “twice her age””.

Should be an amazing night of super vocal scales rolling off the Teflon roof of Tropicana Field. The set is being rumored to be possibly 80-90 minutes long, and will be performed after the conclusion of the Rays versus Angels game that will begin at 7:10 pm. Do not forget the game time has been pushed back from the previously advertised 6:10pm first pitch.

Also if you want to still purchase a wristband for the performance to get on-the-field access ($40.00), please this link to the Rays/Ticketmaster website for more information on getting an up close and more personal sound experience with Allison Iraheta and Adam Lambert this Saturday.
 

See you there!

Fogerty Brought the Swamp to the Trop

 
 
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Got to tell you, I am a child of the 1960′s. Got my first walking papers about the time that the Freedom Rider bus was firebombed in Anniston, Alabama and began my long-winded speech patterns the day the Berlin Wall began construction. I had the early sixty’s painted all around my simple soul and it has always been a part of my subconscious life. And it was in that time that I also first began to get my interest in music almost simultaneous with my love for baseball.


But in the 60′s there was no “walk-up” music or even a interesting musical interlude between pitchers strolling from the mound or hitching a ride in a golf cart to the mound. But if there was to be music played at the ballpark at that time period, Cajun Bluesman John Fogerty surely would have had a well selected portion of the baseball world humming his tunes or people swaying in the stands to his beats and guitar.

 
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Not to be forgotten in 2010 is the fact that his signature song about his love for the game, “Centerfield” is celebrating its 25th year. And what better way to celebrate than to invite almost 30,000 of your closest baseball friends to join in the festivities with you. So last Saturday night, during their yearly “60′s Night” when the young lasses of the Rays Team were dancing to songs only their parents would have played prior either on vinyl or 8-track, the scene quickly evolved into a classic bluesy music fest honoring Fogerty’s contribution to that era’s music.


And some around me were upset that he actually started with “Centerfield” first on his long play list, but because of the plethora of tunes and melodies he would evoke in all of us that night, in the end, it only seemed right. So he took to the stage with his Home blue Rays jersey and his small baseball bat-shaped guitar and brought the crowd instantly into his own little bayou-inspired trip.

 
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And sure right after the song when he brought his highly accented Cajun drawl to the microphone thanking the crowd and talking about the adventure we were about to take…I felt transported to a small darkened nightclub in the French Quarter, or the back porch of a swamp bar somewhere around Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


Fogerty had just come to Tropicana Field after performing at the 2010 Swannee River Jam on Friday night with fellow artists like Travis Tritt, Zac Brown Band, John Michael Montgomery, rockers Kansas and the LoCash Cowboys. How wild is it that he would mosey right down southbound on I-75 from Live Oak, Florida near the Georgia/Florida border to the confines of Tropicana Field before resting a spell before hitting the Scandinavian leg of his upcoming European Tour.
 

 
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But immediately after he got finished playing “Centerfield”, Fogerty discarded his Rays jersey to moans from the crowd, but got into the spirit of the night dressed in a brown plaid flannel shirt and jeans and changing guitars to begin our transformation of the night into a Blues mini-fest of all his Credence Clearwater Revival moments and his own special take on the music scene. The minute the first chords were played on his electric guitar of “Born on the Bayou”, the crowd was whooping and hollering for more. And it is classic to hear people still singing a song that was written so long ago, and before most of them were ever imagined in their parent’s minds.
 

It was a night where it seemed that with every musical note and every sway of the serenade Fogerty was transporting all of us into a mystical adventure we would be talking about for weeks. When Fogerty began strumming his guitar, and the crowd picked up immediately on the song “Who Will Stop the Rain” the crowd erupted into song along with him, and even if some of the harmonies were a bit off, it was a pure musical moment you either were totally drawn into, or it fell by the wayside…..Personally, I was drawn deep into it like a moth to a flame.

 
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“Lookin’ Out My Backdoor” caught some in the crowd by surprise that they forgot he did the classic tune, but the crowd dancing and singing to the tune quickly brought the rest of us into the journey one more time. From “Fortunate Son” to “Up Around the Bend” Fogerty kept the Trop thumping with drumbeats and guitar riffs until we all felt we had lost 10 pounds just from the constant singing and dancing among the aisles and stadium Field Turf II.

 
The night pulsated with the high beats of “Run Through the Jungle” and “Green River” to the instant crowd pleasing favorites of “Travelin’ Band” and “Old Man Down the Road”, which has always been a CCR/Fogerty personal favorite of mine. But Fogerty wasn’t done with us yet. He made sure to thank all of us for coming out and enjoying the music with him before he began to play what most people had anxiously waited to hear that night. A classic tune so great other artists had done covers of it, and a song that truly speaks to Forgerty’s unique songwriting talents.


 
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No, I am not talking about the slow ballad classic “Garden Party”, but it was extremely amazing in its own right on Saturday night. What I think the crowd had been waiting for was “Proud Mary”, and Fogerty and his band mates did not disappoint any of us in the least with this classic song that everyone knew, even those under twenty years of age. It is a song that transcends gender and age boundaries and really emotionally takes you into another realm of music greatness.


And Fogerty sang it like it was his very first time bellowing out the tune with the extreme emotion in his heart and a deep soul of a man who knows this type of Cajun-influenced music has a place in every section of the World and in all of our hearts and mind too. Got to tell you some nights I leave the Rays/Hess Express Saturday night Concert Series with a ringing in my ears from the high bass or the implosion of sounds to my eardrums.

On Saturday night I left Tropicana Field with a constant ringing in my ears of classic blues/rock songs I want to repurchase again on I-tunes or other music sites. but also wanted to again relish in my car the music of Fogerty and a section of this country often misunderstood or forgotten. One tremendous concert series artists down, and nine to go.

 
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If this weekend’s guests, ZZTop is even remotely close in comparison to the music and memory flashbacks I had with Fogerty on Saturday night, it is going to be a long year watching these artists take stage. But in the end, it is the music that shapes us. That evokes the memories and the emotions of times in our lives where joy or sorry are housed.

Forgerty brought back those youthful Fraternity parties and backyard BBQ’s I grew up with as a young kid in the Citrus/Hernando County regions where my parents had a weekend fishing cabin. It reminded me why I love living in this region of the country, and how music truly shapes your life in so many ways.

 
 
 

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