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FEATURE:

July 31, 2017

It's all about that band!

Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, 28/7/17 Review By Marcy Braunstein

posted by Mike Walton



The concert on Friday, July 28th was held at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls in Ohio. It's located right on the edge of Cuyahoga State Park and close to the River of the same name. It's one of those venues where there's one way in and one way out. Rod arrived about an hour before Lauper took to the stage and was fortunate to have a police escort. He commented on how bad the traffic was and thanked everyone for making their way there in spite of it. Blossom is the amphitheater closest to Cleveland, not only home to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame but also the city where the disc jockey back in 1971 turned a record over to play the B-Sided "Maggie May" and of course the rest is history.

We didn’t make our way to our seats until the break when they were setting up for Rod because we had already seen Cyndi Lauper’s entire set at the other three shows and I just don’t understand how some people can see the same artist playing the same music over and over again. Wait! What? Did I just say that? Rod himself asked me two years ago how we can come to so many shows when he plays basically the same songs? And of course my response to him was the same as it is to many others: Have you ever read a good book or watched the same exciting movie more than once. You already know what will happen each time but it’s enjoyable to read or watch and it’s a different experience each time. And this show was no different!

Rod was in a great Friday night mood! He surprised us with "It's a Heartache" and an absolutely outstanding performance of “I'd rather go Blind” which he explained that he and Ronnie Wood recorded in just 3 takes.Rod came out in a silver jacket with black trim and black pants and when he introduced Lauper for the duet as "Miss Kinky Boots herself" she came out wearing a gold jacket and black pants which blended together as well as the chemistry and charisma between them.

Rod received an unbelievable responsive sing-along to "Reason To Believe" which he seemed particularly surprised by and commented on. And when he asked folks to take their seats, most stood during most of the acoustic set and were on their feet during most of the show. It was great! During "Don't Stop Me Now" the video screen showed close-ups of Rod back when he said he was about 18 years old. His hair and his nose and his clothes did look quite different then. I would have loved to see him sing live back then-but I wouldn’t be “Lost in You since ‘72” then would I. Rod made a point of sincerely thanking everyone for sticking with him over the years and said “otherwise I wouldn’t be up here right now”.

This show was high energy like the others. Our second-row seats were on the other side for the first time this tour—over when Conrad is. When I think of Conrad. the song “It’s all about that Bass” comes to mind. And I would describe this show as "It’s all about that Band". They were on fire with enthusiasm and having a fantastic time. You can tell they all have a good relationship and highly respect each other.

Jimmy “Saxman” Roberts gave every breath he had in his being during “Downtown Train”. Becka Susan’s Tap dancing (and I may have her name wrong so someone please correct me) toward the end of “Forever Young” is such a welcomed treat and I think she should also Tap during “Ooh La La” although Rod left that one out this time. It’s evident with Becka’s stage presence that she used to be on Broadway—I think she was in “Rent”. Adrianna, the other violinist with J’Anna, who was initially in the string section in Las Vegas is a good addition to the band and she can be seen playfully joking with the other members.

Di Reed, who I didn’t realize till recently is an actress as well as a singer/songwriter, belted out “Proud Mary” at least as well as Tina Turner and both Di and Bridget stayed on stage with their backs to the audience to jam with Dave Palmer’s drum solo. I’m sure Rod knows his drummer is the backbone of the band and even when Rod taps on his stool at the end of “Have I told You Lately” it is courtesy of Dave.
Rod has three ultimate guitarists that all have back Stories: Emerson Swinford composed the theme and under-score music for the hit comedy “Hot in Cleveland” which won him multiple ASCAP awards. Not sure many know that Conrad Korsch has a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Bass from Temple University and graduated Magna Cum Lunde among other honors. Rest assured the band is like a family and they all showed up, including Rod himself, for a benefit for fellow band member, Don Kirkpatrick, when back in 2007 suffered through treatment for throat cancer. He married fellow band member, harpist and percussionist Julia Thornton in 2015.

I do miss the female singers’ vocal gymnastics at the end of "Rhythm of my Heart" and J’Anna singing with Rod during “Maggie May”. And of course Chuck Kentis is missed greatly who I wish well in the healing of his broken wrist. However, having a piece of Rod’s early history from the ‘70’s in Kevin Savigar filling in on keyboards is pure magic. And on a lesser note, I miss the balloon drop during DYTIS just because it added to the frolic of the song and was a good way to end the show. But with the outdoor venues it probably isn’t feasible.
What a show! They’ve all been great! I wish I was going to more of them. Oh yes, that’s right, we’re going to the first three Las Vegas show in August. See you there!

Review By Marcy Braunstein
Photos By By Marcy Braunstein
Montage By Tommy Kevitt



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