Van Halen 3
I was heartbroken the day I found out Extreme had called it quits. Growing up in Massachusetts, I’ve been a huge Extreme fan for many years. I swear I’ve worn out my cassette of Pornograffitti, and I still listen to Extreme’s first album every day. I’ve probably seen them play 30 times, and each time, I was always amazed by lead singer Gary Cherone. Amazed by his truly wonderful voice, his dynamic stage presence, his make-your-mouth-fall-open-in-awe dancing and his ability to write thought-provoking and creative lyrics (I’d always loved how he would juxtapose and intertwine words. Having worked in the music industry and having mutual friends, I’d see them in various places or at backstages over the years, and each time they were always so friendly. I’d get so mad when people referred to them as an “80’s hair band,” because anyone who has ever seen Extreme perform knows just how truly talented they were. So when I heard that Gary was the new singer for Van Halen, it was bittersweet – that clinched it that Extreme really had broken up, but I was happy because I knew I’d be able to hear and see him perform again. Granted, I was never a huge Van Halen fan, but I was pretty sure Gary would be able to change that.
So, on a rainy Thursday night I was at Sunrise Musical Theatre for the sold out Van Halen concert. They did the meet and greet before the show, and my eagerness to say hi to Gary again, I pretty much ignored Eddie, Michael, or Alex until they said hello to me. Not that there was much time. It was the fastest meet and greet I’ve ever been to; they herded us in warning, “Don’t squeeze Ed’s hand,” lined us up, allowed us to snap the obligatory photo with the band and herded us back out. The rest of the band was extremely (pardon the pun) friendly in the 5 seconds I saw them. After that we waited for the show. And waited. The show that was scheduled for 7:30 PM was pushed back. In the meantime, I observed the mixed crowd. There were a whole group of people decked out in their finest 80’s clothes, (one woman was wearing head-to-toe red and white Diver Down regalia), the die-hard Van Halen fans wearing T- shirts so old and thin they were practically see through, guys wearing Celtics and Bruins T-shirts (in homage to Gary, I’m sure) and a whole mess of little kids, who I’m guessing were seeing Van Halen for the first time. 8:10 PM and we are still waiting, however, the crowd was cheering before the band even took the stage, and at 8:15 when the lights went out, the crowd erupted.
They opened with “Change,” Gary looking dapper in a black suit and light beige shirt that soon turned dark beige from sweat. Eddie was making his open- mouthed faces, smiling while playing his guitar. After current radio hit “Without You” (with a funky Beatles ending), they went into “Mean Streets,” “When It’s Love,” and “Fire in the Hole.” Gary was dancing and running around the stage, being his theatrical self, bowing and saluting the crowd, goofing around with the others. This is a very flexible man. He could have been a professional dancer. He’s a regular pipe cleaner. All the while I was wondering, “Where did he learn to dance like that?” (I had asked him that very question years ago and his reply was “Bozo the Clown.”) The man truly is an amazing performer. After “Why Can’t This Be Love” came the too-long drum solo. Just about this time my friend, a security guard, pulled me up to the front row. Eddie was about 5 feet away from me now. He was wearing red sneakers and no shirt, looking like he was having a great time. I stood there touching the stage; fully realizing how many people would love to trade places with me. Other songs included “Jamie’s Crying” and “Somebody get me a Doctor.” After a quick outfit change (was that a belly button ring I saw?) Gary and Eddie played an unplugged set. It’s official. I’m now a Van Halen fan.
Places I’ve gone
I ran into bass player Connie Lingus from the Impotent Sea Snakes at the Cinderella show at the Button South. He told me the band is leaving for a European tour, so if you happen to be in Holland, Berlin, or Munich anytime soon, be sure to check them out. Connie promised me he would no longer hang dead mice from his bass. Check out their Web site at http://www.masq.com/iss.html
One warning, this band is not for the faint of heart. I’ve yet to see their show, however a few reviews gives one the general idea: “The Impotent Sea Snakes is the type of band Tipper Gore was put on Earth to warn us about…2Live Crew? Cookies and cream…Prince?–Republican poster boy…Marilyn Manson?–message lost in the noise. No, this group is offensive. Vile. And proud of it.” – The Miami Herald.
“To say that the Impotent Sea Snakes traffic in offensiveness is like saying Jimi Hendrix played guitar” –Bill Wyman, Rolling Stone. Or, “If this album doesn’t offend you, there is probably something wrong with you” –The Charleston Free Times.
Cinderella turned out to be a great show, however it felt odd to be at the Button again. Several people wore their 80’s clothes (I even dusted off the fringe bustier for the occasion, amazed that I actually thought this looked good at one time.) If the size of the crowd is any indication that people miss rock and roll, then Winger and Warrant, get your hairspray and hit the road. The place was packed and the band sounded great. I went home after “Shake Me,” my ears ringing.
I took my friend Alan to the VIP invitation only Ocean Drive party at Guido the Lounge at Liquid. We arrived early at 11 pm and the party room was already too full, forcing us to wait. But worth the wait it was, with great 70’s music playing. I heard “Boogie Fever” and immediately thought of the dance routine my sister and I used to do. The tight quarters forced attendees to get very friendly very quickly but no one was complaining. Ocean Drive Magazine Television was filming all of the beautiful people, so look for the show on WAMI.
Saturday night I’m at Dave and Buster’s to say goodbye to my friend Kelley who is moving to California to work for Larry Flynt of Hustler fame. (A perfect match, I assure you.) Then it was off to the Power Studios in Miami to see another old friend Matt Kramer, former lead singer for Saigon Kick, for his first show with his new band. The Power Studios is an interesting place, with smooshy burgundy velvet seats, couches draped with blankets and low lights. It gave me the feeling like I was in someone’s living room. Cool paintings, Japanese soshi screens, a pool table, wrought iron and candelabras with hardened drips of wax made it feel relaxed while still being artsy. The band’s sound is a combination of Pink Floyd and Count Basie; a swing thing with Beatlesque writing. Featured songs included Creme De La Coo-Coo, Firefly, Change, and my favorite, Georgia. Ending the set with the Cult’s Sanctuary left the crowd wanting more. Matt promised he’d tell me when and where he’ll be next.
Laura Sue Wilansky is a busy girl too! She recently completed her volunteer certification for Hospice Care of Broward which will allow her to play for more hospice patients. She will be playing on Sunday, September 27, 1998 from noon – 2 PM at Daniel’s Tea Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy (on the southwest corner of Oakland and Federal), Fort Lauderdale, 954/630-0310. She will play on October 3 at the River Walk Arts and Crafts Festival in Fort Lauderdale, and on November 5-7 at Dialogues on Awakening, A Course in Miracles in West Palm Beach. Call (561)833-9226 for more info. You may also check out her new Website at www.safari.net/~silver/ One of these days I will pick my flute back up, Laura!
I received a fax from new band the Live-in Statues from Fort Lauderdale that asked me to listen to their demo tape, however, I never received the tape. In any case, they will be playing on October 22nd at the Roxy in Fort Lauderdale. Show starts at (9:30 pm and free passes are available at Peaches, Spec’s and Uncle Sam’s (Call to confirm this.) They have been recording with Frank “Rat Bastard” Falestra at Sync Studios on South Beach and are planning to release “That There Majesticness” in December. Call (954)764-0307 for more information.
Big apologies to the bands on the Big Bang compilation. The CD has been sitting on my desk for the last month or so. Recorded live, the CD offers a diverse range of styles. Featuring 14 Florida bands, the CD includes songs by the Livid Kittens, Doorway 27, Vervian, and the Live In Statues. CD’s at a mere $6.99. Contact Guy at Cryptogram Records at (561) 588-9088 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on future tours.
New social executive club Wild Ones will be at The Escape in Fort Lauderdale at the Riverfront on October 1, 1998. Planet Radio will have some great giveaways and raffle prizes include baskets from Origins, Urban Decay, and more. (954) 443-3258 for more information.
Africa’s Elephant Kingdom at the IMAX Theatre opens Friday, October 9, 1998. I saw the advanced screening and was so touched by this film, I cried through out the entire hour. It is a truly amazing and breathtaking picture, showing elephant life in Africa. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for students and seniors and $7 for children 3-12. Check out www.mods.org or Discovery Channel Pictures at www.elephant.discovery.com for more information. Be sure to chat with Dr. Ian Hamilton, Scientific Consultant for the film on October 2nd at 7 PM. Log on to AOL Keyword South Florida.
Please fax all club and band information to Jennifer at (954) 435-1596. And fax early, I’m a busy girl.