Show Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


CoCo Carmel, Bobby Whitlock & Ricky Byrd in background - photo by Michael Sherer

CoCo Carmel, Bobby Whitlock & Ricky Byrd in background - photo by Michael Sherer

Bobby Whitlock & CoCo Carmel, BB King’s, NYC, 6.13.17

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Jun 2017
(1599) Page Views

To paint an overall picture of Bobby Whitlock, it’s clear that he’s a versatile and talented pianist, guitarist, singer and songwriter that’s written or co written some very well known and classic songs, especially in the blues-rock vein. His best known are from Derek & The Dominoes’ only record, 1970’s Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Whitlock wrote or co-wrote seven of the album’s fourteen tracks, including “Bell Bottom Blues,” “Tell the Truth”, “Anyday” and “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?”

Whitlock also played on George Harrison’s classic “All Things Must Pass,” (1971) and two records with Delaney & Bonnie in ‘69. It was through touring with them that Whitlock met Eric Clapton, who was also in their touring band. Clapton is, of course, the “Derek” of Derek & The Dominoes.

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Jimmy Webb & Graham Nash - photo by Michael Sherer

Jimmy Webb & Graham Nash - photo by Michael Sherer

The Cake And The Rain - A Tribute Concert To Jimmy Webb, Carnegie Hall, NYC, 5.3.17

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: May 2017
(2240) Page Views

Legendary composer and lyricist Jimmy Webb had a well deserved tribute concert dubbed “The Cake And The Rain” at the highly prestigious and pristine sounding Carnegie Hall this past Wednesday evening. Proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Association and I’ll Be Foundation, in behalf of Webb’s long time close friend and fellow songwriter Glen Campbell, who has unfortunately been stricken with the disease. Webb’s wife Laura Savini was the main organizer of this special event.

An eclectic gathering of artists were in tow to honor Webb’s long, successful musical journey. The concert coincides with the recent release of Webb’s autobiography, also entitled “The Cake And The Rain.” Webb, 70, played piano along with many of the performers. They included, in random order, Judy Collins, Art Garfunkel, Johnny Rivers, Graham Nash, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, B.J. Thomas, Dwight Yoakam, Hanson, Toby Keith, Amy Grant, Michael Feinstein and Catherine Zita-Jones. They each sang two or three songs. Actor Michael Douglas (husband of Catherine Zita-Jones)  was the MC. Douglas and Webb were once roommates, hence their connection and long standing friendship.

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Jackie Mason - photo by Michael Sherer

Jackie Mason - photo by Michael Sherer

Jackie Mason - BB King’s, NYC, 5.6.17

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: May 2017
(3115) Page Views

Jackie Mason has been on the comedy scene for sixty years, and is considered a living legend by many. He’s also had his share of controversy for his choice of material with such topics as politics, prostitution and race relations, as well as a major run in with Ed Sullivan when on his show in 1964. Sullivan had erroneously thought that Mason had given him the middle finger on air while performing, although Mason had in fact not. That’s a whole other story, though I’ll say that while the fallout was a disaster and derailed Mason’s career for two decades, it does provide a good antidote for Mason to tell during his show, as well as doing his famous impersonation of the wooden like Sullivan.

At 85, Mason (born Yacov Moshe Maza) has slowed down but he still has the goods and natural timing that a real comedian must have. And to his credit Mason has almost always written all of his own material. That also includes American politics and culture in general, observational commentary, international relations, antisemitism and Jewish culture. Mason is as Jewish centric as they come, (he refers to himself as “The Ultimate Jew”) and with his strong Yiddish based accent and highly distinct, staccato manner of speaking, he sounds like no one else. A critic for Time once wrote that he spoke to audiences “with the Yiddish locutions of an immigrant who just completed a course in English. By mail.”

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Michael Douglas, Stephen Galloway & Sherry Lansing - photo by Gianna Bertoli/Michael Priest Photography

Michael Douglas, Stephen Galloway & Sherry Lansing - photo by Gianna Bertoli/Michael Priest Photography

Sherry Lansing and Stephen Galloway in conversation with Michael Douglas, 92Y, NYC, 4.28.17

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: May 2017
(1669) Page Views

There’s no doubt that Sherry Lansing has had a stellar and storied career in the film industry. She was the first female president of 20th Century Fox and later went on to become chairman of Paramount Pictures. She’s also been a very successful independent producer. Ms. Lansing recently met up with old friend and colleague Michael Douglas and author Stephen Galloway at the 92nd Street Y to discuss her biography, written by Mr. Galloway, titled “Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing And The Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker.” Mr. Douglas took the role of moderator and was clearly comfortable asking questions surrounding the book and reminiscing about his long standing professional relationship with Ms. Lansing.

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Aimee Mann captivates the Barrymore audience - photo by Mary Sweeney/sweeneysphotography.com

Aimee Mann captivates the Barrymore audience - photo by Mary Sweeney/sweeneysphotography.com

Aimee Mann brings “Mental Illness” to Madison’s Barrymore Theatre 5.2.17

Show Review By Sal Serio
Posted: May 2017
(2907) Page Views

After more than 30 years in the role of “Music Reviewer” I am happy to report that the activity hasn’t become rote and automatic. Because, often I am pleasantly surprised by the concert experience, especially when it is outside the limitations of my initial expectations. After being asked to review last night’s Aimee Mann concert at the Barrymore in Madison, I definitely walked away feeling like I got way more than I initially bargained for (in my mind, that is). Which clearly begs the question, what did I expect? Well, first let’s look at the latest release by Aimee Mann, titled ‘Mental Illness’, a beautifully crafted album of strong material, anchored by Mann’s driving acoustic guitar rhythms and her lilting singing style. The 11 songs are typically in an introspective, borderline melancholy mood, perfect for a rainy day. But this shouldn’t shock anybody. Mann’s nearly 25 year solo career has been founded on this sort of emotion… a dark humor balanced by melodies that stick in your head long after the record is off the turntable. Akin to watching an excellent drama, and having it’s major themes stuck in your subconscious for days or weeks after.

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Bob Dylan circa 1963 - photo by Jim Marshall

Bob Dylan circa 1963 - photo by Jim Marshall

The Photography Show - Presented by AIPAD, March 30 - April 2, 2017, Pier 94, NYC

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Apr 2017
(1612) Page Views

Now in its 37th year, The Association of International Photography Art Dealers, (AIPAD), has been presenting its annual exhibition in New York City. This year it was at Pier 94 on 12th Ave at 55th Street. Featuring more than 85 prominent photography galleries from throughout the country, this is a major show indeed. There’s so much to see throughout the isles of this spacious venue. There’s a bar on hand as well. A variety of genres are on display, including contemporary, modern, nineteenth-century and photo-based media. There are also talks given by photographers and artists. This year I was especially keen on hearing veteran photographer Lee Friedlander. He and his wife Maria were interviewed by their grandson Giancarlo. They’re all in business together owning the longstanding Haywire Press, which publishes Lee’s work since he started photographing in the late ‘50’s. Much of that work is known for its urban “social landscapes,” with many of Lee’s images incorporating store-front reflections, structures outlined by fences, street signs, etc. He also loves jazz and took photos of many musicians of this American invented genre, including John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, that wound up on many covers of Atlantic Records in the ‘60’s.

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The Zombies - photo by Michael Sherer

The Zombies - photo by Michael Sherer

The Zombies - The Town Hall, NYC, 3.25.17

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Apr 2017
(1714) Page Views

I was quite pleased to be present for The Zombies’ last tour as it came through the most major of all its U.S. stops, my hometown of NYC. And what a venue to experience it, the fabled Town Hall, one of the oldest and charming venues in the city. Opened in 1921 in the Times Square area with a capacity of 1,500, its acoustics and sight lines are excellent, especially from my seat a few rows away from center stage.

Some contextual history for this band is in order. They were founded in 1961 in St. Albins, Hertfordshire, England by Rod Argent, Paul Atkinson and Hugh Grundy, with Colin Blunstone and Paul Arnold joining soon after. All were late teenagers still in school. They were originally called The Mustangs, with Arnold suggesting changing it to the far more unique The Zombies. After scoring some hits, the band unfortunately broke up in December of 1967, months before their second record was released in April, 1968. That record, Odyssey & Oracle, is ranked number 100 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. This final tour is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its recording. It contains one of their best songs, written by Rod Argent, called “Time Of The Season.” It was a big hit, peaking at number 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1969, after building up from its release the year before.

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UFO - photo by Michael Sherer

UFO - photo by Michael Sherer

Saxon & UFO, BB King’s, NYC, 3.29.17

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Apr 2017
(978) Page Views

With UFO being around since ‘69 and Saxon since ‘77, some vintage British hard rock rolled into NYC at BB King’s in Times Square. Saxon opened, and played their hits such as Denim and leather, Wheels Of Steel, Princess Of The Night, Crusader, Motorcycle Man and Strong Arm Of The Law.

Saxon are a prominent band in the movement called New Wave Of British Metal (NWOBM) that came about in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s. Iron Maiden also came out of this movement and would go on to have the most mainstream and worldwide success. British Journalist Geoff Barton coined the term in a May 1979 issue of the British music newspaper Sounds to describe the emergence of new heavy metal bands in the late 1970s, coinciding with the period of punk rock’s decline and the dominance of new wave music.

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Neal Schon of Journey rocking the Madison crowd! - photo by Mary Sweeney/sweeneysphotography.com

Neal Schon of Journey rocking the Madison crowd! - photo by Mary Sweeney/sweeneysphotography.com

Journey and Asia at the Coliseum in Madison 3.28.17

Show Review By Sal Serio
Posted: Mar 2017
(2042) Page Views

First, I must make a few disclosures in advance of this concert review. In a nutshell, I honestly did not know what to expect. My personal years of digging the band Journey were circa the ‘Infinity’ and ‘Evolution’ albums, so… late 1970s… geez, almost 40 years ago now. By the time they became a mega-huge pop band in the early 80s, my tastes in music had changed toward the more aggressive and/or more esoteric. Most of the Journey hits on classic rock radio were songs I truly disliked at the time they came out, since they directly flew in the face of my angry-young-man/anti-commercial attitude and lifestyle. However, we all age, and as a result we mellow out… one can’t stay an angry young man forever. Indeed, I now often find myself scouring the used record bins to reacquire LPs that I had in my youth that had been sold back in the hardcore punk rock days.

So, here I was on the evening of Tuesday, March 28, attending the Journey and Asia concert at the Coliseum in Madison as a member of the press. I had many ponderances and tried to avoid speculations. I wondered if there was still an audience for this type of concert in Madison, especially at a venue the size of the Coliseum, whose heyday was many decades earlier. I wondered if I would enjoy myself, or be caught in a quagmire of revulsion being lumped in with the members of my own generation that never went down the path of expanding their musical or artistic horizons, and never experienced anything alternative-whatsoever in their lifestyles. I wondered whether this concert would have energy and appeal. Generally speaking, I was wondering what I was getting myself in to.

And so… (cue Bugs Bunny) “tonight what heights we’ll hit, on with the show, this is it!”

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David Cassidy - photo by Michael Sherer

David Cassidy - photo by Michael Sherer

David Cassidy - BB King’s, NYC, 3.4.17

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Mar 2017
(1766) Page Views

With David Cassidy, 66, retiring from touring this year due to the onset of hereditary dementia, I was glad to catch his last NYC appearance. Cassidy told a few stories to provide context to his 47 year career, and I’ll give some too here, as he’s had an interesting journey.

Cassidy explained from the stage that he chose BB King’s for his last NYC performance because he really likes the club and the late B.B. King himself, and due to it being in Times Square, which is where he made his acting debut in a Broadway musical. It was called The Fig Leaves Are Falling and it was in 1969 when Cassidy was 19. Although it closed after only four performances, a casting director saw it and asked Cassidy to do a screen test, whereby he moved from West Orange, New Jersey to Los Angeles and signed with Universal Studios soon after arriving. He then appeared in a few T.V. shows, but of course his big break came the following year when he landed the role as Keith Partridge in the show The Partridge Family. The program, which ran through March of 1974, was about a musical family with the lead being matriarch Shirley Jones, Cassidy’s actual step mother in real life. While Cassidy was signed primarily for his teen idol looks in addition to being able to act, he convinced the show’s musical producer Wes Farrell that he was good enough as a singer to be the family’s lead vocalist, rather than Jones, who was and is an actual singer. They then soon had a big hit with “I Think I Love You,” composed by Tony Romeo.

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Dick Gregory & Paul Mooney  - photo by Michael Sherer

Dick Gregory & Paul Mooney - photo by Michael Sherer

Dick Gregory & Paul Mooney - BB King’s, NYC, 2.10.17

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Feb 2017
(2576) Page Views

These two veteran comics make for a good pairing and have been appearing as a double bill for a few years. Mooney, 75, goes on first. He has a background that involves a lot of comedy writing in addition to being a comedian himself. He made his mark as a writer for one of the legends, Richard Pryor, during the ‘70’s as well as for television’s Sanford & Son, Good Times and In Living Color, as well as several films. Gregory, 84, has been quite involved in activism, human rights and health issues. He ran for the mayor’s seat in Chicago against Richard Daley in ‘67 and then for President of the United States in ‘68 as a write-in candidate of the Freedom and Peace Party, which had broken off from the Peace And Freedom Party. He garnered 47,097 votes and wound up on Nixon’s master list of political opponents. Despite Gregory’s racially charged material, it was Hugh Hefner that gave Gregory a huge break when hiring him as a regular at his Playboy Club in Chicago in the ‘60’s. Both men made their home in Chicago at the time and this was Playboy’s first club. 

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Mary Wilson - photo by Michael Sherer

Mary Wilson - photo by Michael Sherer

Mary Wilson, BB King’s, NYC, 2.3.17

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Feb 2017
(1632) Page Views

Mary Wilson has been a part of the music and cultural fabric for about fifty five years through being an original member of The Supremes. Coming from humble beginnings in the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects in Detroit, The Supremes were one of Motown’s earliest signings in ‘61 since Berry Gordy formed it in ‘59. It’s been forty years since Mary left The Supremes, at which point they disbanded. Diana Ross left in ‘70, with various members coming and going in the intervening years. It’s the original trio of Mary, Florence Ballard and Diane Ross (changed to Diana) that’s most fondly remembered by most true fans.

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