By Uncle Mike
RED BANK – The Jersey Shore Rock-N-Soul Revue paid tribute on Friday, Aug. 17 to the post-Beatles careers of John, Paul, George, and Ringo by taking the Count Basie Theatre audience on a magical music tour they won’t soon forget.
Under the direction of local music legend Bob Bandiera, the Revue took to the stage at the Count Basie for the 13th time in the group’s 7½-year existence.
The performance was a musical tour replete with thrills, chills, and what Bandiera likes to call a few left turns. Founded in 2005 by Bandiera and Numa Saisselin, the former CEO of the Count Basie Theatre, The Jersey Shore Rock-N-Soul Revue has paid tribute in the past to some giants of rock ’n’ roll including Roy Orbison, Simon & Garfunkel, The Everly Brothers, Eric Clapton, the Bee Gees, and Phil Spector. The Revue also has showcased the music of The British Invasion, The Motown Sound, and the American Graffiti Era.
Jersey Shore Rock-N-Soul Revue stalwarts Bandiera (lead vocals/electric guitar), Ray Andersen and Bob Burger (vocals/acoustic guitars), Graham Maby (bass), Rich Scannella (drums), Joe Bellia (percussions), Mike Mancini and Arne “Ziffel” Wendt (keyboards), John Berry (trumpet), Tommy LaBella (tenor sax), Doug DeHays (baritone sax/flute) and Tommy Meares (trombone), were joined by newcomers John Merjave (electric guitar), Jillian McCoy and Regan Richards (vocals), and special guest Jim Celestino (electric guitar/vocals). The Revue audience was treated to 2 hours 15 minutes of some of the Fab Four’s best post-Beatles works.
Opening with an inspired rendition of “My Sweet Lord” (featuring Bandiera on lead vocals and slide guitar) from George’s masterpiece “All Things Must Pass,” the Revue lit up the Basie with outstanding interpretations of “Jet” (horns rule on this McCartney & Wings hit); “Mind Games” (Anderson offers up a strong lead vocal); “Isn’t It a Pity,” a moving rendition dedicated to Saisselin by Bandiera (the extended band jam was a crowd favorite); and “Maybe I’m Amazed” (soulful lead vocal by McCoy).
Also, “Day After Day” (terrific Badfinger gem produced by Harrison in which Burger nails the lead vocal), “Beware Of Darkness” (Bandiera and the band take it down a notch to the darker and edgy side of Harrison); “Let ’Em In” (DeHays steps up on flute and baritone sax for a big time head-bobber and great band number); “Wah-Wah” (with Andersen on vocals, the band lets it rip; a huge crowd favorite); and “Photograph” (Celestino jumps in on lead vocals and electric guitar and the band is on a roll).
The first set concludes with “Let Me Roll It” (Burger shines on vocals; killer guitars, and the crowd loves it) and “Live And Let Die” (never sounded better, with Bandiera on lead vocals … a monster number).
If you can believe it, the second set was even better. Kicking things off was “Instant Karma!” (one of Anderson’s best Lennon songs. Bandiera led the band through stellar renditions of “My Love” (one of Bandiera’s finest moments), “Imagine” (big cheers for John Lennon, and Anderson’s best), “Fame” (left turn No. 2 was this Bowie ditty that Lennon not only co-wrote but also sang and played electric guitar on … Andersen and Bandiera get down and funky on lead vocals and electric guitar, respectively).
Also, “Junior’s Farm” (Burger soars on vocals as Bandiera rocks on guitar); “Cold Turkey” (Celestino’s best vocal); “Venus And Mars/Rock Show” (another winner with Bob Burger on vocals); “(Just Like) Starting Over” (uncanny Bandiera vocal on this classic from Lennon’s last, “Double Fantasy”); “Band on the Run” (featuring Richards on lead vocal decked out in her Union Jack best); “Uncle Albert/ Admiral Halsey” (Burger in fine voice); “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” (Anderson and LaBella shine on vocals and tenor sax); “Got My Mind Set On You” (big drums and percussion from Scannella and Bellia … The Revue had them up and dancing); “What Is Life” (house rockin’ number with Bandiera on lead vocals and Merjave’s lead guitar produced a standing ovation) and “It Don’t Come Easy” (everybody up for Ringo with Bandiera and Celestino on lead vocals – a terrific closer).
Each and every song was a gem. You would expect that when you are dealing with the works of John, Paul, George, and Ringo, however being able to perform this material to the standards set by its creators is another story. This was a most ambitious undertaking by all the musicians involved.
Like my friend, George B, said prior to the show, “This is a challenge even for Bandiera.” Well. George, I think it is safe to say, “that one and all were up to the challenge.”
I expect nothing less from Bandiera and The Jersey Shore Rock-N-Soul Revue. As for the Fab Four, I have always felt that when it comes to John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s careers, whether you are talking The Beatles or post-Beatles, nobody does it better. And in the end, the fame they gained was only surpassed by the music they made!
I’m sure somewhere out there John and George are smiling ear to ear. And down here Paul and Ringo should be puffing out their chests a little more, because The Jersey Shore Rock-N-Soul Revue and Bob Bandiera did the Fab Four most proud!
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