Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Light of Day Concert - Hollywood

I’m still working on 3 hours sleep and a couple of short naps. I’m not sure I can create a cohesive review here, but we’ll give it a try…

A bit of history first. The Light of Day benefit was started about 6 years ago in New Jersey, with mainly local talent. The first year was not heavily attended. Six years later they perform three nights and generally you can expect Bruce Springsteen to show up at one of the shows. It was originally a benefit for Parkinson disease research but now shares its profits with ALS research. So, the boys and girls from the Jersey Shore decided to share this extravaganza with the west coast, and Monday night at the Hollywood House of Blues we got our first peak at the Light of Day benefit concert.

You’d think that there were more New Jersey residents here who would have packed the house, but alas only a couple hundred showed up to cheer on a mixed bag of performers. I wrote down a lot of info over the night, but didn’t catch all of the names so please excuse any mistakes or missing names. By the time I got in, the music had already started. I can’t remember the name of the performer. I think his last name was Strange. His couple of songs were fine, but nothing grabbed me right away. This was the case for several of the artists/bands I saw during the evening. For those who don’t want to add them up as I go, there were 17 artists/bands and they performed over a 7 hour period. Many of them were from New Jersey or had strong Jersey connections. The opening act finished up right around 7pm, when the show was supposed to start. And so up first, really, was Dramarama. This was a three piece acoustic version of the band. Two of there 4 songs were new songs of the life/death/hope variety. Did someone have a near death experience? I think they needed to plug in.

Next up was Holly Ramos. 2 songs about lost love with a cute voice. Just not enough time to really comment.

An unnamed woman got on stage and performed two very nice covers: Wonderwall and Amy Rigby’s “Are We Ever Going to Have Sex Again”. A+ for taste in music.

The first strong set of the evening came from Peter Case. He opened with a potent version of “Crooked Mile”, followed with “Farewell to the Gold”, slipped in a Lennon tune, “Not a Second Time” (dedicated to Arnold for his allowing the death penalty) and finished with “Cold Trail Blues” which he dedicated to all the men on death row. Someday I must see a full concert of his. Stanley Tookie Williams was dead by the time the concert ended.

It felt like the show was just getting into gear. It’s about 8:30 and things are moving very quickly. Unfortunetely, one of the highlights for the evening came way too soon. Peter Himmelman came out with a guitar player and proceeded to introduce himself as Shlomo, a friend of Peter’s. He kept this up through the first 2 songs and finally pointed at a woman in the audience and asked her if she had a request. Impatient, he asked, humbly, do you even know who I am. Apparently she replied, “I do. I’m thinking”. But instead of waiting for a response, he decided to create a new song. I called it, “The girl in the yellow polka dot jacket”. It was very funny and pretty amazing that he can pull that stuff off. After a rousing ovation for his ad lib work, he got serious (as serious as he can get) and told the story behind the song “Woman with the strength of 10,000 Men”. It’s a story of him meeting a woman with ALS. Very moving. He sang the song and then he was gone. Way too soon. It has taken me years to see him in concert and I can’t believe I’ve wasted so much time. What a tremendous talent. Did I mention that he also performed a cute little blues number and “Impermanent Things” which he dedicated to L.A. Those who know the song got a good laugh.

Okay, I need sleep. We’ll finish this review later.

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