Sunday, October 31, 2004

This Magic Moment...

...Was a magical evening.

Okay, maybe not magical, but it was fun. Another concert at Westbury, this time Jay Black. Jay had an opening act -- a singer named Ric Mango who was okay. Ric had a former member of the Brooklyn Bridge with him who sang "The Worst That Could Happen," and a former Drifter who did "Higher and Higher." Both were better than Mr. Mango.

Hubby and I have seen Jay a number of times, most recently, this past spring. Jay's show is probably the only oldies concert that comes with an adult content warning. And rightly so. Jay has a foul mouth, but he's also very funny, though the F word was hardly in attendance tonight, a rarity. However, his jokes and commentary were dirty enough to make up for it.

One reason I don't much want to talk about the past on my blogs is that I'm sure I'll forget what I've said and will therefore repeat some story and bore everyone, but I'll take the chance now. Back in the '70s, probably the early '70s when I was in college, I went to a lot of outdoor concerts in Central Park with my friends W (the one I've had the reunion with a year or so ago), A, and M, and sometimes, friends of theirs. First, the concerts were sponsored by Schafer, and later by Dr. Pepper. And one of the concerts we went to there was a twinbill of Jay and the Americans, followed by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

It rained that day, but cleared up in time for the concert. The bleacher seats were damp, but we were still wet from getting caught in the rain, so we didn't care. We were sitting pretty high up and couldn't see the performers very well, but it didn't matter. We could hear fine. Jay and the Americans went on and were wonderful. I don't recall hearing one four-letter word from Jay's mouth. Not the F word or any other of its ilk. I'm sure, given the time and place, I would have been startled enough to remember, but if he used such words, it failed to leave an impression on me. It's possible, given the time and place, he was more careful with his language back then. Or perhaps getting older has eroded his inhibitions or he's reached the point where he doesn't f'in care. At any rate, he sang wonderfully and wowed everyone with the high notes in "Cara Mia." Then came word that Frankie and the Four Seasons were stuck in traffic on the way in to NYC from NJ. Jay and the Americans would need to stay on to keep the crowd from getting restless.

Jay started taking requests. "Cara Mia" was one of them and he gamely sang it. He had to pass on a request for an album cut, quipping that they didn't remember the lyrics for every song they recorded on every album (that, I remember). Someone requested "Cara Mia" for a third time. Jay demurred, saying he was getting too old (I'm not totally sure I'm remembering this part exactly) to hit that note a third time in the same show.

Finally, the Four Seasons showed up. And were booed. We were all just grooving with Jay and the rest of the gang and were ready to listen to him all night. Still, Frankie and the Four Seasons put on a great show.

So now, I've seen Frankie Valli twice at Westbury, from close up, and Jay Black from just as close for 4 or 5 times now. The two of them are friends and often mention each other, though mostly, they just tell jokes on each other. When it comes to Frankie Valli jokes, they tend to be height or rather, lack of it jokes. Jay got in a few good ones tonight, focusing on Frankie being two years older than him. Jay will be 66 on Tuesday. He can still sing up a storm and managed to do a credible job on "Cara Mia," even if he was ducking a bee for most of the show (yes, indoors, and it looked like a moth to me, but whatever; a bug's a bug and he was really freaking out about it once the audience loudly informed him the thing had landed on his back).

One of my favorite things about Jay's shows these days is his son Beau who has been performing with him for a few years. I think he said Beau is 21 now (Jay's been married a few times and I think Beau is his youngest). Beau has a beautiful, rich voice with a fairly large range, and he plays guitar in Jay's orchestra during the show when he's not onstage. I'm not musically inclined and my knowledge starts and ends pretty much with what I like, and I like Beau's singing. Jay and Beau always sing a Roy Orbison song, "Crying," together and Beau usually does a few solo numbers. They also did a duet with an Everly Brothers' song. The concert ended with "Come a Little Bit Closer" which includes audience participation (various sections being directed to sing the chorus in turn) and Jay and Beau doing "Some Enchanted Evening."

On the drive home, hubby commented that every time he sees Jay listed on the Westbury schedule, he wonders if it's worth going because we've seen him so many times now, but we always go and it's always worth it, because we have a good time.

One thing I forgot to mention about last night's concert is that Peter Noone sang a Dave Clark 5 song, "Glad All Over," dedicating it to Mike Smith who broke his neck in an accident last year. Mike's been having a rough time, though the most recent update was encouraging. He's back in his wheelchair for part of the day and breathing on his own for a couple of hours at a time. Dave Clark 5 was one of my favorite groups in the '60s (hubby and my wedding song was the DC5's "Because") and Mike was my favorite in the group. He was the lead singer and keyboardist. If you were a fan of the group and are a praying person, put in a good word for him, okay? Thanks.