I'm going to attempt in just one blog here to capture the highlights of our adventures of the SHOF Induction Ceremony and 3 more FOREIGNER gigs. Gonna be a long one folks so grab a cup of coffee or your favorite ice cold refreshing adult beverage and read along. Though I've been to several shows since, this is the first review I've written since the Atlanta show. That was such an emotional event for me as not only was it was Mick's first show back in a while, it was also the first time in a long while I'd seen some very special and important people in my life, and they were there at the show with me.
Well, it all started for me Tuesday morning as I flew up to Chicago to meet up with David. Wednesday morning we took the 6:35 a.m. flight to Newark Airport and picked up the rental car. We had lunch with his sister, then headed over to JFK Airport to pick up Stuart and Babs, who's flights were arriving a few minutes of each others. With Stuart in tow, we thought we would have to wait a bit for Babs to clear Customs and Immigrations, but low and behold, she called us and said she was out already! Perfect timing to get a long weekend off to a great start! We then headed back over to New Jersey to Gina's home. As we pulled in front of her house, there she was on the front porch ready to greet us with open arms! In a few, we headed over to the watering hole Gina and taken David and I to (along with Debbie, Sue LilSis and Nicky Pizzas) 3 years ago when we were the "Jersey Joint Gang". After a couple rounds of Stellas we headed back to Gina's where she prepared an awesome Italian dinner for us. Gina is a pretty darn good cook I must say! Before long Debbie showed up so the entire group of us to be attending the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (SHOF) were now united!
Let's fast forward to Thursday afternoon and the drive to the New York Marriott Marquis, the place of the SHOF event. Wow, that Manhattan traffic....more about this later...we stayed at the Double Tree Hotel about a block away from the Marquis. We all put on our fancy duds then headed over to the Hard Rock for a couple of hurricanes to get us loosened up and ready for the main event. I'm leaving something out here for Gina to tell you about!
So we arrive at the Marquis. There early to capture in the atmosphere and get a glimpse of the many stars as they arrived, we had the chance to see many. I'll let the others comment on the ones they got to see and what stood out to them. We did get the chance to see and chat with Phil Carson, Michelle, and Steve Foreigner (aka FWT) before the show, along with Tommie.
So finally we take our seats up in the balcony. Lou's table was right below us and we all got the opportunity to yell down to him and he waived back. Elton John's table was adjacent to Lou's and he was there with his two body guards. Mick's table was 3 tables down and too far away for us to holler at him.
So the show begins and it was star studded. Sting sang "Saturday Night" before presenting a special award to Elton John. Besides Mick and Lou's presentation and performance, the highlight for me was to hear Patty Smyth sing "The Warrior" and Petula Clark sing "Downtown".
So the spotlight now is on Mick and Lou. Billy Joel made the presentation. Lou gave a somewhat brief speech followed by a longer, and emotion packed, speech by Mick. They then performed JUKE BOX HERO followed by a supercharged version of I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS that had everyone in attendance on their feet, and many a wet eye - including mine. The choir backing them up was magnificent.
It was 11 years ago this month that I last saw Mick and Lou on stage together. Brought back so many memories. That was yesterday, and today is today. Change IS what it IS. If not for that change, I would not have had the opportunity to have this time in my life that I CAN literally go ALL OVER THE WORLD to see my favorite rock 'n roll band of over 30 years and hear those incredibly remarkable songs again. Also, if it were not for change, I probably would have never had the opportunity to get to know, and develop life long enduring friendships with so many of you.
Fast forward to Friday morning. After maybe 3 hours sleep, we all headed off to the Fox and Friends stage area to attend the All American Summer Concert event the boys were playing. Getting there about 6:45 a.m. (Gina and Debbie got there a little earlier) we were able to get our favorite spots at the stage. We got to see the boys do a few warm ups before the main event. I'll let David tell you about Mick's arrival.
Don't have the set list, but I believe it was 6 or 7 songs they played. There was about 10-15 minutes between songs as the show was incorporated with the Fox morning show. Gave us a little time to interact with the boys in between songs. Being broadcast live and with streaming video, there were many shots of all of us being broadcast to the world, up there at the stage, rockin' with the very best rock 'n roll band around. Bragging a bit here, it was good for the ego to have so many of my friends contact me via facebook or what ever saying they saw me getting my groove down! You can still see clips of video by going to www.foxandfriends.com/concerts
Show over, we head back to the hotel to check out and make the track back to Gina's. Manhattan traffic - UGH! We really should have stayed in Manhattan, as it wasn't long after getting back to Gina's that we had to head back that way to Brooklyn for the Mets and Cubs game followed by FOREIGNER! David, Babs, Stuart and I were in our car, and we missed a very important time saving turn. We wound up having to go through perhaps the worst Manhattan traffic of all, China Town. The trek took us 3 hours and we did not get into our seats until the top of the second inning. We missed the boys singing the National Anthem and Kelly throwing out the First Pitch.
So with the game over, the stadium crew and our Incredible Techies set up the stage behind 2nd Base. A tiny stage, the boys were really packed in. Didn't matter though, they put on a great show with, I'd say, at least 25,000 in attendance. The sound was AWESOME, especially considering the set up at a base ball stadium. Sorry y'all, don't have the set list for this show either, but it was 9-10 songs they played. Oh, Gaynor and Vera and her husband joined our gang at this stage. Well, you know Kelly.....he got out there on the field, and took a jog from Dug Out to Dug Out, all the while singing, and with a poor cameraman in tow. Don't know how the camera man kept up with that heavy equipment on his shoulder.
It was a great show and I'll let the others comment on what was memorable for them. Aside for the show itself, it was great to be with the others at a rather unique venue.
Fast forward to Saturday morning. David, Babs, Stuart and I headed out about 10:00 a.m. We had to take Stuart back to JFK. Unfortunately it was time to say our goodbyes to him as he had to get back home. It was the third time David and I got to rock with Stuart. He's a great guy and we (oh, and everyone else!) enjoyed getting to fellowship with him. So now we are off to Atlantic City!
Babs, David and I stayed in a hotel about 15 minutes from the venue - the Golden Nugget. The Golden Nugget was a little bit pricey for what we wanted to pay. After checking in we headed down to the Board Walk, where we met up with Sue and Nikki at the Hard Rock for yet another hurricane and bite to eat. Back then to our hotel to get ready for the show. We all kinda decked out for this show! Then off to the Golden Nugget.
Nice venue seating about 2500-3000 I'd say. We all managed to get 1st and 2nd row, with most everyone getting up to the stage as the show progressed. Gina and I were right in front of Jeff. It was the standard 14 song set. The boys rocked hard and it was a pretty damn good crowd, with the exception of a couple of duds at front and center. Come on now, you are in the freakin' very best seats in the house and your sitting on your freakin' a.. virtually the entire show! Kelly did his best to get them to stand, with only brief success.
I guess the highlight of the show was when Jeff and Michael switched roles during Hot Blooded - it was really awesome! Tall lanky Michael right in front of us playing Jeff's bass...it was a sight to see! Was a great show...don't know what else to say. Sensory overload at this point, so much action-packed adventure in such a short time period.
There is something I do wish to say here. Sometimes there is talk here at the forum about it always being the same set list with very little variation. We need to keep something in mind. The overwhelming majority of people at a FOREIGNER show probably haven't seen the band in years, if ever. They are there to hear the hits. Many of us - myself included - would absolutely love to hear a deep track or two. But it is the casual fan that fills the venue and it is the hits they want to hear. 'Nuff said.
Better start winding this down here cause I know it's getting long. I hope I maintained my standard in, what many of you say, writing a review that makes you feel you were there. In the interest of space I've had to touch on the highlights. This time we had together really reached a lofty level. When you think you've had a time that you think it can't get any better, it does. It does.
Being a part of history, being a part of Mick and Lou's induction into the SHOF was such an honor and a privilege - I just don't know what to say. FOREIGNER has been such a big part of my life for over 30 years now. The Damage was Done 32 years ago, June 1981. I was 17 years old, fresh out of high school, foot loose and fancy free, when URGENT first hit the airwaves. Already a FOREIGNER fan, this song, and the 4 album, made FOREIGNER's music an indelible force in my life. And to think that exactly 32 years later I would be in attendance at the SHOF induction of Mick and Lou. I feel I'm ON TOP OF THE WORLD!!!!!
Thank you, Mr. Mick JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONES!!! T H A N K Y O U ! ! !
Peace out my beloved and precious FOREIGNER Sisters and Brothers!!!!!