THE NEW YORK RANGERS: The “Re-build” Years

So, as I wrote last year…

   THE REBUILD: Sunday, June 12, 2022: It is the morning after the New York Rangers last attempted to move to the FINALS in search of their first cup since 1994.That to me is a monumental, positive statement. As a fan I must admit these past 40 days (20 games) were an emotional roller coaster ride. Back in September past (2021), who in their right minds would have suspected the RANGERS to be where they landed up, two wins from making THE FINALS. All the hockey pundits alluded to the fact that The Rangers were good, however most wrote the team was “one year away”, what ever that means. Then, Chris Drury pulls the trade(s) of the year by adding Vitrano, Copp, Motte, and Braun without giving up one regular. Grit, experience, determination added in one week’s time. And the new guys added help with the “five on five” play which left a lot to be desired throughout the season. (April 5 the Blue Shirts ranked 26th (46.85) at 5X5 play, which was not good).The “new” guys gave space for the regular studs to do their thing.

   We cheered as Kreider scored on the PP throughout the year yet knowing that power plays would be limited in the playoffs.Therefore, his “lighting the light” would be severely tested in 5×5 in the playoffs. And without a doubt, it should be noted that The Rangers have the best goalie (2021-2022) and he proved his worth in most of the playoffs.

   So the building blocks are there AND yes, The Rangers are “one year away”. The rest of the league beware.Bring on 2022-2023, We Want The Cup…


The New York Rangers have come a long way from the “the letter”(February 8,2018) when it was announced the “organization” was going through a re-build. For the longest time the team did not have a designated leader AKA “Captain”, then the league had “the bubble games” and at the end of 2020 HENRIK was let go (WTF?) As we finished the 2020- 2021 season, the May 3, 2021 game to be exact, the one where Tom Wilson fights (beats) Buchnevich and then Wilson dumps Panarin to the ice like a rag doll which lead us to the May 5, 2021 brawl at the opening face-off when it was noted The Rangers needed a “Nick Fotio” kind of enforcer. Changes had to and were made. Me, I dumped my season tickets. 

What a crazy NEW YORK RANGERS hockey year (2022-2023) it has been, the team finished last year two wins away from making the finals, the same team according to the pundits were “a year away” from making said playoffs.The RANGERS were on a high for sure. This season the team picked/appointed/designated a Captain, actually a player who would proudly wear the “C”, not the “A” (Associate) Captain, but a true leader, JACOB TROUBA. And what a captain he is, more on that later.

   The new 2022-2023 season starts off somewhat poorly. I am questioning the guts of these guys. After 26 games they are 11-10-5 and to be truthful they are not what one would label a “playoff bound team”. Then, “it” happened, December 3, 2022, playing CHICAGO, the Captain Jacob Trouba levels Andreas Anthanasiou. A Captain on Captain fight ensues as Jonathan TOEWS (Chicago) goes at TROUBA. Penalties assessed and TROUBA on his way to the showers threw his helmet against the glass and shouted at the RANGERS, “Wake the fuck up”. To which they did over the next few weeks.

   It’s February, playing against CALGARY and TROUBA is hitting anyone skating with his head down, two great hits with two fights. The NAZEM KADRI hit with the DUBE retaliation fight had the crowd at MSG going nuts.Then, PATRICK KANE is traded to the RANGERS and the RANGERS subtract Vitali KRAVTSOV, good riddance, and here we are, tonight, Game 1: April 18,2023: NEW YORK RANGERS @ New Jersey Devils:…to be continued…

Oh, Ye, gentle mistresses and most distinguished gentlemen, and others… The opinions and observations are solely my own views, and I take full responsibility for any errors of fact, not to mention any predictions that prove to be wildly inaccurate.


“WHAT HELL AWAITS ME NOW?” is a phrase I picked up many years ago, probably in 1968 when I was just shy of seventeen years of age.  I distinctly remember reciting it a few too many times when my mother summoned me from my upstairs bedroom. She would call out my full proper name, either to answer the phone or to tell me someone was downstairs/outside awaiting my words of wisdom. One morning/early afternoon in particular, after being out until the break of day, a “mushrooms and Ozzy” kinda night, Mom called up to tell me a young lady had knocked on the door asking for me and she was sitting/awaiting in her car. “WHAT HELL AWAITS ME NOW?” seemed oh so appropriate that day as it does now, at the turn of the year. Hopefully,”no hell” just good tidings I pray.

   My local newspaper is “highlighting” the past year while also giving the readers a preview for the next. Most items of the past year focused on those who left and the items predicting the future, well let’s just say it was based on politics and the economy. Geez, what a drag.  While one, death (and taxes) is inevitable I find the need to ask more than politics/economics for the future. How about a little humanity?

   A few weeks ago I turned off the sound as I watched Tucker Carlson introducing/interviewing TONY ROBBINS who was selling his “Roadmap For Transforming Uncertainty Into Opportunity” bullshit. The facial expressions displayed by Carlson as Robbins was speaking were hilarious, I started to chuckle  which led to actual laughter which led to me ad-libbing what THE TUCK was “thinking” while ROBBINS was pontificating in the split screen. Soon, it had me holding my side due to my extreme laughter. I roared stating’ “this is the way it (watching the talking heads) should be every night”. 

   So, back to THE HELL THAT AWAITS… seems like 2023 could/should be a good year. I’m heading into my 72nd orbit, basically in fair health, and with enough money for three squares a day with a few cocktails thrown in, a roof over my head, and no pending arrest warrants, Yet, I know something is missing……..

Oh, Ye, gentle mistresses and most distinguished gentlemen, and others… The opinions and observations are solely my own views, and I take full responsibility for any errors of fact, not to mention any predictions that prove to be wildly inaccurate.


   Since I was a young boy I had a constant companion situated in my shirt pocket, that being a fresh pack of MARLBORO REDS. The smell, the aroma when you opened a new pack was enticing as was lighting up the first one in the morning. Red was my constant throughout the years, however I did digress a few times to try menthols, low tar, and one with a hollow filter but alas I always came back to Red. My father forbid me permission to smoke in “his house” and to “never smoke in front of your Mother, ever” so his rules were abided by as best I could. So, cigarettes on the front/back stoop were okay.Mom never looked.

   My first year in high school I was caught smoking after dismissal in the side parking area under a tree area where the buses met the students for our ride home. It was a usual safe/ approved spot for “smokers” or so I thought. The next morning in Homeroom I was giving a Saturday detention for “smoking on school grounds”. Faithfully serving my sentence I did what was my personal assigned punishment; to sweep the teacher’s parking lot AND dump the dirt/debris back behind the distant baseball field area. Took me two hours plus. After dumping the dirt I sat on the home team bench and since there wasn’t a soul in sight I lit one up. The sound of my name being said over a bullhorn by the supervising principal informed me that I was to be the guest of the school again next Saturday.Sometimes one never learns, even in school.

   A few futile attempts to quit smoking occurred in my adult life but I always came back, that is until January 2016 when I attended a Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. Rushing to catch a train to the game I left a fresh back in my car, leaving me with only 4 smokes in the opened pack I had. Before dinner I had one, after dinner another one…two to go.  So, I decided to buy a pack at the kiosk on the corner. FIFTEEN DOLLARS. I bought the pack but thought long and hard during the intermissions about quitting for good. Took me three weeks to wind it down with a regiment of no smokes before 10 AM, nothing directly after meals, none after 9PM, got it down to 5 per day…and then I got bronchitis. The doctor prescribed an inhaler for treatment and offered a few “happy” pills to help with the nicotine withdrawals. He directed me to cease smoking immediately. Ultimately,with his help I gave up smoking, a 5 pack a week habit which is a carton every other week or two cartons a month=400 cigarettes.

   Here I am cigarette free for seven years. During that time I saved myself from smoking 260 packs of Marlboro Reds per year/ 1820 packs for 7 years and at the average cost of $11.00 (my estimated cost at the time I quit) I banked over $20,000.00. Now, if I could only stop drinking I’d be a millionaire.


   In a short period of time, our world, at least my world, my musical world, has changed substantially. While their recorded music remains  some of my favorite artists have “left the arena” causing me difficulties, especially in reference to those whom I had the pleasure of seeing/hearing “live”, the way music should be heard.

   I’m still reeling from the death of my all time favorite guitarist, one who we saw “live” only a few weeks before, JEFF BECK, when we hear the news that DAVID CROSBY passed away.To be brutally honest, DAVID CROSBY was a unbelievable singer, one who offered angelic harmonies but I could do without his pre-song rants. Over the years I had the opportunity to see him four times, in1969 &1970 @ FILLMORE EAST with CSN&Y, then in 2022: FREEDOM OF SPEECH REUNION TOUR again with CSNY and most recently December  of 2013 @ CITY WINERY,NYC as a solo artist. The boy could sing.

   JEFF BECK on the other hand avoided the microphone at all costs, he let his guitar “sing” for him. We were fortunate enough to have seen BECK in nine variations of his band(s).“It’s so difficult because I didn’t sing. Eric [Clapton] said, and it was words of great wisdom, ‘Get used to the fact that you hate your voice, because I did.’ And I went, ‘But you sound good, I sound unbearably bad. I loathe it. I would never enjoy it even if we had another single like [Hi Ho] Silver Lining, I just couldn’t bear it,’” said Beck. 

   But only just a few weeks ago we had the passings of:

   FRED WHITE (drummer EARTH,WIND & FIRE), he a fabulous time keeper.

   ANITA POINTER (singer) Way back in 1971, sitting for two shows at FILLMORE EAST the ELVIS BISHOP GROUP rocks the house. He had not one but 4 female singers on the stage with him, The four were 3 POINTER SISTERS (yes, those POINTER SISTERS) and JO BAKER lead singer. They were magical, upbeat, and F-U-N.

   DINO DANELLI: One of my all time favorite drummers (1968 THE RASCALS @ SINGER BOWL, then The “Once Upon A Time” tour, December 13 and 15 ,2012 The Capitol Theater- Port Chester and again April 27,2013 @ The Richard Rogers Theater on Broadway).

   KIM SIMMONDS: Guitarist/Founder of SAVOY BROWN; numerous time with an ever changing cast of players but my favorite times (twice) with CHRIS YOULDEN on vocals, Roger Earl on the kit, Tone Stevens-bass, and Lonesome Dave- guitar/vocals.

    CHRISTINE McVIE: She was the one and only, the true soul of FLEETWOOD MAC. After PETER GREEN left there was a huge void in what was FLEETWOOD MAC. Christine filled that void as best she could AND kept the band moving on.Her songwriting, playing, and singing was extraordinary.August 1970@ Fillmore East.

   GARY BROOKER: PROCOL HARUM; an original founding member of the band, keyboardist and vocalist. I saw/heard the band live with MATTHEW FISHER (twice) and ROBIN TROWER (5 times) but only once after their departures. 

 Also 2022: In alphabetical order:


LAMONT DOZIER of Motown’s famed songwriting partnership HOLLAND,DOZIER, and HOLLAND.

OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN: Singer, actress


SAM LAY: drummer

JERRY LEE LEWIS: rock innovator

RAMSEY LEWIS: jazz pianist “The In-Crowd”

LORETTA LYNN: Country music icon

IAN MCDONALD:multi-instrumentalist(Mellotron) King Crimson

MEATLOAF: singer “Bat Out Of Hell”

BOBBIE NELSON: pianist/ Willie Nelson’s sister.

PHAROAH SANDERS:saxophonist par excellence

JIM SEALS: Seals and Crofts

RONNIE SPECTOR: The One and only…



   Many moons ago I saw a “perfect” woman take the stage of FILLMORE EAST, something I was not expecting. At that moment I was a bit disappointed as a major shift of personnel for the band I wished to hear had drastically changed. A few weeks prior to this engagement I had purchased tickets to see (Peter Green’s) FLEETWOOD MAC and up until the days prior to that night I was wholly anticipating seeing one of my favorite guitarists and “his” band once again. Then, well…he disappears. On my turntable at the time was the album “Fleetwood Mac” aka “The Garbage Can Cover”. Back on November 22,1969 I experienced JOE COCKER with THE GREASE BAND, FLEETWOOD MAC (with Peter Green) and an opening act of KING CRIMSON at Fillmore East in New York City. This billing was a memorable one as CRIMSON blew the house down in the opening 35 minutes. Then, FLEETWOOD MAC topped it with its one hour plus set. While COCKER had the head bill he carried a severe liability. After FLEETWOOD MAC left the stage THE GREASE BAND was musically no match for either act. I was in awe of CRIMSON and MAC. I had to see FLEETWOOD MAC again.‘Black Magic Woman’, ‘Albatross‘, ‘Man of the World’, ‘Oh Well’ and ‘The Green Manalishi’ all rang in my head in great anticipation. But unbeknownst to me PETER GREEN left the band May 1970.

   TICKETS TORN IN HALF: August 29,1970: SAVOY BROWN/ FLEETWOOD MAC/ FAIRPORT CONVENTION@FILLMORE EAST. Back to Fillmore East for what would be one of my favorite shows for the summer of 70. This one featured Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac, and Fairport Convention all British acts sharing the bill. Fairport once had Sandy Denny who was not in the band any longer but still had Richard Thompson on guitar/vocals. Fleetwood Mac was missing Peter Green (the main attraction guitar/vocals)which was a huge disappointment to me but this newer FLEETWOOD MAC now had Christine Perfect (John McVie’s wife) on board full time (keyboards and vocals) and they did some KILN HOUSE stuff which rocked. Savoy Brown was Kim Simmonds but Chris Youlden (vocals) was no longer a member. Lonesome Dave did the voice and shades of FOGHAT were born.

   This new version of FLEETWOOD MAC, one of many more versions to come, had this new piano player, a singer who offered different styles of songs and rearrangements of older material AND she was a “looker” as was said at the time. As much as I was disappointed in not seeing PETER GREEN there was something about this new beginning to FLEETWOOD MAC that excited me.

   CHRISTINE PERFECT McVIE became a permanent member of the band. The BOB WELCH version was up next with “Future Games” and then “Bare Trees” both lps moving THE MAC further from their original blues based origin but closer to what the band would become. Then,“Penguin” the band added BOB WESTON (slide guitar) and (IMO horrendous) vocalist DAVE WALKER (from Savoy Brown #7). The “Mystery To Me” era, WALKER is fired so vocal duties are split between WELCH and CHRISTINE. Its release has the band back on heavy radio rotation. However, the drama known as FLEETWOOD MAC rears its ugly head again as MICK FLEETWOOD finds out that his beautiful wife JENNY BOYD (George Harrison’s sister in law) is having an affair with BOB WESTON, BOB is ultimately fired and the band cuts the tour short moving back to England.There, as a four piece they record “Heroes Are Hard To Find”, a beautiful collection of tunes sung perfectly by WELCH and CHRISTINE.

   Unfortunately, meanwhile back in the States…CLIFFORD DAVIS longtime manager of said FLEETWOOD MAC going back to their blues days (1967 in England) was upset with the band for cancelling the tour midway through. He decides to have FLEETWOOD MAC book a new tour of the U.S., a tour without any members of FLEETWOOD MAC participating. Unbeknown to the concert going public, we buy tickets.

   TICKETS TORN IN HALF: January 26,1974, Academy of Music- FLEETWOOD MAC/KISS/SILVERHEAD. I’m there for FLEETWOOD MAC. SILVERHEAD, well I had no idea who they were, still don’t. KISS was on a return performance from their debut at the same venue on New Years Eve. That night their set was cut short as Gene Simmons set his hair on fire.This night, KISS set the entire venue of 3000 on fire, not literally. A great show with lights, fire breathing, fully costumed performers and ear drum shattering loudness. Then, FLEETWOOD MAC appears. I notice MICK FLEETWOOD is not on the kit, No John McVie, No Christine…strange looks all around the crowd, “Who are these guys?”, guys playing instrumentals and no noticeable MAC tunes. Boos start, getting louder by the moment. An announcement is made that refund vouchers are available at the box office, to which I took my two. This was a bogus FLEETWOOD MAC, a band put together by the alleged owner (a past manager) of the “brand name” FLEETWOOD MAC. This “band” hit the road while the true members were sorting out problems with alcohol, drugs, relationships, etc. Immediately after this, the true band members grab the reins, moves to The States (were the touring money was), BOB WELCH leaves and FLEETWOOD MAC hire Buckingham and Nicks, the rest is history, or…

   The 10th album, recorded by the 10th lineup of the band in 8 years time, 1975’s FLEETWOOD MAC took one full year to finally run up to the top of the charts. February of 1977 “Rumours” is released, a true “pop” album. No shades of the original band of 67 existed any longer. However, CHRISTINE as a vocalists continues to shine. The album explodes, Number 1 for weeks/months at a time. 

   TICKETS TORN IN HALF: June 30, 1977- FLEETWOOD MAC @ Madison Square Garden. In my collection of memorabilia I saved John Rockwell’s NYTimes review of FLEETWOOD MAC’S “Rumours Tour” stop at Madison Square Garden, for what reason I don’t know. The show was great for its time but I longed for Peter Green’s FLEETWOOD MAC. This band was so much different. Overall I thought the show was pretty good.

(partial from Rockwell) FLEETWOOD MAC’s debut Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden—the first of two performances there—was a confirmation of its newly won status as this country’s most popular and best poprock band—except for, maybe the Eagles. And by and large it was a superior show to the group’s outing earlier this year at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, L.I. With one crucial exception.That exception was Stevie Nicks. Miss Nicks, along with Lindsey Buckingham, gave the three British veterans in the band the spark that lifted Fleetwood Mac into its current status. Miss Nicks composes wonderfully sinuous, mystically compelling songs, she is about as alluring a performer as rock can offer and, at her best, she sings with a huskily seductive individuality.

   But she had two problems Wednesday. The first and less important had to do with her onstage manner. Always a languorous wanderer as a performer, she pushed her lackadaisical loopiness too far. She managed to come in on cue and to remember her words, but at her worst she looked like a glamorous female equivalent of Joe Cocker, and in general her slack meanderings were more a cause for concern than for fascination.

   Far more serious was the state of her voice. Miss Nicks has nodes on her vocal chords, and her condition has worsened appreciably since the Nassau date only three months ago. The band canceled its sold‐out Syracuse concert Tuesday because of her throat, but it didn’t seem to help much.

   It was at this point in time that I gave up all hope that FLEETWOOD MAC would be the MAC I remembered, this was a very different ensemble. My taste did not lean toward a twirling, spinning woman dressed in black. I preferred the blonde playing piano and singing off to the side. RIP, CHRISTINE McVIE.

DANNY KALB: Master Guitarist RIP


   I don’t remember the exact time of year, probably early 1967 when my Dad’s friend got a few records that “fell off the truck” as he said. He listened to each and said they weren’t his cup of tea so he gifted the small stack to me, a young 15 year old record collector. There I found a Phil Ochs album, one by Buffy St. Marie, a Dave Van Ronk collection, and two BLUES PROJECT albums, “Projections” and “Live at Cafe Au Go Go”. While none made a heavy rotation on my turntable at that moment in time the “Projections” collection did garner some interest, especially a few months later while listening to TEN YEARS AFTER doing the traditional gospel number “I Can’t Keep From Cryin’, Sometimes” which AL KOOPER arranged for THE BLUES PROJECT. Then, The BLUES PROJECT spun more frequently and were heard more often during the evening hours on WNEW_FM radio.Later on I found there was a connection between PHIL OCHS, DAVE VAN RONK and DANNY KALB co-founder of THE BLUES PROJECT.

   Over the many decades of collecting music and going to concerts I must admit that I never saw THE BLUES PROJECT live and never purchased one of their albums as the first two albums were gifted to me and my buddy gave me two cds, an “Anthology”(1997) of “the BLUES PROJECT”. After reading of the death of DANNY KALB at age 80 (November 19, 2022) I did a bit of research while tossing the double cds on for a go.In retrospect I found his guitar playing to be amazing stuff, especially when the songs are listened to in a chronological sequence. So, today I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of DANNY KALB and regret in hindsight not having listened to this master guitarist over these many years. REST IN PEACE, Godspeed, DANNY KALB.

Farewell Yellow Brick Road: Part Two

   He’s like everyone’s favorite uncle at the wedding, you know, the guy who’s been married twice, beat a substance abuse issue, loves to sing, moves from table to table entertaining everyone with family stories of the last 52 plus years. Lately, he has a tough time walking let alone dancing but he’ll give it a shot. Dressed to the nines, by night’s end his pants need to be adjusted and his shirt tail is hanging out, his glasses askew and every one knows it’s a piece but who cares, he’s up and going to sing every song we know, maybe a bit off key but hell, he’s gonna sing and play every song we know. No matter what we, his audience, are expected to join in, to have a great time, he’ll make sure of it.

   Sir Elton John aka Reg Dwight is currently on his FAREWELL TOUR which according to his original plans would last for approximately three years, give or take a few years as COVID threw us a few curves. This tour is giving him and his band enough time to circle the globe, visiting five continents while performing over 300 shows. This trek around the world is no easy task for any touring band but this act starring a 75 year old performer along with his entourage, well, they are not just any act, this is SIR ELTON JOHN, a beloved citizen of the entire world.

  It has been 52 years almost to the date when I first experienced ELTON JOHN. To me, Elton John is a phenomena, one I saw on his very first tour of the USA, November of 1970 at FILLMORE EAST. There that weekend for two nights, four shows he shared a bill with the headlining LEON RUSSELL. Needless to say, that night was amazing and I became a fan. On November 8 of 2018, during the FAREWELL: GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD TOUR, ELTON was performing at MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, my 14th time seeing him in his 52 year career, and that’s not including the times he guested with other acts in the New York area.(The Beach Boys one time and Bonnie Raitt another).

   Tonight, November 20-21, while I experienced the entire performance of 23 songs on Disney +  I thought of how the years have slipped away, gracefully for the most part with a few slips. In 1970 this new act, Elton John, well by the end of his set I was standing and shouting for “more” along with the other 2600 plus folks. We were in total amazement. He was fantastic, performing on a grand piano accompanied by a bass player and a drummer, just a trio. Elton John literally lit up the stage (with a Mickey Mouse light attached to the front of his pants) while performing backward kicks ala Jerry Lee Lewis off of his piano. A few night previously he and band did a live radio concert on station WPLJ-FM  (I taped it) which the following year became the 11-17-70 release. ELTON Fillmore setlist: “CAN I PUT YOU ON”, “COUNTRY COMFORT”, “HONKY TONK WOMEN”, “BURN DOWN THE MISSION (this was a WOW moment)”,“MY BABY LEFT ME/GET BACK/GIVE PEACE A CHANCE”.

   (#2)April 10,1971: ELTON JOHN/ SEATRAIN/ WISHBONE ASH @ FILLMORE EAST. This was a three night engagement, two shows a night. Everyone I knew was scrambling for tickets so my two were priceless and the offers for at least one of my two were enticing. This weekend ELTON JOHN stole the hearts and souls of all non-believers. This trio’s (Elton, Nigel Olsson, Dee Murray) set produced numerous rounds of thunderous applause. He was on his way to stardom, no question. I arrived home as the sun was rising on Easter morn.Set List: Your Song, Sixty Years On, Border Song, Ballad of a Well Known Gun, Friends, Can I Put You On, Country Comfort, The King Must Die, Honky Tonk Women, Amoreena, My Father’s Gun, Indian Sunset, Talking Old Soldiers, Take Me To The Pilot, Burn Down The Mission Encore: My Baby Left Me/Get back 

 (#3)JUNE 10,1971: ELTON JOHN@ Carnegie Hall, the midnight show. A date stood me up, canceling out on me at the last minute. So I’m stuck with a very hard to come by ticket. A couple I knew were driving so I took advantage of their offer and set off for the friendly skies in their car. I met a guy I worked with from the college newspaper staff at the door who needed a ticket, I handed it to him while he told me about the BYRDS concert at Fillmore East the previous night when ELTON JOHN showed up unannounced to perform a short solo set. Tonight, inside Carnegie Hall, ELTON did an acoustic set first, just he and a piano. After a short intermission we were treated to an incredible electric set. Incredible, it truly was.  It was early morn with the sun rising as I slept in their Volkswagen heading home. SET LIST: From my notes: Opened with “Your Song” closed with” The King Must Die”.

NYT:(6/12/71)Elton John appeared Thursday and again last night before an impassioned audience at Carnegie Hall, in what must be the best‐produced rock concert there in a great long while. Mr. John—actually Reginald Dwight, he took his stage name from two British musicians, Elton Dean and John Baldry— played a long and beautiful concert divided into two parts. On Thursday, the first half saw him soloing at the piano, playing new songs and older ones that he felt weren’t suited for a rock band. “Your Song,” “Skyline Pigeon” and one that I seem to recall as titled “Old Soldiers” went down especially well. For the second half, he was joined by his regular accompanists, Nigel Olsson, drums: and Dee Murray, bass. They played “Country Comfort,” “Honky Tonk Women” and a stunning version of “The King Must Die.”The sound engineering was perfect, save for a slight tendency to lose Mr. John’s voice at the very loudest moments. Never have I heard such good sound from a rock band in Carnegie Hall. Mr. Olsson’s drums were amplified perfectly, and he gave a performance that was often beyond breathtaking. Elton John and his lyricist, Bernie Taupin, clearly are deserving of their popularity. Not everything they turn out is genius, as some quarters of the rock world seem to expect. But Elton John is good often enough to make close scrutiny a necessity.

 (#4)Oct 9,1972: ELTON JOHN “Larry Legs Smith Tour” with The Sutherland Bros and Quiver@ Nassau Coliseum, This is NOT the ELTON JOHN I saw the last few times in smaller venues. He is ready for the big time and big time shows. HONKY CHATEAU was released in the spring and became his first #1 album in the US. Set list from my notes, not all inclusive: “Your Song”, “Levon”, “Rocket Man”, “Can I Put You On”, “Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters”, “Country Comfort”, “Have Mercy On The Criminal, “Crocodile Rock”, “Take Me To The Pilot”. The band now included guitarist DAVEY JOHNSTONE and LARRY “Legs SMITH once a member of The Bonzo Dog Band.

JUNE14,1974: BEACH BOYS/ KIKI DEE @ NASSAU COLISEUM The HOLLAND TOUR w/ Elton John guesting on “Barbara Ann” and then Paul Simon  joins the Beach Boys doing “Fun, Fun, Fun”,both encores.

 (5)Nov 29,1974: ELTON JOHN @ MSG :Taking the train in we hear that JOHN LENNON guested with ELTON on I SAW HER STANDING THERE the previous evening. A WOW factor was added. We had pretty good box seats to the stage right, seated behind NEIL SEDAKA and his wife. Neil was a gentleman when we spoke, he started the conversation. Lights dim and FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND/LOVE LIES BLEEDING opens the show. Geez, that was amazingly good. CANDLE IN THE WIND brought out the cigarette lighters, BENNIE AND THE JETS, GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD, and then when he played LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS I thought, “here he comes” but no, JOHN LENNON did not perform that night.

(6)AUGUST 11,1976 ELTON JOHN@ Madison Square Garden with KIKI DEE. WPLJ-FM gave out buttons to the attendees of this seven night stand at THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS ARENA. The band consisted of the musicians playing on his last two endeavors  ROCK OF THE WESTIES and BLUE MOVES. They opened up with GROW SOME FUNK OF YOUR OWN, performed LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS, DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART with Kiki Dee, and closed with SATURDAY NIGHT’S ALRIGHT (for Fighting) before  called back for YOUR SONG and PINBALL WIZARD. Well worth the price of admission.

   A few night later (August 18,1976) while we were at Wollman Rink in Central Park enjoying a concert by Muddy Waters and Bonnie Raitt, surprise….Elton John joins Bonnie to sing harmony on two tunes.

(7)Aug 7,1982: ELTON JOHN@ MSG. Quarterflash opens. Haven’t seen Elton since 1976 when he toured with his ROCK OF THE WESTIES band but this time Davey Johnston returns to the band, with Nigel on drums Dee on bass, etc. The quartet is all I need for this the last night of the tour and last of his 3 sold out nights at MSG. Elton opens with FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND/ LOVE LIES BLEEDING,ALL THE GIRLS LOVE ALICE, SOMEONE SAVED MY LIFE TONIGHT, some new stuff, his tribute to JOHN LENNON, oldie but goodie WHERE TO NOW ST. PETER and plenty of hits before closing out with a medley of WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN GOIN ON/I SAW HER STANDING THERE/TWIST AND SHOUT. It’s well worth the night out.

 (8)OCT 14,1984: ELTON JOHN again at MSG (4 shows in 4 nights and then they play one a month later) He was so good last time out that we had to see him again.THE BREAKING HEARTS tour was the basic quartet with an additional keyboardist. TINY DANCER and LEVON opened the evening, the hits mixed with new stuff and of course YOUR SONG:Set list:Tiny Dancer, Levon, Lil ‘Frigerator, Rocket Man, Daniel, Restless, Candle in the Wind, The Bitch Is Back, Who Wears These Shoes, Sad Songs (Say So Much), Bennie And The Jets, Philadelphia Freedom, Blue Eyes, I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues, Kiss the Bride, One More Arrow, I’m Still Standing,Your Song, Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting with two Encores: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Crocodile Rock

(9)Oct 18,1988 Elton John at MSG “REG STRIKES BACK” Tour featuring Davey Johnson as musical director and a whole new slew of musicians and singers. But the songs, especially early on in the set were amazing. Sixty Years On, I Need You to Turn To, The King Must Die, Burn Down The Mission, Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word, Have Mercy on the Criminal, Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding, Tiny Dancer, The Ballad of Danny Bailey, I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues, Philadelphia Freedom, The Bitch Is Back, Sad Songs (Say So Much), A Word in Spanish, Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters 1&2, Daniel, Rocket Man, I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That, Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting), Your Song, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, I’m Still Standing.

(10)October 9,1992-ELTON JOHN “The One Tour”@Madison Square Garden . We are back four years later for one of his 7 scheduled shows at THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS ARENA.Two months ago Elton John played two nights to a sold out SHEA STADIUM, which we passed on. He is newly sober and basically using the same band as 1988.Set List: Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,I’m Still Standing,I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues, Philadelphia Freedom, Burn Down The Mission, Tiny Dancer, Simple Life, The One, I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That, Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters [Parts one and Two], Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word, Daniel, The Last Song, Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding, Rocket Man, All The Girls Love Alice, Sad Songs (Say So Much), The Show Must Go On, Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting), The Bitch Is Back, Candle In The Wind, Your Song.

 (11)Oct 16,1999: ELTON @ MSG two sold out nights with ELTON JOHN/SOLO just he, bearded wearing a purple suit playing the piano. You know it is going to be a killer show when he opens with “Your Song” and then plays for almost 3 hours. (Video available on Youtube): Setlist: Your Song, Skyline Pigeon, The Greatest Discovery, Border Song, Harmony, Daniel, Honky Cat, Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer, Better Off Dead, Philadelphia Freedom, Elton’s Song, Sweet Painted Lady, I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues, Ticking, Carla-Etude, Tonight, Burn Down The Mission, The One, Blue Eyes, Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny), Take me to the Pilot,  Levon,  Crocodile Rock,  Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Circle of Life,  Bennie And The Jets,  Candle In The Wind.

(12)Nov 2, 2006: ELTON JOHN @ Nassau “Captain and The Kid Tour”, five years since our last visit, this time he’s with a full band. SET LIST: Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding, Bennie and the Jets, Philadelphia Freedom, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Believe, Tiny Dancer, I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues, Take Me To The Pilot, I Want Love, Someone Saved My Life Tonight, Postcards From Richard Nixon, Tinderbox, Blues Never Fade Away, The Bridge, The Captain and the Kid, Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word, Rocket Man, Daniel, Levon, Crocodile Rock, The Bitch is Back, Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting), Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Your Song.

(13) (NYT)March 25,2007 ELTON JOHN:60 Years On The Birthday Celebration @ MSG: (NYT)Elton John celebrated his 60th birthday on stage Sunday March 25, making a record-breaking 60th appearance in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Wearing rose-tinted glasses and a black tail coat, the singer-songwriter performed more than 30 hit songs spanning more than four decades. He recalled two of his most memorable appearances at the storied Manhattan venue: a 1974 date in which John Lennon joined him on stage for the last time, and a performance following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Elton John’s longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin serenaded him with a chorus of “Happy Birthday,” accompanied by comedians Robin Williams and Whoopie Goldberg.

Elton ended his concert with his first hit single, “Your Song.” He has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide.

(14)Nov 8, 2018 ELTON JOHN “THE GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD FAREWELL TOUR” @ MSG:  It’s 11 years since we sat in his presence, tonight my wife’s birthday. A really strange night, packed, house, pre show dinner and drinks at Cafe 31, a walk in the rain around the arena as the usual entrance was closed off, finally at our seats as the house lights dim to “Benny and The Jets”. It is obvious that the soccer moms directly behind us would rather be chatting about their kids goals all freaking night. It was probably by the time “Tiny Dancer “ was played that I had had enough and told them “Shut the fuck up”, to some applause from members of our section of seats. But soon they forgot my warning and had to be reminded by a lady seated behind them.  By the end of the show the soccer mom’s greeted me with a “Fuck you, thanks for ruining our night” or something like that.

NOTE: In March COVID 19 hits and the tour is postponed for two years.

Set list: “Benny and the Jets”, “All The Girls Love Alice”,”I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”, “Border Song”, Tiny Dancer”, “Philadelphia Freedom”, ”Indian Summer”, “Take Me to the Pilot”,  “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”,  “Levon”, “Candle In The Wind”, “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”,  “Burn Down the Mission”, “Believe”, “Daniel”, “Sad Songs”, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”, ”The Bitch Is Back”, “I’m Still Standing”, “Crocodile Rock”, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”, “Your Song”,  “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”

 November 20, 2022:  So, tonight as we near midnight with no soccer mom’s chatting behind us, our seats are excellent, the price of admission is affordable, the bathrooms are clean, and the drinks are prepaid, we are home on our couch watching the Disney+ presentation of ELTON JOHN @ DODGER STADIUM. Yo Reg, “thanks for the memories and God bless”, I’m gonna miss you”…Set List:”Bennie and the Jets“, “Philadelphia Freedom“,”I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues“”Border Song“, “Tiny Dancer“, “Have Mercy on the Criminal“, “Rocket Man“, “Take Me to the Pilot“, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight“, “Levon“, “Candle in the Wind“, “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding“, “Burn Down the Mission“, “Sad Songs (Say So Much)“, “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word“, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me“, “The Bitch Is Back“, “I’m Still Standing“, “Crocodile Rock“, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting“:Encore “Cold Heart (Pnau remix)“, “Your Song“, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road“.


Today’s Listening Pleasure: TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND “I Am The Moon”

   It was almost like landing on Mars or being in a bad dream where the everyone have left the arena except you. We arrived at the parking lot early expecting to wait for a spot but there were plenty of empty spaces. Got our train tickets and were directed to the track almost immediately catching an express to PENN STATION, 5 stops. Boarding an almost empty car, fifty-seven minutes later we arrived at our destination, an almost vacant train depot. I asked myself, “Is this really PENN STATION ?”. Heading over to the “taxi cue” which to my surprise had only a few folks in line, we got a ride to our first stop, THE EMERALD INN on 72nd Street. Funny to see the meter which added a $4.20 “congestion surcharge” fare as soon you hit the zone. Twenty bucks, tip included, and we arrive at the door.

   There we are greeted immediately by our server who promptly brought our drinks, while asking, “You going to the show?”. “You bet”, I responded. He then explains that he attended Friday’s gig of this “residency” at THE BEACON and how the entire band and crew celebrated Saturday night after the show, all closing THE INN at 4AM. His review was, “The band is on fire this tour”. I am more than excited now.

   Not tech savvy especially with E-tixs but with the assistance of the ticket taker at the door “we are in”. Over to the bar, we are greeted by a smiling server who completed our order. Took the stairs two levels up and saw that my usual Upper Tier seats were not what I ordered, we had Lower Tier which was not the view I expected. Lights dimmed and an announcement was made that a surprise guest would take the stage, “Ladies and Gentlemen, HOT TUNA” (acoustic Jack and Jorma). “Don’t You Leave Me Here”, “Hesitation Blues”, “Good Shepherd”, “and a few others before closing out with “San Francisco Bay Blues”.

NOTE: On October, 13 at 11:30 a.m. Jefferson Airplane will be honored with the 2,737th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Music. The star will be located at 6752 Hollywood Boulevard. Accepting the star on behalf of the band will be Grace Slick, Jack Casady, and Jorma Kaukonen.

   A long intermission occurred and I was getting antsy. This was TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND’s 50th gig at THE BEACON and was promised to be a special evening. It turned out to be special, however it was not the two long sets I was expecting, just one long amazing one.

   The band just released a four (4) set cd entitled “I Am The Moon” so they (tonight) selected songs to introduce to their live set, one in particular (Pasaquan) was a shining moment of Derek’s guitar mastery. “Turtle Blues” and “Don’t Think Twice” brought JORMA and JACK back to the spotlight. JACK’S solo was breathtaking. The set morphed into “Whipping Post” to thunderous applause. A 3 encore set closed out the evening.

   So, it has been 937 days since my last concert and this one was a doozy.

to be continued

Oh, Ye, gentle mistresses and most distinguished gentlemen, and others… The opinions and observations are solely my own views, and I take full responsibility for any errors of fact, not to mention any predictions that prove to be wildly inaccurate.

SEASON OF THE WITCH (Part 2): The Long Island Home Hotel

  “It was a private hotel…for the care of persons afflicted with mental and nervous derangements, near the Great South Bay and Ocean; 32 miles from New York.” so ran an advertisement in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Aug. 15, 1884. 

   Truth be told THE HOTEL (Long Island Home Hotel for Nervous Invalids) and two other adjoining facilities (Louden Hall, and Brunswick Home) located in AMITYVILLE were licensed institutions for the “care of idiotic and feeble-minded persons.” and arranged by classifications of the inmates “who represent every grade of idiocy and imbecility.”

   After researching these facilities one realizes the significance of the  early days of the LONG ISLAND RAILROAD to the growth of the communities along the line. The LIRR sponsored twice a day shuttles, carriages drawn by two horses taking guests from the Amityville station to the facilities.The RR also did the same for the ARGYLE HOTEL, a legitimate hotel in Babylon. Further investigation finds studies by the New York State Commission on Lunacy that many of these “guests” to the LI HOME HOTEL were seeking a break from the “rat race”, checking in for what they thought would be a short stay but found… “Last thing I remember, I was running for the door, I had to find the passage back to the place I was before… “Relax”, said the night man, “We are programmed to receive, you can check out any time you like, But you can never leave”Welcome to the Hotel California, such a lovely place such a lovely place…

to be continued


   Change of scenery, the leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping, as we head into the SEASON OF THE WITCH. Let me digress for a second, I first heard the tune “Season of the Witch” by DONOVAN about the same time when I first experienced “Hatchet Mary’s” grave. Some say it has to do with teenage initiation, like your first cigarette, your first drink, first whatever. You hear the stories and bide your time until someone, usually a bit older not necessarily wiser will say, “Let’s go to Hatchet Mary’s grave tonight”. “Yea, what fun” you think…then, IT HAPPENS.

   Almost every small town has a “legend”, many have the same named one, HATCHET MARY, aka MARY HATCHET.  Ours was  located in Amityville, an actual grave site at THE MOTHER HOUSE of The Sisters of Saint Dominic, off of New Highway, on a dirt road next to a group of trees. The stories were Mary was hung from a tree for being a witch, OR, she hung herself because her Navy boyfriend never returned to marry her OR…so many different stories, and a few had to deal with hatchets.

   Click your heels three times, say“Betelgeuse” three times, or as we knew “park your car near the grave, flash your headlights three times, honk your horn once and turn the engine off.” According to the legend, the car won’t start again until Mary appears. Being about 15 years of age I was not too sure I wanted to “see” Mary but I had to go because peer pressure dictates it. Four couples in a station wagon and away we go…

to be continued