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Archive for the tag “The Beatles”

The Guitar Train Stops to See Ringo Starr in Concert!!!

Ringo Starr marquee

Quirky T has been very lucky to see Paul McCartney in concert four times. I always thought he’d be the only Beatle I would be lucky enough to see live. That was until I saw Ringo Starr in concert!!! He was touring, as usual, with his All-Starr Band featuring famous musicians. This is such a perfect concept for Ringo in order to compensate for his lack of a huge catalog of hit songs. I wanted to see Ringo so badly that I didn’t even care who else was playing with him. This year’s line-up has actually been together since 2012. The musicians included Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie (from Santana and Journey), Steve Lukather (from Toto), Richard Page (from Mr. Mister), and Warren Ham (from Kansas).

Ringo Starr stage

The concert was amazing. Not surprisingly I loved Ringo Starr but I was also very impressed with all the other musicians. Before the concert, I had checked out the set list (at http://www.setlist.fm) from previous tour dates to see if I knew all the songs that could be played.  Surprisingly, I knew all the songs by all the musicians. The concert was set up with all the musicians on the stage at the same time and they each took turns as lead singer on their former groups’ hit songs. Before the concert, I had assumed other concertgoers were there primarily for Ringo. From the reactions of those around me, hearing the other musicians may have interested them more. So the concept works perfectly; there is something for everyone. I was not bored during the non-Ringo songs since the other musicians were so musically impressive and had great personalities.

Ringo Starr ticket stub and program

Ringo, or “the boss”, as the other musicians called him, was just as I thought he would be. He was funny and all “peace and love”. He was also very energetic; even doing jumping jacks at the end. I found it interesting that The Beatles were never referred to by name; they were called “the original band” or “that other band”. That could come off as bitter but not when Ringo says it. He even mentioned the band he was in before The Beatles – Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Todd Rundgren noted that this version of the All-Starr Band has been together for six years, almost as long as The Beatles. He added “it’s not that hard”. Obviously, there’s a huge difference between established musicians playing old songs together for fun versus a group of four young men with the whole world watching their every move. I was struck by the fact that Paul McCartney would not be playing in a venue as small as this 1,300 seat theater. (If he did, it would be amazing to be that close to him). He is still playing 80,000 seat stadiums.

 

I was happy with Ringo’s selection of his solo and Beatles songs. Just like Paul McCartney, Ringo performed Beatles songs which he never performed live with The Beatles. The song “Matchbox” which opened the show was more of a rocker than I had thought. I wish he had performed “Honey Don’t” but it wouldn’t be the same without Ringo calling out George Harrison to play for him. I enjoyed hearing “Back Off Boogaloo”   and I would love to tell off someone who angered me by saying that. I’m not sure it would go over well or be understood. If the concert had been in December, I would have loved to hear the band play Ringo’s “Come On Christmas, Christmas Come On” since it’s my new favorite Christmas song.

I really enjoyed this concert and am so grateful I was able to see another Beatle perform live. I was also entertained by all the other musicians in the All-Starr band. I would highly recommend this concert to everyone. It was a greatest hits set of several very talented musicians.

 

Guitar Train passengers, which musicians would you like to hear only a few hit songs from in all star format?

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Music Heard When the Guitar Train Traveled in Europe

Quirky T recently conducted The Guitar Train to seven marvelous countries in Europe. As I wrote in a previous Guitar Train stop, https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/the-guitar-train-is-going-to-europe/

I was not familiar with music from the countries I would be visiting – France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg. The trip was filled with amazing sights, history, food, familiar music, and even a real train ride through the Alps.

Swiss Folklore Restaurant, Lucerne

As I had anticipated, I did not hear native music in all of those counties. Switzerland was the one exception. In Lucerne, I went to an ear-opening Swiss folklore dinner and music show. Besides yodeling and alp horns, I did not know much about Swiss music. Apparentally, the Swiss had much free time back in the day while farming which led them to turn saws, brooms, bowls, bottles, cow bells and spoons into musical instruments. To see video of this musical talent and ingenuity, search You Tube for Stadtkellar Lucerne Swiss Folklore Show. To my horror, I was among a group of people called on stage to take turns doing a solo yodel in front of hundreds of tourists from around the world. My Swiss ancestors would have been embarrassed by my horrible yodeling.

Eiffel Tower

The music part of my trip began on the plane ride to Paris where I watched a documentary about Bruce Springsteen called “In His Own Words”. It was interesting as he went through his family and musical background and read from his recent autobiography. My next encounter with music occurred on the minivan ride to the Paris hotel. The driver had the Nostalgia Station on the radio and Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen” played as we passed by more graffiti than I have ever seen in my life.

 

Musee d'Orsay, Paris

Musee d’Orsay, Paris

 

That was just the beginning of the familiar American and English music I heard throughout Europe. On the tour bus in Paris near the Jardin des Tuileries, “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper was playing on the bus radio. On the way to dinner that night, on the tour bus I heard the first of many ABBA songs as “Dancing Queen” made its first appearance.

 

The dinner in Paris included an amazing strolling, joking, and singing guitarist who sang songs in French, English, Italian, Spanish, and Russian to entertain the tourists from many countries. Not surprisingly the four Beatles songs he performed were very popular. Everyone happily sang along to “Michelle”, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”, “I Saw Her Standing There”, and “Yellow Submarine.” “La Bamba” was another song that got the crowd singing.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

At a dinner in Freiberg, Germany, I had an interesting conversation with an elderly British tourist. He recounted how he first saw The Beatles on the “Ed Sullivan Show” when he lived in America. He didn’t like them then and I don’t think his opinion ever changed. He went on to tell me his theory that The Beatles wrote the words to their songs but not the music. I wasn’t able to ask him more about his conspiracy theory since the waitress interrupted us then to start dinner. He left me wondering who he thought came up with the music if not John, Paul, or George. And how did this person or group of people continue to make music for all four Beatles when they had separated and had four successful music careers for decades more? I have never heard or read this theory before and I give it no credence.

Lake Lucerne

Lake Lucerne

Someone who had much more love and respect for The Beatles was the Swiss captain of the boat cruise the tour group took on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. He said as a youth he had four great English teachers – John, Paul, George, and Ringo. He then played “From Me to You” and “She Loves You”. He asked for requests and “Hey Jude” played as we cruised the beautiful lake.

 

Other familiar songs I heard were Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You” in the hotel in Lucerne and Dean Martin’s “Volare” in a home goods store in a Lucerne mall.

Duomo, Milan, Italy

Duomo, Milan, Italy

I think my very organized, energetic, and perfect for her job Hungarian tour director had an affinity for ABBA. She had the Italian tour bus driver play ABBA several times during our long bus rides through Europe. One night after having a delicious dinner near the Duomo in Milan, Italy, the bus ride to the hotel contained more ABBA songs than I have ever heard in my entire life. It was nice to hear songs of theirs which I had never heard before. They were mostly uplifting, fun songs.

 

On the last day, on the bus ride to the Milan airport, the Italian bus driver took over control of the music and had the Radio Monte Carlo station on which played “Fantasy” by George Michael, “With or Without You” by U2, and “Sowing the Seeds of Love” by Tears for Fears.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Finishing the amazing trip on a Beatles note, on the plane ride from Milan to Miami, I watched the good documentary “It Was Fifty Years Ago Today … Sgt. Peppers and Beyond”. The fact that I was flying to Miami reminded me of “Back in the USSR”. Luckily, it wasn’t a dreadful flight- just very long at 10 ½ hours!

 

After experiencing how much English was spoken throughout the seven European countries I visited and the large amount of signs written in English, I should not have been surprised to hear so many English language songs. I definitely also should not have been surprised to hear all the Beatles songs I did. Vive Les Beatles! Vive la musique!

The Guitar Train Is Going to Europe!

Arc de Triomphe

Quirky T is planning a future trip to seven countries in Europe. This won’t be a music related trip, so no sightseeing of Beatles related places. In looking over my itinerary, I realized that I am not familiar with music from any of these countries. I do however associate some songs with these countries.

 

  1. France – The Beatles’ song “Michelle”
  2. Germany – German versions of The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (“Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand”) and “She Loves You” (“Sie Liebt Dich”)
  3. Italy – the music of Italian-Americans Lou Monte and Louis Prima https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/quirky-ts-favorite-christmas-songs-2/

    Von Trapp Family Lodge, Vermont, USA

  4. Austria – the songs from the movie “The Sound of Music”
  5. Switzerland – yodeling and the alp horns which were (still are?) used to call in the cows
  6. Liechtenstein – I don’t associate any music with this small country which I very excited to visit.
  7. Luxembourg – Just like Liechtenstein, I don’t know the music but I am excited to visit the country.

 

Since I’ll be on a group tour and not on my own often, I am not sure how much of each country’s music I will actually hear. Also, not speaking all the languages of all the countries I am visiting, I wouldn’t even understand what I am hearing. Still it would be nice to hear music in different languages.

Buckingham Palace

Now I just have to re-watch the movies “Charade” https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/quirky-ts-favorite-instrumental-movie-soundtracks/

and “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” and I’ll be ready for my trip.

 

Guitar Train passengers, do you like music from any of the countries I will be visiting? Which musicians would you recommend I seek out?

 

Quirky T Stumbles Upon a Way to go “Back in Time”

Walking through the center of a small town recently I was shocked to see the famous DeLorean time machine from the fantastic “Back to the Future” movies. There it was (well, a replica) complete with the lightning rod, hoverboard, and the case holding the plutonium needed to fuel it. I took photos but unfortunately they did not come out as well as I had hoped. (I wish I could use the DeLorean to go back to that day and take more and better photos). I did get to sit in the car which was very low to the ground and smaller than I thought it would be. I’m not a car person but it would the coolest car to own.

photo by Quirky T

“Back to the Future” is one of my favorite movies. I wrote about it in the Guitar Train stop called “The Guitar Train Goes ‘Back to the Future’” on May 21, 2015. https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/?s=Back+to+the+Future Part of the reason I loved the first movie was the Huey Lewis and the News soundtrack and Huey’s small part in the movie. I saw Part II when it came out but I didn’t like it was much as the original. I guess that put me off seeing Part III as well as the fact that I don’t like Westerns. I recently watched all three movies. I still love the original. Part II is still not a favorite; too violent for me. So after all these years, I finally watched Part III and I loved it. It had the charm and fun of the original. To see those familiar characters again was great, even in the Old West setting. It was like watching a reunion. I’m a little mad at myself for taking so long to see the movie yet it was a gift to see something so great for the first time.

photo by Quirky T

Of course being in a “time machine” leads to the question of what period of time I would like to travel to. As I wrote in the Guitar Train stop two years ago, I would definitely go back to experience Beatlemania first hand in either England or the Unites States. Even if I wasn’t lucky enough to go to an actual Beatles concert, I could buy their records as they were released as well as buy the Beatles related memorabilia.

photo by Quirky T

As for traveling to the future, I am not sure what I would want to see. I feel like time goes by so fast that the distant future will be here before I know it. The big attraction to visiting the future is for assurances that situations work out well for yourself, family, friends, and the world. So purely for fun and curiosity, it would be interesting to go ahead 50 years and see if Beatles music is still played and praised 50 years after the release of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. I remember June 1987 when it really “was twenty years ago today” and I can’t believe 30 years has passed since then. So 50 more years will be here in the blink of an eye. The future always seems scarier than the past yet humans have endured incredibly scary times in the past. Happiness from listening to Beatles music will always be needed.

 

Guitar Train passengers, where in the future would you take the DeLorean and why?

Quirky T’s Top Five Fave Billy Joel Songs

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Lately, Quirky T has been listening to Billy Joel songs from his three Greatest Hits CDs. In 1994, I was lucky enough to see him in concert with Elton John. Just to clarify, Elton John co-headlined the concert with Billy Joel; Elton John did not attend the concert with me as my seatmate. (Although that scenario would have been amazing). Anyway, it was a great concert so I would love to hear more Billy Joel at one of his monthly gigs at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Until that dream comes true, here, in chronological order, are my top five favorite Billy Joel songs.

 

    “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”
    “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”
    “Don’t Ask Me Why”
    “The Longest Time”
    “This Is The Time”

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I noticed most of my fave Billy Joel songs are from the 80’s. I guess that is because this was the time when I first started listening to his songs. So they may not be his classics from the 70’s people really admire but 30 years later, I guess they are also considered classics. I really think Billy Joel is a clever songwriter. I love his unusual phrasing and emphasis on certain words, especially in “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”. His songs represent a range of emotions and musical genres. He also creates distinctive characters and interesting stories in his songs.

To tie this Guitar Train stop in with one of my favorite musical groups, I cannot hear “We Didn’t Start the Fire” without listening for the line referencing The Beatles. I know not everyone likes this song but I think Billy Joel was genius in the way he put all those historical references into a song. Plus, he realizes that a list of significant historical events and people must contain The Beatles.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what are your favorite Billy Joel songs?

My Faves Help Me With the Election Results

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Quirky T was shocked, confused, and angered by the results of the recent election for President of the United States of America. To help me get through this tough time, I looked to my favorite musicians.

 

This was truly the “Land of Confusion” (Genesis). Before the election, I often wished some of the candidates would simply “Go Away” (Gloria Estefan). Honestly, I hope after the election some people will simply go silently away from public view. After all, with some of the candidates “Bad is Bad” (Huey Lewis and the News).

 

So now with the election results, it really will be even less fun to be an “Illegal Alien” (Genesis). After speaking to a Catholic priest, I have learned to resign myself to the situation and “Let It Be” (The Beatles). After all, I am an American and because of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, “I’m Free” (Jon Secada).

 

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Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.

To get through this, I will rely on prayer and try to live the lyrics to “The Peace Prayer of St. Francis”.

 

Guitar Train passengers, are there songs you listen to which perfectly sum up real world events?

Songs of My Faves I’m Most Grateful For

Happy Thanksgiving, Guitar Train passengers! I hope you are enjoying one of my favorite holidays with food, family, football, and of course, music. To go along with the gratitude theme of Thanksgiving, here are the songs of my favorite musicians which I am most grateful for.

Help!

The Beatles

It is too hard to pick just one Beatles song I am most grateful for since I’m grateful that the group even existed and made such amazing, genius music. So I won’t pick a song for this group.

No Jacket Required

Phil Collins – “We Said Hello Goodbye”

This is my favorite song of any musician, of all time, ever. So of course it makes my list of songs I am most grateful for.

Genesis glitter T-shirt

Genesis – “That’s All”

This song reassures me that I am not the only one feeling what I am feeling. It is my go to song when things aren’t going right.

Primitive Love

Gloria Estefan – “Conga”

This is the first Gloria Estefan (actually Miami Sound Machine) song that I ever heard. Oddly, I first heard it playing in a scene on a slow moving TV soap opera. I am most grateful for it because it led me to seek out more songs by Gloria Estefan which, in turn, led me to being a huge fan of hers.

Jon Secada CD cover

Jon Secada – “Always Something”

I first heard this song at a 1991 Gloria Estefan concert when Jon Secada took over the microphone for this one song. I was amazed from the first note he sang. Hearing this song led me to buy every CD he released since then in both English and Spanish.

cu Huey Lewis Sports poster

Huey Lewis and the News – “Couple of Days Off”

I chose this lesser known Huey Lewis and the News song for several reasons. First of all, it is much more of a hard rocker than the band’s other songs. Secondly, I frequently relate to the desire for wanting “a couple days off”. Also, this song was played over a montage of my beloved New York Giants football team getting ready for training camp in 1991 so I now associate this song with the team.

 

Guitar Train passengers, which songs of your favorite musicians are you most grateful for and why?

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