Sunday, June 16, 2013

It's The Same (Great) Old Song

Dr. Tape is lucky enough to have friends (yes, more than one) who have interesting perks attached to them.  Golf at fancy clubs is common but others have the ability to get reservations at very exclusive restaurants or great seats to the hottest Broadway show.  By far the best perk is the one that comes with Danny.  Danny is a good representative of the human race.  He is involved in many worthwhile pursuits and philanthropic in many ways.

Danny's family has business dealing with the Songwriters Hall of Fame which has offices in LA and NY.  They hold their annual induction ceremonies at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. It's quite the party. Danny's family always has two tables at the dinner and someone always drops out at the last minute.  Danny knows I keep my tuxedo ready to go and he can count on me to fill any voids.  This year was no exception.  He called on Tuesday for Thursday night.  I was in!! A major score.

This is the sixth or seventh one I have gone to and they are fabulous events.  You get to see great performances by famous people singing their own songs but also other peoples songs. Billy Joel, Elton John, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, John Legend, John Mayer, Hall and Oates, Don McLean, Dionne Warwick and Chaka Kahn are just some of the performers I have gotten to see. I also saw Stevie Wonder but he didn't see me.

You also get to see some bizarre stuff like the time Mary J. Blige forgot the words to a song (they are on the freaking teleprompter for God's sake) and walked off the stage midway through her performance. What would this year bring? I couldn't wait to find out.

Danny sent me a photo of the ticket that listed the inductees. There were some GREAT names. They included Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Mick Jones and Lou Gramm of Foreigner, Holly Knight, JD Souther and last but certainly not least Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith. I was stoked.

Thursday arrived and the time had come.  The ballroom was packed with music industry types and hot chicks.  I found Danny and his family, we had some drinks and got ready.  Danny's sister Jackie was there along with several of her friends. They heard that Steven Tyler was taking pictures and they ran off to see if they would take some with them.  They came back shrieking like teenagers.  I asked them if they got their pictures and one of them said "Even better, he felt us up!". Ahh, to be a rock god.

The show was amazing with performances by Sting, Petula Clark, Patty Smyth, Holly Knight, Jordin Sparks, and the sublime Alison Krauss.  But by far the best were Mick Jones/Lou Gramm and Mr. Touchy Feely/Joe Perry.

The guys from Foreigner sang "Juke Box Hero" that had everyone singing along.  They accepted their award and sang "I Want To Know What Love Is".  Amazingly good with great audience participation.  The only thing missing were the cigarette lighters. I have seen Foreigner several times and this was as good as they have ever been.

Tyler and Perry were going to be inducted next and Nickleback came out and sang "Sweet Emotion".  A great rendition that had that haunting quality to the title verse.  Steven and Joe accepted their award with Steven admitting that they got into songwriting to meet chicks.  Steven brought the point home by asking the crowd how many people had gotten laid the night before.  He didn't ask if they had to pay for it but the point was well taken. Then they took the stage and sang the ultimate Aerosmith song "Walk This Way".  People were dancing on chairs as he explained that it started with a little kiss like this.

Berry Gordy of Motown was the last to be honored with a Pioneer of Music award.  Smokey Robinson introduced him.  The night was winding down but Smokey was just getting started.  He went on and on and on to the point that they were flashing on the teleprompter to wrap things up. He finally introduced Berry who was grateful and brief.  Then the finale came on.  The cast of the Broadway show Motown came out and performed a medley of songs from all the great Motown acts.  It was kind of like one of those Time-Life music collection commercials. I was ready to buy the boxed set but they didn't flash the 800 number. Then it was out the door until next year.

The piece de resistance occurred on the way out.  I was riding down the escalator and I happened to turn around.  One of the white hot chicks was several stairs above me.  She was wearing a dress that had less fabric than a man's handkerchief and she had gone commando. The view was stellar. A perfect end to a perfect evening.

Seeing Smokey Robinson reminded me of another music industry dinner that honored my cousin and music industry legend Charles Koppleman for raising a boatload of money for the TJ Martell Foundation.  For those of you poker buffs out there Charlie's son Brian (my second cousin) wrote Rounders. Anyway after all the speeches Smokey came out to entertain the crowd and a couple at the next table asked me who he was.  I was a little taken aback that people in the music industry wouldn't know who Smokey Robinson is but I guess it takes all types.

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“Without music, life would be a mistake.” -- Friedrich Nietzsche

“Play it fuckin' loud!” --  Bob Dylan

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