WOW! Where did all that time go? Two weeks since the latest Orleans gig and still no commentary? Well, we’ll fix that right now! To pick up where we left off …
The gig with Felix’s Rascals at Belleayre Mt., NY was tainted by cold rain and high winds … and we were playing in a big outdoor tent! But that didn’t stop the stalwart NY mountaineering crowd from braving it. The tent still filled up with several hundred music lovers, all determined to have a good time regardless of Mother Nature’s curve balls. Thanks for coming out! (for those keeping track, this was a John gig)
A few days prior we had gotten a call for a last-minute show the following weekend. Always willing to pick up dates from others’ cancellations, we arrived at the street fair in Danbury, CT on Saturday, the 9th. Deja Vu! This was the same venue/event we had played several years earlier … right down to the dressing room at the nearby restaurant. Good food and another good time was had by all. (scorekeepers — this was a Fly gig)
Saturday the 16th found us at another street fair … this one in Red Hook, NY. The most notable thing about this show was the line-up — John, Larry, myself and Peter O’Brien on drums. This quartet had played countless gigs from 1988 to 2002, but I don’t think we had played even one since about that time … and, as much as we really appreciate having Lane and Charley Morgan as mainstays these days, it was really great to reconnect with Peter. He still kicks butt! Thanks go to Peter’s friend and drum student, Matt Donahoe, who was the contact and organizer for this gig … and the instigator of the reunion.
Switching gears, but still in the spirit of last minute opportunities for musical fun –
With little more than a week’s notice, a call come in from WPLJ in New York City. Those of us who grew up in NY know that this is THE big Classic Rock station and has always been a giant in the NY market. Their request? … could Larry put together an RPM show for DJ Rocky Allen‘s 20th year Anniversary party, to be broadcast live from The Hard Rock Cafe’ in Times Square? Hmmmm….
(For those who didn’t read the inaugural Orleans Newsletter (sent 9/30), you can find out all about RPM (Rock & Pop Masters) at www.RPMConcerts.com .
Well, OF COURSE! So, with the able help of manager Andy Broady, the cast of characters was assembled, arrangements made, and death-defying feats of coordination co-ordinated … resulting in a truly memorable afternoon for all involved:
Orleans (in its entirety, with Fly this time), Robbie Dupree, Jimi Jamison, Peter Rivera (Rare Earth), John Cafferty & “Tunes” (Beaver Brown Band) … not to mention the appearances of Donny Osmond (yep, you read that right!), Dennis Deyoung (Styx), Constantine (American Idol) and an onstage interview with Phil Collins. Actually, if you go to Fly’s site (www.FlyAmero.com ), he comments on the experience and links to the Rocky Allen site, where you can link to the various artists’ sites. Have at it!
As if just for the sake of contrast, the next night found us (Larry, Lane, Fly and me, sans drummer Charlie) doing a scaled-down fundraiser show for the Animal Rescue League in Narragansett, RI. Very intimate and held at the extremely upscale Dunes Club, right on the seashore. Nice! Thanks to Ruth for bringing us there.
Finally, we finished off this touring season by flying to Denver, Co and being driven to Ft. Collins by a very friendly volunteer gentleman named Mike. In fact, all the people connected to the “Come Hell or High Water” Red Cross fundraiser show, to benefit the victims of Katrina, went out of their way to make us feel welcome.
Once again, this was an attractive fundraiser crowd (I fell in love from the stage :-), all committed in their own personal ways to raising money for the cause. Signed guitars, special vacation packages, even a high-end golf cart were just some of the items donated by the local and national community to be auctioned off. Special thanks goes to Steve Manshel (formerly of Firefall and the author of the “Come Hell or High Water” anthemic theme song) for endless effort in helping to organize the event and getting us there.
Once home, we’ve all stayed busy with our various offshoot projects and gigs. Larry topped us all by going to Paris — France, not Kentucky — as a member of Robbie Dupree‘s band (http://www.robbiedupree.com ).
Meanwhile, I performed a benefit concert here in Nashville with long-time friends Kathie Baillie and her husband, Michael Bonagura (best known as Baillie & The Boys —– http://www.baillieandtheboys.com ) If you go to the Photos page, you might stumble across a picture of yours truly. Other in-town Nashville shows and sessions fill in the blanks for me, and I’m really looking forward to the first of two shows as the subbing singing bassist in Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals (www.FelixCavalieresRascals.com ), this coming Saturday, Oct. 14th, in Lewisburg, TN.
Charlie Morgan is off with master guitarist, John Jorgensen. Lane Hoppen is back to being the most sought-after keyboardist in Orlando, FL. Fly Amero is playing locally near Boston. As for John Hall, having won a landslide victory in the primary, he is extremely busy being a very serious contender for the US Congressional seat in the 19th District of NY. Follow his progress at www.JohnHallForCongress.com .
To finish off this diary entry —
We are currently working on sending the special links to our list members so that they can benefit from FREE music downloads and special offer pricing. Another week or two, at the outside for completion of that piece of the puzzle. Then we’ll be revamping every page of this website for the better.
Meanwhile, post-production work is underway to turn the raw concert and interview footage into a first-class Orleans Live DVD. Stay tuned for more on that.
If you have NOT yet signed up for our mailing list, what are you waiting for? It’s painless and you can always get off it if you wish. Just go to the top of this page and enter the little bit of info we need in order to stay in touch with you. OK?
‘Til next time,
Lance Hoppen (on behalf of all of Orleans)