Tag Archive | "year end review"

Happy New Year???

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It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.  The year rapidly expiring, that is.


2010 began, more or less, with monstrous blizzards, one of which killed a man in my neighboring town when a tree limb so laden with snow snapped and felled him right outside his front door.  As my husband romped through Merry Olde England on a business trip, I shoveled us out, solo.  Nearly the moment he arrived home, we buried his uncle in a three-day long sendoff out of state, to the tune of about a thousand bucks for the hotel, flowers, and three squares a day.  Two days later, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with the same type of cancer that put the uncle in the ground.  And shortly thereafter, we learned that the dead man’s widow was also struck with the same disease.


And that was only early February.


Right after we buried the uncle-in-law, the hubby gave me a much-needed Valentines Day present: two tickets to Boz Scaggs at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey.  I’ve loved Boz since Silk Degrees, the breakout album vindicating the man’s talent and the six prior albums not embraced commercially.  Boz still had it: those soulful, sassy-smooth pipes that go down like Bailey’sâ„¢ Irish Cream and leave you wanting more.  But shhhhhh about Boz, because there was no way my in-laws would have understood.  By their reckoning, I should have worn a hair shirt.


A month later, I’d snagged tickets for the same venue, this time to see John Hiatt.  Lord above, if you love great music and are not acquainted with this phenomenally talented songwriter, musician, and singer, check him out.  Covered by BB King, Bonnie Raitt, and other notables, Hiatt’s work garnered Grammys in the days when those awards were testaments to genuine talent.  It’s hard to pin Hiatt to a specific genre, but he sends me.  There’s grit in his music as well as tenderness, and some of his material is written from a woman’s point of view, God love him.


The night I saw Hiatt, some of the jaloons in the audience hollered out rudely for him to play older tunes that they knew.  These people were idiots, because that man and his band cooked the stage, and he remained a humble gentleman the entire time.  As icing on the cake, Hiatt brought out Holly Williams to open for him.


Hiatt visited my city in September, at a small winery — to perform, not imbibe.  Yes, Virginia, there are actual wineries, professional wineries, in the Big Bad Apple.  Unfortunately, I’d already booked and half-paid for a jaunt at the Jersey shore and had to forego the intimate venue.  That’ll teach me to pre-plan!


The summer kicked off with Counting Crows’ media people asking me to cover their gig at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey.  There is no way to adequately relay this mind-blowing, multi-act concert, but if you’re game, have a gander at my review.


The summer’s highlight was experiencing Taylor Hicks and his amazing seven-piece band at Manhattan’s Highline Ballroom in early July.  The lowlight was not seeing him a week or so later in Jersey.  No matter how many times I see this man perform, he leaves me on Cloud Nine.  As a jaded New Yorker, it’s hard to get me to tread Cloud Nine, so this is a rare talent!  Taylor’s set was a hot, rockin’ mélange of original music and covers, ending with a shocker for the blues, soul, funk, and pop-rock Hicks:  La Roux’s techno-disco hit, Bulletproof.   Marvin Gaye said that Aretha Franklin stole I Heard it Through the Grapevine from him when she re-released this song.   La Roux, my dear, Taylor Hicks stole Bulletproof from you.  I don’t know how he didn’t combust right there on the stage.


I never got to use two tickets to another Hicks’ show in Teaneck, New Jersey, as the Mother of All Bloody Noses intervened.  Two many over-the-counter popular headache pills thinned my blood and made my house resemble a crime scene.  Suffice it to say that all conversation stopped when I waltzed into the ER … on a Saturday night … in Jersey.   I looked like a gunshot victim.  My friend Pam, who’d driven down from the Boston area to accompany me, wound up with me in the ER, as did my husband.  Pam could have gone to the gig without me; I begged her.  But she remained steadfast by my side, cracking me up through the blood and tears.


My reputation for good music apparently preceded me, as the first thing the attending physician said to me was, “I hear you’re trying to make a concert tonight.”  He gave me three choices, the first of which involved extreme pain and the second of which would have left a sort of tampon hanging out of my nose and thereby providing entertainment for Taylor Hicks: he was has entertained me for the past five years.  The third choice was to do nothing, because I’d waited so long in the ER with icepacks on my schnoz that the bleeding stopped on its own.  I opted for “nothing”, practically dancing out of the ER.  But Pam and the hubby threw me in the car and forbade me to attend the concert, in case the profuse bleeding started up again.  It didn’t, but I drowned my sorrows in some red wine, got a second wind, and watched Pam and my better half pass out on my couch!


Prior to these two gigs, I’d sort of interviewed Taylor Hicks over the phone.  I say “sort of” because it was more like a conversation to me between two music fanatics.  That was sweet, with a capital S.  And P.S., Taylor was an angel in the first degree, putting up with a few technical glitches at the onset of the dialogue.


On the downside, in 2010, I saw too many people jobless; my writing skills support their re-entry into the job market and open doors to career advancement.  On the plus side, I myself was still employed.


My very dear aunt died in early December, and her passing broke my heart.  She made my wedding dress.  She made my Communion dress.  She made me and many other people very happy; she is irreplaceable.  Soon after we laid Aunt Rita to rest, I was struck for the first — and I pray the last — time in with food poisoning.  I’ll spare you the gory details, but to tell you that for a few days, I could literally not stand up.  The warning leaflet with the meds cited blurred vision, dizziness, and drooling as some of the adverse reactions.  “Great,” cracked my husband.  “How are we going to differentiate between your normal behavior and adverse side effects?”  It’s great to have a comic in the family, isn’t it?!?!?!?!


I’m making no resolutions for 2011, but I do have hopes.  I’m hoping for good health for me and mine.  No more deaths, no disease, lots of live music, increased prosperity, and good times with friends, ideally, a road trip or two.  Maybe I’m not so jaded, after all! 

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