New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


Have you seen our monthly magazine? It's available for free at NJArtsMag.com

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

By Spotlight Central

originally published: 09/25/2017

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

As we make our way through the back entrance of Holmdel, NJ’s PNC Bank Arts Center on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, ready to cover tonight’s Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 concert, we come upon three familiar faces — Kurt “Frenchy” Yahjian, Billy Reid, and Jay Siegel — all members of the world-famous vocal trio, Jay Siegel and The Tokens.

We take a moment to chat with Kurt who reveals, “I love playing here at the Arts Center — this venue is great!” before going on to add, “The man who organizes these shows — Garden State Arts Center Foundation VP Ron Gravino — is such a fan of the music and he treats everyone ‘first class.’ We always love doing his shows, and tonight we get to work with some of the best of the best — Chubby Checker and Charlie Thomas’ Drifters.”

Next, we catch up with Billy Reid — who after telling us he spent many years living in the Garden State — echoes the words of his partner, Kurt, when he exclaims, “The audiences here at the PNC Bank Arts Center are always great!” before going on to note, “And the stage sound is great here, too, which is so important to a vocal group like us. We don’t use any pre-recorded tracks — everything is done with our voices and microphone technique — so we really love performing at this venue.”

And, lastly, we chat with Jay Siegel — the original falcetto voice on The Tokens’ “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” — who remarks, “The PNC Bank Arts Center is one of the best venues around — the sound is great — but even more, the audiences here give us the energy we need to be who we are!”

Making our way through to the PNC Bank Arts Center amphitheater, we see the warm-up act for tonight’s Cousin Brucie Rock & Roll Year Book concert is just starting their set in front of an audience of thousands of music fans. The band, The Fountain of Youth, is a six-piece group comprised entirely of youngsters ages 11–14 who attend the Lake House Music Academy in Asbury Park, NJ.



The article continues after this ad

 


The members — Vianna on lead vocals, Miles on guitar and harmonica, Idan and Daniel on guitars, Dante on bass, and Jake on drums — sound well beyond their years as they rock ’n roll their way through such well-known classics as Pat Benetar’s “Heartbreaker” and The Romantics’ “What I Like About You.”

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

Bouncing and bopping with youthful energy like only kids can, when the young musicians play The Who’s “My Generation,” it’s ironic how well they are able to illustrate how this latest generation can interpret music written long before they were born in front of a crowd made up of mainly “oldies” music fans!

For their performance, the audience cheers for this next generation of rockers!

Garden State Arts Center Foundation VP Ron Gravino takes the stage to thank the sponsors of tonight’s special program — LiveNation Entertainment, PNC Bank, and others — and to welcome the audience to the show before introducing tonight’s master of ceremonies, Sirius XM radio DJ Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow.

Cousin Brucie makes his way down the center aisle through the audience — greeting fans and shaking hands the entire way before taking his place on the PNC Bank Arts Center stage in front of the huge crowd.

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

Cousin Brucie brings the Fountain of Youth kids back onto the stage, chatting with them and thanking them for a job well done stating, “I was worried where the state of rock and roll was going, but after hearing you young musicians, I’m not worried anymore!”

As the kids happily walk off stage, we take a moment to talk to Fountain of Youth lead vocalist Vianna, 11, from Wall, NJ.

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

When asked what it was like to perform in this impressive venue in front of thousands of music fans, Vianna reveals, “It’s a feeling I’ve never felt before,” adding, “I was nervous, but after the first note, I was relaxed and it was just me and my band.”

Going on to note that, as a musician, she likes “a bunch of genres of music,” Vianna also remarks that her favorite song that she and the Fountain of Youth performed for tonight’s audience was Heart’s “Magic Man.”

Cousin Brucie talks candidly about the special show he has planned for this evening, disclosing that “every act tonight is someone who is close to my heart.”

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

First up on tonight’s bill is The Super Girl Group, a quintet of female singers who originally sang in some of the 1960’s most famous girl groups.

Accompanied by a top-notch back-up band, the Super Girl Group opens their set with “Chains,” a tune written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

Margaret Williams takes the lead on “Chains” — a 1962 hit for her group, The Cookies — making the hearts of the audience members pitter patter as she and her colleagues sing and swing.

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

Nanette Licari — an original member of Reparata and The Delrons — takes over the lead vocal chores on “Whenever a Teenager Cries,” the entire quintet swaying, clapping, and emoting on this classic 1964 girl group hit.

As an original member of The Jaynettes, Louise Murray sings lead on the group’s 1963 recording, “Sally, Go ‘Round The Roses,” the groove of the ladies’ harmonies, hand motions, and dance moves setting a mood for the crowd.

1963’s “The Kind of Boy You Can’t Forget” features Beverly Warren from The Raindrops. On this number, the band and back-up singers totally rock out.

Lastly, the women wrap up with The Exciters’ 1965 Top Ten classic, “Tell Him.” Original Exciters member Lillian Walker-Moss encourages the audience to sing along on this catchy hit, and they definitely do!

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

For their performance, The Super Girl Group is rewarded by this audience with animated applause, cheers, and whistles!

Cousin Brucie retakes the stage announcing, “Now let’s mingle the music that tied everyone’s hearts together” as his way of introducing a group which he reveals was originally called “The Linc-Tones — from Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High School.”

The audience cheers when they see it is Jay Siegel’s Tokens!

The trio opens with the first song The Tokens ever recorded, 1956’s “Tonight I Fell in Love.” With Siegel and the group never sounding better, the audience joyfully claps along.

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

The men follow that tune up with a performance of the “Tonight I Fell in Love” record’s “B-side” — “I’ll Always Love You.” The trio’s warm voices fill the PNC Bank Arts center with beautiful, resonant harmony.

Kurt “Frenchy” Yahian sings lead on Dion’s “The Wanderer” as the sound goes “around and around,” enticing couples to stand up and dance. Then, the group segues into their own 1967 hit, “Portrait of My Love,” featuring Jay Siegel’s outstanding falsetto voice floating above the voices of his talented colleagues.

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

After an upbeat rendition of The Temptations’ “My Girl” featuring Kurt on lead vocals, Jay Siegel performs some advertising jingles associated with the group. Afterwards, the trio sings two songs which Siegel produced for other artists — The Happenings’ “See You in September” and The Chiffons’ “One Fine Day” — a record which Siegel reveals featured the tune’s young songwriter, Carole King, on piano!

One of many standout performances of the evening is when Jay and The Tokens perform their 1961 #1 hit, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” — in the original key! — and Jay Siegel proves that, as a singer, he’s still got it!

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

For making the audience feel like kids again, the audience gives Jay, Kurt, and Bill a well-deserved standing ovation!

Cousin Brucie steps back onto the stage to introduce tonight’s next group, Charlie Thomas and The Drifters.

Chanting, “Hey, hey, hey, we’re gonna party today — let’s have a rock and roll party!” the vocal quartet opens with The Drifters’ 1963 Top Ten hit, “On Broadway.”

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

As Charlie Thomas sings lead, the group members energetically dance along.

Moving on to “This Magic Moment,” Charlie and The Drifters make magical moments for everyone with an enchanting performance of this classic 1960’s number.

The audience sings and dances along on The Drifters’ 1963 Top Ten hit, “Up On The Roof,” the men showing off their fancy footwork and choreography.

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

Reveals Charlie to the happy crowd, “I’m 80 years old and still moving! I love this old rock and roll. Don’t ever let it die!”

Launching into their 1960 hit, “Save the Last Dance for Me,” The Drifters rhythmically echo Charlie’s message to “save the last dance,” creating a lush backdrop to his impassioned plea as the crowd sings along.

Entertaining the audience with their dancing on the group’s 1960 Top 20 tune, “Sweets for my Sweet,” the quartet follows up with 1959’s “There Goes My Baby,” the saxophone musically answering Charlie’s questioning vocal, “Did she really love me?”

Moving on to another highlight performance of the evening, Charlie and The Drifters perform their 1964 Top Ten smash, “Under the Boardwalk.” Members of this Jersey crowd — who surely know all about boardwalks — have their hands waving in the air as they tunefully sing along to this famous soundtrack of summer melody.

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

Following what appears to be a surprise spontaneous a cappella performance of “God Bless America” by Mr. Thomas, the quartet returns to the stage to perform an electrifying rendition of The Isley Brothers’ “Shout,” the entire audience on it’s feet, hands in the air, echo-singing to Charlie who, at age 80, has the entire place rocking!

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

A well-earned standing ovation ensues, after which Cousin Brucie makes his final introduction of the evening by asking a singer he describes as “a most sought-after entertainer” to take the stage — Chubby Checker!

Opening with 1961’s “Good, Good Lovin’,” Checker sings “I got a lotta good lovin’/Good lovin’/Make me feel so bad,” making the the audience feel so good! Accompanied by a rockin’ young band which injects modern energy into his classic rock sound, Checker looks and sounds good in his sparkly denim outfit and checkered blue suede shoes.

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

Following 1963’s “Twist It Up,” Checker and his band perform 1961’s “Dancin’ Party,” Chubby shaking his hips and making those checkered blue suede shoes dance across the stage.

Moving onto a medley of Fats Domino tunes including “I’m Walkin’” and “Blueberry Hill,” Checker — ever the consummate performer — brings back memories to this audience of NJ music fans who nod their heads in time and sing along to these classic tunes.

Shaking his hips, Chubby struts right down into the audience to dance with patrons singing, “I want to squeeze and hug you tight,” and he literally does that with several of them!

Changing the pace and slowing things down, Checker performs with emotion on an original new number entitled “Changes.”

Exclaiming, “We love stupid songs — we remember stupid songs!” Checker performs a boot-scootin’ country tune from 2016 entitled “Lookin’ For Me,” a song with a catchy tune and hooky lyrics which the audience immediately learns.

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

The crowd enthusiastically sings along with Chubby on the song’s memorable “She was there in Oklahoma/She was there in Tennessee/She was there in Texarkana/She was there just lookin’ for me” chorus.

Audience members continue to sing as they dance in their seats on 1961’s “Do the Pony.”

After several audience members try and fail to adequately “Do the Hucklebuck” for Chubby — a dance which requires appropriately thrusting one’s pelvis forward — Checker eventually invites a young boy up onto the stage to dance while he croons the song.

Women in the audience shake it with Chubby on Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” and then Checker and the band segue into a rip-roarin’ rendition of The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There,” the audience joining in singing. The crowd continues to happily sing along when Chubby intentionally stops to feature their vocals on Buddy Holly’s classic “Peggy Sue.”

In a show filled with memorable moments, perhaps the most memorable is Chubby Checker’s live rendition of his 1960 #1 hit which resurfaced to become #1 again in 1962 — “The Twist.”

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

As he sings — sounding just like he did on the record — Checker picks people to join him on stage to dance. Here, the audience is treated to every variety of dancing twister— suave, goofy, experienced, novice, rowdy, reserved, wiggly, smooth, happy — not to mention one shoeless twister!

Without missing a beat, Checker moves on to his 1961 Top Ten hit, “Let’s Twist Again,” where even Cousin Brucie joins in on the on-stage antics as the band rocks on to a dynamic conclusion and the crowd responds with a heartfelt standing ovation!

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

Following the performance, we chat with several members of the audience who give us their reactions to tonight’s Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 concert.

States Earl from Mahopac, NY, “It’s great how this music is being kept alive,” adding, “and what’s unbelievable to me is how Jay Siegel’s voice is still intact!”

Frank from Middletown comments, “This was a great show. With groups like The Drifters, you know you’re truly seeing rock and roll history.”

John from Bridgewater agrees, echoing, “Definitely a great show — outstanding,” before further noting, “and Chubby Checker is just amazing — I love his energy!”

Lastly, Mike, from Spring Lake — who tells us he will celebrate his 91st birthday this week — gets the last word when he says, “I come to all the shows here, and this is one of the best shows I have ever seen,” concluding, “I just love the old music, and hearing it all again here tonight has been just amazing!”

“Just Amazing!” Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Yearbook Vol. 1 LIVE! at PNC Bank Arts Center

To learn more about Chubby Checker, please click on chubbychecker.com. For further information on Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, please see cthomasdrifters.com. To read more about Jay Siegel’s Tokens, please go to jaysiegelandthetokens.com. For more information on Lakehouse Music Academy, please go to lakehousemusicacademy.com. Lastly, for info on future Garden State Arts Foundation programs at the PNC Bank Arts Center, please consult gsafoundation.org.


Photos by Love Imagery

Spotlight Central. Your source for Jersey entertainment news and reviews

Love Imagery Fine Art Photography. all you need. peace/love/flower/power



For more by this author, click here






State Theatre Presents Diana Krall: Turn Up the Quiet Tour
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Diana Krall live in concert as part of her Turn Up The Quiet World Tour on Friday, October 12 at 8:00pm. Tickets range from $43-$153.50.  This concert will feature songs from Diana Krall’s stunning new album, Turn Up The Quiet, out now on Verve Records as well as a mix of some fan favorites. 
Kean Stage Presents The Manhattan Transfer
(UNION, NJ) -- Going strong after more than 45 years, Grammy Award winner The Manhattan Transfer, with tenor vocals from Kean University alumnus Alan Paul '71, will captivate Kean Stage audiences with their distinctive four-part harmonies at Enlow Recital Hall on Sunday, September 30 at 3:00pm.
3rd Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- The North Jersey Indie Rock Festival returns to Jersey City on October 6. Presented by Mint 400 Records and Sniffling Indie Kids, the festival includes acts from those labels and Little Dickman Records, Rhyme and Reason Records, and State Champion Records.  The festival takes place at White Eagle Hall. Doors are at 4:00pm and the music starts at 4:30pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
Bobby McFerrin To Kick Off the 125th Season Of Princeton University Concerts
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- On Friday, September 21, 2018 at 7:30pm, 10-time GRAMMY award-winning artist Bobby McFerrin launches Princeton University Concerts’ (“PUC”) 125th Anniversary Season in a special event performance at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall. The concert will feature McFerrin alongside members of his a cappella group Gimme5 in a program titled “ Circlesongs ” -- an evening of spontaneous music-making through shared improvised sound, in a language growing out of tribal chant and sacred music. 
The Dryden Ensemble Presents Bach Cantata Fest
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- The Dryden Ensemble will present a Bach Cantata Fest on Saturday, October 20 at 7:30pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 6587 Upper York Road, Solebury, Pennsylvania, and on Sunday, October 21 at 3:00pm at Miller Chapel, located on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey. Tickets are $25 for general admission and free to students with an ID. They may be purchased at the door or online at www.drydenensemble.org.


“Here’s Lucie!” Lucie Arnaz LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center
Even though the weather outside Holmdel, NJ’s PNC Bank Arts Center is cloudy with some light intermittent drizzle this Wednesday, September 12, 2018 afternoon, the venue’s stage is still shining brightly with talent thanks to a live performance by television, film, and stage actress/singer Lucie Arnaz!
Mike Aiken Talks About Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch At RVCC
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) -- Raritan Valley Community College presents Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22.  The three-day event will feature a number of different musical shows by Mike Aiken, as well as other solo artists and groups.  
Virtuoso Jazz Violinist Jean-Luc Ponty LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
It’s a warm but lovely Aug. 23, 2018 evening here in Newton, NJ. After enjoying some hand-dipped Cliff’s ice cream from the window at Hayek Market, we march up Spring Street looking forward to hearing some world-class jazz at one of the Garden State’s favorite concert venues, The Newton Theatre.
An Interview with Bernie Williams
Four-time World Series Champion and Latin Grammy-Nominated guitarist and composer Bernie Williams will perform with his All-Star Band at the Jersey Shore this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 at The Grunin Center of the Arts in Toms River, NJ!
“Unleash the Love” The Beach Boys LIVE! at The Great Auditorium
So what were you doing at 8:18 pm on 8/18/18? Well, we’re not sure what you were up to, but we know that on that hot August night, we were listening to “America’s Band” — The Beach Boys — and watching them “Unleash the Love” while performing their incredible catalog of hits at Ocean Grove NJ’s Great Auditorium!










Event calendar
Friday, Sep 21, 2018


MUSIC

Talib Kweli @ Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park - 9:00pm


JESSIE’S GIRL @ The Wellmont Theater, Montclair - 8:00pm

Bill Staines at the Minstrel @ Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, , Morristown - 7:30pm

FELIX CAVALIERE AND GENE CORNISH’S RASCALS @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm

MICHAEL MCDONALD @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm

Up Close & Personal 2 with "Them Lean On Me Boys"...RIFF @ Hamilton Stage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm

The Marshall Tucker Band with special guest The Outlaws @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm

The Jeff Jensen Band @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm







THEATRE

Souvenir @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

East Lynne Theater Company presents SILENT SKY @ First Presbyterian Church (Cape May), Cape May - 8:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

Incorruptible @ Ritz Theatre Company, Haddon Township - 8:00pm

West End Festival of the Arts- Theatre Brut Session 1 @ West End Arts Center, Long Branch - 8:00pm

OPEN auditions for Sondheim on Sondheim @ Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood - 7:00pm

Evita @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 8:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Harlem Quartet" @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College , Princeton - 7:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Portrait de Ludmilla en Nina Simone " @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College, Princeton - 9:00pm

HUMAN ERROR by Eric Pfeffinger @ West Windsor Arts Center, Princeton Junction - 8:00pm


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Brick City @ Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union - 8:00pm


COMEDY

Big Apple Comedy Club @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 8:00pm


FILM

Monty Python and the Holy Grail Quote-A-Long @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 7:00pm

New Jersey Film Festival @ Voorhees Hall #105, New Brunswick - 7:00pm


LECTURE

AN EVENING WITH DR. SANJAY GUPTA, MD @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:30pm

View all events










 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.