Posts Tagged ‘Riverfront Pops’

Random Friday Thoughts — September 13, 2013

It’s been a long six-day work week for me since I’m working strange hours — the evening shift.  There are two sides to the coin on this one.  It means that I’ve gotten to sleep in past 1 a.m. this week.  But, it also means that I’m been working to almost 11 p.m. or midnight (last Sunday because of the women’s U.S. Open tennis final).

I hope you have fun plans for the weekend.  Since the weather is going to be absolutely fantastic:  cooler temperatures and a decent chance of rain Sunday, I’m going to make soup today!

Rain

Liquid gold after the 36 consecutive days with no measurable rain at the Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois.

SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE:  More than one-half of inch of rain could fall in the Quad Cities late Saturday night and Sunday!

Here are my random thoughts for this week!

I DON’T FEEL THAT I’M HYPOCRITICAL

In last week’s blog, I criticized some idiots in Tucson, Arizona, that are asking for a recall of a school council member (and several others).  I could care less that they’re wanting a recall.  However, they’re attacking one of the men because he’s gay and even implied that he wasn’t “a REAL man” because of that!

In teasing what I was talking about in my random blog on Facebook, I wrote “Remind me not to go to Arizona”.

This prompted a former co-worker of mine now living there to write this to me, “Nice to see you’re making judgements about an entire state by the actions of a few. I don’t find anything hypocritical in that at all. I love you Anthony, but I think you’re wrong to condemn an entire state for that one story.”

This got me to thinking about whether I was being hypocritical?  I know that there are good people in Arizona, but I was talking about a certain group of people and not everyone in Tucson or Arizona.  However, I don’t feel that I’m hypocritical if I don’t want to go to Arizona because of that and the governor that I referenced in the story.

RUSSIA-RIGHTS-GAY-DEMOUganda

In the past, I’ve talked about the anti-gay laws and gay bashing in Russia, Uganda wanting to make “kill the gays” a law, and Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy giving money to anti-gay organizations.  Because of that, I don’t want to visit Russia, Uganda, or Chick-fil-A, even if there are nice people in Russia and Uganda and LGBT employees or supporters at some Chick-fil-A stores.

ChickFilA

I don’t think that makes me a hypocrite!

SPEAKING OF RUSSIA AND I DON’T EVEN HAVE TO SAY ANYTHING MORE…

Alexei Zhuravlev, a member of the Russian Parliament, plans to introduce a bill that would prevent gay parents from getting custody of their children.  He adds that if a single mother was found to be gay, she should lose custody of her child and he’d rather see the child go to an orphanage!

Alexei Zhuravlev

Zhuravlev says, “Homosexuals must not raise children.  They corrupt them. They do them much more harm than if the child were in an orphanage. I am deeply convinced of this.”

So sad!

WE NEED OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN NEXT YEAR

Did you attend the Riverfront Pops concert with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and the music of Michael Jackson last weekend?

The symphony was amazing and the singer’s voice was incredible.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While I loved the music, I thought the show was too chatty and it zapped the energy for me.  I loved the music of ABBA much more last year.

This was only my second Riverfront Pops concert and I plan on making it an annual tradition.  Since we’re talking about the Quad City Symphony, I’ve never attended the Holiday Pops concert to kick off the Christmas season.  However, I want to see this year’s show with Debby Boone (“You Light Up My Life”) as the featured guest vocalist.

Debby_boone_christmas

Since I’m a planner, I have a suggestion for the planning committee for next year’s Riverfront Pops — Olivia Newton-John.

Olivia

She is an award-winning actress and singer that has been charting hit singles for more than forty years.  She was a hit at last year’s Northalsted Market Days in Chicago and she has performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia.

Organizers, please contact Olivia now and make this happen!   🙂

IT’S NOT TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT CHRISTMAS

There may be 103 days left to Christmas, but for fans of 1980s synthpop music, the holiday season arrives on November 12th this year.

Erasure will release its first holiday collection, “Snow Globe”.

Erasure Snow Globe

The album will feature a collection of original songs and seasonal classics.  The first single, “Gaudete”, is the duo’s take on a Medieval Latin carol, which was also a folk hit four decades ago for Steeleye Span.

Vince Clarke says of Andy Bell, “I haven’t actually heard him sing better.  And, Andy adds this about the recording sessions, “I found my inner choirboy again.  I thought I’d lost him but he was there all along.”

I can’t wait to deck the halls this year to Erasure’s sounds of Christmas.

And, since I’m talking about Christmas, I’m also excited about two other Christmas collections this fall:  “A Mary Christmas” by Mary J. Blige (October 15), produced by the legendary David Foster and featuring a duet with Barbra Streisand and “Wrapped in Red” by Kelly Clarkson (October 29), with Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood joining Kelly on “Silent Night”.

mary-j-blige-christmaskelly-clarkson-wrapped-in-red-album-cover

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Stop Believing

Emotional Rollercoaster Highlights

“WORK BITCH”

The countdown is on to next Tuesday morning when Britney Spears is set to make a major announcement.

For weeks now, a countdown clock has been ticking away on her website.  Is it the big reveal to her Las Vegas Planet Hollywood residency rumored to be coming this fall?  Or, will “Work Bitch”, the first single from her eighth studio album coming out this fall, hit radio Tuesday?

Britney Britney Tweet 1

Last weekend, she released this hot picture from her video shoot in the desert.

And, could the biggest supermodel of the world be involved in the project?

RuPaul Tweet

Whatever it is, I can’t wait.  But, just like fans across the world, I’m counting down to next Tuesday!

REMEMBERING 9/11

This week marks the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

9 11

Almost three thousand people died that day and more than six thousand others were injured in the hijackings and crashing of four planes in less than a two-hour period.

I was living in Ohio at the time.  Since I was filling in for the evening meteorologist, all morning I watched the coverage and thought, “how could this be happening?”.

That evening, we cut away from the national coverage and at the top of the 11pm newscast, I was “live” at a gas station covering the speculation that gas prices would skyrocket in the days to follow.  Minutes later, I was back at the station presenting weather on the green screen!?!?!?!   Strange producing without a doubt.

ANOTHER SOLEMN ANNIVERSARY

From 1981-2009, almost 30 million people died of AIDS.  In 2010, there were about 1.8 million deaths from AIDS, which was down from about 2.2 million in 2005.  And, as of 2011, it was estimated that there are 34 million people worldwide that are HIV-positive.

Those are some staggering numbers.  The bottom line is that HIV and AIDS are still major concerns and neither are not going away anytime soon regardless of the advancements in medication and treatment.

On September 11, 1993, one of the best movies about the AIDS epidemic, “And The Band Played On” premiered on HBO.

And_band_played_on_(1993)

The $8 million production featured an all-star cast including Matthew Modine, Alan Alda, Ian McKellen, Richard Gere, Lily Tomlin, Steve Martin, Phil Collins, B.D. Wong, Anjelica Huston, and Glenne Headly.  It earned 14 Emmy nominations and won three awards.

The book from which the movie was based, “And The Band Played On:  Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic”, was written by Randy Shilts, who was born in Davenport, Iowa in 1951.

Randy Shilts

Shilts found out he was HIV-positive in March 1987, but he didn’t publicly reveal he had AIDS  until shortly before his death in February 1994.  He was 42.

If you ever want to watch a comprehensive, heart touching, and entertaining lesson of the early years and history of AIDS,  you have to see “And The Band Played On” and “Longtime Companion” (1990).  (You might even be able to find the entire movie on YouTube!)

A HAPPIER ANNIVERSARY

x-files

It was twenty years ago this week that “The X-Files” made its debut on Fox, on September 10, 1993.

12 million people tuned in that night to see FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully explore and try to explain the paranormal and the conspiracy to cover up an alien invasion and the existence of extraterrestrials.

It made David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson stars.

Gillian David The X-Files

When the fifth season kicked off in November 1997, more than 27.3 million people tuned in!

It’s still one of my favorite series of all time.  Although I’ve already watched it, I’m watching the series again with Ray, who never saw it.  We’re now into the sixth of nine seasons.

Happy Anniversary, “The X-Files”.

CRAZY ASS PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

Sometimes, I pick mainstream songs and video to showcase.

This week, it’s a song that is so far out there (try Norway) from a couple of brothers, Bard and Vegard Ylvisaker, who have a variety show called “Ylvis”.

They premiered “The Fox”, an electronic psuedo-parody last week and it was viewed 22.8 million times in just over a week!

The Fox Billboard Hot 100

The YouTube play, along with more than 71 million shares, was enough for the song to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 at #29!  And, a few radio stations are beginning to play it.  Check this out and then tell me that can forget it!  🙂

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

The English band, the Human League scored six Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States from 1981 to 1995.

Of the six, three reached the Top Ten:  “Don’t You Want Me” (#1, 1982), “(Keep Feeling) Fascination (#8, 1983), and “Human” (#1, 1986).

“Don’t You Want Me” was their first American hit and it spent three weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 during my senior year of high school, 1982.

I finally got to see them in concert at Market Days in Chicago about ten years ago.  They were amazing!

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

Earlier this week, Ray and I finished season three of “The Walking Dead”.  It was absolutely incredible and mind-blowing!  So, “Dead” fans, we’re used to the undead being referred to as “walkers”.  What did you think of the Governor and residents of Woodbury calling them “biters”?  It grew on me and I like both references.

the-walking-dead-walker-zombie2

We’re going to finish season six of “The X-Files” and then take a break and finish out seasons four and five of “Fringe”.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

Anthony

A Night on The Mississippi With ABBA The Concert, But Not The “ABBA”!

ABBA, the band (not my golden retriever), is one of the most successful international musical acts of all time!  While the group dominated the radio airwaves across the globe in the 1970s, they weren’t known as a touring band.  If you saw ABBA in concert, you were very lucky.

From the time ABBA formed in 1972 until they “unofficially” broke up in 1982, they only had three major tours.  ABBA’s only North American tour took place in the fall of 1979 when they played 17 sold out shows in the United States and Canada.  The closest the band played to the Quad Cities was in Omaha (9/26/1979), Milwaukee (9/29/1979) and Chicago (9/30/ 1979).

ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus once said, “To us, the U.S. is mainly a challenge. The whole tour to us is a great challenge. Tonight, the audience was great and everything went smoothly. But it was a very strange feeling when we have not toured in 2 1/2 years. You don’t have the self-confidence that most artists have that tour a lot and you don’t know until you’re up there, until you meet the audience face-to-face, whether it’s going to work or not…”

But, thanks to bands like Erasure and the 1994 movies, “Muriel’s Wedding” and “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”, along with the world-renowned stage production of “Mamma Mia”, and the Meryl Streep movie of the same name, ABBA will live forever in our hearts.

While most of us never saw the band live in concert in the 1970s, back in 2000, rumor had it that ABBA (Agnetha, Frida, Benny, and Bjorn) was offered ONE BILLION DOLLARS to perform 100 shows in an international tour, but they refused!

Lucky for us, there are many ABBA tribute band that tour singing all of the great songs.  Some are really good and some are really bad.

I’ve seen three tribute bands and the absolute worst was two years ago at Market Days, the largest two-day outdoor street festival in the Midwest, in Chicago.  It was so bad that one of the two lead female “singers” (and I use that term loosely) had the lyrics in front of her.  Horrible!

Back in 2002, at the House of Blues in Chicago, I saw the international tribute band Björn Again and they were amazing.

This troupe which started touring as “ABBA” in 1988 in Australia even has the blessings from the real group.  In 1999, Benny said, “BJÖRN AGAIN are the closest you can get to seeing ABBA. ABBA will never reform!”

Saturday night, I attended the 30th annual Riverfront Pops concert in LeClaire Park in Davenport, Iowa, with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra led by Mark Russell Smith featuring the music of  ABBA!  The group calls itself “ABBA – The Concert”.

It was a fun time singing along with the fantastic music of ABBA on a perfect late summer evening along the Mississippi River.

Thousands spread blankets on the group, brought lawn chairs, and tables and tables of food and beverages.  This was my first Pops concert and it won’t be my last.

To top off the night after the concert, the Symphony played while  fireworks erupted in the late night sky.

So, while it wasn’t the real ABBA or my ABBA, a fun time was had by every “Dancing Queen ” that I saw singing along.

Anthony