Gino Vannelli; Keswick Theater Glenside, PA 5/9/15

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Gino Vannelli; Keswick Theater Glenside, PA 5/9/15

Postby jimmy19029 » Mon May 18, 2015 7:37 am

Having collected Gino's releases over the years on vinyl, cassette and 8-track, I bought a collection of his on CD back in 2006, Ultimate Gino Vannelli...The result? I fell in love with his music all over again. Oh, I had never fallen out of love with it, but the collection reminded me of how great it all was to begin with and it was like discovering him again for the first the intensity of that first romance!

And earlier this year, I'd begun picking up more of the original albums on CD, reminding me it had been seven years since my last live Gino fix. Perfect time for another show...And then...voila....I saw him booked for Mother's Day Weekend for Saturday May 9th, for the first time at my beloved Keswick Theater.

And what a BEAUTIFUL night it was! Great night for a drive out to Montgomery County.

And the opening act was jazz-singer extraordinaire, Nnenna Freelon. She and Gino reminded us that there are still people out there who SING and don't need any gimmicks or spectacle. Gino invited her out during his set for special acclaim. But the planned duet between the two (I think they were slated to do "Hurts to be in Love") had to be canceled since Nnenna had to rush off to catch her plane.

As I've mentioned before, there are some differences now in a current Gino concert vs. a Gino show of the 1970s. For one thing, Gino, like many of his peers are now 40 years older, so the keys to many of the songs are down a half step or two. Also, that huge analog synth wall of sound created by his brother Joe has been replaced in many cases by some slight rearranging. At this show, it was a three man horn section of two saxes and one trumpet that I thought replaced the "synth wall" nicely. The last time I saw Gino, there was only David Patrick Lamb on sax as the lone horn but now it looks like local musicians are hired on a pick-up basis from town to town. And a Vannelli show is never short of top notch players. Tonight we also had Gregory Goebel on piano, Damian Erskine on bass, Reinhardt Melz on drums and the awesome Jay Koder on lead guitar.

And it was a fine balance of Gino standards I've heard at most of his shows plus some surprises, like "Love is a Night" and "Santa Rosa". The latter was a scorcher from his 1981 album Nightwalker that blew the roof off. That plus Nightwalker's title track were the highlights for me at this show.

And as always, Mr. Vannelli regales us with his "war stories" of the the time he was sitting in a restaurant back in the late 70s and had not yet changed out of his sweats or showered but the waiter told him several ladies over at the next table wanted a photo with him. Gino politely declined since he was not looking his best and felt gross but then his father's voice entered his head ("Don't disappoint the people who support you.."). With that he walked over to the next table and said he would do the picture...only to find out that the women seated there had no idea who he was....The waiter had been talking about a different table altogether. Another tale had 22 year old Gino sitting by a hotel pool and hearing his song "Crazy Life" coming from somewhere. At last, one of his songs was being played by someone! He went to find the source and discovered it was coming from a person's tape deck who was sitting close by...STEVIE WONDER...As he walked up to say hello, Stevie's brother said.."Hey Stevie! It's that cat with the crazy hair..." After the introductions were made, Stevie asked Gino if he would open nine shows for him since Chaka Khan & Rufus had just had to cancel. Gino, of course, couldn't say yes fast enough. Then he got another surprise. During this tour, he was phoned by Don Cornelius who wanted him to play on Soul Train. Gino laughed and said..."Would your audience, perhaps, want to kill me? You know I'm a white guy, right"? Don said he knew but he also knew that his current hit, People Gotta Move"", was also a big success on R&B stations and Gino went over very well on the show.

And as he introduced Canto, the title track of an album of Italian songs he'd done in his father's honor, he remembered how his father (a former professional musician, who gave it up for the more stable occupation of barber) had always sung he and his brothers to sleep at bedtime. He went on to say that he and his father were very high strung similar personalities, who sometimes clashed in his younger years. The album was his thank you to his father for the songs that inspired him on his pathway.

As always, no Gino Vannelli show would be complete without his big hit from 1978 "I Just Wanna Stop", my beloved "Living Inside Myself", his 1981 hit that meant alot to this writer at age 22 and the showstopping title track to 1978's "Brother to Brother". And after encores of "People Gotta Move" and "One Night With You", our Gino fix was sated...until next time.......

Love Is a Night
Gettin' High
People I Belong To
Living Inside Myself
Hurts to Be in Love
Santa Rosa
Black Cars
I Just Wanna Stop
Brother to Brother

People Gotta Move
One Night With You
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Re: Gino Vannelli; Keswick Theater Glenside, PA 5/9/15

Postby gr8dane » Mon Oct 19, 2015 12:13 am

Sounds great.Set list looks amazing too.Thanks for the review.
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