The Babys; Sellersville Theater 1894 6/27/15

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The Babys; Sellersville Theater 1894 6/27/15

Postby jimmy19029 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:59 am

Not too much can get me out of the house on a horrible rainy, windswept night, period...forget driving fifty miles....But a Babys reunion? OH YEAH!!! I'M THERE!!!! And in the driving rain, it seemed like twice the distance! These Babys had better be good!...Well, of course they were...

I had first heard of the band during my senior year of high school. But it seemed as if they were being pitched as the latest teeny bop sensation. Whoops! Not off to a great start. Then...no radio play in my area...and...that NAME. With a silly moniker like that, they didn't expect us to take them seriously now? Did they! Strike three.

Fast forward ten months to a rainy November night, much like the night of this show. I had just started college and was riding around with my friend grooving to the tunes on the radio. WOW, what's this song? "Ïsn't It Time"? Great singing and dig that piano and organ! Who is this? The Babys? Definitely NOT some crappy flash in the pan crap band. These guys are GOOD!

And so began my love affair with The Babys, with the high point being attending my first Babys concert in May 1980 at the Tower Theater near Philly. The venue was filled with rapid and enthusiastic fans and the group didn't fail to dazzle. They looked all set for a nice long run of success and even put out another album and booked a second Tower appearance before the year was out.

But December 1980 turned out to be a very dark month overall, starting with my father having to enter the hospital. Then Led Zeppelin announced the very same day that they were disbanding following the death of drummer John Bonham. Four days later came the horrible shooting of John Lennon and the day after that, John Waite was pulled offstage, resulting in a knee injury and a canceled tour. Even worse....the group decided to DISBAND not long after that with Waite going solo and new keyboardist Jonathan Cain joining Journey. Of course I was happy for Cain and Waite's subsequent solo success and did attend Waite's shows and buy his records....Great they were but......not quite The Babys. They were gone.....seemingly for good.......

But NOW...35 YEARS LATER....I couldn't believe I was going to attend my second Babys concert.

After some buzzes and false starts, drummer Tony Brock and guitarist Wally Stocker began putting the group back together again in late 2012. John Waite decided to pass on the reunion and things reportedly grew difficult with original member Michael Corby, so they decided to go forward without him as well.

And they've chosen a FINE singer to replace Waite. The new lead singer, John Bisaha introduced himself as "John Two". He spoke about auditioning three or four times, then finally getting the call that he was the guy...A dream come true for him. "I was just like all of you out there", he said, "I was a fan who started with the 'Broken Heart' album and worked my way back..."

The guys took the stage just after 9 (after a warmup set by rockers 28 North) with their 1980 hit "Back on My Feet Again". One cool thing was some video imagery behind them that showed things like a car's pov racing through city streets during "Midnight Rendezvous", smoke and haze over a nighttime city backdrop for "Darker Side of Town" (done as a duet between John and new keyboardist Eric Ragno) a flying away jet and moving dot on a map for "Run to Mexico" and the actual video for their most recent single "I See You There", with the band playing in synch to it (not the easiest thing to do, I'm sure). And there were shots of Tony and Wally playing that were taken from late 70s videos during "Looking For Love".

And one of my faves, "Wrong or Right", was performed the way it originally was on the "Broken Heart" album, complete with piped in string quartet, rather than in tandem with the title song. Much better this way, I thought.

I believe Tony was using 28 North's drummer's kit rather than his own traditional HUGE one, so I gather that was why I didn't hear that cool cowbell on "And If You Could See Me Fly". But I did hear the cowbell type roll at the beginning of "If You've Got the Time", so, go figure...Tony still whacked the shit out of the borrowed kit!

And besides Tony, Wally, John and Eric, we now have second guitarist/composer Joey Sykes and new Babettes: Holly Bisaha and Elisa Chadbourne.

At first, I wasn't hearing the girls too well but by the time we got to their 1977 hit, "Isn't It Time", they were coming through loud and clear. And they also did a fine job on 1979's "Every Time I Think of You", one of the highlights of the show for me.

Overall, the program was just the right balance of new stuff, hits and album cuts and Mr. Bisaha was a very enthused tour guide as he took us through the set commenting on each song along the way...'Oh, and this is another deep cut and B side that they never played live but we're going to do it right now...".

One guy behind me seemed worried that they were going to leave out his favorite, which I guessed was "Head First". Nope. They came back out to serve it up as the encore.

And the guys were out lightning quick for the meet & greet and it was, as always, fun to talk to fans young & old. One guy had just interviewed Jonathan Cain and another standing next to me was an usher at the Keswick Theater (COOL JOB!). John Bisaha laughed when I told him a girl behind me during the show thought he looked like Fabio. "Are you kidding"? he joked again, "Fabio's alot bigger and better looking". And it was a pleasure to talk to Tony and shake his hand, thanking him for all the great music over the years. Sorry I missed Wally. Maybe he came out later, after I left.


Back on My Feet Again
Midnight Rendezvous
Give Me Your Love
Anytime
Isn't It Time
I See You There
Love Don't Prove I'm Right
And If You Could See Me Fly
Sunrise & Goodbyes
Darker Side of Town
Wrong Or Right
Not Ready
Every Time I Think of You
Postcard
Looking For Love
Run To Mexico
Turn & Walk Away

Head First
jimmy19029
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Location: Essington, PA

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