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It’s just about the last of the big holiday-themed entertainment events to take the stage of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank each December — a frankly awesome rock and roll extravaganza that plants a glittering star atop the tree at an eleventh hour when various Scrooges, Nutcrackers and vocal choirs have scurried off to their last-minute shopping excursions.
Ask Bobby Bandiera and he’ll probably tell you that a dose of charitable spirit is more important than ever in the final countdown to Christmas and Hanukkah — and that the day-to-day survival of our neediest neighbors doesn’t take a holiday break when the rest of the community settles into its family traditions.
It was originally supposed to go down as a tribute to the pop music legend with the omnipresent shades and the hi-lonesome voice: Mr. Roy Orbison.
But when word got out that David Bowie had passed away on January 10, Bob Bandiera switched strategies as quickly as the late, great “Thin White Duke” himself explored musical personas in a career lasting some 50 years.
As commanding officer of the Jersey Shore Rock ‘N Soul Revue — and as a saloon singer supreme performing over the decades in the clubs, concert halls, tiki decks, taverns and dimly lit corners of coastal New Jersey — Bobby Bandiera has pretty much paid tribute to them all: the Beatles and the Stones; the Sun rockabillies and Motown soulmen; the AM radio one-hit-wonders and the FM rotation heavies.
So in a long, strange trip that’s taken him from smoke-choked pool halls and piano bars to the sold-out arenas of his road gig with Bon Jovi, there’s really only one career that still cries out for a proper salute: his own.
On Saturday night, Bandiera returns to Red Bank to address that glaring omission, with an “Autobiography” concert that assembles a rocking Rolodex of talented friends on the stage of one of the man’s favorite places to play, the Count Basie Theatre.
Bob Bandiera brings his all-star jinglebell-jam rock spectacular back to the Basie on Monday night with Hope Concert V.
In an interview we did with Bob Bandiera a couple of seasons back, the veteran musical go-to guy fessed up to the effect that “I’ve got about 95 guitars. My wife is not happy about it she allotted me two rooms for my music. But you know it’s fun to have that arsenal.”
What the Hardest Working Man in the Shore Music Business also appears to have is a “little black book” of friends that must rival the Oxford Unabridged for sheer heft that, or a Rolodex the size of the “Big Wheel” from The Price Is Right.
On Monday night, December 19, a few of those friends otherwise known as “almost every significant artist on the Jersey Shore” will meet up with Bobby B in Red Bank town to take part in a little fundraiser show by the name of Hope Concert V, a local tradition that makes a much anticipated (and very much SOLD OUT) return to the boards of the Count Basie Theatre.
Remember when you could only see a live show by Celine Dion by traveling to
Well, Red Bank has its very own “destination” act, the kind in which the fans do the touring and performers stay put. We’re talking about the Jersey Shore Rock ‘N Soul Revue, which plays nowhere other than the Count Basie Theatre. Anyone who’s interested in seeing and hearing it shouldn’t wait for it to come around to their neck of the woods, but make the pilgrimage to that glittering Monmouth Street venue.
We all know bandleader Bobby Bandiera for his work with Bon Jovi, the Boss and
the Jukes, but his hi-concept shows with the Revue are genuine events.
Bandiera took the time to speak with Red Bank oRBit as he preps for his
latest thematic special on Saturday, a salute to “brother acts” called BANDS
It’s a show that you won’t see anywhere else but Red Bank and a story
you’ll read nowhere else but in Red Bank oRBit.
Bobby Bandiera and Friends performing Neil Young’s ‘Like a Hurricane’ in 2011. (Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
Bobby Bandiera (July 27) and the Matt O’Ree Band (with a special guest, August 24) will take the stage in Riverside Gardens Park as part of an effort to spotlight local club offerings, says Jamian’s Food and Drink owner Jamian LaViola, who’s organizing the shows.
While efforts are underway to restore oyster populations in the local waterways that once boasted them in abundance, Red Bank celebrates the opening of oyster season by, well, opening a few thousand oysters — not to mention a beverage or two.
For a performer whose torchy, bluesy vocalizings are normally a study in confidence and timing, Eryn Shewell lost complete control of the situation during a crucial moment of a December, 2016 gig at Asbury Park’s storied Wonder Bar. That’s when her guitarist, Matt O’Ree, halted her cover of the Christmas pop classic “Santa Baby” (on the line “forgot to mention one little thing… a ring”) and proposed to her before a cheering crowd, right there on the stage of the circuit landmark where the two had met some 10 years prior.
Brooklyn-based Phish tribute band Uncle Ebenezer migrates into Red Bank for a Friday night jam at Jamian’s.
Mixed in among one of the busiest bar and restaurant scenes in Monmouth County, Jamian’s Food and Drink has long been a nightlife standardbearer in downtown Red Bank.
In addition to weekly gigs by Shore legends Bobby Bandiera and Pat Guadagno, plus reggae masters Random Test and one of the area’s most enduring open-mics, Jamian LaViola’s watering hole adds to its musical menu this Friday with a special catch-of-the-day: Phish tribute band Uncle Ebenezer.
In a move that further cements its place at the heart of the Greater Red Bank Green’s cultural life, the Count Basie Theatre plans to merge the borough-based Monmouth Conservatory of Music into its existing suite of musical training and performance programs.
In a statement released Wednesday, the theater’s board of directors detailed a plan to assume operations of the 53-year-old MCM as a component of the Basie’s slate of specialized instruction programs in jazz, classic rock and Broadway-style performing arts.
While we normally shy away from “Big Check” photos, this image of Bobby Bandiera (fourth from left) presenting a a $91,000 award to The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties illustrates the fundraising power of Bandiera’s holiday Hope Concerts, the 2016 edition of which brought in over $200,000 for designated beneficiaries at Foodbank, Two River Theater, and the arts education programs at Red Bank Middle School.
Press release from Count Basie Theatre
The Count Basie Theatre has announced the availability of five Arts Impact scholarships available to Monmouth County high school seniors graduating in 2017.
This year, the Basie will proudly offer five scholarships: the Moser-Taboada Arts Impact Scholarship, the Monmouth Medical Center – RWJBarnabas Health Arts Impact Scholarship, the Monmouth County Freeholders’ Basie Scholarship for Continuing Education, the Siciliano Landscape Company Arts Impact Scholarship, and the new Steven and Jaime Schultz Arts Impact Scholarship.
The Monmouth County Freeholders’ scholarship will be awarded to a student attending a New Jersey-based college in the fall. Each will award a recipient $2500 towards their freshman year of higher education. Deadline for applying for the program is 4 p.m. on Friday, March 17.
On Wednesday night, Kenny Rogers takes it to the stage of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre for a program of custom-roasted Yuletide chestnuts, platinum-plated signature songs, stories, and a multimedia element that “will include a reflective look back through Rogers’ storied 50-plus-year career.”
A holiday tradition bit the fake-snow dust in 2014, when a retiring David Letterman hosted musical guest Darlene Love in her umpteenth and final annual performance of the soaring “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”
But Red Bank audiences can vouch that Ms. Love and her Christmas-pop signature are alive and well. And when the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer returns to the Count Basie Theatre stage this Friday, she’ll bring along some special friends with a Jersey Shore connection — while kicking off a weekend that boasts another special sleighride from a locally homegrown Santa: Brian Kirk.
Bon Jovi’s new touring guitarist Matt O’Ree, above, plays a special ticketed-event tribute to Eric Clapton at Jamian’s this Saturday, even as JBJ and the boys perform a preview of their new album, just up Monmouth Street at Basie’s place. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
For fans of the homegrown institution that is Bon Jovi, the first night of October brings an event that seems gifted from the gods of classic rock: an exclusive preview concert, going on at Red Bank’s own Count Basie Theatre, an “intimate” affair in which JBJ and his core bandmates (David Bryan, Tico Torres, Hugh McDonald) perform the entirety of their new album This House Is Not For Sale — their 14th studio opus, and a release that’s slated to drop on October 21.
The highly anticipated reunion of one of the most attention-compelling hit machines of the Reagan years…a delayed tribute to a musical guardian angel…a decades-spanning retrospective of radio hits, from the cats who were there…and the return of a platinum-plated band from the aughties that refuses to be regarded as oldies; all coming to the famous stage of the Count Basie Theatre in the nights ahead.
It all begins tomorrow night, September 6, with the long-overdue return to our shores of a group that scored multiple smash hits, netted even more magazine covers, and turned mainstream pop culture topsy-turvy back in the golden age of MTV. Reconvening with the original lineup of Culture Club (Jon Moss, Mikey Craig, Roy Hay) for the American leg of a well-received international tour, Boy George has managed to remind back-in-the-day fans (and next-generation converts) that he and his mates were pretty much the top pop group of their mid-1980s moment; topping the US charts with “Karma Chameleon” and scaling the Billboards with a string of hits that included “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” “Time,” “Church of the Poison Mind,” and “The War Song” to name but a few. Take it here for tickets to the 8 p.m. show ($69 – $149) and here to purchase the $350 “VIP Experience” — then flip the record over for more vibrations on the Basie boards.
Whether you’re on stay-cation — or simply navigating your way through daily life here in on the Greater Red Bank Green — there’s no denying that July offers a fairly awesome menu of open-air entertainments and recreational options. We’ve got a rundown of outdoor events — mostly free of charge — designed to entice you out of the house in the coming midsummer nights and days.
It all starts tonight, July 12, as Shore Flicks returns to Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens with an 8:15 p.m. screening of the gleefully anarchic animation “Minions.” Bring a canned food donation with those folding chairs and beach towels, and enjoy some ice cream from the newly opened Gracie and the Dudes stand in the park. Take it to our redbankgreen roundup for details on the entire summer screening schedule and weather-related updates. Then take it around the bend for more fun and adventure beneath the summer sun and stars.
Press release from Count Basie Theatre
Two weeks ago, the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank announced a concert event featuring Bobby Bandiera’s Jersey Shore Rock n’ Soul Revue, and its tribute to an artist who’s long loomed as a genuine inspiration for the veteran Shore scene singer and guitarist: Roy Orbison.
And then, the world lost David Bowie.
Call him Bob Hope: a seasoned and savvy entertainer who’s made some formidable friends, logged many a lap around the globe, raised a flotilla of funds, and marshaled a major entertainment campaign every holiday season.
But while the original Mr. Hope famously brought his USO-show mix of radio-era comedy, go-go-booted dancers and patriotic spirit to the troops back in the day, Bobby Bandiera calls an elite troupe of all-star buddies back to the boards of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre each December for an operation that’s designed to do good and lift morale on the home front.
Tim McLoone and Holiday Express (above) make their annual fundraising whistle-stop on the Count Basie stage this Thursday, followed on Friday by the “Souled Out” (but still very much on sale) return of Christmas Baby Darlene Love (below).
No matter how many times Darlene Love appeared on David Letterman’s show to deliver her soaring signature “Christmas (Baby please come home),” it somehow stayed fresh across four decades, five presidential administrations and countless hairstyles.
Likewise, Holiday Express manages to keep it fresh despite spending most of the year in a crisper, only to be taken out for a blizzard of seasonal performances.
And somehow, the Count Basie Theatre does it up in style every December with crowd-pleasing sets by both acts, which roll into Red Bank in the nights ahead.
Read on for details…
The dizzyingly jam-packed days of December continue apace at the Count Basie Theatre, where the stage of the area’s most Christmassy performing arts center receives visitations by holiday-themed entertainments hailing from points near and far.
Here are three, one each for the next trio of nights.
A seventh grade drum-circle jam, and a hip hop how-to for fifth graders, are just two of the many arts instruction classes brought to Red Bank Middle School by the Count Basie Theatre’s “Arts for All” program, which presents its final session of the year this Tuesday. (Photos by Mary Wyman/ Red Bank Public Schools)
Press release from Red Bank Middle School
As schools across the country are working to integrate arts into their curriculum, Red Bank Middle School has developed an innovative way of bringing a comprehensive arts program to its students—thanks to the Count Basie Theatre.
Called “Arts for All,” the program has brought different arts instruction to each grade at the middle school every Tuesday. Fourth graders are learning cultural dance, while fifth graders are doing hip hop. Sixth grade students are taking theater classes, while the seventh grade is learning percussion. And eighth graders are taking part in a Rwandan Literacy Arts project, in which students create a chapter and illustrations for a book that will be used to teach English to students at the Kampanga and Bisate schools in Rwanda. The drawings that the students create will also be printed onto tiles that will be installed at the schools.
The program is being administered and funded in part by the Count Basie Theatre, which is raising money by donating $10 from every ticket sold for the Bobby Bandiera and Friends Hope Concert 8 events on December 23. In addition, the Basie asked attendees to donate a minimum of $3 for tickets sold to other shows through October 31. So far Count Basie has raised $10,000 toward the costs of the Arts for All program, which presents its final session of 2015 tomorrow, December 15.
As frequenters of our Count Basie Theatre can attest, there are December traditions (like Bobby Bandiera’s Hope Concerts, Dunbar’s Black Nativity, the Holiday Express fundraisers, and Southside Johnny’s New Year’s toast, to name but a handful), and then there are traditions — the kind that families on the greater Green have grown up with; the kind of event without which it “simply wouldn’t be Christmas in Red Bank.”
One such event returns this Saturday and Sunday, December 12 and 13, when the borough-based Company of Dance Arts returns to the Basie boards with its annual production of the Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker — a milestone 30th staging of the holiday confection that’s employed the talents of generations of performers, in addition to drawing multi-generational audiences to its performances.