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.
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.
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.
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.
Matt O’Ree playing in Red Bank’s Marine Park in 2013, will share in guitar duties for the band led by Middletown’s Jon Bon Jovi, seen below at JBJ Soul Kitchen in 2011. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
In a headline-making realignment of local music stars, pop singer Jon Bon Jovi has chosen blues guitar monster Matt O’Ree as the road replacement for Bobby Bandiera, according to reports by the Asbury Park Press and other news outlets.
The Holmdel-based leader of the Matt O’Ree Band will join Bon Jovi as touring guitarist for the band’s upcoming shows in Asia and the Middle East starting in Indonesia on Friday, the Press reports, citing multiple unnamed sources.
A lieutenant governor, a captain of industry and a rock ‘n roll field marshal are the honorees — with some music royalty in the house — when the Count Basie Theatre presents its 2015 Vanguard awards in Red Bank Saturday night.
Press release from Count Basie Theatre
The Count Basie Theatre has announced honorees for the 2015 Vanguard awards, honoring lifelong devotion to the arts in New Jersey. Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, musician Bobby Bandiera, and Investors Bank’s Richard Spengler will be recognized as Vanguards on Saturday, August 29, with tickets going on sale at noon this Friday, July 24 through TheBASIE.org, phone charge at (732)842-9000, and – at the Count Basie Theatre box office.
Also on August 29, Rockit! At The Basie will present its annual summer concert, The Who’s TOMMY In Its Entirety and Other Sounds of ‘69. The show will feature curation, guidance and performances from Bandiera, 2014 Vanguard winner Maureen Van Zandt and very special guests, and monies raised from the concert will go towards partnership program scholarships and other initiatives that fall within the Basie’s mission of providing arts education and outreach programs.
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.
Clockwise from top left: Jinglebell fundraiser concerts featuring Tim McLoone’s Holiday Express (December 18), Brian Kirk and the Jirks (December 20), Darlene Love (December 21) and Bobby Bandiera (December 22) provide the driving soundtrack to the holiday homestretch in the nights ahead.
The countdown to Christmas 2015 represents anything but a wind-down at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, where a fast-moving flurry of high-profile benefit concerts promises to keep the place buzzing like Santa’s workshop-slash-fulfillment center during the holiday homestretch.
From the most big-hearted of local music mainstays, to the vintage hitmakers whose records landed on many a Boomer-era wish list — and on into the next generation of Shore scene stalwarts — the Basie boards will resound with a Wall of seasonal Sound, every note of it dedicated to a great cause and an all-’round generosity of spirit.
Bon Jovi guitarist and Jersey Shore music legend Bobby Bandiera (center) joined students Anthony Flora, Kyle Ward, Max Kyrillos, Glen Wise, James Ruggiero and Dillon Butler during the recent Rock Out for Sandy Ground Benefit Concert at Rumson Country Day School.
Press release from Rumson Country Day School
The afternoon of Sunday, April 27 was a warm and sunny spring day, but The Rumson Country Day School was also turning up the heat in the Blake Gymnasium, where 250 people assembled for a benefit rock concert. The student-driven benefit was the brainchild of RCDS eighth grader Max Kyrillos, who got the idea from the 12-12-12 relief concert in New York City. Together with a group of fellow RCDS classmates, the student volunteers planned the Students Rock Out for Sandy Ground Benefit Concert, organizing everything from concessions to crowd control, and raised more than $9,000.
Net proceeds will help the Sandy Ground Project to build 26 new playgrounds that are a living memorial to each victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Karen and Joe Burke from the Where Angels Play Foundation were at the event, as well as Mark Jones, Vice President of External Affairs for JCP&L, who presented a check for $1,500. Alumni parent, J. Robert Small, parent of Elizabeth Small ’12, generously offered a matching challenge grant of up to $1,000. Mr. Small started Helping Highlands Survivors, a charity organization that has worked closely with The Sandy Ground Project to raise funds for the Daniel Barden Playground in the Highlands.
Bobby Bandiera of Bon Jovi fame made a special appearance and gave the teen musicians the thrill of playing with a famous rock musician for a great cause. The noted guitarist was also part of another legendary New Jersey band Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. The concert also featured two local teen bands including Max’s band, The Stone Bullets, and Ardvark Smile, a popular local band from Middletown and the musical duo of RCDS teacher Tom Scott and RCDS security officer Tom Mancuso.
Press release from Rumson Country Day School
Two generations of Jersey Shore musicians will entertain — and a new playground will be dedicated in memory of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut — when The Rumson Country Day School hosts its second annual benefit concert event on Sunday, April 27.
The concert, a student initiative that will benefit Sandy Ground, will feature The Stone Bullets, Ardvark Smile and a special appearance by Bobby Bandiera, touring guitarist for Bon Jovi and ringmaster of the Jersey Shore Rock ‘N Soul Revue events at the Count Basie Theatre.
It’s an open house icebreaker when the nation’s longest-established ice boat club welcomes the public in from the cold for a Saturday of tours and presentations. Below, Bobby Bandiera brings the Rock ‘N Soul Revue back to the Basie for a Brill-iant bow to the hitmaking “American Troubadors.”
Friday, March 21:
RED BANK: Taking the old recruitment slogan, “Join the Jovi and See the World” to heart, Bobby Bandiera has done his share of globetrotting as touring guitarist with Bon Jovi. But when the veteran of more than 40 years’ worth of local barband gigs puts in to Shore, he tends to “relax” by staying audibly visible everywhere from the barstool in the corner at your favorite hometown watering hole to the Count Basie Theatre, where he intermittently assembles the jukebox Justice League known as the Jersey Shore Rock ‘N Soul Revue for a special salute to the “American Troubadors.”
When the 11-piece “Basie House Band” reconvenes Friday night at 8 pm, Bandiera and bandmates (including star-quality songbird Lisa Sherman, and Joe Jackson’s longtime bassist Graham Maby) will be paying trib to the great songwriter-performers of what’s commonly called the “Brill Building” era of late 50s-early 60s pop – a teenaged Tin Pan Alley that spawned some of the earliest and most immediately exhilarating work of Carole King (“The Loco-Motion”), Neil Diamond (“I’m a Believer”) and Burt Bacharach (“Baby It’s You”). Tickets ($25 – $99) can be reserved right here.
It’s a signifier of summer on the Jersey Shore the annual Fourth of July concert by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes at the Stone Pony, a tradition as crucial to local life as, well, the New Year’s Jukes shows at the Count Basie.
In todays edition of Red Bank oRBit , we talk to Southside Johnny Lyon for a preview of what audiences can expect at this year’s show, which kicks off a season of larger-scale entertainments at the Pony’s SummerStage this Thursday.
We also get on the phone with Jukes guitarist Bobby Bandiera, who, as the Hardest Working Man in Shore Business, just got off the road with Bon Jovi and will do the Jukes thing following a special concert tonight at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal, even as he prepares his next Rock ‘N Soul Revue extravaganza in Red Bank.
It’s all there in oRBit, the local entertainment website that gets the interview, grabs the story, and gets there first!