I got to admit here, I was holding onto the secret to one of the Tampa Bay Rays Hess Express Saturday night Concert Series performers as close to my vest as I could this past weekend. I did tell a few close friends who would not throw it all over the place the artist, and I got a great reception to them coming to Tropicana Field in 2010.
The Concert Series list some say is a group of band that could soon be lifetime members of the AARP, but that is fine with me because I am no spring chicken myself. But this is also a special time for Rays fans as the team has gone a combined 16-2 during the Concert Series, with sell-out crowds and people swaying and singing in their seats, and people dancing in the aisles of Tropicana Field.
They are a nice collection of the bands of my youth, which also includes the second concert I ever saw when the Go-Go’s performed at the (now gone) Bayfront Center. And yes, I did wear my parachute pants with the red velvet inserts and swanky punk rock shirt to the concert to try and influence the ladies who I knew would come out in droves to support the first all female band on the Billboard charts to write and also perform with their own instruments.
And I also got to attend a Go-Go’s concert the last time they were in St. Petersburg, Florida at Jannus Landing and got a chance to meet the band during a “meet and greet” arranged by a friend in upper management at Pepsi.
So to say I am not excited to see all five of these bands come into Tropicana Field would be insane. For these bands, Hall & Oates, John Fogerty, Nelly, Z Z Top and the Go-Go’s are very much a fabric of my musical roots, and great selections by the Rays Front Office, and we still have five more to be announced later. But this group of five are such an interesting meshing of bands that could sooth even the savage baseball fan.
So I decided to today to post some facts about each band that you might not know, and give you a little insight into the bands heading for the Trop. during the 2010 season. I will also list the game date and the opponent so you easily purchase your tickets when they go on sale to the public at 9 am on Friday.
John Fogerty April 24th Toronto Blue Jays
1) 25th Anniversary of “Centerfield” being released to the world. In 1985, John Fogerty finished his first solo album for Warner Brothers records. But you had to think that when Fogerty wrote the title track to his album, it was going to be sung and imitated at Major League and minor league baseball stadiums for eternity. When “Centerfield” hit the stores, not only was the title track an instant hit, but another track off the album, “Old Man Down the Road” also was a Top-10 hit for Fogerty.
2) Fogerty also got one of those rare honors in Hollywood California on October 1, 1998 when he was enshrined on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His Hollywood Walk of Fame star is located at 7000 Hollywood Blvd right alongside 63 other inductees which include Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and actors Angela Bassett (St. Petersburg native), Tony Danza, Dudley Moore, Tom Hanks, Eddie Murphy, Chuck Norris, Glen Close and Renee Zellweger. Also included in this section is fellow musicians’ Nancy Sinatra, Donna Summers, Patti LaBelle, Pacido Domingo, and fellow baseball lover Alice Cooper.
3) Fogerty pulled off a great “double feat” during Thanksgiving 2006 when he appeared at halftime during both National Football League games held on that day. He started that day singing at the Miami Dolphins at Detroit Lions game, then got on a plane and went to also do the halftime festivities at the Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs game later that day. Fogerty was in the house on April 16,2009 to help celebrate the first home game in the new Yankee Stadium.
Fogerty (of course) sang “Centerfield” from Centerfield prior to the New York Yankees first game in their new home. At one point, the infamous “Bleacher Creatures” that shout players names for “Yankee Rollcall” during the first innings of Yankee games, shouted out for Fogerty to acknowledge them. Fogerty got accepted in the new stadium…New York style.
ZZ Top May 1, 2010 Kansas City Royals
1) Most people might not know that there is a double reason they selected the name ZZ Top for the band. First, it was a hybrid name formed from the two names of rolling papers Zig-Zag and Top. The second reason it is a duo homage to classic Blues legend ZZ Hill. ZZ Top guitarist Bill Gibbons also wrote in his autobiography “Rock+Roll Gearhead” that it also derives from Blues master B B King. The band originally planned to call themselves ZZ King, but they reconsidered thinking it might seem to similar to B B King. But since BB King was at the “Top”, they chose ZZ Top as their final band name.
2) Even before their hit “Cheap Sunglasses” in 1979, the band always wore darken sunglasses on stage for their gigs. Guitarists Gibbons and Dusty Hill also wear similar black clothing, usually biker leathers, and either black Cowboy hats or baseball caps when performing on stage. Gibbon also wears a trademark neck chain of beer bottle openers around his neck when he performs to remember those early days in the Texas Honky Tonk bars. While Gibbons and Hill wear chest length beards, their drummer Frank Beard ( love it!) usually has a well manicured beard and mustache.
3)Keeping with the “beard” theme for another moment, both Gibbons and Hill were offered $ 1 million each by the Gillette (razor) Company if they would shave off their chest length beards during a television commercial. The duo declined saying,” We’re tool ugly without them.”
Nelly May 15, 2009 Seattle Mariners
1) Most people know Nelly’s (Cornell Haynes Jr) obsession with everything related to St. Louis, but did you know that he was also a pretty good baseball player before he turned to rap music. He honed his baseball skills watching video of his idol Cardinals short stop Ozzie Smith during St. Louis amateur Summer Leagues and always considered playing professional baseball.
Even though Nelly was not drafted out of High School, he has attended several Major League Baseball Spring minor league tryout camps including the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves. Some people close to Nelly think he accepted his rap music career as a consolation prize to his first love….baseball.
2) Nelly has built himself a small empire outside of his music interests with the establishment of two clothing lines, Apple Bottom for women and Vokal for men. He also had a contract with Nike back in 2003 to design and develop a “Air Derrrty” shoe which was a retro remake of former NBA star Charles Barkley’s signature sneaker. He also signed a contract with Reebok on June 20,2005. Nelly is also became one of the owners of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats when it was announced on May 19,2008 he would join the Bobcat’s owners group along with Robert L Johnson and NBA legend Michael Jordan.
3) Most people instantly know him for his first album “Country Grammar”, which was his debut album with the Universal Music Group. The album was certified 9x platinum on April 27,2004 and includes a track with inspired baseball metaphor s called “Batter Up”. Another interesting fact is that Nelly once played in the Main Event at a World Series of Poker event in 2007.
1) I personally have an axe to grind with Hall and Oates. They sang the National Anthem of Game 5 during the 2008 World Series at Citizen Bank’s Park on October 27,2008. The reason I have a beef with them is that I think they wished for rain and that made the game be postponed and I had to fly back to Tampa Bay without seeing the conclusion of Game 5, which happened several days later. They did a great rendition that night, but it was a rainy and cold night and my teeth were chattering.
2) The two Philadelphia native sons met during a band competition at the Adelphi Ballroom back in 1967. They were not there to compete together, but was put together after gunshots rang out in the venue after two rival gangs converged on the arena. Daryl Hall and John Oates were both thrown into a service elevator together and they started talking and noticing they had multiple similarities in music and both were attending Temple University.
Not bad for two guys always immortalized by the sit-com “Friends” where Ross Geller (David Schwimmer), was once shown as a young man-fro keyboardist who was in love with the Hall and Oates music.
3) In a play on the band’s name, the NHL’s St. Louis Blues manufactured a tongue-in-cheek line of hockey apparel called “Hull and Oates” to play homage to players Brett Hull and Adam Oates. Also with a Hockey linage is the fact that their song “Private Eyes” was the unofficial locker room song of the 2008-2009 Edmonton Oilers. But there was no doubting the band’s 7 platinum and 6 gold records and their 34 hit singles on the U S Billboard charts.
The Go-Go’s July 10,2010 Cleveland Indians
2) here are some wild facts about each member of the group:
Belinda Carlisle(Lead Singer) once dated former Los Angeles Dodger Mike Marshall and he should have a nice section in her upcoming biography “Lips Unsealed” that will be out in bookstores on May 20,2010. She also was a contestant during 2009 on “Dancing With the Stars”, and performed in the production of “Hairspray” on stage in London’s West End.
Gina Schock (Drummer) co-wrote the title track on Miley Cyrus’s second album “Breakout”. The song debuted at #1 in the summer of 2008. She also wrote tracks for Selena Gomez and The Scene’s release “Kiss and Tell.” The Go-Go’s had to stop touring in 1983 while promoting their “Vacation” CD after Schock developed health problems and had to have surgery for congenital heart defect.
Karen Valentine(Bass Guitar) During their Go-Go’s “hiatus moments”, Valentine went back to her Texas blues-rock roots and formed the Blue Bonnets. The group did two albums before they morphed into The Delphines, which included Schock as their drummer,
Charlotte Caffey (Lead Guitar/Keyboards) Caffey and Jane Wiedlin co-wrote Country star Keith Urban’s first # 1 single hit “But for the Grace of God“. Caffey and Wiedlin also performed several concerts back in 1997 as Twisted and Jaded, in which they performed acoustic versions of Go-Go’s songs and debuted any new materials they wrote during the bands existence.
Jane Wiedlin (Vocals/Guitar) is always one of the fan’s favorites, not only for her quirky sense of humor, but for her “obsessions.” Wiedlin is a devoted “star Trek” fan and once formed a band FroSTed as a homage to the ultimately popular television and movie series. She is an ordained wedding officiant who performs her wedding services as Reverend Sister Go-Go. She is also the main subject of an upcoming comic book called “Lady Robotika“, and was endeared to millions on the reality show “The Surreal Life” when she came out of the closet about her fascination with Domination.
3) Over their career, which started in 1978, they have sold over 7 million albums and made rock history as the only all-female band who also plays their own instruments to top the Billboard charts. Their first album “Beauty and the Beast” was considered a “cornerstone” of the New Wave music movement. This album reached double platinum which at the time made it one of the most successful debut albums of all time. The album is still today listed at # 413 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
With tickets going on sale to the General Public on Friday morning, it might be a great idea to purchase tickets for these days in advance to guarantee a chance to see concerts on these dates. I will again bring you some facts and great baseball related situations concerning the bands that the Rays select for these additional dates. At this time there are no previous games selected for these Saturday Rays games by either for a possible Fox Baseball Broadcasts or by ESPN.
I am looking forward to these concerts with great anticipation, and also hope that we can again sell out Tropicana Field and boost our record to 26-2 with a 10-0 run in 2010. When the Trop. Is full, the Rays players feel the presence of the crowd and gain additional energy from us in the stands. So do not forget to get up early tomorrow and get your coffee and your fingers ready to select seat locations for all five of the already selected bands in concert following Rays games in 2010. Tell me you are not excited!