• Clairy Browne & the Bangin’ Rackettes Concert Review – Bardot Miami – Miami, FL – August 7, 2014

    Just got home from seeing @ClairyBrowne1 and @ClairyBrowne in concert at @BardotMiami. Here are my thoughts, from someone who has been to way too many concerts. DISCLAIMER: I tweeted Clairy Browne before the show and she tweeted me back. I was also able to meet her before the show and introduce myself. She appeared to be super sweet and was as wonderful as I expected her to be.

    Clairy Browne & the Bangin’ Rackettes put on a GREAT show. Her smoky soulful voice is unmatched and the rest of the band does a great job in supporting her.  However, I was left unfulfilled as the show as pretty short (a little over one hour by my count) and omitted some crucial cuts.

    While Frankie and Yellow Bird are great tracks, I would imagine that, given the choice, most fans (including me) would rather hear Lean Lanky Daddy and Whatta Man than some of the slower tracks performed.  I understand opening with Jenny (GREAT track, by the way) and putting Love Letter near the end, but due to the show’s length, I feel it needed more upbeat material.  A longer show would easily support Frankie, Yellow Bird and my favorite, Vicious Cycle. But with such a short show, there isn’t a lot of room for slow songs that don’t have the pure unadulterated passion of She Plays Up to You, one of the highlights of the Miami show, or Heart’s Desire.  Hopefully future shows will allow more time to dig deeper into the discography.

    I really enjoyed the shtick of the backup singers and the organized departure and arrival of everyone.  Also, a few comments to introduce each track is helpful to an audience who probably doesn’t know your history or the background of the songs.

    The audio mix was decent but we really need to hear much more of the baritone sax.  It is the heart and soul of many tracks but unfortunately was hard to hear, even for me who sat right by the stage and was listening for it.  Losing the baritone sax made several songs just average – the depth and punctuation added by the baritone sax was lost, which is a real shame.

    Ultimately, I didn’t get enough and want to go to Orlando tomorrow evening to see that show, but I’m not sure if I will get anything different.  Will see if I can get away to catch that show and maybe hear Vicious Cycle and some other different tracks I didn’t hear in Miami.

    Stay tuned….

  • Featured Image Billy Joel at Fenway Park

    Well, I never thought I would be on center field at Fenway, but here I am. Not exactly patrolling the outfield, but in the fourth row to see Billy Joel for what I believe is the 76th time (need to count). With this show, I will have completed the trifecta of seeing Billy perform at Fenway, Shea, and the original Yankee Stadium (I’m in the Yankee Stadium concert video during Pressure).

    More to come as the show progresses.


  • How to Fix 95 Express Northbound Lanes

    For those of you who travel on I-95 north from Miami to Broward, you have undoubtedly seen the 95 Express lanes which are supposed to help drivers going the full stretch from downtown Miami to the Turnpike or Broward avoid the traffic of the local drivers.  Rates are increasing from $0.50 to $10.50, as of yesterday. which prompted me to finally write this post.

    The way the lanes are currently structured, once you are in the express lanes, you are prevented from going into the general purpose 95 lanes until you hit the Golden Glades, at which point you can either a) take the flyover to continue on 95 North, b) exit to the Turnpike/826 West, or c) get back into the 95 general purpose lanes and continue north on 95 or exit 826 East.  Option C should not exist and is the reason that the 95 North express lanes are useless during rush hour.

    People take the express lanes and then, at the end, try to merge back into the regular 95 lanes. THIS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED. Once you are in the 95 Express lanes, you should have two choices: take the flyover or exit to the Turnpike/826 West. The Park and Ride is only accessible from the flyover lane, so there is no reason why the plastic poles separating the 95 Express from general purpose lanes should not be extended into the Turnpike-826 West exit ramp which has two lanes.  The left lane of the exit will receive traffic from the 95 Express lanes and the right lane will receive traffic from the general purpose lanes of 95.  This will make the 95 Express lanes usable during rush hour and make my $10.50 money well spent instead of just an expensive way of sitting in traffic.

    95 Express Traffic

    I have send in this suggestion in February, 2011 to Jonathan Davila, who was at that time the Assistant Public Information Officer for the Florida Department of Transportation. His response was as follows:

    My name is Jonathan Davila, and I’m the assistant public information officer for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Six Transportation Management Center (TMC), which handles the 95 Express Project. We’d like to thank you for taking the time to share your comments regarding the project with us.

    We agree with your suggestion, and this scenario is currently being taken under consideration for the second phase of the project, which will extend the express lanes to Broward Blvd. in Broward County. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin this year with an estimated completion date of 2013.

    Thank you again for your input. The Department greatly appreciates it. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Well, that was over three years ago. How long does it take to install 1/2 mile of plastic divider poles?  It is a simple fix to a huge problem.

    Hopefully we can get this fixed soon. 595 Express will open this week and I am interested to see how well that is going to work since people in South Florida are known for backing up on exit ramps they have mistakenly taken. What will they do when they find out they can’t exit the 595 Express lanes and they can’t drive over the concrete barrier like they do the plastic poles on 95? Should be fun.

    Feel free to contact me directly using the form below if you can provide any input on this issue or just leave a reply to this post.

  • Thank you, Mark Rivera

    The time has finally come for me to start sharing Billy Joel concert stories, of which there are many.

    As most of you know, he is my favorite artist and seeing him in concert is one of the best experiences ever (I wouldn’t have gone to over 75 shows if it wasn’t).  This past January, I was fortunate enough to see Billy and the band four times while he was in Florida:

    • January 7 – Sunrise, FL – BB&T Center
    • January 11 – Sunrise, FL – BB&T Center
    • January 17 – Tampa, FL – Tampa Bay Times Forum
    • January 22 – Jacksonville, FL – Jacksonville Arena

    What made these shows stand out from the rest was the fact that Mark Rivera (@markriveramusic) was kind enough to autograph a picture of me and him taken in New York at the historic Shea Stadium concerts which were part of the Last Play At Shea documentary on Shea Stadium (which, by the way, has not been released on blu-ray, even though an HD version aired on Showtime).

    What was incredible was that he didn’t just autograph this from the stage – no, he saw me asking and came off the stage, outside of the security barriers, right to my seat and signed the picture shown below.  I was fortunate enough to have the exact same seat at all four shows, so on the following nights, Mark would come down off of the stage each night to say hello to me and give me a hug. He also acknowledged me from the stage several times. It was incredible and these were four shows that I will never forget.  I am looking forward to seeing Mark, Billy, and the rest of the band at MSG during the fall when I come up for a Jets game.

    Thank you, Mark, for making this one fan incredibly happy.  I look forward to seeing you again in NY.  If you are ever in South Florida, you are always welcome to come over for dinner. I promise to pull something good from the cellar for you. :-)



  • 2003 Florida Marlins Playoff Run – Pictures with Players

    Here are some pictures from the 2003 Marlins playoff run. The players would drive their own cars and we would stop them for pictures. Most were pretty gracious. And at Dolphins games, we would always see the home team players driving in.




    Luis Gonzalez




    Luis Castillo




    A.J. Burnett

  • RIP Jean “Dingbat on the Roof” Stapleton

    Jean Stapleton died today at the age of 90.  She is best remembered as Edith Bunker from All in the Family, my favorite TV show of all time. Groundbreaking in its day (they had a disclaimer that it was satire since Archie was so offensive), it is still hilarious and would probably never be shown in this era of political correctness. My favorite Edith Bunker moment is when she was reminiscing about Gloria getting married and tried to sing Sunrise, Sunset.