Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Rascals Reunion: Cross One Off My Bucket List

It wasn't that it exceeded all expectations. Or that it was the best show I've seen all year. Or that it was a night I never thought I'd experience in my lifetime. Well...okay. It was all that.

Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati, Gene Cornish and the ever-so-mighty Dino Danelli, collectively known as The Rascals, were together on stage for 2 hours last night, and even with video projection that screamed nostalgia, this felt more like a proper rock and roll show than so many of the old timers I've seen lately still burning out and not fading away on stages acrosss the globe.

You see, these guys just stopped. And while each member has played on his own in various Rascals incarnations, or with other projects, this unit, aside from a Steve Van Zandt produced one off in 2010, wasn't expected to play again. The fact that they did and were as well-oiled as they were last night, is a real musical miracle. (Nice work, SVZ!)

Opening with "It's Wonderful," and really I could have gone home happy right after those 3 minutes, the Rascals played a relentless set of music. 28 songs. I'm having a hard time coming up with words that truly express how great these guys were. How about "BLLAAAHHHHH?" Or "WWEEEYEEAOH?' Or, "GAABABLABAAA?"

I might just have to do an interpretive dance to convey the feelings of joy over this night.

Slow Down
Baby Let's Wait
Do You Feel It
Find Somebody
I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore

Okay.....I won't spoil it.


I was nervous. A little scared. Apprehensive.

Was Dino going to cut it on drums? Can Eddie sing at all anymore? Will the band gel?


And who the hell knew Gene Cornish was such a dynamite guitar player! Not me.

Look, I'm gushing. I know it. But I love this band. And when you love a band like I love the Rascals, you want things to be right. This was so right, it felt wrong.

The highlight:  Eddie front and center for "How Can I Be Sure."  This might the musical highlight of the last ten years.

There's more to the show than just a 28 song set. Video and narration by all four members, as well as an ensemble of actors playing the parts of the Young Rascals, Arif Mardin, Tom Dowd and others, takes place on a giant screen behind the stage. I read about this and I wasn't happy about it. Until I experienced it. It works in a big way.

NYC area people, you have four more chances this month to catch this show, all taking place at the legendary and newly renovated Capitol Theatre in Port Chester.

I implore you.

If you are a fan of The Rascals, do yourself a favor. See this show.


jeff said...


cmealha said...

I saw The Rascals at Carnegie Hall over 40 years ago. It was the first concert I ever attended. Armed with a catalog that has withstood the test of time, they had a dynamism that impressed and inspired me. To this day that was one of the finest concerts I ever saw. I was especially enamored with Dino Danelli. He was so fluid and precise. I was mesmerized by him. Glad to hear they still got it. I think they are under appreciated.

David Handelman said...

You're so fatootzed, you didn't even say where the shows ARE!

Did they sing "You and me and Leslie" in "Groovin"?

Sal Nunziato said...


You know, when you're right, you're right.

Fatootzed, baby!

(I fixed it.)

jeff k said...

He may be ferklempt or kvelling but I don't think he's fatootsed.

Captain Richard's miniature Civil War said...

I've seen the Rascals play all up and down the East Coast. I became good friends with Gene since we are both from Rochester NY. I met Dino at a show in Toronto, wound up doing some printing (I own a printing business)for Dino (video boxes). Its hard to explain to someone just how fantastic Dino is, if they havent see him play...he is spellbinding. Did you take and videos so you can post them??? I hope so.

A guy called Tak said...

I wish I were in NYC right now!

Steve Simels said...

I can't tell you how happy I am to hear this, sal...

They're filming the reunion of a documentary movie, right? Cause I doubt I'll be able to make one of the live shows...

Sal Nunziato said...

My understanding Steve, is that this run is something of a "dress rehearsal" for Little Steven's Broadway vision.

I couldn't imagine these guys doing an extended run on B'way, but man, it was that good.

Wish you could make one of the last three shows next week.

Elizabeth said...

Hope the Broadway vision comes true or at least the movie - they are just one of those bands you wish had never stopped. Trying to find their back catalog to fill out what I wasn't able to buy or wore out is even difficult (my record dollars were quite limited as a teenager). Like Captain Richard, I'm from Rochester and saw them in a local college gym around 1967. Glad you were able to be in Port Chester, even if I'm jealous!

Anonymous said...

The show was just totally outrageous - no words can explain how great they are

Guy said...

I saw Felix, Gene and Dino at Brendan Byrne Arena about 20 something years ago, I have seen Felix by himself a few times but with Eddie they are complete....What a show!!!!!

allen vella said...

Sal, One of the musical highlights of my life, no doubt. An emotional experiance on so many levels...really what music is about for me, healing, soothing, evocative, inspirational. And they fuckin rocked!! They were the one of the bands that informed my youth, and made me want to be a musician. Happy to have shared it with you...wanna see this one again! Won't ever forget this night. Have a wonderful Christmas, brother.

Ken Harris said...

Better than ever! Refreshing to hear them play again as a whole. I went to the 12/14 show and wanted to go back the next week but obligations prohibited me from doing so. Prior to this my only Rascal's show was in Central Park in 67. I have seen Eddie over the years with Joey Dee and I am still amazed by his vocal range and energy. Felix was great; I have seen him in different settings through out the years. Felix reminds me of the days when I use to go to those small Newark, NJ jazz/funk/r&b clubs to see the Hammond B3 organ legends; he carries on the tradition well. The show revealed another dimension of Gene's playing for me; it would be nice to also see him in a solo setting in a small club. Hard to find words to describe Dino; precision, emotion, energy, a drummer's drummer. Every drummer needs to see Dino live. The only disappointment for me was that they did not have a real horn section. I am thankful they are all still around to play uplifting inspirational music. Would be nice if they record some new material.I know their music lives on when my two children ages 25&20 listen to them.

Anonymous said...

Saw them in 1970 in New Haven. They were already fighting. This show was phenomenal -- went back for a second time (14th and 21st).

There was a moment in time when The Rascals was arguably the best band in the world. Now I remember why.

How Can I Be Sure was breathtaking.

Anonymous said...

The Rascals: In 1967 the Rascals announced that they wouldn't appear unless one of the acts on the billing were black. To this day they still stand by what they declared. I recently got their names put on the list for Kennedy Center Honors, which they so rightly deserve. However, I need all of their fans to write to David Rubenstein, Chairman of the Board, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC and demand to have the Rascals honored.The decision will be made before Labor Day of 2013. Lets get these icons a well deserved honor. Get those letters sent!

Bobby Anthony
Bloomfield, NJ