Brain Wilson performs on December 21st
at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
Christopher J. Walker's
Visiting Santa Barbara
Brian Wilson Presents The Christmas Album Live
December 21, 2018
Cerritos Center For The Performing Arts
18000 Park Plaza Drive
Cerritos, CA 90703
(800) 300-4345 or (562) 916-8500
Quirky genius Brian Wilson has long been recognized and admired for his musical acumen, concepts, harmonies and enduring songs depicting the “California Dream.” One of his creations surprisingly was The Beach Boys Christmas Record in 1964, filled with traditional songs and several holiday originals that have become part of the group’s popular catalogue. However, during that era, nearly 60 years ago, pop, rock, blues, R&B and country artists didn’t devote whole albums to Christmas. In fact, the Beatles, who Wilson considered serious rivals would only record one campy or esoteric Christmas-themed song for their fan club annually years later, and they weren’t for sale (except as bootlegs).
In early ‘70s the singer/songwriter/producer unsuccessfully attempted to create another holiday project without the Beach Boys. Remarkably, in 2005 everything came together for his solo recording What I Really Want For Christmas and now he has plenty of his own “holiday cheer” music. At The Cerritos Center For The Performing Arts, Wilson with long-standing supporting players Al Jardine-bass/vocals/guitar and Blondie Chaplin-guitar/drums/vocals will perform both Christmas CDs in their entirety, along with some non-seasonal surprises. For Wilson and Beach Boy fans this show will definitely be fun and memorable on a variety of levels.
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Superstar prog-rock band Yes celebrated their 50th anniversary with a tour included performing at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre. Presently, there is some confusion about two different versions of the band playing and recording. ARW who were in LA consisted of original vocalist Jon Anderson, keyboardist Rick Wakeman (joined 1971) and guitarist/keyboardist/singer Trevor Rabin (joined 1983), supported by Lee Pomeroy-bass and Louis Molino III-drums. ABWH, the other Yes is Steve Howe-guitar/vocals, Alan White-drums/ percussion/vocals, Geoff Downes-keyboards/vocals, Billy Sherwood-bass/guitar/keyboards, Jon Davison-vocals/guitar/percussion/keyboards and Jay Schellen-drums.
Fans were mostly oblivious to the band’s personnel and legal issues, but did relish the return of wizard keyboardist Rick Wakeman, along with two Yes’s providing more concert and recording opportunities. Musically, ARW dips from the same pool as ABWH, with more emphasis on Anderson’s signature choirboy vocals, Rabin’s biting guitar and Wakeman’s regal keyboard expressions.
Opening instrumental “Cinema” and “Hold On” represented newer era Yes, with a harder edge featuring Rabin and Wakeman blazing away. Still, the classics from the ‘70s such as “I've Seen All Good People,” “And You and I,” and suite-like “Perpetual Change,” along with ‘80s “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and encore “Roundabout” are what really sent the audience into the upper stratosphere.
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Genre voyager, violinist Lucia Micarelli appeared at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica and was greeted enthusiastically. Micarelli has excelled playing classical, jazz, pop, rock, bluegrass, and on-screen—along the way accumulating many fans. On the Primetime Emmy-winning HBO series Treme, she was Annie, a forlorn and talented violinist, involved with an addictive and unreliable musical partner. For PBS Micarelli recently finished her first concert special. Additionally, the violinist has performed and toured worldwide with rock’s Jethro Tull, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, jazz/pop/classical trumpeter Chris Botti, pop diva Barbara Streisand and classical vocalist Josh Groban.
Micarelli assisted by Neel Hammond-violin (husband), Zach Dellinger-viola, Vanessa Freebairn-Smith-cello/vocals, Ian Walker-bass and Robert Thies-piano, began classically, performing composer Arvo Pärt’s “Fratres” and “Gabriel's Oboe” from composer Ennio Morricone’s The Mission score. Afterwards the ensemble shifted to high stepping bluegrass tune “Ladys’Fancy.”
Later Micarelli sang with only piano and backing vocal “This City (New Orleans),” written by alt-country artist Steve Earle, who was also a Treme cast member. The violinist additionally shifted to jazz/classical featuring piano and herself for “Will O’ The Wisp” from Miles Davis’ groundbreaking Sketches of Spain recording and also played standard “Can Spring be Far Behind.” That was just the first set.
Jerry Lee Lewis-Cerritos Center For The Performing Arts
He certainly wasn’t the first rock n’ roll pianist, with Little Richard and Fats Domino also appealing to adolescents in the mid ‘50s. However, Jerry Lee Lewis aka “The Killer” was the most flamboyant on stage, and offstage, with seven marriages, incarceration, tax evasion, and alcohol/drug abuse. Anyone surviving all that is entitled to be a legend, but Lewis an inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rockabilly Hall of Fame and Memphis Music Hall of Fame, along with several Grammy’s including the Lifetime Achievement Award, clearly has the music.
At the Cerritos Center For The Performing Arts “The Killer” supported by Kenny Lovelace-guitar, Ray Gann-bass and Kenny Aronoff-drums rollicked with “Down The Line,” “Wine, Wine, Wine” and “Rocking My Life Away.” Also featured were country songs “Before The Night is Over,” “Don’t Put no Headstone on My Grave” and ballad “She Even Woke Me to Say Goodbye.” “Sweet Little 16” was homage to fellow R&R Hall of Famer, Chuck Berry, and concluding the show was immortal “Great Balls of Fire,” full of scorching jamming. Pianist Jacob Tolliver, exuding the headliner’s attitude was the opening act, and Lewis’ band played several songs, including Carl Perkins “Blue Suede Shoes.”