About Last Night . . .

A night the Babe and I were waiting for since early December 2020 finally happened. To hear TOGETHER, Billy McGuigan’s live performance of his COVID album released a few months ago. The music is reviewed here. The live performance? It was fabulous. Although I’d listened a hundred or more times (yes, I do that with music I love), seeing Billy McGuigan live is always a top-notch experience. Kevin Klimowski, a fan from Des Moines, and I sat near each other and and commented on how good they sound recorded and in person as well. Boys and girls, that’s the sign of a group of REAL musicians. Billy doesn’t mess around. They will never let the music die.

Although I’ve been a Billy and brothers’ fan for a long time, we are still seeing new and exciting things at any function these guys play. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Carly Frolio’s beautiful voice. She sings like an angel and accompanies Billy well. Unfortunately, we missed the Parking Lot Concerts last summer at the Omaha Community Playhouse. If Carly sang there, we missed it. Sorry! Much like her fellow band mates, she has many creative skills, including photography.

In addition to the band, something else new was students from McGuigan Arts Academy as ushers, a wealth of information, and front row fans. Our little girl usher informed us we “could take all the pictures we wanted of Billy McGuigan.” Thank you, honey. She told Kimberly Faith Hickman, “Now, I’m an usher,” before this bespectacled, braided, confident little girl bounced down the aisle, intent on mission completion.” She found our seats with the precision of a soldier on a mission. She waved us over, pointed, and said, “Enjoy the show.” Mission completed, young lady!

All of the children sat in the first row after helping introduce Billy. They all looked thrilled to death. Much like the adults who frequent his shows, they jumped to their feet and danced their hearts out. A new generation of McGuigan’s Minions. Who knew? The Arts Academy is doing great things. Some kids were backstage hands. What a great thing! Hands on learning. Lucky, lucky kids.

Billy’s son, Ciaran McGuigan keeps coming more into his own more and more as a guitar player. Max Meyer, is a lead guitar player, and Ciaran’s teacher. Max does great things with a guitar you have only heard about with the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton. Love listening to you, Max! We even heard him singing, “Surfin’ U.S.A.” I loved the Beach Boys when I was a kid! You evoked some great memories!

Matthew McGuigan is a favorite, too. He is always consistent, steady, and a great vocal back up. He was mentioned as turning 40 yesterday, and with his second COVID vaccine, he took it all in stride. Go Matthew! This is a banner year for you, too! He and brother Ryan McGuigan stayed pretty much in the background Saturday night. It was Billy’s night. And he rocked it. The love of family really stands out with this group. They are their own family! And the fans, we complete that family. Kate Whitecotton organizes the whole lot, and it comes off without a hitch every time. She’s magical!

I keep wondering what else these guys can do that’s not been done before? A whole bunch, all the talents considered. We will be there, Billy, Ryan, and Matthew. We have heard the life story, and we’re glad you’ve used your experiences for good. Not just your good, but for ours, too. Billy started out playing Buddy Holly at the Omaha Community Playhouse. And the rest is history. He is nowhere near done. At 46, he has at least 30 more years of performing ahead of him. He already knows he can do a Sinatra-Buble-Connick, Jr., type of show. And he killed it! When you can’t jump anymore, when you may have trouble reaching for the strings on your guitar anymore, you can croon. Until then, though, feel free to share your life, thoughts and feelings with your family from Bellevue, Omaha, Gretna, Elkhorn, and the surrounding areas. You guys are home with us, and we couldn’t be prouder. You will tend the music and keep it alive as long as we need it. And you. The Best is Yet to Come!

Hedwig and The Angry Inch

See this! It doesn’t matter your age, your beliefs, or your taste in music, there is something for everyone here to appreciate. The Acting. The Music. The stage presence of the actors and the band. Even the pre-show where Billy McGuigan sings some old songs and a few from his new album, “Together.”

It felt good to be attending a live show again. When the Babe retired, we tried new things we’d never done before. We became members of the Omaha Community Playhouse, and saw many plays of high quality, and the annual Christmas Show “Yesterday and Today,” which is a Beatles tribute show performed by Billy and his brothers Ryan and Matthew. A very talented group of musicians. Billy has a pool of amazing musicians to choose from and uses everyone in the best way possible.

The people at the Waiting Room did an outstanding job of only selling 25% capacity for the show. We were more than socially distanced, seated at our table. We could remove our masks while seated, which was good. It was safe and gave us a sense of security with the precautions they enforced. The Waiting Room is in Benson, at 6212 Maple Street. Get there super early! Parking is hard. Doors open at 6:30 pm, Billy performs at 7 pm, show starts at 7:30 pm.

Hedwig has one heckuva voice, whether singing as herself or as himself. The Angry Inch is a rock band who backs up Hedwig, the internationally ignored superstar (in her mind). You learn of her past life, her later life, and her quest to escape East Berlin before the wall fell. It was an historic time for sure. Her desperation to leave Germany was so intense, she resorted to some drastic measures.

The quest to find your “other half” is something we all experience. Hedwig’s was of utmost importance to her. Part stand-up comedy, part rock musical, and part play, it has it all! The female lead was fantastic. What a voice! She rocked the place in fine fashion. And the best part? Evelyn Hill is a senior at Central High School. What a young talent! The possibilities that lie ahead for her!

Jesse White is incredible as Hedwig. The stories and songs tell the story how he started out as Hansel in East Berlin. He came to have a sex change operation, which was botched. No wonder he’s angry!

It was hugely entertaining for a chilly Saturday night in Nebraska. It was worth the drive and the price of admission. When it ended, we wanted more. More shows open later this spring and summer. There are post cards available at your seat to remember dates and places of other Rave On Production shows this year.

It’s going to be an exceptional year, being entertained by the genius that is Billy (always up for a challenge), Ryan (he has quite the stage presence, folks! Pay attention, you’ll see why!), and Matthew (the most excellent musical director) McGuigan, Max Meyer (one of the best lead guitarist’s you’ll ever see), Jay Hansen (Superman), and Larell Ware (Drums – my he’s good!). And I have to say, Kate Whitecotton, House Manager and CEO of Rave On Productions, is the most organized person on earth; she excels at coordinating everything for the performers. Kathleen Kersey is the Volunteer of the Year, selling merch at most of the shows. She knows her stuff, and which versions of the bands performed which version of the CD’s.

For your mental health, make a date tonight or next weekend for the remaining shows of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, at the Waiting Room Lounge. You will not be disappointed. Thanks for checking in today. We’ll see each other tomorrow. I look forward to it.

Summery Saturday

Tonight is a special night. We are finally able to go see live music, outdoors, and socially distanced at the beautiful Davies Amphitheater in Glenwood, Iowa. We are going to see “Billy and the Downliners,” a/k/a Billy McGuigan and his talented band. It’s going to be great. Although they have performed at the Omaha Community Playhouse as a Drive-In production, we didn’t attend that one. It stinks being in the “old person” category, and having some health issues. It stinks being responsible about it, but I’d rather we both be here in the future to see him perform than go now and be sorry we did. I’ve never seen such talented musicians gathered together. They all have their moments to shine, and together, it’s stuff that you will probably hear from the angels in heaven. The best part of all? They love their fans, and appreciate them. No egos here. Just confident people sharing their gifts with us. How lucky Omaha is to have them. My heart feels lighter.

I’m feeling the COVID-19 Blues lifting already! It’s nice to have something to look forward to, aside from waking up every morning. It’s sure become a habit to sit out on the deck with the dogs every morning. Just watching the sky, the trees, the birds. It’s so awesome. I don’t like to think what we will do in late fall when it’s too cold to sit out there. There has to be something equal that’s inside, and not the morning news. It’s just so dark anymore. I think America as a whole are really trying to be safe in this pandemic. We can’t always get what we want. My generation heard that phrase in a Rolling Stones song back in the day.

Sure we have rights, and with rights come tremendous responsibility. Wearing a mask is in that category, in my humble opinion. My freedoms are still there, I’m just thinking of all of us by wearing one. Please, pick something else to be stubborn about. Don’t get me, my 91 year old mom, my 70 year old husband, or my little grandson (I haven’t gotten to meet yet) sick by thinking you’re proving a point. It’s not worth it. I’d rather live, and I would bet you would too. Help me help you never meant more than right now.

New Words to Live By

Too often we become complacent in our lives. We don’t have to have fireworks and parades all the time. We accept things that are holding us back as people. We accept people who hold us back, too. The best situation for improving your life is to have a partner who has your back. That is rare, especially if you want to do some projects or take up a new time-consuming hobby. That’s when you can really tell if you have the right person with you or not. If they aren’t happy for you in your growth spurt, there could be trouble if they have a temperament that needs their ego fed.

That said, you can be contented and support your S/O if you are secure in your life, your relationship, and are genuinely happy for their future, which is also a part of your future. I re-discovered that treasure in my life this week. After nearly 22 years of marriage, it’s still there, and better than ever. The Babe supports my endeavors whatever they are. He may not want to participate, or understand why I want to write, but he supports me, and I support him, too. He knows writing is important to me. When he told me that this week, I felt like the keys to Fort Knox were handed to me. That’s a huge, huge gift to a creative person. May you all have that someone in your life. And if not now, may you find it soon. You deserve it, too. I’m grateful.

Project for today, in addition to studying more about writing.

Thank you for reading today. I hope you have something safe and special planned. Pop Rock, with Billy McGuigan will play for an extended time at the Omaha Community Playhouse, if you’re up to going. You won’t be sorry, trust me. Dates are August 5 – 23. See you tomorrow, right here. Be safe. Be kind. Be courteous. Let the music blow your socks off.