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Brian Simpson concert recap 3 (7PM show) February 17, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, Weather.
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Previous Brian Simpson recaps: April 2011, September 2012

I was at Houndstooth Pub on Valentine’s Day to see keyboardist Brian Simpson perform. As with Lisa Hilton last month, this was the third time I had seen Brian live. Also like Lisa’s show, Brian debuted material from an upcoming album. Out of a Dream was released today.

There always seems to be an active weather pattern when I go to see Brian Simpson. The first time, there was a nor’easter. The second time, a severe thunderstorm threatened Manhattan, but weakened considerably by the time it crossed the Hudson River. This time, a clipper brought light snow to the area, but it was forecast to reform and intensify offshore at night, dumping heavier snow and strong gusty winds in the process.

I took this shot before I left with my girlfriend for the Wantagh LIRR station:

I considered it a before picture, expecting to take an after picture when we got home that would show a few inches on the ground with more to come overnight. Luckily, the forecast models changed dramatically while my girlfriend and I were out. The worst of the snow stayed to the south. The same coating you see above awaited us when we got back to Wantagh. An additional coating fell overnight.

Unfortunately, the wind forecast didn’t change. Gusts over 50 miles per hour began after 2AM and continued for about 12 more hours. From there, gusts were as high as 45 mph and occurred less and less until they were gone altogether by Monday afternoon.

But enough about the weather.

There were two shows that night: 7:00 and 9:15. My girlfriend and I got tickets to the 7:00.

Brian Simpson played keyboard:

…and keytar:

Dave Anderson was on bass:

Les Cleveland on drums:

…and on seven songs in the set, Art Sherrod Jr. on saxophone:


The engineer was Neal Newman:

As I noted at the top, the show featured songs from Brian’s latest album, Out of a Dream. Here’s the full set list:
South Beach* – keyboard/keytar
2. It Could Happen* – keytar/keyboard
3. Just One Wish^
4. When I Say Your Name*^
5. Blues in G*
6. Sky Watcher^ – keytar
7. Can’t Tell You Why
8. Let’s Get Close – keytar
9. Just What You Need – keytar
10. Juicy* – keytar/keyboard
11. Saturday Cool*
12 (Encore). It’s All Good*
* Art Sherrod Jr., sax
^ From Out of a Dream

Now, for a series of pictures of Brian on keytar. First, pictures from “Let’s Get Close”:

One of the audience members he got close to – in the musical sense – was my girlfriend:

She’s been a fan of Brian for a long time. In fact, she first learned of me through my website after I posted my Mike Chimeri Show interview with him nine years ago. (That interview and more can be found here.) It would be another four years before she finally got in touch with me on Facebook.



For “Saturday Cool,” he went beyond the stage and into the audience, passing by Ron and Nydia along the way:




Back on stage, here are pictures from Dave Anderson and Les Cleveland’s “Saturday Cool” solos. Dave first:


Les Cleveland:







Wide shots:
“Saturday Cool”:




The encore: “It’s All Good”:







The last note:


Art Sherrod Jr.: “Once again, Mr. Brian Simpson, everyone”:

Brian greeted us when we arrived beforehand and we spoke to him again afterward. Then, we posed for a pic:

The red Sharpie in his hand isn’t what he signed my copy of Out of a Dream with. He went with a black one instead.

I’ve used this term before, but the set was wild! I can only imagine what it was like for the later crowd. Thanks to Brian, Dave, Les, and Art.


February 1-2 winter storm pictures February 3, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Football, Personal, Sports, Weather.
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In my last storm-related post, I hoped for a near miss on Super Bowl Sunday night into Groundhog Day. Hope lost to increasing consensus in ensemble computer models.

The storm I didn’t want, the first of what may be many this February, arrived late Sunday night, following the Super Bowl I want to forget. A few inches of snow fell before changing over to sleet and freezing rain, and then rain, after sunrise.

This aspect of the storm eased my stress. I figured I would only have to shovel one time and that would be it. That one time began at 8:15 AM. About 70 minutes later, I had finished shoveling what was Slurpee-grade slush. Rain fell the entire time outside and I got soaked. A job well done, I thought. I moved the slush out of the way just in time for the change back to sleet and freezing rain.


The changeover occurred after the above picture. As you’ll see in the next one, any slush and puddles flash froze.


The driveway looked like a skating rink. All it needed was a couple of nets.

I had enough energy left to run 6.3 miles on the treadmill in my basement. But as I was running, the sleet and freezing rain changed back to snow.


And it didn’t just leave a coating. We ended up with a burst of snow that dumped four inches in two hours.


I tried to shovel as the heavy snow fell, but it was a futile effort:

I waited another half hour before trying again. This time was the charm. I was enraged early on in the shoveling process because I didn’t expect significant snow on the change back. Had I known it was coming, I would have stayed off the treadmill.

This round of shoveling also took about an hour. At least the snow was lightweight.

I shot this after I came back inside:

As hard as I felt it was to shovel twice in one day, nothing compares to those that have to plow streets during storms like this. They work nonstop from the first snowflake to the last. It puts a mere driveway shoveling in perspective.

Until the next storm.