August Ides News Update 28 August 2017•S.R.M.
A late-Summer flurry of IDES activity brought our boys to the airwaves and local concert stages.
August 2017 saw a few rare events: a Total Solar Eclipse, plus an Ides Of March performance hat-trick. And wouldn’t you know, the two events had a happy merging (more on that to follow).
The Public Television Special “Cornerstones Of Rock” featuring the Ides was broadcast again on Thursday August 17th, and our own JIM PETERIK was on hand to co-host the evening with The Buckinghams Lead Singer CARL GIAMMARESE and Arcada Theatre owner RON ONESTI. When those three gents get together, it’s always a wisecracking good time. Some folks find “pledge breaks” annoying and dull, but the “Cornerstone” breaks were anything but. No wonder “Cornerstones” is a top earner for Public Television-the program is top-notch and even the pledge breaks are entertaining.
The morning of Friday the 18th came very early for JIM and Ides Keyboarder SCOTT MAY as they visited “The River 95.5 FM” and their morning show hosted by Ides Pals SCOTT MACKAY and DANIELLE TUFANO. The guys weren’t in the studio for 60 seconds before the humorous “jousting” began. Scott and Danielle maintain one of the last bastions of “Chicago-Style” radio where good-natured ribbing and raucous fun prevail. Jim’s purple hair and Scott’s Melodion keyboard are always good for commentary that’s never mean and always funny. Throw in a box of stale donuts (as there was on the studio counter), and let the games begin! As always, besides the laughs, there was plenty of live unplugged music from the Peterik songbook.
It’s been too long since the Ides played the wonderful municipal concert venue in the Village of Bolingbrook, and it was a warm welcome on Sunday the 20th. It’s a perennial favorite of the band, due to the top-rank lighting, sound and video facilities on-site. Since their last visit, a total pro stage set has been added, with multi-level risers and enhanced lighting. It looked like rain, but the skies cooperated, and the crowds were out in force, filling the grass-covered amphitheater and the paved area in front of the stage. Bolingbrook Mayor ROGER C. CLAAR and his staff are always gracious to the band, and the Ides hope they can return next summer.
The BIG news of August 2017 was the Total Solar Eclipse on the 21st. Chicago, proper, was NOT in the celebrated path of “Totality” (Chicago’s share was 88% obscured), but you’d never know it by the fuss being made in the media.
The IDES enjoy a very warm friendship with the #1 Morning News Show on WGN-TV. So, when producer JEFF HOOVER rings and starts his conversation with “How About?”; the Boys perk up their ears, and listen intently. Scott May took the call and Hoov laid out his invitation for JP, Scott and Ides Drummer MIKE BORCH to visit the hallowed studios and perform a special version of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”, re-written by Hoover and Morning News Announcer MIKE TOOMEY into “Solar Eclipse Of The Sun”. The lyric proved to be a hoot, and the guys jumped in feet first.
The Jim Steinman classic isn’t an easy song to play or sing; there are a whole bunch of words, and the music changes course often, but JP, Mike and Scott nailed it. If only the public could have seen the gigantic cue card just off camera (featuring the excellent penmanship of Ides Merch Maven CHRIS MAY)!
Later that evening, the “Jive 5” (The Ides rhythm section) did a rare show minus the Buzzards Brass. Doesn’t happen often, but occasionally the band scales down to play an intimate date in a smaller venue. In this case, the “Up” Comedy Club in the venerable “Pipers Alley” Second City complex in Chicago’s Old Town. The very private and exclusive event made for an audience of about 27 people, which sounds odd at first, but these 27 folks came ready to rock, and rock they did. Also bear in mind, this wasn’t an attendance issue. Everybody showed up! There might not have been a lot of bodies in the room, but their spirit and joy could have filled an arena. The Ides put on the same show, with the same intensity, regardless of how many comprise an audience.
After-show, the catering folks brought in prepared boxes each with a taste of all the gourmet fare offered to the party-goers. A nice cap to a great night.
Back at full strength, Buzzards Brass intact, the Ides touched down on the West Side of Suburban Chicago in the Village of Hinsdale, Illinois for a rocking Tuesday-evening bash. The crowds showed up and kept showing up, until the grounds were packed wall-to-wall. Well, actually there weren’t any real “walls”, but if there were, the crowd would have been pressed against them!
Hillside Mayor JOSEPH TAMBURINO, his guest (and long-time Ides Pal) Forest Park, Ill. Mayor ANTHONY CALDERONE, were joined by Illinois State Representative CHRIS WELCH, and they welcomed the Ides back to Hillside. The backstage area was abuzz, and the show was a stonkin’ barn-burner. The guys even re-capped the “Eclipse” song spoof from WGN the previous morning, by popular demand. The crowd was so packed, JP couldn’t make his customary foray into the audience during the Guitar solo in “Eye Of The Tiger”. This didn’t stop JP from tearing it up, and the energy grew white hot as BOB BERGLAND and LARRY MILLAS joined JP center stage for the Solo section climax.
As Hillside is in close proximity to the Ides Galactic Central HQ of Berwyn, Illinois, there were a lot of friends and family in the audience, making the after-show meet and greet an especially fun event.
There are a few more local shows this summer, and the CORNERSTONES OF ROCK will visit Rockford and be back at the Arcada in St. Charles in November.
Christmas-time will be here before you know it, and December 16 is the big Ides Christmas extravaganza, mounted once more at the Arcada.