Certainly, I started listening to Prince anew after he died in April 2016. But he launched into my favorite songs from my favorite band territory because of Sheila E. and the niece Rebecca Jade. Surely, I don’t have to worry about J. Eric Smith’s band requirement. Prince led, for a time, the Revolution, and other times he’s playing 27 instruments.
Sheila sang at a club in New York City in August 2017. Rebecca was one of the background singers. They performed a half dozen Prince songs, including an RJ solo on Raspberry Beret. Then I saw them at the New York State Fair in Syracuse in early September 2019. More Prince tunes.
Let’s Go Crazy: The GRAMMY Salute To Prince was filmed at the Los Angeles Convention Center on January 28, 2020, two days after The 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards. The all-star lineup of artists performed songs from the catalog of “the 38-time GRAMMY® nominee and seven-time GRAMMY winner.” Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and Sheila E. were pegged to be the musical directors. Rebecca Jade was a last-minute replacement for another back-up singer.
The tribute concert, originally aired Tuesday, April 21, the four-year anniversary of the superstar’s passing, and was rebroadcast on Saturday, April 25 on CBS. Rebecca Jade was singing with about half of the artists, including Earth, Wind, and Fire; Foo Fighters; Gary Clark Jr.; St. Vincent; Miguel; Juanes; and of course, Sheila E.
I own all of the Prince albums from the 1980s on vinyl or CD. 1999, Purple Rain and Sign O’ the Times are my favorites. Making YouTube links prior to 2016 was… a challenge. Song list is vaguely leading to my favorite.
If you go to the New York State Fair, there will be structures filled with animals. Lots of animals. We saw none the day before, so off to the cattle barn on Sunday, September 1. We went into the dairy barn. Nearby was the dairy products building, where the butter sculpture, which looked like two sockhop teens at a diner, was located.
We saw the aquarium and saw all the 4-H setups. Most counties were represented in the 4H area. Also, my daughter got her hair done and she decided to buy some product with her own money.
Mostly, though, we were vamping for time until Sheila E.’s 2 pm performance. I bought what was purported to be a chicken spiedie. A kid from Binghamton, NY knows what a spiedie looks like and tastes like. Was this marinated at all? And it was baked or boiled, certainly not grilled.
The Chevy Court, the outdoor venue where the performance would take place already had about one hundred people in the space by 1 pm for a 2 pm program, so we took our seats just behind a section designated for folks in wheelchairs.
My niece, Rebecca Jade, and I texted back and forth. She came out from backstage just after she arrived, around 1:30, and we got to get hugs.
The show started on time with the Funky National Anthem: Message 2 America. Some folks stood. This segued into some covers of what sounded like Parliament/Funkadelic and, of course, Prince.
Leader of the Band was a song by Pete Escovedo, Sheila’s dad. For the first time, she performed the new song No Line, featuring Snoop Dog’s prerecorded vocals.
Sheila had audience members dancing onstage to something called Bailar. Lynn Mabry (I’ll Take You There) and Rebecca each got solos. This was in part because, though you couldn’t tell by looking at her, the star wasn’t feeling well, from some bad seafood the day before.
Still, Sheila circumnavigated the grounds, singing with her guitar. I couldn’t actually SEE her because everyone was standing, but I did see her instrument as she walked around the handicapped area.
She ended with a medley that includes her version of America, plus a bunch of Prince songs, including Baby I’m A Star. Naturally, she concluded with The Glamorous Life and a drum solo. Some of the songs were the same as two years ago, but hardly all.
My wife, daughter and I left, with a plan to pick up the niece 30 minutes after she got to her hotel. But as we got about a quarter-mile away, I checked my phone. Rebecca texted that Sheila wanted to meet us! We scurried back.
We went backstage with a couple of my sister Leslie’s friends, Cathy and John. John was the guitarist for sister Leslie’s first band in Binghamton, Crystal Ship. Kathy was the longtime significant other of Bobby, Crystal Ship’s late drummer.
Sheila and Lynn both came out from behind the curtain to the dressing area. Sheila hugged us all. Someone, maybe Lynn, said I looked like Leslie with a beard, which I suppose is an insult to Leslie.
We ended up at the hotel where she was staying. Rebecca, all showered, went out with us for dinner. She explained trying to balance her own gigs in the San Diego area with being on the road with Sheila. She now has some entity to arrange her agenda. It was a great time seeing the niece for more than five minutes after the show.
After we dropped Rebecca off, my wife drove us back to Albany, frequently during a driving rain.
They’re doing it all: killing health care, lowering taxes on the rich, destroying the environment, taunting other world leaders
This is that thing that Jaquandor does on December 31, but I do on January 1.
Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Ya know, it wasn’t a New Years’ resolution, per se, but my wife and I swore this year (and for about ten years previous) that we would make a will, and we finally did this summer. You should probably do that too.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friends Susan and Anna had babies
Did you attend any weddings?
Don’t think so.
Did anyone close to you die?
What countries did you visit?
None, but my passport is in order, just in case.
What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
To live in a just country.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The aforementioned will.
What was your biggest failure?
Failing to create more Roger time, which can generate stress.
What was the best thing you bought?
A smartphone, my first. And I got that ONLY because I lost my flip phone that I had had for a decade or more.
Whose behavior merited celebration?
A lot of people, actually:
Those who went on the Women’s March on January 21
The #MeToo women and men
The folks loosely called the Resistance
The comedians, including John Oliver, Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, the folks at Saturday Night Live, and, surprisingly, Jimmy Kimmel, who I did not particularly like heretofore
Those who helped the people dealing with the weather disasters of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma in Florida and especially Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
Those who helped the people dealing with the human-made disasters of explosions, mass shootings, and weaponized cars
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch, who appears to be as terrible as promised
The US Congress, passing legislature, passing legislation contrary to the needs and the will of its constituents
The US Cabinet who have the mission to negate all the success their agencies have achieved
The White House liars-in-chief, such as Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders
The litany of sexual predators, starting with Harvey Weinstein
And most of all, the terrible guy who promotes awful legislation, negates the progress of previous administrations, tells big fat lies, AND who is a sexual predator
Where did most of your money go?
The house, though we had no big projects.
What did you get really excited about?
The idea of retiring someday; also seeing Sheila E with Lynn Mabry in NYC in August
Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Only a little sadder, but really pissed off
Thinner or fatter?
About the same
Richer or poorer?
What do you wish you’d done more of?
Sleeping, writing, thinking
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Thinking about Agent Orange
How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Eve means singing at church, so that. Eventually we go to the in-laws
Did you fall in love in 2017?
How many one-night stands?
Jaquandor: “Now, that’s not the kind of question a gentleman answers! (Another stock answer!)”
What was your favorite TV program?
Finding Your Roots, CBS Sunday Morning, CBS This Morning Saturday, JEOPARDY!
Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is such an ugly word. But I certainly loathe the behavior of a whole lot of people; see above
What was the best book you read?
Inventing America: Rockwell + Warhol from the Norman Rockwell Museum
What was your greatest musical discovery?
There’s a group called Spoon I saw on CBS This Morning Saturday who I really liked
What did you want and get?
The new Hess truck
What did you want and not get?
Clarification of what I’m supposed to do about Medicare if I’m not retiring yet
What were your favorite films of this year?
I Am Not Your Negro; Hidden Figures; Kedi; The Big Sick; Fences
What did you do on your birthday?
I took off the day from work and…oh, who knows?
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
I still don’t get those pajama-like items being worn in public
What kept you sane?
Yet again I argue the premise of the question. That said, my dads’ group in church. seeing my best college friend more than once.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Surprisingly, Ariana Grande (who I disliked from her Disney shows), who showed up in Birmingham, England only a couple weeks after her show was disrupted by a bomb
What political issue stirred you the most?
Here’s the thing: lots of people said THEY are doing THIS to DISTRACT you from them doing THAT. I don’t believe it. They’re doing it all: killing health care, lowering taxes on the rich, destroying the environment, taunting other world leaders (unless they’re thugs, such as the guy in the Philippines), etc, etc. That said, immigration, and our restrictive policies is doing large and possibly irreversible damage to our economy, is probably my core issue. It’s hurting education, tourism, farming…
Who was the best new person you met?
Some new church members.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017:
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 2018 inductees. Performer Category: Bon Jovi (inevitable), The Cars (voted for), Dire Straits (would have voted for if there weren’t 19 candidates for five slots), The Moody Blues (my pick), Nina Simone (worthy but hardly rock – see Baez, Joan). Award for Early Influence: Sister Rosetta Tharpe (should never have been on the competitive ballot; just put her in!)
The singers are on stage left, which was close to us.
When we heard that the #1 niece, Rebecca Jade, was going to be a backup singer for Sheila E., the percussionist a protege of the late artist known as Prince, we were pretty excited. But when we found they were going to be performing in New York City, well, that became a priority.
First, get tickets online at the BB King Blues Club. Next, find a place to stay downtown that cost only an arm and half a leg; the Distrikt fit the bill. I took the bus down early for a work meeting, and the wife and daughter followed about three hours later.
We met at the hotel at 4 pm. I actually took a nap, largely because of some tooth pain (another story). We get to the club less than two blocks away, and found ourselves in line. It’s a dinner theater, as it were, and since I bought only the “cheap seats,” ($49.50 each, plus handling), by the time we got in, there was but one table left that was close by, stage left, already with a single patron.
We had a $10 minimum to eat/drink; easy enough. The Daughter had a cheeseburger and fries that was only $13. I had mac and cheese for $20, with a slab of salmon for an additional $7; not bad, especially the latter. The wife’s meal of shrimp and grits was not only overpriced at $36, but skimpy. I gave her a chunk of both the mac/cheese and fish, and the Daughter was generous with her fries. Her Mississippi mud cake ($12) was like it came from a box of frozen dessert.
Girl Meets Boy. Sheila E. slows it way down to sing a song she co-wrote after Prince’s death. She says it’s available for free on SheilaE.com. She urged everyone to find a stranger and tell him or her that you love them. The Wife and I took that opportunity to catch RJ’s eye.