Ces Soirèes-La

Ces Soirèes-La. Or more appropriately Ces Après-midi-La.

I spent yesterday afternoon with 1,699 other souls at a sold out performance at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, ME. While waiting in the lobby, I couldn’t help but notice snowy heads, frail bodies, plenty of hearing aids and canes and even a scooter or two. I thought I mistakenly wandered into an AARP convention. Then I looked in the mirror and realized these patrons were there for the same reason I was … to take in the spectacular story of the rise and career of the Four Seasons — later Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The Jersey Boys.

As we used hand rails to get to our assigned seats, you could sense the excitement building and by the time the backup group opened the show with Ces Soirèes-La (Oh, What a Night) the 60- and 70-year old audience collectively shed their (my) weathered looks and returned to the smooth faces of their (my) youth. An energy kept building through the “early years” song-riddled narrative until it literally exploded midway through the first act when the Four Seasons’ breakout hit, Sherry, was performed with the fidelity — maybe even better — than the original version  we all heard in 1962 on our transistors and car am radios.

It was a moment. It was a moment that brought us back 55 years … what we were doing when the song broke out, what we did to hear more and more of it. How we contributed to making this the American boy group.

And the energy accelerated from there. Big Guys Don’t Cry. Walk Like a Man. December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night). My Eyes Adored You. Dawn (Go Away). Each one bringing the audience to its feet {not an easy feat for our demographic} with thunderous applause that would rival any current-day concert, except with maybe more class.

For me, it wasn’t the lyrics or Valli’s falsetto voice, but the background drums that resonated through the ’55 Dodge I was driving at the time. From the moment I heard Dawn (Go Away) come on, by the time I heard that first drum roll, the window was rolled down and everyone — e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e — knew I was around and on the road with Dawn on my mind. I can only imagine how many noise citations I would have received had today’s audio technology been available.

Act Two was just as energetic with a dozen more hits ranging from Big Man in Town to Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got) to Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me) to Bye Bye Baby to C’mon Marianne to Can’t Take My Eyes Off You to Working May Way Back to You to Rag Doll.

In the footage clips from American  Bandstand and The Ed Sullivan Show, it was us they were showing. And by the time the two and a half hour audio experience came to an end we showed the love right back with Who Loves You as the backdrop and a stand-up, non-stop ovation as the troupe appeared for bows … and appeared for bows … appeared for bows.

Leaving the theater, all you heard were anecdotes from still approving fans about growing up in the mid ’60s. For a brief time, at least, the aches and pains disappeared, the heart quickened, energy was restored and no one dozed off despite afternoon nap time. The lone negative I overheard was a woman complaining about the, shall we say, colorful language. Whatsamatta? You’re not from Jersey, are you?

Yes, it was a special time. Back in the mid ’60s … and for a couple of hours in Portland Saturday. Kudos to the entire cast, but especially the Four Seasons — Jonny Wexler (Frankie Valli), Tommaso Antico (Bob Gaudio), Corey Greenan (Tommy DeVito) and Chris Stevens (Nick Massi).

Ces Après-midi-La.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover —  Mark Twain

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About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
This entry was posted in bucket list, entertainment, Friends, growing up, joy, Laughter, Life, love, Memories, Music, relationships, songs, theater and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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