At the Theatre with Audrey Linden
The Walt Disney Concert Hall was alive and kicking with a New Year’s Eve special with legendary Sergio Mendes and percussionist-singer, Sheila E. and beautiful Brazilian dancers. 2013 went out with a bang as Sheila E. (Escovedo) and her very talented group of musicians opened the evening. The instruments changed out as Sergio Mendes took over the second half of the evening. And Sergio Mendes still has it! If you could have bottled the energy of these two performers and their musicians, we would have enough energy to light up Los Angeles!
I could not think of a better way to welcome in the New Year than at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with these two performers. They did a 7:00 P M and a 10:30 P M show, and we were treated to a complimentary mojito cocktail and also had the opportunity to have our photograph taken with the beautiful Brazilian show girls. It was such a festive and positive evening! And there is a whole new season of wonderful offerings for the 2014 season you can join in on.
Sheila E., resplendent in a formfitting spandex white glittery dress and stiletto platform heels is such an energetic entertainer. She hails from the very talented Pete Escovedo, who is her father. She performed with her six musicians: Raymond Mc Kinley-bass guitar, Mike Blankenship-keyboards, Eddie Mininfield-sax/vocals, Joel Behrman-trumpet, trombone, Billy Kemp-background vocals, Nate Mercereau-guitar. All were such fabulous musicians but, Mininfleld stood out as he not only played his sax, but danced and strutted his stuff like a Pied Piper. Sheila E. exclaimed, “Get ready to party” and she made sure we did!
Sheila E. opened with a rousing "Leader of the Band", had us clap, stand and dance with her. Another stand-out number was “Rockstar”, followed by “Mona Lisa”, and the last number was “Glamorous Life”. Hard to believe this gorgeous gal just turned 56!
The second half of the evening with Sergio Mendes was a little more mellow, and I felt like I was on a holiday cruise ship along with all the party revelers around me. Everyone was so friendly. The music got to us. As the instruments changed out, five musicians came out all dressed in crisp white. We had Michael Shapiro on drums with vocals, Kleber Jorge Pimenta on guitar with vocals, Hussain Jiffry on bass with vocals, the triple talented Scott Meyo on keyboards, sax, and flute, Marco B. Dos Santos (Gibi) on percussion, and rapper extraordinaire, Harrell Harris ((H20) who was like a great cheerleader. He kept the energy flowing and moving to all sides of the audience. Mendes, in white slacks, blue jacket, and traditional white straw hat, was front and center to lead with keyboard and vocals. He had three gorgeous gal singers: Gracinha Leporace (his very talented wife), Katie Hampton, and Ayana Williams.
This iconic Brazilian musician, song writer, music producer has had over 55 releases and brings audiences Bossa Nova laced with jazz and contemporary touches. The innovative Mendes brought rapper, H20, Harrell Harris into the world of Bossa Nova and bridged the two worlds successfully. Mendes was nominated for an Academy Award in 2012 for Best Original Song, "Real In Rio" and he will do the music for the sequel , "Rio 2".
Mendes gave us about a dozen joyful, uplifting Bossa Nova and Brazilian numbers with his stellar musicians and singers. They had so much fun on stage, and the feeling was infectious. Many of the songs were from the 60’s and had been hits then as Brasil 66 and as Sergio reminded us, they are still fresh now. Who could forget Mendez’ mentor, Carlos Jobim’s “Ipanema” and that breezy-easy, smooth feeling? I was swaying to the music in my seat. We had "Milagre"/"Samba Da Minha", “Agua De Beber”, and “O Que Sera” which started our musical journey. Gibi did a wonderful, exuberant percussion solo which the audience loved.
We got a special treat with a song written and made famous in 1983 with Joe Pizzulo, who performed the original vocals, when this song, “Never Gonna Let You Go” topped the charts. The audience loved the duet! This is an unforgettable song. That was followed by long-time favorites from Brasil 66, “Fool On The Hill”, “Look Of Love”, and “Mas Que Nada” which we were all invited to join in on. It was such a joyful song and we were on our feet singing. H20 was running to the different sides of the audience and leading us. Then, there was a loud sound and as midnight approached and huge silver and blue colorful streamers were shot onto the audience. The audience was shouting for more as Sheila E. joined Sergio Mendes in “Pais Tropical”. The last number was another treat, especially for the men in the audience as Brazilian showgirls in headdresses with colorful feathers, and little else came into the audience and entertained us. Everything was “a shakin”. Amazing bodies! We did not want this evening to end as we welcomed in 2014. If I had one word to sum up the evening, it would be FUN!
Go on line to check out the 2014 season, and you may want to become a subscriber. www.laphil.com/tickets or call 323-850-2000 They will have the classical evenings starting with Dvorak’s “New World” January 10,11, 12th. The Song Book Series continues with Mary Chapin Carpenter February 8th , Jazz with Herbie Hancock February 9th , etc. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 S. Grand Ave. Los Angeles, Ca 90012 with parking underground.
Audrey Linden is a writer, actress and singer. She can be seen in a long-running “Associated Tax Resolution” commercial, two “Little Caesars” spots, a “Teva International Pharmaceutical” short, Gene Simmons’ “Family Jewels,” “America’s Court with Judge Ross,” VHS “Tough Love 2,” “Wendy’s” etc.
Audrey teaches ON CAMERA COMMERCIAL and IMPROV COMEDY WORKSHOPS through the City of Beverly Hills. To register, call 310-285-6850. Her classes are held at 241 Moreno Dr. B.H. 90212. Her next classes start January 27th and 30th with registration open in December. For more information, contact Audrey at firstname.lastname@example.org