Weekly Wilson - Blog of Author Connie C. Wilson

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries." (Julius Caesar; Act 4, Scene 3).

Category: Music (Page 2 of 13)

Glen Campbell Documentary on Alzheimer’s Hits Home

My father had Alzheimer’s disease. He knew he was losing his memory as early as his 65th birthday, and he took me aside to tell me that he was divesting of all trusts where he was the trustee and trying to “get out from under” all obligations, because he was losing his memory.

When I tried to pooh pooh his concerns, telling him that all older adults lose a step or two in terms of memory, he was insistent that this was more serious. “I can feel it inside my head, Con. I know it’s more than that.”

Not long after, he went to the post office in the family auto, went inside to get his mail and walked home, leaving his car running in the street outside, keys still in it. The postmaster called our house and said, “Uh…John. Your car is outside. You left it running and it ran out of gas. Maybe you can come get it?”

I remember when I drove my mother and my father to the Mayo Clinic to the emergency room, because my father’s colon cancer was getting worse and he had no pain pills nor any medication for sleeping through the night. He was getting up in the night and falling and he broke his ribs, a painful (and unnecessary) injury

When we got to the Mayo Clinic, I was told to drive my ailing father directly to the emergency room, which I did. The scenes with Glen Campbell being asked, “Who’s the president, Glen?” “What day is it, Glen?” and other such mundane questions, instantly took me back.

Alzheimer’s is a brutal disease. Ultimately, the patient no longer has the ability to understand things that are said to him or here. Language ability can become profoundly impaired. Patients can forget family members and not recognize them. Somehow, that musical skill if it’s activate can help the brain globally if it is activated in Glen Campbell’s case.
Documentary:
They’re giving Glen Campbell Arracept which is causing him to become horny, apparently. (My dad was given Arracept, and that was 1986.)
His wife says: Depending on how you look at it, perhaps there’s an “up” side to Alzheimers (she says he is after her 4x a day after they double his Arracept.)
(I remember that my dad took Arracept. He said it made him feel “fuzzy.” He didn’t like the feeling at all. He also tried to “joke” his way out of questions which he couldn’t answer, like, “Who was our first President, John?”
Statistic mentioned: 115 million Alzheimers patients around the globe.
Last year, $140 billion was spent on Alzheimers in the U.S.
$600 billion will be needed by the time all baby boomers retire. The (D) Senator from Massachusetts is championing the governmental effort to get more funds for Alzheimers research.
May 12, 2012, Campbell played at the Library of Congress. Bill Clinton is talking about his knowledge of Glen Campbell as being from Delight, Arkansas, which is near Hope, where Clinton grew up. Clinton urged more dollars for bio-medical research. “This tour of his may be more of his enduring legacy than all the music he made.”
The film shows him playing the Hollywood Bowl and Boston and the Ryman in Nashville.
Words of one song his daughter sings:
“Daddy don’t you worry: I’ll do the remembering.”
Cal, Shannon and Ashley are the 3 children he had with Wife #4.
“This was a man with a mind like a steel trap and he couldn’t remember my name,” says his longtime bus driver.
 Bruce Springsteen talks about his grandfather dying of it.
Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers lost his father at 70 from Alzheimers.
Brad Paisley’s grandmother and great grandmother both had it.
Kathy Mattea (musician) said her mother regressed and thought she was a young girl again.
Glen’s wife, Kim:  “I don’t want to see him stop being an individual. I don’t want to see him degenerating. I don’t want to see Glen in that condition. I think it’s better to die from something else.”
Brad Paisley would like someone to “find that gene and turn it off before I’m 70,” (he’s now 40) as he has a high probability of inheriting the gene.
Glen’s long-term memory is great, but his short-term memory is what is degenerating. He remembers things from way back, as did my own dear departed father.
Kelli Campbell is another daughter (old) and Debby Campbell-Cloyd is another (older). They look to be at least in their forties or fifties.
There is a scene where Glen has something wrong with his teeth. He won’t go to the dentist and is belligerent about it. “I’m telling you, Man.” He is acting very loud and belligerent about something stuck in his teeth and is using a large knife to try to pick it out.
Campbell is shown in bed before a show he is to do at Carnegie Hall. He looks absolutely exhausted (Concert #113).
The Art Institute of Chicago had him come perform. He had a really hard time performing anything at that dinner.
His wife, Kim: “This is not a fun illness. It’s a challenging illness to deal with every moment of their lives. He can’t find the bathroom in his own house.”
His wife says, “Every day is a challenge for me.” She describes it as “intensely sad. Generally, he clings to me. I’m his safety blanket. He wants me around all the time.” (This was like my mother and my dad).
They (patients) become paranoid and begin to think that people are stealing from them. Glen becomes convinced that his best friend is stealing his golf clubs. (My dad became convinced that he was being held prisoner against his will, Also, some become delusional and see things, which my dad also did, although he was on heavy-duty pain medication for colon cancer, so the pink snakes he saw on the baseboard of his bedroom might have been from pain medication.
(Nov., 2012): After Chicago, the frequency of bad shows began to increase. They wanted to go out on a high note. “We’ve reached a point where he’s not capable of doing it.”
His wife: “That tour was crazy when he was offstage because he didn’t want to stay in the hotel room. He went around the hotel pressing everybody’s doorbells because he thought they were elevator buttons.”
 By the time they got to Napa (the last show) they knew they had to stop the tour (it was Show #151). His son said, “It’s too bad he doesn’t  even know it’s his last show ever.”
His daughter (Ashley) testified before Congress to try to get more funds for Alzheimers’ research and more-or-less broke down while testifying.
This was a good documentary, but it hit very close to home, for me, as I watched Glen Campbell try to joke his way through questions he can’t answer.
James Keach, Stacey Keach’s brother, directed the documentary and Jane Seymour, his wife, is listed as a producer. Three of Campbell’s children (2 boys and his daughter) back him up onstage and mention of Campbell’s prominence as a member of the famous “Wrecking Crew” that played on records by almost all big groups (including the Beach Boys) is mentioned. Having just seen the Wrecking Crew represented in the film “Love & Mercy” about Brian Wilson, it was an interesting and important documentary that makes you hope you have Tony Bennett’s genes and not Glen Campbell’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bette Midler Plays United Center on June 18, 2015

Bette Midler peered out at the crowd of all ages and said, “It’s nice to see so many of my fans are still able to drive at night.” I laughed out loud. Bette and I are contemporaries, and there is much truth in her meant-to-be-funny remark. Later, when she said that a new Apple Watch was “the first step on the road to douche-baggery,” I laughed loudly again from my seat in the rafters, as my son had just received his watch in the mail that day (a prize from his work, PSI Metals of Germany, for creative thinking on a “brainstorming” competition.) Bette sported a short pink number with lots of sparkly bits at the hem, neck and sleeves for the opening numbers and went through a few costume changes, but nothing like Cher, for example. Her final outfit onstage was a red, glittery sequined number that was quite form-fitting, and the 69-year-old looked good in it. (She said, “Don’t I look good?” as the concert opened.) Bette worked in all the favorites I wanted to hear the most, especially “Wind Beneath My Wings” (from “Beaches”) and “From A Distance.” Her encore number, with 8 musicians backing her on trombone, saxophone, cornet, percussion, etc., a la Bruno Mars’ band, was “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.” If I had any criticism of the night, it would be that Bette didn’t resurrect “Delores Del Lago, the Toast of Chicago,” except in some flashback photos, which I will post if I can. If you see a seam down the middle, that is because these were images flashed on the large screen backing Bette. The two side screens did not seem very large, another minus if you were as far away as it was possible to get and up high. (Thank heavens for my 30 zoom). From here, I’m going to try to post photos, which may or may not work out, for me, but where there’s life, there’s hope, and you’re getting this from someone diagnosed with (borderline) diabetes and cancer (squamous skin) in one week, so I’m hoping.

 

Ben Folds Performs with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra on June 6th, 2015

Ben Folds (formerly of the Ben Folds Five) performed with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra on June 6th at the Chicago Theater.

As he has done since an enthused audience member shouted out, “Rock this bitch!”, Folds composed an original composition with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra members.

We were in the 7th row, almost exactly where this video was shot, and it is truly amazing to watch creativity in action.

Here is the film:

Razzleberries Christmas Cats Appearance on Dec. 6, 2014

Holiday Appearances for The Christmas Cats

2014 “I Heart Radio” Show in Las Vegas on Sept. 19, 2014

“Coldplay” performing at IHeartRadio Show 2014 in Vegas on 9/19.

 

The I Heart Radio show in Las Vegas on September 19 (Friday) was a star-studded affair, the fourth such gathering of the most popular artists performing today. Lorde, for instance, (whom I did not get to hear) was scheduled to perform, as was “One Direction.” For months, the airwaves have described the show as “sold out.”

I attended the very first I Heart Radio show in Vegas, and soon learned that my version of “sold out” and the radio station’s idea of “sold out” are two different things. There were plenty of empty seats at that first concert, as the venue at the MGM Grand is a huge arena not unlike our local civic center and seemingly as large, inside, as the United Center in Chicago.

Therefore, when I knew we were going to be in Vegas for other reasons, I asked the concierge at Mandalay Bay to see if she could secure a ticket and—guess what? “They just released some more seats.” Nevermind that the seats were high up in the nosebleed section: for $150 I got to hear/see Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Ariana Grande, Motley Crue, Usher, Alesia Keys and some local D.J. named Steve Aoki. I learned that other younger performers, many of them rap artists like “Lil’ Wayne” were performing in a field opposite the Luxor the next day (Saturday), outside. Therefore, I opted for the  six-hour concert taking place inside and, aside from nearly falling down the stairs two times (I was about 8 rows from the top) when the concrete stairs gave way to less sturdy ones, it was a great show. Certainly it was far more topical and current than acts like Donnie and Marie, who were performing elsewhere in town.

 

I took my trusty 16 zoom camera and captured some shots which I will share with you here, and I attempted to upload video footage, although my first attempts to mount it here have been a bust.  We’re back in the Midwest now, but the 50th Chicago Film Festival commences soon, so stay tuned for more interesting posts, as I have the ability to see documentaries from around the world and feature length films, as well. Additionally, Oliver Stone, Liv Ullman, Michael Moore and Kathleen Turner are just a few of the big names expected to grace the Festival this anniversary year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quad City Symphony Pops Concert in LeClaire Park on September 6, 2014

Saturday, September 6th, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, now celebrating its 100th anniversary, staged its annual Pops Concert with Michael Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh sang and played the songs of Billy Joel in the play “Movin’Out,”(which I saw in Chicago on my birthday some years back). Cavanaugh was also very good at involving the audience and joked about the train that inevitably came chugging through the area during the concert.

Centennial Bridge in the distance, near sundown, on September 6, 2014, Saturday.

Centennial Bridge in the distance, near sundown, on September 6, 2014, Saturday.

This time out, the advertisements suggested that Cavanaugh would be singing the songs of Elton John, but Elton John was just one small part of his repertoire this cool, fall-ish evening.

We held off on buying tickets to the event because it rained buckets just the day before. (I know; I was caught in it as I entered the Jewel Food Store on Kennedy). When it became apparent that the evening was going to be dry and relatively warm (temperatures dropped to the high fifties at one point, but, for most of the evening, it was comfortable) we decided to drive over and give it a shot—-somewhat late.
Because we were late, the $40 ($20 per adult) price tag seemed a tad high. We first stopped at the Front Street Brewery and, eventually, wound our way over to the grounds. By this time, the concert was well underway and we were outside the fence, somewhere near the entrance to the Rhythm City Casino. Did we want to shell out $40 for the remainder of the concert, or would we be happy simply listening to the tunes, like all the boats pictured on this page?
We set up our lawn chairs near what appeared to be permanent rest rooms (which were inconveniently locked). For the rest of the concert night, we would advise various concertgoers that the doors were locked. It was somewhat amusing to watch both men and women attempt to enter, only to be stymied by the locked building (which does bring up the question, WHY would the city lock this building on the night of a concert that supposedly drew a crowd of 10,000 ?)

 

Impromptu football field immediately in front of the lawn in front of the band shell.

Impromptu football field immediately in front of the lawn in front of the band shell.

As we approached, we heard a Paul McCartney tune (“Live and Let Die”) and, as time went on and we enjoyed the new Ferris Wheel that has been erected near John O’Donnell Stadium (which, I realize, has a newer name now), we heard all sorts of melodies that were not Elton John tunes. I recorded one (“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”) which the soloist said was his favorite tune. The “Riff Raff” piece contained refrains from songs such as “I Love Rock and Roll” and “Eye of the Tiger,” so, no Elton John there, either. And the crowd request was a Billy Joel song, which seems apropos.
After the concert seemingly concluded, my husband was intent on getting out ahead of the traffic, so we missed (a) the 1812 Overture, a tradition (b) the cannons being fired over the Mississippi and (c) the fireworks that accompanied this finale. By that time, we were back in the patio section of the Front Street Brewery, listening to the cannons and enjoying crab cakes.
P1040033I had not been to this concert since the year they advertised a Motown program. The group that year wasn’t very good and an elderly woman with a walker fell on the uneven sidewalks right next to us inside the park. We ended up dialing 911 and helping her, so I don’t remember much about the concert experience, except that the singers were off-key. (I heard the Beatles one later was good, however.)
One bit of good news: Yo Yo Ma is coming to town to play with the Symphony. I saw him with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and he was wonderful.

Bruno Mars @ Tinley Park (Chicago), June 20, 2014

P1030641Bought tickets for Bruno Mars at Tinley Park on the lawn to celebrate Amanda Burkert Kelly’s graduation from Western Illinois University. We were so far away that Bruno was pretty much a speck, and my attempts to sneak closer to shoot video were met with resistance from the PTB. However, I did get the following pictures and really bad video.

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Queenbert (Adam Lambert & Queen) @ the United Center, June 19, 2014

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Alex Preston Bites the Dust for Finals of “American Idol”

Last night, while I was enjoying “Motown, the Musical” at the Oriental theater in downtown Chicago, Alex was eliminated from “American Idol” in one of the more anti-climactic developments in the competition. In fact, earlier in the day, I had tweeted that it looked like our new American Idol was Caleb Johnson, no matter what. It was simple logic that dictated that Alex would get the boot this night. It would be so much “neater” and “easier” if the two were most comfortable onstage (Caleb and Jena) got the nod.

Which they did. The “Finals” will be Caleb (who had injured his vocal cords when he appeared on the show on Wednesday) and Jena (who should really just give up and spell her name “Gina” if she wants everyone to pronounce it that way).

Caleb has been consistently the Powerhouse and, with the routine exception that Harry Connick, Jr., wanted him to sing fewer shout-out-loud numbers and more ballad-like beautiful songs, he always had the best production values: things exploded, microphone stands were trashed; fire—all the usual histrionics onstage. Gena had one good night with glow-in-the-dark sticks and, at only 17, she definitely has a bright career ahead of her.

On the other hand, what was the name of the girl who finished second to Philip Phillips? You don’t remember: Join the club.

I do think Jena (say it “Gina”) will go on to greater glory because she is so comfortable onstage AND has a good voice AND can play piano while singing (no small feat.) The voting found her in the bottom 3 one night during the competition, however, so that bodes ill for her winning it all.

We both went off to watch the fantastic Broadway hit (me for the second time) secure in the knowledge that it would be Jena and Caleb, with Caleb winning. And we were right.

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