Recent News (10 to 18)
WITE LITE - WESTPHAL BIRTHDAY PARTY - 09/29/18
You may be wondering why the link is above and also why ELIZABETH was named MVP. With Kevin Finnegan emceeing the event and again using a home sound system, WITE LITE turned in a blistering show that appealed to the young crowd there for Nick's 27th birthday and for his Dad's 60th. Residents of Creve Coeur had other feelings complaining to the police that the band was too loud at 9:00 PM. Perhaps it was the "Wham Bam Thank You Maam" references rehearsed over and over but the band played on and finished with Blitzkrieg Bop, Sedated, Sympathy for the Devil with a Hey Jude ending (a new staple for the band) and Fight For Your Right To Party (True Words to end the evening).
Nick Westphal joined the band for Glory Days and played solidly throughout with metronome like tempo and the band was in fine form throughout the night despite an extended absence. The Weight had new life with the Acapella ending and Folsom Prison Blues got the entire crowd going after initially appealing to the younger crowd.
But it was Elizabeth LaKamp who came to deliver best wishes to Tom Westphal that turned the evening for the band. After reading a poem in tribute, she was going to sing Born to Run (Tom loves Bruce Springsteen) as a birthday gift using her iPhone for the music. The band would have none of it and immediately accompanied her for the song as well as Proud Mary. And by the time Happy Birthday was sung followed by the Beatles version oof Birthday, the band had the crowd and never let up.
The band is now setting its sights on another East Coast wedding but after last night, hopefully something sooner is in the making for the Best Party Band in the MidWest.
WITE LITE - SEAN'S GRADUATION PARTY - 05/19/18
After the longest extended absence on record (I had to remember how to do updates!) WITE LITE returned in 3 piece form to play Sean Greene's graduation. After shaking a little rust off, the band was pretty strong with a 25-30 song 2 set performance. Bill Greene took MVP honors with excellent bantor (channeling Kevin Finnegan) and a Twist and Shout that would have made John Lennon proud. A surprisingly good mix from a small PA helped the band hear the vocals and showed that this band still has plenty of life in them. Sweet Little Sixteen (for Malcia) and Peacemaker were questionable calls but other than those it was an excellent refresher for the band. Here's hoping there are more in 2018 that bring the entire band together!!
WITE LITE - JIMMY/AMY WEDDING REHEARSAL - 12/1/16
Returning to the East Coast after a long absence, WITE LITE played the shore for Jimmy and Amy's Wedding Rehearsal Dinner. With Jason doing the mix, the band opened with Ebby's Lament, a song over 25 years old that chronicled life at the shore for a young and prolific Kevin Finnegan. That kicked off a strong two set performance that included When We Were Younger (a favorite of the groom's mother but one that drummer Bill Greene could not recall his own lyrics despite having them in front of him on the ipad). This marks the first time that an audience member corrected the band on their own lyrics - perhaps a sign of the bands original's popularity.
The sets included appearances by the Wizard, Steve Greene on Honky Tonk Woman, and perhaps a new staple of Kaylen MacNamara and Lauren Finnegan performing Proud Mary, a highlight of the night. Kev's bantor was strong throughout and almost popped a blood vessel doing the "Give Me 5 times" James Brown intro to I Feel Good. His acapella version of We Are Family went over well despite early concerns from the chief. (Click here). T was strong on bass despite an early buzzing problem. Manchisi's guitar was low in the mix early on though the Wizard made the necessary adjustments. The session was recorded and along with Ryan MacNamara's camera work could result in video releases in 2017 along with a Frankie Mann Pleasantville gig in the works for July of 2017.
The band closed strong with Fight for Your Right and the Rock block - differentiating them from the following nights band and proving that WITE LITE represents the best value for the dollar of any band on the planet.
Congratulations Jimmy and Amy. What a great weekend.
WITE LITE - JEFF CITY - 10/29/16
After a long absence from the road, WITE LITE returned to Russelville for Terry's Halloween bash with a solid 3 set performance backed by a great mix from Brad. All band members were strong and while there are certainly adjustments to be made (Tom does not do set lists, Take it Easy has seen it's last performance, Foxey Lady??) the band is clearly in good shape to take the tour East to wrap up 2016 for Jimmy and Amy's wedding. Kev took MVP honors with strong vocals, a great James Brown intro and bantor that was current (though Mickey Dolenz may disagree) , interesting and kept the crowd engaged throughout the night. The highlight of the show was Tom Greene's War Pigs in full costume spreading Satan's wings for the song finale. It has become the equivalent of seeing Townsend smash his guitar at a Who show. It doesn't happen all the time, but you want to say you were there when it does. Terry outdid himself with the Halloween theme and a great night and a great time was had by all.
WITE LITE - EASTER SEALS WALK - 05/21/16
WITE LITE returned to play the annual walk at Queeny Park on a gorgeous Saturday. The band was surprisingly sharp given a lack of practice and gigging though some of the audibles were a challenge. We Can Work it Out was a reminder of "there are 12 notes, pick one" as Big T struggled to recall the tune and Manchisi could not sing the song because of it. T returned with a strong Apolitical and I Saw Her Standing There. A quick version of Le Grange may make the setlist and Wall Street was particularly sharp. A very good show overall and special thanks to Bob Horner, Rusty Shaw and IRONMAN sound who again proved why they are the best in the business.
WITE LITE - RICHARD'S 50th/JEFF CITY - 01/23/16
WITE LITE again returned to Jefferson City on a referral gig to celebrate Richard's 50th birthday. This marks the band's 2nd consecutive gig in Jeff City building a strong following outside of it's St. Louis fan base. The most high tech gig in the band's history saw iPads, and in ear monitors for the band and Brad and Shorty did a great job getting the band set up and going. The early set didn't seem to gain much interest from the crowd and some of the cobwebs were evident as Manchisi butchered his Getting Better solo early in the set, with the only saving grace being that no one was listening and no one knew how it was supposed to go. The band finished the set strong paying tribute to David Bowie with a good version of Suffragette City. The second set saw more audience interest with dancers for You Really Got a Hold on Me and The Weight. The band then paid tribute to Glenn Frey with a version of Take It Easy that they had never practiced before and showed great potential. Who would have thought we would see the day that T would be doing Eagles! Funky Music and I Feel Good got the crowd dancing again and while Bill was vocally strong on these tunes, it was the end of the night for him as he lost his voice soon after. T handled background vocals superbly gaining MVP honors for the night as well as singing Folsom Prison Blues (missed you Kev) . And when the band was asked to do more slow songs , they reached deep and did John Lennon's "Mother" . A strange sight to see people dancing to that one but it seemed to work. A short third set included I'm a Believer , Fight For Your Right, Rock and Roll all Nite and the War Pigs closer which T nailed. Sweet Home/Werewolves was also a crowd favorite.
The band returns to St. Louis in May for the annual Walkathon gig if not sooner and plans are underway for a Nashville visit. Stay tuned!
WITE LITE -TERRY'S 60th/JEFF CITY - 08/08/15
WITE LITE returned to Jefferson City in a beautiful setting to celebrate Terry's 60th birthday. In only the second gig of the year , the band pulled out some rarities like Peacemaker and also provided an impromptu acoustic dinner music set that included Use Me, Funky Music, Mother (did I say dinner music?) and Dead Flowers before launching into Shame . An overall strong performancewith a good mix from Will West Music ((and the set included Will providing lead vocals on RoadHouse Blues). All band members were strong though the band bantor was missing without Kev Finnegan . Bantor Highlights included " This is an old song - but everything we do is an old song!" The band finished strong with a version of I Saw Her Standing There that the Ramones would have been proud of, Fight For Your Right and War Pigs (which was perfectly placed as Terry happens to be a big Black Sabbath fan) and included T "spreading the wings" at the end of the song - something I personally look forward to. T's performance was strong and a far cry from the E-Bay T we saw in Jeff City awhile back despite the pregame at Paddy's. Hopefully a gig to close the year and here's to a more active 2016.
WITE LITE - EASTER SEALS WALK - 05/02/15
After another long absence (almost 9 months), WITE LITE played the annual walk at Queeny Park. Fresh off of the Sun Studios Recording Sessions (Stay tuned for that), it was clear that the band had spent more time on the Elvis, Johnny, and Carl Perkins tunes than the old standards. Songs like Rock n Roll All Night and Rock and Roll Music were almost trainwrecks but the band managed to get through them and put on a good show thanks to Bob Horner, Rusty Shaw and IRONMAN sound who again proved why they are the best in the business. Bill Greene easily took MVP honors for a strong performance throughout, 10 thousand steps +, and giving a pair of drumsticks to Tyler. Practice is in order for the band to get back on the circuit, as while it didn't seem like many in the audience noticed, this writer certainly did.
WITE LITE - THE SUN LITE SESSIONS 04/25/15
It was a weekend to remember. The band set it's sights on Memphis, Tennessee and spent the Weekend there. From Ribs to Gus's Fried Chicken to Beale Street and capping it off with a recording session at the legendary Sun Studio, where they recorded 5 tracks at the place where Elvis, Johnny, Carl and Jerry Lee were, it was simply a magical weekend. Videos of the songs can all be found here
WITE LITE - FOUR SEASONS - HAYES PARTY - 09/13/14
After another long absence, WITE LITE returned to Four Seasons and played for Brian's parents who were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. In addition, Brian's dad was celebrating his 60th birthday marking the first time the band has played a 60th. Ah the days when we were doing 30th birthday parties!
WITE LITE did sets 2 and 4 while Volcanic Ash did sets 1 & 3. Kev flew in for the gig and took MVP honors for his bantor and strong playing. His ability to get the small but mighty crowd on their feet at the end along with the Davy Jones tribute made for a fun end to the show. Set 1 opened with I am the Walrus and closed with Abbey Road and while a fairly strong set given the absence, there were rumors of T's bass neck showing up on eBay again. The band threw in Neil Young's Ohio as well and set 2 included Sunshine of Your Love - believed to be the first time the band has played that one.
The closers of Daydream Believer, I'm a believer, Fight For Your Right and I Saw Her Standing There were enhanced by a great IRONMAN mix and lights as always. These guys are the best. (Thanks Dylan)
The night also included Brian playing Color My World (his parents' wedding song) and his vocal duties on The Weight.
Hopefully a shorter time between gigs and a few originals for the next one!
WITE LITE - LIFE SKILLS - 05/03/14
After an almost 6 month absence, WITE LITE played Queeny Park at the Life Skills 2014 walk. It had been years since the band played this event and thanks to IRONMAN sound (So good to see you Paul!) the band sounded very good. Opening with Little Wing (after the Dead Flowers soundcheck - it is Kentucky Derby Day) and then playing Shame, Fire, Cinnamon Girl, Mary Jane, Getting Better, Hard to Handle among others. T did a great Apolitical Blues though the selection did not meet with the Queen's approval. This was followed by Brandy, and then the band closed with Funk 49, Funky Music, Saw Her Standing There, Rock and Roll all Nite and closed with Fight for your Right. Team MVPs were awarded as all played well (Bill was superb on vocals) and other than some technical challenges with the guitar "system" , Manchisi played well.
A beautiful day and a long awaited return to the stage for WITE LITE. Let's hope it doesn't take so long next time!
WITE LITE - CRONIN REHEARSAL DINNER - 11/22/13
Let's start with the good news. East coast crowds are awesome and the Cronin family and friends are no exception. The guest singers were the among the best the band has seen including Jay's Daydream Believer, I'm a Believer and Brandy along with Allison's (I mean Alex's) Honky Tonk Woman and Rock and Roll all Nite. Aunt Mary's Play That Funky Music on the dance floor was only surpassed by Kevin's intro to her (..and if your lucky enough to call her Nanny - something like that though you'd think I'd remember given the MVP lobbying that was premised on it) Kevin did turn in a strong performance and Folsom Prison Blues might have even made Frank proud and given that a guy with a "Rangers Suck" T-shirt was singing his Davy Jones medley, deserves special consideration. Bill Greene was rock solid both vocally and on drums earning him this writer's MVP for the show. And Tom's version of Apolitical Blues was a standout as well.
The crowd loved the band and our host was pleased which is really all that matters. However there is clearly work to do. From the opening of Little Wing to a Getting Better solo that was in the key of "H", Manchisi turned in his weakest guitar performance in recent memory. And Tom "Buy It Now" Greene did not conquer the Irish bar curse and Abbey Road needs to be repaved. For about 15 endless seconds, it was questionable whether they'd get the song back on track. Fight for your Right also included a feedback howl that caused the band to pretty much stop the song and they were then lyrically challenged to continue it. The sound system was also a challenge with no real vocal monitors to speak of (A Christmas present to Bob Horner from ironman sound is in the mail - we really don't know how good we have it). The second set was definitely much better.
Here's to the next gig and more importantly practice, and the band's entry to the 21st century. In the "it's like rain on your wedding day" irony, Kevin left his sheet music either under a bench or in a cab in Annapolis and might go digital.
Congratulations Ryan and Katy and all the best in your life together. We did have a blast and your families sure did as well.
WITE LITE- SPANGLER 50th - 08/03/13
WITE LITE played for Nan's 50th birthday in O'Fallon last night on a beautiful August night (hard to believe in St. Louis). It was a great event and Alan took great care of the band from a fabulous pre show feast to a stocked cooler. Kevin flew in from New Jersey and a special appearance from Paul at IRONMAN sound made for a great time talking about old times and planning how we can get Paul's school choir to back us up at an upcoming show. Nate from IRONMAN also did a great job on the mix. Click here for the complete setlist (excluding Glory Days)
After a questionable practice the night before which at least one of the band members couldn't recall, the band was in strong form throughout. Opening with Shame, Brown Eyed Girl, All I've Got to Do and Ain't Seen Nothin Yet, the band played two long sets and finished up around 10PM. An encore was scheduled but Billy (who has been in the business for quite awhile) realized this was not going to occur, leaving Kevin in the awkward position of introducing the encore that no one had called for.
Standouts were The Weight, Kevin's Davy Jones tribute of Daydream Believer (complete with a masterful schtick) and Let me Roll It (a NEW SONG). Bill finished strong with Funky Music, Rock n Roll Music, Slow Down and I Saw Her Standing There. Mike took MVP honors and even Paul commented on the quality of the vocals! (Gift Certificate in the mail)
Promoters are talking for the upcoming potential east coast wedding gig in Baltimore. Stay tuned.
WITE LITE - NEW JERSEY - KELLI/JV REHEARSAL - 05/25/13
A great weekend for Kelli and JV's wedding began with WITE LITE's first stadium show of the summer at First Energy Park, home of the Blue Claws. Midwest members of the band arrived in black town cars and smelly vans (the Dollar rent a car story is another in a series of Destination F^&%^ tales) and the band performed a strong two set show to the delight of a friendly crowd. The band was generally very strong with each having great moments and local favorite Kevin Finnegan was in top bantor form (his Davy Jones Eulogy has gotten stronger) though soundchecking with the opening song of the night and premature Ah's in Twist and Shout disqualified him from MVP honors. Bill Greene was strong on a new kit but a premature Birthday disqualified him. Mike Manchisi had a strong night though a poor Glory Days in Springsteen's hometown disqualified him. Zach Manchisi was in top form and his decision to close with Born to Run after a last song call of We are Family was a welcome decision as if you were there, you didn't want to go home with the sounds of Kevin's falsetto Sledge vocals ringing in their ears. (though the "Kelli Mac is marrying JV" was a nice touch!). Click here for the complete setlist.
Guest vocalist Matt Manchisi continues to get stronger on Buttercup and though young Mike Manchisi had some lyric challenges during his signature Brandy and is under suicide watch for the remainder of the weekend.
MVP honors go to Tom and Mary Greene for bringing the house down on the dance floor during Play that Funky Music at 85! And if you're thinking Tom Greene (as in Mary's husband), you don't know Tom Greene. Yes T-Bone the bass player provided the backbone for the night and did a super job vocally and on bass.
Thanks to all for letting us continue the rehearsal dinner tradition as it ensures WITE LITE gig's for many years to come. Congratulations to Kelli and JV and all the best as you start your life together.
WITE LITE - HAYES WEDDING - 03/02/13
After a very long hiatus, WITE LITE returned to the stage for the first time in 2013 and delivered a solid two set performance at the Hayes wedding last night. Kevin Finnegan took MVP honors providing emcee services for the event, delivering a strong guitar and vocal performance (which is hard to believe given the practice the night before), calling the audible of The Weight to the enjoyment of the bride's father and even Brian Epstein who came up to sing the 4th verse, and doing all this with a hand that looked like it came from Madam Tussaud's wax museum.
Brian Hayes created the set list and it was a strong one. The Twist and Shout opener was the best the band has every played it and the set included rare songs like My Girl, Brown Eyed Girl, Jailhouse Rock and Only the Good Die Young which the band had never played live before. In addition, the band played Abbey Road for the groom's father (John Hayes) as the 3rd song of the night to a rousing ovation. Bill Henley was strong on drums and provided a standout vocal on Play That Funky Music. Tom Greene nailed the bass lines to the new tunes in one his strongest performances and Mike Frey was solid throughout and called the audience vote for the evenings closer Fight For Your Right after an audience participation version of Shout led by Brian.
Ironman sound and Rusty delivered a great mix and light show (these guys are the best). Here's hoping the band gets back on the road much sooner. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Nick and Karen Hayes, welcome to the WITE LITE fan club to William and star dancer Andy, and happy 21st birthday Brian Manchisi.
WITE LITE - MICHAEL AND KELLY'S REHEARSAL - 06/01/12
...and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. WITE LITE returned to the east coast for the last of the Zach and Margaret wedding rehearsal dinners, celebrating the marriage of Kelly Blair to young Michael Manchisi (though given the elaborate set up the band enjoys, they are hoping that Zach Greene will be adopted prior to any wedding nuptuals).
As is the norm, Zach started with a wonderful toast celebrating the family past and present and then sang Frank Sinatra's "How About You" which no doubt was the highlight for the older crowd (though might have been for Frankie Mann as well as he described WITE LITE's first set to be "a little flat" and requested Folsom Prison Blues be pulled from the setlist). The band was tight and well mixed (thanks again to Bob Horner from Ironman Sound who flew in for the gig - he's the best) with first set highlights (yes Frankie Mann there were some) including The Weight, young James Manchisi's Roadhouse Blues solo, Zach Manchisi's Heartbreak Hotel and Side 2 of Abbey Road which received a standing ovation from the crowd - which I believe may be a first for the band.
Following the slide show, the band entered through an audience created tunnel (other than Bill Greene who stayed back to watch the Met's pitch a no hitter against the Cardinals) and did Celebrate and the kid's favorite Train Surfer. After a few tunes, the audience participation started with Zach performing a special version of Tell Her About It for Mike and Kelly, followed by Matt's Build Me Up Buttercup. Then (in what may have been the show's highlight) Maggie Tagarelli performed a fantastic version of Bubbly to a rousing ovation . Young Mike Manchisi followed with Brandy featuring Frank, Paul and Matt on background vocals. Kev then did the James Brown schtick (correctly counting to five this time) as well as a tribute to Davy Jones that included Daydream Believer and I'm a Believer. ThunderRoad and Born to Run followed with Danny Lenhardt handling sax duties before the band closed with Fight for your Right.
And while the band packed up, the audience began an acapella version of American Pie and the band joined in to accompany them. TEAM MVP's were assigned and Zach Greene took MVP honors for the kids :).
What a show. Can't wait for the wedding and good luck Michael and Kelly! You guys make such a great couple.
WITE LITE - SARATOGA - SUMMER KICKOFF - 05/26/12
In the last gig prior to the upcoming east coast wedding, WITE LITE played Saratoga in one of their favorite gigs - Smitty's summer party. Hard to believe it has been almost 6 years since the last Rock n Bowla but the band was in top form playing about 50 songs (click here for something close to the set list) til 1AM and closing with Black Sabbath's WarPigs (or War Birds as the host referred to it). The entire band was there, always a treat when everyone is in town and sound was handled not just by Ironman Sound , but by Bob Horner himself, who shared MVP honors with Zach provided a clear, superb mix that stayed at manageable levels for the first two sets. While biased, there was not a bad song in the bunch with highlights of the first set including the bands own Getting Better, The Weight, Folsom Prison Blues and Abbey Road with Kev providing english accented vocals for Polythene Pam.
The rock block was superb and the band had everyone dancing throughout the night with Bill Greene as solid as ever behind the kit and vocally and Kev followed it with a Monkees tribute to Davy Jones that included I'm a Believer and Daydream Believer though Kev was so in the moment he forgot to stop. There were many tributes to artists we have lost (Davy and Levon Helm) and Kev was superb as master of ceremonies throughout the evening. We learned that Tom Petty loved the James Gang and other fun facts. Kev was a strong contender for MVP honors and even did his James Brown imitation to kick off I Feel Good. But unlike James, Kev had trouble counting past 4 to kickoff the song which confused audience and band members alike and killed any chances of taking home the award.
Zach Manchisi killed on Heartbreak Hotel, ThunderRoad, Born to Run, Fire, Summertime and Roadhouse Blues among others and kept the crowd active and going. Tom Greene was also in strong form and the evening closer of WarBirds is always something special when the wings spread during the last verse. The vocals, bass playing and music were stellar to close the night.
The band is pumped to bring the show back east again next week.
WITE LITE - SARATOGA - CAROLINE'S GRADUATION - 05/19/12
WITE LITE played Saratoga to celebrate Caroline's graduation in the first of three straight weekend gigs. With a set list that had more audibles than a Peyton Manning game, the band played two sets and finally captured the audience in the second set, led by Jeff Gatti's Fight for Your Right to Party. IRONMAN sound was unable to make the gig though the band was ably supported by Bob Walter's (Benders) sound company (thanks guys). John Hertel sat in for Heartbreaker, Livin Lovin Maid, Stairway to Heaven and Suffragette City. Tom Greene had POD challenges with vibrations knocking the cord out but put in a strong performance which included Ain't Seen Nothin Yet and a fabulous vocal on War Pigs (which hadn't been performed in quite some time). Bill Greene took MVP honors (after being given a pass for not coming in at the right time on Stairway to Heaven) with a great rock block and superb drumming in War Pigs - the highlight of the show. In addition, the band performed Sweet Caroline for the guest of honor and after winging their way through it, realized it might have a place in the permanent set list. Abbey Road and Born to Run were also standouts. Look for the full band to be in town next week for another Saratoga session as they gear up for the East Coast tour and Michael and Kelly's wedding.
WITE LITE - ATOMIC COWBOY - 02/04/12
WITE LITE had its first gig of 2012, opening up for the reunited Benders at the Atomic Cowboy in The Grove. Playing a strong 14 song set, the band was also fortunate enough to have Tom Townsend sitting in on the classics, including Wall Street and Train Surfer. For those WITE LITE trivia fans, Tom Townsend flew in from London to Clayton Studios about 25 years ago to record tracks that made their way onto WITE LITE's first album. Thank you Tom!
Opening with Hard to Handle, the band then played Getting Better and I am the Walrus though that one got off to a slow start as Manchisi's intro struggled. The Weight was also great to have Townsend on keyboard, including an extended intro as Manchisi struggled for the first line of the song ("I pulled into Nazareth"). Tom Greene was solid throughout as was Bill (who is very busy working on new tunes for an upcoming solo or WITE LITE album) and Side 2 of Abbey Road was probably the highlight of the set (which also included Fire and Don't Pull Your Love). After Abbey Road, the band were joined by the Dogtown Horns for James Brown's I Feel Good and closed the set with Born to Run with Dick Zempel channeling Clarence for the solo.
A good start to 2012 and look for future gigs soon.
WITE LITE - FOUR SEASONS - 10/29/11
WITE LITE played FOUR SEASONS in a Halloween themed event that also celebrated Bob Greene's 50th birthday. The band (affectionately known as Dee Snider, Charlie Sheen and Beetlejuice teamed up with the Wizard (aka Fred Flintstone) to play a spirited and extended two sets to the delight of the attendees. Bob's family (dressed in Devo attire) opened the show with Whip It and the band then began with Please Please Me and played a great first set with Chris and Nate manning the controls for IRONMAN sound. The band shtick of playing the first few seconds of a song before launching into the actual one caught up with them as the curse of Neil Young (when Manchisi butchered Ohio prior to Cinnamon Girl) caused the amp to begin to malfunction. An acoustic rendering of Cinnamon Girl as well as a low volume solo in Abbey Road were the main problems though Chris was able to compensate on the mixing board (these guys are the best).
The second set opened with a crowd rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame (celebrating the Cardinal World Series win the night before) and he Wizard did Roadhouse, Heartbreak Hotel, and a few Springsteen numbers to the delight of the crowd. Bill Greene uncharacteristically broke a few sticks (must have been the Sheen rage!) and Manchisi didn't break any strings so all was good. (Click here for the setlist as best I can recall) The night included Monocle J (you had to be there) taking best costume and many other great ones. Tom Greene took MVP honors with strong vocals and bass playing despite an extended absence showing the band still has the chops (though could use a few new songs). The night ended with 109 tacos at Taco Bell (no cheese) with J negotiating ("c'mon give me a deal") . Look for a Holiday gig to close the year!
Happy Birthday Robert!!
WITE LITE - MATT AND JANE'S WEDDING REHEARSAL- 07/29/11
WITE LITE played it's first NY gig in over 30 years celebrating the marriage of Matt and Jane at Knollwood country club. This one was not to be missed and had everything. The band flew IRONMAN sound's Bob Horner up for the show to mix the band and thank god they did as Bob again demonstrated why IRONMAN is in the band's rider, taking MVP honors for the show with a fabulous mix under some trying circumstances. Kevin Finnegan, who was near retirement after being the only one on the dance floor at the band's last wedding during Play That Funky Music put in a superb performance in both guitar playing and bantor - and solidifying his place as the 4th person in what Bill Greene mistakenly referred to as a 3 piece band on the greens of Knollwood.
Opening with Brian Manchisi on ukelele (click above for the performance though may take awhile to load) the band then played Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane" in honor of the bride. A challenging first set complete with power problems, synthesizer glitches was not noticed by anyone other than the band. After taking a short break to handle the power issues, the band had a number of guests including young Mike Manchisi who did a superb Brandy and displayed tremendous confidence (along with Frank Manchisi on backup vocals). Then the groom performed Build Me Up Buttercup (can you say "redemption"). Young James Manchisi took the stage to take the solo in Apolitical Blues and Zach Manchisi turned in outstanding performances of Roadhouse, Heartbreak, Fire and Jack Daniels Blues which also included a guest Booz Allen bass player.
With the McMahon crown in attendance, there was electricity in the air and the band is considering adding required McMahon attendance into the rider after they created a tunnel for the band to enter the second set. The closing performance had to be seen to be appreciated. After Zach and young Danny Lenhardt again nailed Born to Run (Clarence would be proud), the band surprised the host by performing ThunderRoad (a song they learned in soundcheck that evening) . With Zach, John , Matt and Mike singing (well at least Zach, Matt and Mike!) , it was a fitting end to a great show, The band's encore was Fight For Your Right and then it was back to the hotel to celebrate with the family that some say "are better than people".
The wedding was superb and the bus rides included many singalongs. At this point no gigs are lined up for August but as was heard on the bus, the band is hoping to "see you in September"!
WITE LITE - THE SPORTS ATTIC (NICK) - 07/22/11
WITE LITE helped the Fidelity crowd celebrate Nick's recent wedding at the Sports Attic and put in a strong show to an energetic crowd. Without the services of IRONMAN sound, the band had a reasonably good mix (although patrons were heard to remark that the guitar was not loud enough early on - something not often heard at a WITE LITE show) . Brian Epstein (ala Hayes) developed a very strong set list (click here for as best I can remember it) and sang lead vocals on Laid and a number of other songs late in the evening which also included You Shook Me All Night Long, Another Brick in the Wall and the best ending of Fight For Your Right to Party that I can recall. Abbey Road was a particular highlight and all band members were in excellent form and deserving of the TEAM MVP award for the show. Bill Greene drumming was flawless and prompted many comments (rockstar by night, best musician in the band) that should prove for a fun day in the office on Monday morning. Next, it's off th NY for the family wedding next week in NY. Congrats Nick!
WITE LITE - JEFF CITY WEDDING - 07/02/11
WITE LITE took it's show to Jeff City for the first time in over a year and a half and played a stellar show at Mindy's wedding. The band was strong throughout and improvised a lot through the evening, complete with selections from Bob Seger (Old Time Rock n Roll, Main Street which needs to be added to the Sweet Home mashup and even Night Moves) . Guest vocalist Curt handled Folsom Prison Blues and the band played Little Wing for the father/daughter dance. The vocals were clear thanks to Brad (Will West Music) through a BOSE sound system though the mixing board provided challenges throughout much of the evening. See here for the setlist as best as I can remember it. All band members were strong though Manchisi took MVP honors for the impromptu Seger set and the Fee Waybill version of Hendrix's Fire that closed the show though now officially has a problem with She Came in through the Bathroom Window. Tom and Bill were strong as always and Funky Music never ceases to get them on the dance floor. The band is gearing up for the NY wedding which promises a couple of surprises that the band is working on. Stay Tuned......
Rain threatened throughout the weekend and T's flight barely made it back from Utah but with all that working in the band's favor, WITE LITE played to a crowd of about 300 at the Hellman's beautiful home Saturday night. The band went on little late and performed what amounted to a long set (see setlist) and seemed to go over well with the band's demographic. All band members were strong and Kevin Finnegan handled ceremonial duties as well (flying in from New Jersey and talking shop with his BAC colleague). Apolitical Blues was especially strong and Jim Hellman provided keyboards throughout with excellent solos on Folsom Prison Blues and Apolitical while even playing harmonica . Ian of IRONMAN sound provided an excellent mix as always as well as a platform for Bill to play drums on which added another element to the band's stage show. Dancing was limited though present during Sweet Home and Play That Funky Music but with rain threatening late in the night and the younger demographic looking to dance to more familiar tunes, the band cut the last set short in order to ensure the younger crowd had ample dancing opportunity.
This event had a lasting effect on Kevin, who left to ponder the band's future and whether the music is no longer relevant. Here's hoping that a plan ride back and an upcoming wedding gig change that view. Long live classic rock!
I first heard "Save Me" from Bleu's "A Watched Pot" album and was struck by the guy's vocals and great sense of melody. This guy is amazing. (Check him out at www.bleutopia.com) . I immediately downloaded the entire album as well as Redhead and have been a big fan ever since. In late 2010, he started a Kickstarter project to raise money to release his upcoming album at the time (FOUR) on his own label and I happily contributed. Part of the deal was that he would do a house concert at a mutually agreeable time and we settled on May 21 for that to happen.
So Friday night, we just hang at the house with a small crowd. He and his manager Stacey Peck were great and we spent a lot of the night just socializing and then by about 1AM decided to see if we could work on a couple of his tunes. With John Schroeder on bass (of legendary Volcanic Ash fame), we went through Boy Meets Girl, I Won't &% You Over and BOSTON. With some tips form the man himself and some additional practice that evening after Bleu was gone, we must have met with his approval as he agreed to perform the songs with us the night of the show. .
Saturday, the guy does an in-store at Euclid records and we are all blown away. With not much time to spare, we head over to Four Seasons and set up for the show and get everything in order as best we can given that Bleu's portion was to be broadcast over the Internet on www.stageit.com.
WITE LITE started the evening opening with the "End of the World as We Know It" (it didn't happen despite the predictions) and played a strong set to a friendly crowd. Tom Greene was particularly strong on Apolitical Blues and the band was in good form though both Bill and Mike struggled a little vocally in the first set.
BLEU was fantastic with 3's a Charm, Dead in the Morning, Watchin You Sleep, 2 new songs that my kids are asking how they can get them, and ending with What Kinda Man Am I into the crowd. Volcanic Ash then joined Bleu to play the 3 songs above and Bill nailed the BOSTON eulogy. What a thrill this was!
Following Bleu, Volcanic Ash did a short set paying tribute to Owsley with Oh No the Radio, and not quite paying tribute with Rainy Day People (Easily the weakest song of the evening) before going into Sara Smile, Blood Sweat and Tears and Chicago to a friendly crowd and closing with Plush.
After that an open jam with the three amigos doing Twist and Shout (Ask Billy) and Abbey Road to close the evening. Corinne took MVP honors for hosting the event at the house that went to 2:00 on Friday and 3:00 on Saturday.
It was a great show and a bit surreal to be playing with Bleu but both he and Stacey were gracious and great to hang with throughout the weekend. Go buy his stuff. You won't regret it.
WITE LITE - GRADUATION PARTY - RIVERBEND ESTATES - 05/18/11
They could have had the dog! At the Haven House Fund Raiser, WITE LITE was auctioned off and went for the same amount as a little dog. The dog did nothing at the event whereas the band played 2 strong sets. Virginia and Bill were the gracious winners and the band played three sets outdoors on a beautiful Wednesday evening. Click here for the complete setlist.
Manchisi was out of the gate strong, with a little Hell's Bells in the middle of Funk 49 that caught the attention of the graduates and even played Pomp and Circumstance during the toast. But it was downhill from there. Abbey Road was a trainwreck guitar wise as the guitar "Never Came in Through the Bathroom Window" and forcing an acapella at the end of the song. Adding to matters, the Born to Run closer ended with a string break that killed the guitar part for the last part of the song. Practice is clearly in order.
Songs and mix (yes IRONMAN sound) were strong overall and the band played well otherwise considering it has been 5 months since the last gig. Tom Greene took home MVP honors , not only for driving in from Columbia on a Wednesday afternoon, but also for strong bass and vocal performance throughout. Even a little trip up down the home stretch didn't impact MVP honors.
Bill Greene was strong overall vocally and drumming with a number of adlibs throughout the night (though was unable to fly in from Miami Beach BOAC)
While perhaps a little rusty, signs of aging were evident as Tom had hand cramps and Bill commented that he had some troubles doing what he wanted to do. Manchisi (the youngest in the band) only wishes he had an excuse like that for his performance but has vowed to make good this Saturday. After all, it could be their last as predictions around the End of the World as we know it are rampant. Here's hoping he feels fine!
WITE LITE - JOHN AND KATE'S WEDDING REHEARSAL - 12/30/10
All the founding members of WITE LITE were in attendance on December 30 as the band played the East coast for the first time in over 20 years to celebrate the marriage of John and Kate. The night had everything from drama to numerous special guests throughout the evening. The band was playing for the first time without their own equipment and more importantly without the "rider required" Ironman sound and it was evident early just how much the band misses Bob Horner and the crew (thank you Bob for all you do - we missed you)
Opening the set list (click here for complete list) custom designed by Kevin Finnegan to rave reviews throughout the evening, the band performed I Fought the Law, Don't Pull Your Love, Whip Comes Down and Hard to Handle. The band avoided a near disaster when Manchisi's amp stopped functioning during when the whip comes down while sound technicians were paralyzed. Luckily, the amp regained some volume though Manchisi was not loud enough for most all of the evening - words this writer has rarely typed.
The band then introduced it's secret weapon and host of the weekend's festivities, Zach, who launched into Fire, Heartbreak Hotel, and Jack Daniels Blues in superb voice. A horrible version or When We Were Younger preceded special guests Matt Manchisi and young Mike Manchisi who did Build Me Up Buttercup and Brandy, the latter complete with Matt and Frank Manchisi's backup vocals. While both were in good voice, they have not yet mastered their dad's stage presence, as both forgot the words (a feat that is more difficult given both brought the words on stage with them) and Matt launched into the verse too early requiring the band to adapt and providing great material for the remainder of the weekend.
Highlights from the rest of the set included End of the World (with Matt somewhat redeeming himself on background vocals), Folsom Prison (though Manchisi tried to sabotage that one with poor playing thinking he was playing the next song), Sally and T's version of Poor Old Heartsick Me, Glory Days (any Springsteen is clearly big on the East Coast) and wrapping up with Zach doing Roadhouse Blues.
Following a short break, the band did Celebrate and Blitzkrieg Bop which brought out the dancers in force and then Frank Manchisi (the founding father of WITE LITE) joined the band for Canned Heat's Going up the Country. With no good monitors on the stage to hear, the band had trouble with this one and while the band may have been disappointed, many of the dog's in the area commented that this was their favorite song of the evening.
Missing his stage call during Apolitical blues, young James Manchisi provided a blistering solo during Little Wing and Kev provided his screaming vocals for I'm a Believer before young Maggie Tagarelli won the crowd over with a superb version of Tina Turner's Proud Mary.
The set also included walk on singers for Honky Tonk Woman and Rock n Roll All Nite (which secured the band's presence at the next Manchisi wedding by winning over the mother of Matt's bride. The rock block secured Bill Greene's MVP honors with strong vocals and outstanding drumming despite a cold and not playing his own kit. The set closed with Zach joining the band for Born to Run, complete with Dan Lenhardt providing an outstanding saxophone solo before the Fight For Your Right encore.
It was a fantastic evening only to be eclipsed by an outstanding wedding where the family celebrated the New Year together. It doesn't get better.
Only a few days into 2011, the band had 3 wedding gigs booked so it looks to be a banner year for the Wite Lite boys. Congrats Johnny and Kate and Happy 2011.
Any photos can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be posted here.
WITE LITE - ALLYSSA AND JAKE'S WEDDING - 09/18/10
Secretariat and Brian Epstein returned from the dead at the Doubletree Hotel as WITE LITE performed a spirited two sets at Allyssa and Jake’s wedding last night. Kevin Finnegan easily took MVP honors as emcee of the evening as well as strong vocal performances on Werewolves of London, Brown Eyed Girl and I’m a Believer. Kev’s radio like voice introducing the bridal party and first dances along with Gaelic references had him a “sure thing” for MVP before the sets even started, sparking analogies to Secretariat’s 30+ length win at Belmont.
Manchisi’s horse was dead early as the Twisted Sister solo during Please, Please Me was not only on the wrong strings but the wrong key as well. I’m not sure there was a correct note in the bunch. Tom Greene put in a solid performance throughout and Bill Greene had lyrical challenges throughout, in particular Back in the USSR , Rock and Roll Music and Fight for Your Right.
The set started weak with Please, Please Me and Louie, Louie (hopefully the last time that medley ever sees the light of day) but the band regained their form with strong versions of Glory Days, Cinnamon Girl, Brown Eyed Girl, Sweet Home/Werewolves and Fire. By the end of the first set, the band was winning rave reviews from the spirited crowd.
Brian Hayes (ala Epstein) had the band scripted down to the last minute and made sure the band stuck to the script though they did pull out one audible in the second set, playing Tush. The beer bottle guitar solo was abruptly cut short as Bill decided to start the third verse early. A huge thunderstorm ultimately knocked power out to the session (during as fate would have it the band's performance of The End of the World as We Know It) resulting in a 45 minute drum solo that almost put Bill back in contention for MVP as he played recognizable songs like We Will Rock You so that the crowd could sing along. Hayes, who had masterfully choreographed the evening, did not quite grasp the power issues, requesting the band to play side 2 of Abbey Road although there was no power to be had.
The band packed up by candlelight (a first) and IRONMAN sound (Brad and John) were again superb delivering a strong mix under difficult weather conditions.
Look for a gig prior to the east coast tour at the end of the year. Congrats Allyssa
WITE LITE - ANTHONY'S GRADUATION - 06/19/10
WITE LITE played at Anthony Gatti's graduation party at Saratago Lanes in a strong 3 set performance as the family sent him off to Mizzou on a football scholarship. Opening acoustic numbers sounded a little thin but by the time they got to Little Wing, the band was in solid form. First set highlights included I Feel Good, Apolitical Blues (which has Eileen applauding for Tom's strong vocals) and Fire. Even my Dad seemed interested until I realized that he was watching the Cardinal's on the TV behind us after clapping in the middle of a song signaled the end of the game (They won 4-3) . I am the Walrus was a little rusty and had Tom thinking "eBay" at the end of the night (it should be noted he rushed back from Orlando to make the gig)
Second set included one of the best versions of Don't Pull Your Love and featured guest vocalists Jeff Gattti (Tush), John Hertel (the raditional Zeppelin rock block) and even Sally Greene on Johnny Cash's Poor Old Heartsick Me - a nice duet between Sally and Tom. (Click here for the setlist)
Following some guest rappers which was the highlight for the younger crowd and made my dad appreciate WITE LITE that much more, the band finished in strong form with excellent versions of Hard to Handle and Fight For Your Right. Bill Greene was excellent, again playing while recovering from his leg injury and Manchisi was also strong throughout. While MVP honors could have been a tossup, Greene was disqualified for not playing War Pigs for the party's host Ralph Gatti, while Manchisi's Purple Haze adlib during Play That Funky Music got Bill's attention.
A strong mix by IRONMAN as always was appreciated by the band, especially knowing that the stairs to Saratoga is not one of their favorites. While many were questioning Bill's motives for not doing War Pigs (a challenging song on the highhat especially without a left foot!), it may have been his desire for White Castle at the end of the night after a long and spirited performance.
WITE LITE - JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT - 05/22/10
"$5,000". The price of admission for WITE LITE went up substantially last night at the JA Gala as the band's backyard party auction item was hotly contested, going for $2,500 for two lucky winners, including a 2011 Wedding. (Thanks Rob for bidding us up!) The band is now booked over a year in advance!
Embellishments aside, it was a fun event as the band played outside during cocktails. The first few songs were played largely to the event staff (including a teaser of Bohemian Rhapsody while taking requests) and Substitute caused a flurry of activity about the band's volume, prompting an acoustic like version of Apolitical Blues. Click here for the setlist as best I can remember it. More folks gathered as the set progressed and Bill Greene took MVP honors with outstanding drumming and great rock block vocals (including I Feel Good and Rock n Roll Music). Highlights seemed to be Tom Petty, the old Beatles tunes and the beer bottle slide in Tush. The band was in excellent form throughout and special mention to Tom Greene who played the whole set in a jacket and tie despite the 80+ degree weather.
A great mix from Brian at IRONMAN sound and fabulous food helped to raise over $200K for a great cause.
WITE LITE - CHILDREN'S ADVOCACY - 05/01/10
A beautiful Saturday morning (who'd have thought after the rain the night before) made for a great day at Creve Couer park for WITE LITE' support of a fundraising walk for Children's Advocacy. The band won the respect of last year's audience as they even managed to have the stage face the runner's this year! Manchisi regained his form and took MVP honors despite early sabotage (The Rivera amp was too loud) though closing with Red House might have been unfair. While the songs may not have been done in this exact order, click here for the setlist from the morning. Standouts were Abbey Road and special guest Malcia dancing to Back in the USSR.
Special thanks to IRONMAN sound for a great mix and a donation of time as well. These guys are the best.
WITE LITE - WALK RUN 'n' ROLL - 04/24/10
Weatherman Glenn Zimmerman held off the rain and sat in for most of the session at the annual Walk Run 'n' Roll at Tower Grove Park today. The band was rusty and Manchisi especially so, skipping the solo in Getting Better, butchering the Abbey Road solo and to add insult to injury, added the Entertainment Tonight theme when the emcee was looking for Mary Hart not realizing the circumstances surrounding the request. The band opened with Mary Jane's Last Dance and also included side 2 of Abbey Road, representing the first time that the band played this out live and only the second time the full band had tried it. Tom Greene took MVP honors for the bold move of suggesting and nailing the Abbey Road selections and strong bass performance throughout the morning. Bill Greene was solid though an early entry on Don't Pull Your Love killed any chance of MVP honors . Soundwise , Bob Horner from IRONMAN provided an excellent mix and continues to donate his time to these causes. (Thanks Bob!)
Hopefully a practice is in order before next week's gig and a busy April/May schedule.