Reviews of shows from the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and other local venues published by the Los Cerritos Community News. The writer and paper are in their twentieth year of covering these events.

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Location: Fear City, Ca., United States

"My name is Addison DeWitt. My native habitat is the theater. In it I toil not, neither do I spin. I am a critic and commentator. I am essential to the theatre - as ants to a picnic, as the boll weevil to a cotton field." George Sanders in "All About Eve"

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Boz Scaggs February 14, 2014

                       Boz Scaggs: What Can I Say
                                     By Glen Creason

     You really have to hand it to Boz Scaggs. He started decades ago  as a rhythm playing rock and roll guitarist, then went solo as a polyester-clad crooner, then a “white-soul singer, then back to a blues man-guitarist and now just a fearless and  cool old veteran who knows how to entertain a big auditorium.  That he did in Cerritos before a packed house of fans that grooved on the hits from the 70’s but also patiently absorbed his new material that showed he has only improved with age. Wish we could all say that.  He gave the people what they wanted with “Georgia,” “Lowdown,” “Lido Shuffle,”“What Can I Say” and the lesser performed “Sierra” from those crooning years and it sounded just like it did booming from our Pioneer speakers back in the days of cuffed baggies and platform shoes.  He also showed his versatility by throwing in a sweet cover of “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl,” a really delicate and fine “Corrina Corrina” along with a bluesy “Dry Spell” which matched the weather outside.
     Yet, the proof of Scaggs’ long experience and supreme confidence was to step on the stage with a band and back-up singer how had the capacity to make the audience forget who was the headliner. Singer Ms. Monet absolutely electrified the hall with high-voltage versions of Boz’s “Miss Sun” and two old soul faves “Thank You” and “Thank You Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin” that sounded much better than the original in my humble opinion.  He also turned loose guitarist Drew Zingg on a deeply delicious reading of the old Bobby Blue Bland song “Loan Me a Dime” that stood the house on its ear, its good ear. Boz Scaggs didn’t need to worry as he held his position as head man with some sweet guitar and vocals that don’t sound like a guy who has been at it for forty plus years.  A very happy crowd who stood and cheered long at the conclusion no doubt went home and pulled out their “Silk Degrees” and said again “what can I say?”

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Three Mo' Tenors February 8, 2014

Three Mo’ Tenors: Ten Kinds of Cool at Cerritos

        By Glen Creason

     The fine franchise of “Three Mo’ Tenors” started out as an offshoot of the very classical “Three Tenors” of Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, and Jose Carrera who got folksy with audiences using their powerhouse pipes to surprisingly sing a pop song or two along with arias that sailed on the high C’s. The newest iteration of the Three Mo’s lets loose of the classical and while nodding at a couple of arias mostly allows the three gentlemen to showcase the powers of the tenor voice in ten separate genre. At Cerritos the esteemed tenors were Victor Robinson, Duane A. Moody and Phumizile Sojola who surprised and delighted a pretty full house at the Performing Arts Center.

     While the evening started with Verdi and Puccini it soon quickly moved toward Broadway and the Philadelphia Soul Sound with plenty of high notes and high spirits. Robinson sounded wonderful on “Bring Him Home” from “Les Miserables” and the trio joined in perfect harmony for the towering “Make Them Hear You” from the musical “Ragtime” that is exactly right for this show. There were no sour notes as the men gave their all to blues, pop, and R& B with more voice than you would be used to hearing. There was some sensational South African soul from Mister Sojola in “My Darling,” some “Paris Blues” and even a Queen medley that reached notes even Freddy Mercury might envy. Other sentimental journeys were tributes to Ray Charles and the great soul groups of the 60’s and 70’s including “Love Train,” “My Girl” and “La La Means I Love You” that hit the spot. Pianist Keith Burton kept it on point from one style to another moving easily from a funky “Midnight Train to Georgia” to soaring gospel sounds like a moving “Lord How Come Me Here” that proved to be the best of the entire show. However, Duane Moody stood the hall on its ear with his tour de force of “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” that may have meant some folks did not need to go to church in the morning.  The show was finished by a reprise of the magnificent “Make Them Hear You” that was indeed heard in the big hall by all. 

Sunday, February 02, 2014

George Kahumoku Jr. and Da Ukulele Boyz with Ledward Kaapana February 1, 2014

George Kahumoku Jr. and the Ukulele Boy Make Cerritos Tropical Paradise
                          By Glen Creason

     This was truly one of the most exotic concerts in Cerritos history and a winner in all respects. While the music came from one of our fifty states it represented a culture that is actually little known here on the mainland except maybe for the many Hawaiians who filled up the Performing Arts Center for this long and sweet show. If you thought this might be like a Vegas style Hawaiian themed evening you would have another thought coming as this night gave us four superb musicians who were masters of the instruments that fully express Hawaiian culture. There was also down to earth hula dancing and a few tunes on the autoharp that made that complicated tool just perfect for these compositions. The first half was segmented with the Ukulele Boys, George Kahumoku and Ledward Kaapana each doing a mini-show that could have satisfied many an audience. However, this crowd was hungry for a Polynesian banquet and got almost three full hours of a musical feast.

       Da Ukulele Boyz really did start with a set you would hate to follow as they progressed from the levity of “Sweet Okole” to the lilting beauty of “Kapalina” to the best version of “Still the One” you will ever hear and a pulse-quickening “G-major Fleas” that brought a huge roar from the house. Headliner George Kahumoku didn’t seem to mind following these young powerhouses and his confidence was fully understood after his singing and playing of “Aloha Oe,” “Tutu Pele,” and “Hi’ ilawe” that was used in the film “the Descendants.” Maestro Ledward Kaapana followed with dazzling playing of “Kalapana,” “Sparkling Waters,” “Everybody Is Somebody’s Fool,” and a delightful slack key composition “Sleeping Shellfish.”  Really, the beginnings were a concert in themselves but the second half was very special indeed with all four musicians gathering on stage and riffing together in a sort of Hawaiian jam session that was deeply enjoyable for not only the delighted audience but the men in front of the footlights who glowed with Hawaiian happiness.