Parade o’ Shoes: Bootsy’s Boots

June 26th, 2012, 10:30 am by Greg
(photo by Matt Mac Haffie)

(photo by Matt Mac Haffie)

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk, Matt Mac Haffie, Stanley Johnson

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Five Firsts: Joe Mele of Emerald City

June 4th, 2012, 11:00 am by Greg

NAME: Joe Mele
BAND AFFILIATION: Emerald City, the Ernie Williams Band, the Joe Mele Blues Band

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … B.B. King’s “Live at the Regal”

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … The Beatles at Shea Stadium


4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Probably something from the Ventures. When I was 12, my brother Dave, Denny Moffrey and I got together and played out at the Sunset Inn in Troy.


After a hiatus of many years, Joe Mele and the other members of Emerald City reunited last year, and that reunion is still going strong. Emerald City will kick off the 2012 season of Albany’s Alive at Five concert series, opening for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason at the Albany Riverfront Park in the Corning Preserve at 5pm on Thursday (June 7). Admission is free. In case of rain, the concert will move to the Corning Preserve Boat Launch beneath the I-787 overpass.

LIVE: Kansas @ Alive at Five, 7/21/11

July 27th, 2011, 4:30 pm by Greg
Richard Williams (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Richard Williams (photo by Stanley Johnson)

The heat wave was roaring at full blast furnace levels last Thursday.

“What are we doing here?,” bassist Billy Greer asked his bandmates and the crowd. “Are we out of our minds?”

The thermometer was bubbling just under 100 degrees, but the fans and the curious alike were out in force at Corning Preserve’s Riverfront Park. Veteran rockers Kansas were churning out their complex, grandiose sound for the latest installment of Albany’s Alive at Five concert series.

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LIVE: Burton Cummings @ Albany’s Riverfront Park, 7/7/11

July 13th, 2011, 4:30 pm by Greg

Burton Cummings (photo by Al Goldberg)

Burton Cummings (photo by Al Goldberg)

After a week of contemporary “country” music from Thompson Square, the Alive at Five concert series got back to its theme for 2011 – presenting the former lead singers of once-upon-a-time hitmakers. Burton Cummings was, of course, the lead singer, co-writer and keyboardist on nearly all of the biggest hits by ’60s-’70s Canadian rockers the Guess Who.

He was backed by a competent if undistinguished five-piece band that pumped out pretty straight-forward re-creations of those hits. And, I’ve got to admit, there were a whole lot of them – from the opening romp through “No Sugar Tonight” to the rambunctious closer “No Time.” In between, Cummings & Co. dished out “Laughing,” “Clap for the Wolfman,” the Beatles-esque “Hand Me Down World” and the big ballad “These Eyes.”

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LIVE: Vertical Horizon @ Alive at Five at Riverfront Park, 6/2/11

June 8th, 2011, 2:15 pm by Greg
Vertical Horizon's Matt Scannell

Vertical Horizon's Matt Scannell

I took a very informal survey of about two dozen randomly selected concert-goers at the Corning Preserve’s Riverfront Park in Albany just prior to the start of the first of the free weekly Alive at Five concerts last Thursday.

I asked a simple, straight-forward question: Can you name Vertical Horizon’s No. 1 hit song?

No one could name it. Most of them didn’t even bother to try. And at least a half dozen weren’t even aware that Vertical Horizon was that band that was headlining the first Alive at Five concert of the 2011 summer. The show that was scheduled to start in about 10 minutes. The show that they were at.

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LIVE: The Gregg Rolie Band @ Alive at 5, 6/17/10

June 21st, 2010, 2:08 pm by Greg

Gregg Rolie
If you didn’t know any better, you might think that the Gregg Rolie Band is just another tribute act – paying homage to the early Woodstock sound of Santana.

And, in a way, that’s exactly what they are.

But considering that Rolie was the original vocalist and keyboardist (and, in fact, wrote more of the tunes than Carlos Santana did on the breakthrough “Santana” album), the Gregg Rolie Band is certainly something more than just that.

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LIVE: The Neville Brothers @ Alive at Five, 8/6/09

August 7th, 2009, 12:28 pm by Greg

Aaron Neville

Aaron Neville

The Neville Brothers have been playing music together for more than 30 years now, but of course, they’ve been together a lot longer than that.

As Cyril declared at the end of their free concert in Albany’s Riverfront Park on Thursday, August 6, “Art Neville. Charles Neville. Aaron Neville. Me Neville. You Neville.”

They are brothers. And we’re all brothers. The Neville Brothers.

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Be Here Now: The Village People @ Alive at 5

June 30th, 2009, 1:25 pm by Greg

Gimme a “Y.”
Gimme an “M.”
Gimme a “C.”
Gimme an “A.”

What’s that spell?


For more than 30 years now, the Village People have been singing the praises of the “Y.M.C.A.” And you can bet that they’ll be singing it once again (or twice, or three times…) at Albany’s Riverfront Park for the Thursday, July 2 edition of the free Alive @ 5 concert series.

And if you just can’t wait til then, I heartily recommend watching “Can’t Stop the Music,” one of the all-time so-bad-it’s-hilarious movies and the Village People’s only feature film. Not only does it star Bruce Jenner, but Blackie Lawless appears (uncredited) as a metal musician at an audition.

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