LIVE: “Second Chance Prom” @ Il Faro, 1/26/19
Review and photographs by Amy Modesti
When I was in high school, I attended my junior and senior prom at both Franklin Plaza and Michael’s Banquet House. Prom was a big deal back in 2006 and 2007. It was a coming of age celebration. You had the opportunity to dress up in beautiful ballgowns – or tuxedos for the men – to dance the evening away to celebrate the final years of high school. You had to make sure that you didn’t purchase the same dress as one of your classmates who had purchased their dress in advance. That was certainly a conflict one had to face those days, trust me on that one!!
The Saturday evening “Second Chance Prom” at Il Faro Restaurant & Bar in Albany featured live music from local ’60s lounge band, Off the Record and dance hits mixed and played by RadioRadioX.com DJ Art Fredette. It was certainly a unique and fun experience. I had never attended an “adult Mardi-Gras” themed snowball prom until now. I had a blast, and to tell you the truth, it was the best prom that I had ever attended.
Off the Record – featuring Joanna Peterson-Palladino-Resnick (vocals), Bob Resnick (percussion/vocals) and Geo Doody (guitar/vocals) – all decked out in ’60s classy prom black (and some white) dress attire, certainly raised the bar another notch with an array of ’60s classics with some of the ’80s mixed in during their two sets. Dancing with my friends throughout the evening was fun and certainly brought a bit of prom magic into the air.
What makes their performance so unique and fun, besides all the cool song choices that they perform, is the musical history to be learned from each tune from the ’60s to the later years where newer bands began covering these classics. Throughout each set, Joanna provided facts about the song that her group would perform at the start of its beat or in between song transitions. Who knew that Chip Taylor, who wrote “Wild Thing” (The Troggs) also wrote “Angel of the Morning,” performed by Merrilee Rush (later covered in bits by Shaggy & Rayvon)? In the ’80s, superstar Tiffany covered “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tommy James & The Shondells; Gloria Jones was the original singer of “Tainted Love” (later covered by Soft Cell); and the Beach Boys had made their rendition of Bobby Freeman’s “Do You Wanna Dance?” even more famous long after it was first released in 1958.
Whether she’s dancing and singing alongside her fans in both fast and slow tunes, kicking off her black booties to sing her cover of “Barefootin’,” or even taking some sitting time in her reenactment of “Working in a Coal Mine,” Joanna is energetic and powerful in the way she is able to treat each of these classics as new treasures. Brenda Fisher joined in on harmony vocals (“To Love Somebody”) and with Resnick backing up on percussion, she remained humble and eager to trade lyrics with all of her singers and give them an opportunity to be in the spotlight to share their talents on stage.
Adding in some familiar tunes – with some assists from Doody who took on the lead vocals on “Harlem Shuffle” and “Ruby Tuesday” (The Rolling Stones), “From Me to You” (The Beatles), “Knock Three Times” (Tony Orlando & Dawn) – to such classics as “Love Potion #9” (The Searchers) that had the crowd dancing on their feet, to Joanna’s signature butt-shaking dance moves in closing out the first set with Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made for Walking,” to the beautiful rendition of the Bee Gee’s hit, “To Love Somebody,” Off the Record was able to deliver and add to that prom flair all evening long.
A stand-out moment was their rendition of “You Send Me” (Sam Cooke), that Off the Record had recently begun performing. While giving their lead vocalist a chance to rest her voice – and break free to slow dance with her friend – it was a prime time for Doody and Resnick to shine as a duo. Hearing Doody crooning and strumming along on the guitar to Resnick’s soft beating of the drums was perfect for slow dancing.
Off the Record’s renditions of all these classic hits were timeless and most certainly fit the prom theme perfectly. At the end of the show, Fredette announced the Second Chance Prom’s first ever King & Queen, King & King and Queen & Queen. Fredette is going to make the Second Chance Prom an annual event for RadioRadioX.