Herb Alpert&Lani Hall Live Vibrato 2/13 Full Report

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Vibrato Bel Air, CA February 13, 2011

Herb Alpert was in a feisty and somewhat cranky mood last night. But “cranky’ in a good way. You see he and Lani and the band were working on material for the upcoming “I Feel You” East Coast Tour, which kicks off this Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia and every time Herb found a “bug” he’d either stop and start over in a more determined and brilliant manner and give us a more passionate take (sometimes with loving “prodding” from Lani) or he would later point out the glitch to us all and tell us what needed to done to fix the tech problem. Fascinating stuff along with all of his great stories and banter last night. Cranky and feisty indeed and we all loved it!

I arrived early as usual to Vibrato and was truly treated like royalty last night. After talking to Herb outside I was later ushered inside along with writer Telly Davidson, a real nice guy who is working on a lengthy piece on Herb and the new CD coming out on allaboutjazz.com in a few weeks, and was treated to a birds-eye view of the entire sound check last night. Herb was running the sound check like a true pro, he was all over the room, even meticulously tweaking the placement of mics on Michael’s drum kit. Lani Hall was just as focused and determined to get the sound just “right”. There was a real mesmerizing moment for me during sound check for me last night. In between takes Bill Cantos was testing some levels on his synth and playing with some chords and Herb started to improvise on top of it. Just magical. I could have listened to just that all night.

When I talked to Herb earlier, he said he was very happy with the CBS Sunday Morning piece. I said, “Now it’s time to get you that Kennedy Center Honor”. He paused and thought about it and then said, “I don’t need that”. Yeah but many of think you deserve it Herb. Since it was the day before Valentines Day I asked if we finally might be able to hear “My Funny Valentine” tonight. A surprised Herb pondered that for a moment and then said, “You know we do know that tune”. I’d seen it on various set lists over the years as an alternate encore and was wondering if we might finally get a chance to hear it tonight. But that one along with “When Sunny Gets Blue” is still in the “bullpen”.

Could there be a nicer guy than Bill Cantos? He always is so kind to stop by and say hello. He told me that he is so lucky to be working with so many of his musical heroes and the night before he was “subbing in” and got to play with Burt Bacharach. You know Bill, if you weren’t so modest perhaps you would publicize your upcoming gigs more often here so we could come and see you play more often! Bill also corrected me from my last Vibrato report where I incorrectly reported that Bill’s laptop is triggering the drum loops. It is actually Michael Shapiro who has the foot switch and Bill’s Mac contains various sounds he can access through his synth. A classy guy all around and even took the time to introduce me to his lovely and very talented wife Mari Falcone after the show. Bill says that she thinks we are all “nerds” here on the A&M Corner! “Are you on your nerdy website again?” But we are happy A&M nerds Mari. It was a pleasure to finally meet you.

Another class act is Pat Senatore who also is so kind to come over and chat before the show. Pat also loved the CBS piece and I told him to check out the added content on the CBS web page that Harry so kindly pointed out earlier. Pat said, “The Mrs really beamed when my picture came up on the screen this morning!”. So sweet. It was standing room only last night in a very sold out Vibrato - spotted in the house, Tom Jones, Billy Dee Williams, Michele Lee (looking amazing for her age – I always loved “The Love Bug” when I was a kid!), Hal David and trumpet master Uan Rasey - “Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown”.

SET LIST Vibrato February 13, 2011

Herb takes to the stage sans Lani and gets the party started with a rousing opener.

Lani Hall joins us. I’ve been looking forward to hearing this track again after sound check. Lani starts out completely a capella and then Bill joins in with sparse piano and add in some Michael Shapiro. Then comes Herb and Hussein. Just spectacular stuff last night. So smooth. Tony Hatch would be proud.

Another treat from the new CD. Dazzling solos from Herb & Bill Cantos.
Afterwards Herb welcomed us and said, “We are going on tour starting on Tuesday and we are working out some of the songs that we are going to play…. next Sunday is our big night, we play Lincoln Center (huge applause). Someone in the crowd shouted, “Play all night!” Without missing a beat Herb shot back, “I don’t know that song”. Herb was sporting a “popped collar” on his sport coat this evening. “My wife said why don’t put your collar up?! When it’s down I feel like an insurance salesman, which way do you guys like it up or down?” “Up!”, came from the crowd. “Oh you were talking about my collar”- Rim shot courtesy of Michael Shapiro. Like I said earlier loose and feisty.

Sizzle. I know it will be a stand out - out East. Wish I could join you guys.

Herb and Lani were really locked in last night on this track and the singing from the band on the refrain was also very inspired. This tune has blossomed so much since the last tour. After some loudmouth from Philly yelled for Flamingo, Herb launched into a vocal version. “That’s a blast from the past. I did that in 19……1866”. So when you see Herb next week remember, don’t waste his time our ours shouting TJB requests.

Never tire of this Lani Hall stunner. Mr Cool stopped by on the trumpet last night.

After a soulful “Rise” opening from Herb there was a tech glitch. The prerecorded “Rise” base loop did not start and “Mr Cranky Pants” showed up. But remember, cranky and fun in a good way. After stopping Michael who had started drumming anyways after the loop didn’t trigger, Herb said, “Hold it, hold it. We are going to workshop this, because we have this loop that plays, right?” “We hope”, came from a sly Michael Shapiro. The recorded base loop finally starts as Herb is talking, I guess to tell him that they have found the bug. Like Apollo telling Houston they have found the problem. Herb started again and after trying to race through the beginning, Lani, bless her soul, put the hammer down and insisted that Mr Cranky play it right for these people.

Unbelievably, he snapped into playing it from the top again with an even more soulful opening than before. If he was phoning it in before Lani scolded he was now placing a direct call to our hearts and proceeded to give one of the most soulful & playful TJB Medleys I have witnessed. Sometimes train wrecks can lead to good things and last night was one of them. Herb I don’t think especially likes doing this Medley, but he does it for us. And we were so ever grateful last night. Here’s to hoping it does finally sees the light of day out East after a rocky and fun Vibrato start last night. Once again, easily the crowd favorite. After Herb said, “Those were the good old days, you know we used to pay 35 cents for a gallon of gasoline”. “We love you!!” came back from the crowd.
Yes we do. Yes we do.

“8 TJB records on the Amazon Top 20 after the CBS Morning Show, that really blows my mind and I’m not just saying this because I have my collar up” It was so special to be at Vibrato the night they recorded the CBS Special and come back to Vibrato the night they aired it and Herb’s music was once again charting after a TV Special. Very cool, nostalgic and emotional for me. Philly again chimed in and Herb said, “You want to hear a Philadelphia story?, The reason to this day I carry two horns, we were doing a show at the Philadelphia Spectrum and Pat Senatore was there - I was oiling my valve and I dropped it and I couldn’t get if back in my trumpet. So I go into the phonebook, the musicians union and I get a hold of this guy and I say, Hi listen man this is Herb Alpert and I need a favor, I need a trumpet man. He goes, ‘Yeah and I’m Louie Armstrong’ (Huge roar from the crowd) – he did finally come down and ever since then I carry two trumpets”. So funny, today there would be “people” with their “Blackberry’s” to get Herb a new trumpet back then he had to do it himself. Like I said, sometimes train wrecks can lead to good things. “Philly” was loud all night but that lead to a great story from Herb.

“Before starting Herb said, “It’s hard to cover the Beatle’s but we are trying to do here is we said, “Can we take songs that are familiar and put our own spin on these songs?”
Very dramatic tonight really liked Bill’s piano against Lani’s “stark” vocals. Paul McCartney has always said that that song is about the “Civil Right’s” struggle. Very moving on a February evening as we celebrate Black History Month. Paul McCartney wrote this about the civil rights struggle for blacks after reading about race riots in the US. He penned it in his kitchen in Scotland not long after Little Rock, when the federal courts forced the racial desegregation of the Arkansas capital's school system. McCartney told Mojo magazine October 2008: "We were totally immersed in the whole saga which was unfolding. So I got the idea of using a blackbird as a symbol for a black person. It wasn't necessarily a black 'bird', but it works that way, as much as then you called girls 'birds'; the Everlys had had Bird Dog, so the word 'bird' was around. 'Take these broken wings' was very much in my mind, but it wasn't exactly an ornithological ditty; it was purposely symbolic." After the emotional take Mr Crabby said, “We had a delay that was supposed to play tonight but we had a tech glitch”. We didn’t even notice Herb.

The Bill Cantos original makes it way back into the set and the crowd really eats it up.

Nice rendition tonight, always another crowd pleaser. We were like a leaf caught in Lani’s tide.

‘TIL THERE WAS YOU (shifted called an audible after Blackbird they played it before Morning Coffee. ) After Herb spots Tom Jones. “Hey Tom, good to se you. Do you remember that Summer replacement TV special that you did that we appeared on?” Tom says, “Yeah it was in New York” And Herb replies, “I was so used to take great pains to get things right in the studio and we are in New York rehearsing for the TV show and they have only one boom mic to capture my entire band”. A tech glitch 40 some years before tonight’s show. Again, a story of a train wreck leads to a great story.

Cut from the running order last night or lost when they made the audible change.

Really swinging and Lani seemed to be having a blast. We know Bill was.

No Laura’s in the audience but we didn’t need one. It was steeped with Gene
Tierney cool last night. You could hear a pin drop. We were hanging on each note.


Before starting a sun drenched medley Herb still said that he wanted to go back to the beginning and fix the glitches. Silly rabbit.

What a great “mash-up”. Michael’s drum work almost had a “tiki” quality. Excellent muted solos by Herb and a very sexy Lani Hall, who made Herb mime “smoking” when she sang, “Making love to you”.

Speaking a “class acts”, thanks to Eden Alpert, the Vibrato’s Hoss Zargaran and his amazing staff, thanks again for the great seat Hoss and Steve Sidoruk for the early intel.

David S

Well-Known Member
I appreciate this report so as to know what to generally expect when I see them. Was supposed to see them in Alexandria, Virginia tomorrow but can't now because my spouse has to oversee a funeral at home in New York (still travelling down there tomorrow for work purposes). Having a devil of a time trying to get someone to enjoy themselves with my tickets - who would think free tickets would be so difficult to give away? (I did aproach the Birchmere about the possibility of a refund, fully expecting a decline of that request, which was the case) Anyway, as luck would have it, I was able to purchase tickets for the JALC Allen Room performance next Sunday -- oddly, I had wanted that location in the first place because it was closer to home for me but when I checked availability before they said they were sold out?!? So we have a table, no less, which makes me feel better about essentially paying two and a half times for tickets to see them (not inconsequential for a stdt aid administrator also back in schoo full-time working on a second master's degree, lol). I'm taking to thinking it the NYC date availability might be divine intervention. I'll rationalize it in my head and say I am contributing indirectly to their foundation, which will ultimately redound to arts education. I'm cool with that.

On the other hand, I could use some divine intervention since the CD I ordered direct from the record company STILL has not been received and with no help from them, no less.


¡Que siga la fiesta!
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I'll send you a PM and/or email...I'm going to ask around.

Captain Bacardi

Well-Known Member
thesmedman said:
On the other hand, I could use some divine intervention since the CD I ordered direct from the record company STILL has not been received and with no help from them, no less.

You wouldn't have had that problem had you gone the Amazon route through this site - or just go to a store to get it. I did both. After seeing how quick some CDs go out of print I've been in the habit of getting an extra copy of Herb's CDs and leave them sealed, just in case.

Record companies are notoriously slow in delivering items to the general public. If you were some kind of PR guy you probably would've received the CD in a heartbeat.

Capt. Bacardi

Captain Bacardi

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the in-depth report CS! Sounds like it was a great time. Can't wait to see the full tour schedule released and hoping they'll make here to Austin, or at least somewhere close.

Capt. Bacardi
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