Herb & Lani in Napa, CA 2/29/2020

Michael Hagerty

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What a venue and what a show!

The Uptown Theater in Napa was built in 1936---one year after Herb, as Herb himself pointed out---and, as Herb also said---they're both still standing. And then some:

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For the half-hour leading up to the concert, a photo of Herb's sculpture was displayed on a screen, gradually morphing from black and white to vivid color and back again.

The warm-up music? Wes Montgomery. Tracks from A DAY IN THE LIFE, DOWN HERE ON THE GROUND and ROAD SONG (Wes' three A&M albums).

Then, a few minutes past the 8:00 p.m. start time, the screen showed the trailer for the upcoming Herb documentary:


And after that----magic.

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That's the only shot I took of the show itself, because I just wanted to relax and enjoy it---and did I! I didn't take notes, I won't go into detail---but it was so overdue for me to see these two wonderful people and wonderful musicians (five actually---the trio that plays with them is astonishingly good).

Herb's humor and humanity were present at all times. His and Lani's love for each other washed over the audience, as well.

A magic night.

My wife, a musician who certainly understood Herb and Lani's appeal to me until now is an official fan herself. This was a deeply wonderful experience.

I've wanted to see Herb play since meeting him in the hallways at A&M in 1973 (a story I've told more than a few times here at the Corner). We've missed them twice in Sacramento in the past few years because they seem to come here when we're on an epic camping trip in Utah. This time, the 80-mile trip to Napa seemed like a worthwhile investment----and it absolutely was.

If, by some miracle, I'm not the only person on this forum who hadn't yet seen Herb & Lani---if you haven't----do.
 

Mike Blakesley

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I could have written the exact same review of the show we saw in Seattle last year. We had to fly 900 miles (each way!) but it was totally worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

My wife has always thought Herb was "ok" but never been a real fan, but she totally enjoyed the show too. I don't know how anyone could NOT enjoy it.

They really, really need to do an expanded version and release it on video.

From your show photo, it looks like Herb is using the mute..... he used it for our entire show except part of one song at the end. I was really hoping he'd play without it more, but that was my only "gripe."
 

Michael Hagerty

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I could have written the exact same review of the show we saw in Seattle last year. We had to fly 900 miles (each way!) but it was totally worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

My wife has always thought Herb was "ok" but never been a real fan, but she totally enjoyed the show too. I don't know how anyone could NOT enjoy it.

They really, really need to do an expanded version and release it on video.

From your show photo, it looks like Herb is using the mute..... he used it for our entire show except part of one song at the end. I was really hoping he'd play without it more, but that was my only "gripe."
Mike: Herb used the mute for most of the show this weekend, too---and I was, like you, hoping he'd ditch it. But it in no way diminished my appreciation of the show. I'd listen to him play the kazoo if he wanted.

I've also mentioned on this site that I preferred Lani's cool, smooth style from Brasil '66 to the more dramatic, emotional approach we've been hearing from her the past few decades. That's probably still true on record, but she made a believer out of me in person----it works when you see it live.

And the love she and Herb have for each other----well, that's just tremendous. Herb mentioned how it "got him" during the video for "The Look of Love", where they use stills and tape from the "Come What May" video when "Lani gives me that look".

I get that look from my wife, too. I may not have Herb's talent or money, but I think we both agree that what we have in common is the most important thing there is.

I'll be basking in the warmth of that show a good long time. And Rhonda and I have already agreed---if there's one more concert with Herb, Lani and Sergio at the Hollywood Bowl---we'll be there.
 

Mike Blakesley

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I preferred Lani's cool, smooth style from Brasil '66 to the more dramatic, emotional approach we've been hearing from her the past few decades.
That's a good way of describing it. I once noted that on the occasions where she did go back to record with Sergio (on "Dreamer" and "No Place to Hide"), she slipped right back into that classic style.

But yeah, the more emotional style works great on stage. I remember she would "emote" more on the live Brasil '66 recordings, too.
 

Harry

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It seems amazing to me now that Herb & Lani have essentially been touring around for about 12 years. We went to their first little show up in New York back in 2008. Here we are in 2020 and they're still going!

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Joe's Pub, NY, 2008
 

Michael Hagerty

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It seems amazing to me now that Herb & Lani have essentially been touring around for about 12 years. We went to their first little show up in New York back in 2008. Here we are in 2020 and they're still going!

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Joe's Pub, NY, 2008
Yes! Herb said Saturday night that it's been 13 years touring together and they average about 50 shows a year.

I thought----"That's a little less than one a week. They probably do one-night shots close to home and book a week far away."

I figured they flew up to Napa from L.A., would spend a nice weekend, head home and do some more later.

I was wayyy off. Last Wednesday, they played in Prescott, Arizona. Thursday was Orange, CA. Friday, Santa Barbara and Saturday Napa.

Looks like they're off the road for March, but in April will play six nights in different cities in Canada. In May, seven straight nights in different cities along the Eastern Seaboard. And in June, the UK.

Herb's 84. Lani's 74.

I'm impressed.
 

Rudy

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11 years ago for me. It's rare they get up this way anymore.
 

jazzdre

Active Member
Hey Harry:

I was there at the Joe's Pub show! On a Friday night at that! I met Herb for the second time, and he autographed two of my Shout Factory cd reissues of his old albums. And Michael-glad you and your wife had a great time at the concert! You're right, Herb certainly does put on a great show. I saw him last year at The City Winery, and he and Lani and the rest of the band were in top form. Wow! Herb is 84 and Lani is 74. I,too am impressed.

jazzdre
 

David S

Active Member
Trying to remember every live perf I’ve seen though I cannot remember dates:

  • The Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Ctr (NYC) - front row table seats!
  • Nokia theatre (NYC)
  • Blues Alley (DC) - they walked right by me at the SRO bar to the stage!
There might’ve been one other but not recalling venue now.

Also, back in the 80s - in Atlantic City NJ during the Bullish tour

I see they will be in Alexandria VA at the Birchmere and in Red Bank NJ in May, which is about ninety minutes from me. They were in Morristown NJ a few months ago but I passed up a chance to go. Limited budget working in education these days so while I’d enjoy seeing them I’m good with remembering The Appel Room perf, which was terrific.
 
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Michael Hagerty

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Besides with Sergio at the Hollywood Bowl, I'd also like to see them at Vibrato, Herb's supper club in Bel Air.
 

Steve Sidoruk

Founder, A&M Fan Net
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I saw Herb and Lani on the same stage on August 12, 1966, at Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut. Some guy named Sergio Mendes and his group, Brasil '66 opened for Herb & TJB. :wink: It would take a while to count all the shows I've seen since then.

Meantime, I thought that I would share this photo that I shot in Hartford, (CT) which was used in POLLSTAR Magazine (2016):

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martin

Active Member
I was never able to see Herb and the TJB live, they never made it to Norway, but on the 1969 tour they played both Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden. As a ten year it was out of the question for me to go. The Norwegian Broadcasting Company, NRK, however, was able to get a rare interview with Herb in Stockholm, and it can be watched on their digital site, which I fear is not accessible from outside of Norway. Anyway the interview is here on this link: NRK TV – Skjemtegauken
As for live concerts I have experienced:
Spring 1996: House Of Blues, L.A.
Summer 1996: The Jazz Café, London
Summer 1997: The Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
Fall 2009: Naperville, Illinois
Summer 2013: The Hollywood Bowl
Fall 2014: The Patchogue Theater, Long Island
Summer 2019: Rancha Cucamonga, CA
I hold tickets for his first show at Ronnie Scotts' in London on June 1st this year.

- greetings from the north -
Martin
 

Mike Blakesley

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Moderator
I'm curious how their show operates. As some of you know, I"m on our local fair board, so we book concerts every year.

Some artists travel with all their instruments and sound/light systems. Others do "fly dates," which means the artist and band will fly in to the nearest airport and then it's up to the venue to transport them to the gig. In situations like that, the show purchaser must also supply the "backline," which is the instruments, sound gear, microphones, video screens, basically anything needed to play the show, plus all the lighting equipment, all to the strict specifications of the artist. The only thing the performer might supply is a personal guitar, or something like that. Still other artists do a hybrid of both arrangements -- they may travel with their own gear, but the venue has to supply the PA and the lights.

I was just wondering if Herb and Lani travel with a lot of their equipment, or maybe he just takes along his own trumpet and everything else they use is supplied by a local sound provider. That would make it easier to perform a schedule like Martin outlined above. But, Herb and the TJB were one of the first acts to travel with their own sound system back in the day, so who knows?
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Contributor
I'm curious how their show operates. As some of you know, I"m on our local fair board, so we book concerts every year.

Some artists travel with all their instruments and sound/light systems. Others do "fly dates," which means the artist and band will fly in to the nearest airport and then it's up to the venue to transport them to the gig. In situations like that, the show purchaser must also supply the "backline," which is the instruments, sound gear, microphones, video screens, basically anything needed to play the show, plus all the lighting equipment, all to the strict specifications of the artist. The only thing the performer might supply is a personal guitar, or something like that. Still other artists do a hybrid of both arrangements -- they may travel with their own gear, but the venue has to supply the PA and the lights.

I was just wondering if Herb and Lani travel with a lot of their equipment, or maybe he just takes along his own trumpet and everything else they use is supplied by a local sound provider. That would make it easier to perform a schedule like Martin outlined above. But, Herb and the TJB were one of the first acts to travel with their own sound system back in the day, so who knows?
Mike:

Herb and Lani, from what I could tell, are traveling with their own stuff. The band has been with them for most of the past 13 years and when my wife and I walked to a cafe' for an after-show snack and drink, there was a van around the side of the theater with a ramp ready to load the gear. Given the other-worldly level at which their band performs, I'm sure they don't want to take potluck on what equipment is available in which town.

Looking at the schedule, most of the towns are within an easy drive of each other. I'm guessing the equipment flies to and from L.A., but otherwise they're renting a truck in town #1.
 
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