Surprises included two songs by pre-Raspberries band the Choir and covers of Who and Beatles tunes. The evening could have been potentially soured by Carmen's ego, notorious for 30 years running. But he actually seemed somehow humbled by the occasion, and his stage presence was rather endearing.By all accounts, the crowd was older, which should come as no surprise, and many wore raspberry-colored ribbons to the bars ahead of time so as to recognize each other. That I can handle, but I think I would have been a bit put off by the raspberry scent which apparently was pumped into the club, and I know Dear Thers would have been bolting for the fresh air at that point.
Things went so well at Thanksgiving that they played again this week, for New Year's Eve. No reviews seem to have been posted for that show yet, however.
Next up is a January 15th show at the House of Blues in Chicago. Rumor has it that the Raspberries may not be the only band in attendance that evening, but I can't say much more than that. It's definitely a show I wish I could catch. But having blown all my spousal goodwill on another band trip this week, I'm afraid it's out.
Still, it's nice to see the press these guys are getting. According to Rolling Stone, the mythos of the band always threatened to overpower their presence, one reason the long-awaited reunion was, well, so long-awaited.
And while Carmen made his mark as a solo artist in the ensuing years ("All By Myself," "Hungry Eyes"), the Raspberries' shadow continued to loom large. So large that Carmen became squeamish about reuniting.
Oddly, for me this worked in exactly the opposite direction. As I noted back in November, The Raspberries weren't so huge for me, partly because of the backward shadow cast by Carmen's solo career as a balladeer. As a feminist, I felt duty-bound to resist the chick-flicking of my consciousness and so found it necessary to forswear Dirty Dancing and its attendant love theme. I certainly recognize this as my own perversion, however.
Carmen continues, ruminating on the why now, why here question of the reunion (they tried to do this in 1999 by all accounts):
"Over thirty-plus years, a certain myth has grown up around the band. And the last thing I ever wanted to do was put us on a stage somewhere, in less than the best circumstances, and pop the bubble, have the fans come in and say, 'Gee, they weren't that good,'" admits Carmen. "It's your responsibility to give them something to be excited about.
The influence of The Raspberries in this little corner of rock I love has been enormous, however, and I acknowledge that. Even if the rumors of full tours and new records aren't true, it's nice to see old acrimonies dissipate long enough to remind us what it was all about in the first place.