Wow! The first and last thing to be mentioned is that Downey is Susan’s hometown… Where she was born and grew up and went to school. We’ve been looking forward to and planning things around this date for a long time.  We drove in from Vacaville, arriving with the dawn, and finishing off the bus snooze from the night before in the hotel. The Downey Performing Arts Theatre turned out to be right next door to the hotel, and I’m sure that got a quiet little thank you from everybody, band and crew.

This is another new city and audience for me and the band, and there’s a definite satisfying feeling when they recognize and respond to the beginning of the first three songs. And early on, I’m already having fun with a couple of kids, a sister and brother, in the first row with their mom. “Glad you’re here!” “Alternatives,” I say to the audience. And we talk together all night long, even about the Senate and the assembly.

The ad-libs are on a roll and flying tonight. It’s loose, and fun… There’s a guy in the upstairs balcony to the left who catches my eye and the whole audience and I direct some call and responses at him. Fun!

Of course, Susan is here and a whole bunch of guests who’ve come to celebrate her birthday and catch this almost one-and-only appearance for me and the band in the LA area.  They lead the way all night long with their quick energetic responses. I wish they could be there every night.

The band is cookin’ and we add an extra song for good measure.

Again, I talk about the new Metropole Orchestra CD, Vince Mendoza conductor, and feature Scootchabooty and Midnight Sun, total opposites, hot and jazzy then smoky ballad.

Around 3 or 4 shows ago, we devised a wonderful little night-ending segue from Roof Garden’s “Party” into George Duke’s Reach For It. The response has been electric! Surprise, surprise! When this combo is preceded by Mark and I doing some vocal percussion as well as some a cappella doo-wop on Puddit, they’ve gotten full measure, and a baker’s dozen.

We signed lots of CDs after the show, with lots of shakin’ hands and kissin’ babies. I like to say “Kissin’ hands and shakin’ babies.” And sure enough, there’s Jim Darby with his cute little mom. “Percolatin’, Syncopatin’, Celebratin’, etc.” He’s a wonderful new friend that I’ve done some work with. He’s warm and friendly and smart as a whip, and a hot rock’n’roll drummer, Wild Side.

Susan’s brother Mike and his wife Debbie and their son Scott are really special VIP guests for us. It’s been a while since we’ve seen them, and so when Kailey, their 12 year old granddaughter (our grand-niece) is also there, it’s really a wonderful Southern California family reunion. Scott announces an internship with a law firm, and our son, Ryan, announces his marriage engagement.

BEAUTIFUL DAY! Every day is Thanksgiving. Thank you thank you thank you. Great to see Vance and Chris, and Carina and Osmond. Family! We all hung out at the hotel and laughed and lied, eatin’ pizza. Great night.


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