Ty Stephens Romantasy
In Monaco

July 21 - July 27


With July coming to an end, we near the midpoint of our Sporting Club adventure. Typically, the Sporting Club
features its hottest acts in July, with August as more of a party month, presenting somewhat lesser known celebrities.
So, with August on the horizon, we get a chance to heat up our own act.

Meanwhile, get a load of what we had this week!

ZZ Top-
These hilltop, hard rockers go back to 1969 and the three original members still are together, performing and touring.
Playing Texas style hard blues, they probably are the raunchiest playing blues threesome in the industry. Their stage set
is a composite of guitars, drums, microphone stands and speakers, retrofitted... no, mechanically merged with gleaming
car and truck mufflers and motorcycle parts. You'd think that we'd want to keep our distance from these old, Southern
hillbillies but, of every group we've performed with thus far (and there have been eight) ZZ Top has been the most
engaging, slap happy and affable bunch, actually approaching US for pictures! Hey, ya never know!

Jill Scott-
OK, game over! Jill Scott burned the Sporting Club down. Though her first appearance in Monte Carlo was disappointingly attended,
(barely half the house was seated - likely due to Jill's practically being unknown in uppity Europe) still, the Sporting Club took
a chance on Jill Scott's talent and she made Monaco hang its snooty, royal head because she schooled 'em all. The first third of her
set was spent on loosening the sophisticates with her singular brand of Hip-Hop Philly Fhunk and social/relationship spoken word.
No male point-of-view here you impudent patriarchs! Persecution got punk'd, oppression got outed and injustice got incarcerated!
An artist's kind of performer, she can grab any audience she wishes. Can you say, SUBSTANCE?

Alicia Keys-
If you said substance with Jill Scott, with Alicia Keys you said SEX. Then you said it again. No question a stunning beauty,
thick in all the right places, captivating everywhere else, her physical attributes provide a gossamer but galvanized guard against
those who might consider her musicianship struggling to match up (yeah, I'm talkin' about myself). Still, a wonderful performer, who
has learned how to balance her front and center stand-up, solo vocalizing with both strong and tender moments of self-accompaniment
at the grand piano, Alicia Keys played to rousing, standing room crowds two nights in a row. Too bad I never got to take that picture of
her at the piano with me in my black, silk underwear. (Hey, I've lost some weight; I'm lookin' good) Oh well, there's always NEVER!

Christophe Mae- 
Another youngster, barely 30, who has taken Europe by storm, this Briton has decided to go the path of hybrid, Afro-Euro dance music.
Backed by a troupe of African-European and African-American musicians, Chris Mae reminds me of Johnny Clegg, of South Africa,
who eschewed his English, Jewish upbringing to hone his musical skills with the Zulu musicians of the southern Motherland. In so doing,
Clegg helped to knock down the social barriers which poisoned so much of South Africa's cultural evolution. In a way, Chris Mae
is walking that same road. That night, the Sporting Club was packed with a multi-hued sea of screaming teenyboppers and the occasional adult.
Hey, don't hate; sooner or later we're all gonna be brown!

Not only is Music the universal language but it also is the universal crucible. Juanes is a South American, heavy metal rock group.
Its front man, Juan Esteban, was born in Medellin, Columbia, the home of some of the deadliest druglords on earth. Juan's family was victimized
on multiple occasions by the marauding murderers; his pain and anger are the catalysts which bring his writing and playing to a roiling cataclysm. 
All of his music is socially relevant and he is unique in that he gives his voice of heavy metal to causes like disarmament, anti-military land-mining,
and the dissolution of his government's involvement in illicit drug trading. No wonder he is practically unknown in the United States! 

Well, it took a month but finally, something of a disappointment. Mick Hucknall is most recently remembered as the lead singer of the British
pop-rock group, Simply Red, who made a killing in the "blue-eyed soul" genre. In truth, Hucknall is a genuine aficionado of the Blues giant, 
Bobby "Blue" Bland, and this concert was a tribute to the rock-n-roll hall of famer. Unfortunately, the band was absolutely listless and plodding,
the repertoire was one dimensional and I (as well as a few paying patrons) couldn't even muster up the courtesy to suffer the entire performance.
I pitied the fool. I guess that happens to you when you pal around with the lame likes of Tony Blair.

Jusqu'a la prochaine fois!

Fino alla prossima volta!