Once Upon a Dream

It was Steven Van Zandt's dream to reunite The Rascals, the first band he ever saw. That dream came true for him when he brought them together on Broadway.

Oh, what a night (sorry, wrong Jersey Boys) and what a performance. It broke all the rules! Cell phones – leave them on the announcement said -- take pictures and record. Stay in your seats, not a chance. Quiet, not. This was the concert within the theatre and it was loud and full of energy. Everyone singing along, even me and no apologies to the people around me (not that they could comprehend my lack of vocal talent).

It was two hours of fabulous fun, being transported back to another time. Oh, the memories it evoked. It was not the first time I'd seen them -- I've even got a story about meeting them on stage, but that was a long time ago. Who says you can't break the rules?

This was not a typical Broadway production. Through the use of multimedia on large screens behind the band, the scenery for each song changed to reflect its story and the times. No costume changes -- they didn't leave the stage for two hours. But at times the stage grew dark and there were pre-recorded video clips of them today telling the story of The Rascals.

Van Zandt wanted to make sure their history and cultural significance was told. And he succeeded. For those of us who lived through the 60s and experienced their music, it was like being transported back in time. He definitely stepped out of the box, broke the rules and produced an entertainment experience unlike any other.

The Rascals themselves stepped out of the box during their journey. They maintained as much independence as they could in the industry back in the 60s, turning down contracts with major recording companies. Their contract, they said, was with their fans and audiences. They are still honoring it in their performances. Mix creativity and innovation, and the results are spectacular.

Traveling to New York to experience Van Zandt's dream allowed me to experience a dream of my own. As great as the performance was, earlier in the day I hit a pinnacle when I walked into Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue and saw The Big Book of HR sitting on the shelf. That particular bookstore was always my favorite when I was growing up in New York. In my wildest dreams back then, I never imagined that moment (I was too busy listening to rock & roll). But mix experience and imagination, break some rules, step out of the box, and see what happens!

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