Concert Review: Honolulu Symphony Pops with Peter Cetera

Concert: Honolulu Symphony Pops with Peter Cetera
Date: Saturday, September 20, 2008
Time: 8:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Venue: Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall

Symphony Pops

The 2008 – 2009 Honolulu Symphony Pops season kicked off Friday and Saturday night with Peter Cetera in concert. We were fortunate enough to catch the Saturday evening performance of which I’ll recap for you.

The show started at 8:00 p.m. with Conductor Matt Catingub and the Symphony kicking things off. Catingub and crew would swing things for about an hour solo. Highlights of performances from the first hour included: “A Tribute to Rosemary Clooney,” an arrangement of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World,” and an AWESOME “TV Theme Songs of the 1970’s” medley which got me outta my seat. With the 70’s being just a “tad bit” before my time, I recognized the following: “All in the Family,” (audience cracked up on that one), “Brady Bunch,” “Sanford and Son” (which sounded AWESOME with the brass section), “MASH,” “Sesame Street,” “Muppets Show,” “Love Boat,” and “Happy Days.”

Intermission followed.

The second hour opened with Cetera’s crew (two guitarists, a pianist and an orchestra conductor) opening up with the Symphony Pops to a Peter Cetera orchestral medley for about 10 minutes before the man himself came out on stage. Cetera opened up with “Restless Heart,” followed by “Glory of Love,” “Even a Fool Can See,” and “If You Leave Me Now.”

As is standard with any concert he told anecdotes about each of these songs and it was his next song which I found the back story very interesting to. The next song was the mega-smash hit, “You’re The Inspiration” to which Cetera told the story of how he and David Foster had written it for Kenny Rogers but Rogers didn’t want it so Chicago took it and made a ton of money with it. S.O.L for the gamblin’ man I guess! This was actually a fun number as Cetera recounted how in the early days with this song the audiences would do the whole wave a cigarette lighter/matches bit. Being NBC Concert Hall we wouldn’t be able to do the lighter bit but Cetera did encourage us all to wave our cell phones and we didn’t disappoint! When they say everyone has a cell phone they ain’t kidding. Several thousand cell phones with screens illuminated were out and waving to the chorus which was pretty sweet to watch!

Cetera and his boys took a quick break next as a 1973 Chicago retro concert video played which the boys used as their opportunity to take a restroom break or get a drink or whatever it is they do off stage.

Cetera’s second set saw him introducing his daughter Claire. Both father and daughter did two of Cetera’s major duets: “Feels Like Heaven,” (originally done with Chaka Kahn) and “Next Time I Fall,” (originally done with Amy Grant). I was hoping for “After All” but oh well đŸ˜¦ I can say, Claire’s got a set of hot pipes on her and she seems primed for stardom in her own right! Concert wrapped up with Cetera doing a short Beatles Medley, the mega-smash, “Hard For Me to Say I’m Sorry,” and “25 or 6 to 4.” Hana Hou says the audience and Cetera obliges with “Have You Ever Been In Love,” and he and crew finish out with the Monkee’s hit, “Daydream Believer.”

End show and roll credits.

Final Thoughts

This was my first shot at taking in a Symphony Pops show and it was a ton of fun. For my taste, I coulda done with more Cetera and less “opening stuff” from the Pops orchestra but the entire show was fun!! Given the financial problems the Symphony encountered last year I do hope (despite us all being in Recession hell at the moment) things turn out better this season. Matt Catingub and crew put on a great show and there is nothing like seeing a full orchestra in full swing. Hearing the orchestra back up Peter Cetera’s biggest hits is quite the experience as well as it definitely brought out a lot of the songs and gave them a bit more depth. I can say, it definitely makes me wish I’d taken band or orchestra back in high school.

The Toyota Pops series continues next month with Amy Hanaiali’i on 10/3 and 10/4 and the Music of Ray Charles on 10/24 and 10/25. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones take stage with them on 11/28 and 11/29 with Dave Koz, Diana Krall and Poncho Sanchez joining them in January, March and April respectively.

Check out for a complete schedule of all Honolulu Symphony performances and ticket info for the 2008 – 2009 season!


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