Guest Contributor: Dave the Traveling Music Man
It’s been a great time for music this month in New York. The culmination hands down was the Grammy awards show which was hosted this past Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
But just when you thought that it was going to be another Manic Monday, you get invited to a post Grammy’s gala event. (Kathy was invited to this event as media and received two complimentary tickets).
Little did I know what was in store for us this time. I probably would have passed on the offer at first (since I was a bit burnt out from the pre-show Grammy events). However, when I heard the names of some of the Rock Legends that were going to be playing, I had to say yes.
The show was called MANDOKI SOULMATES “Wings of Freedom” and the venue was the Beacon Theatre in New York City.
I was not previously familiar with Mandoki Soulmates. When we sat down in our seats, the stage had a lot of equipment on it. I knew this would be a large production.
The leader of the group is a musician named Leslie Mandoki. He is a singer/percussionist. Mandoki is from Hungry but lives in Germany. Mandoki is very well known in his country. You can tell from the audience, many of whom were of German and Hungarian descent.
The band is made up of musicians who are from 70’s, 80’s and 90’s bands. In this ensemble, you had famous members of bands, including Bobby Kimball from Toto, Chris Thompson from the Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Nick Van Eede from Cutting Crew, John Helliwell from Supertramp and saxophonist Bill Evans. The list goes on: Randy Brecker, Till Brönner, Cory Henry and Mandoki’s daughter, with her brilliant voice, Julia Mandoki. This collection of talent was amazing.
What I learned was that for more than two decades Leslie Mandoki has been uniting legends of rock and jazz greats, playing sophisticated and progressive rock music that combines modern jazz influences, and fresh interpretations of some of the best known classic hits of the individual musicians. In the past year, Mandoki Soulmates had performances in London, Paris, Berlin, Cannes and Sziget (Hungary). Over the years, it is quite common to see other famous musicians play with him as well. For example, you might see Ian Anderson, Peter Frampton or a member of Deep Purple on stage. Mandoki brings all the musicians together. He is like the Duke Ellington of musicians. Musicians just like to play with him.
One of the things that Mandoki does during his show, is to let his musicians play the top hits from the bands that they were in. The audience was smitten in nostalgia with songs like Rosanna (Toto), Blinded By the Light (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band) and I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight (Cutting Crew).
Nick Van Eede performing I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight:
Chris Thompson performing Blinded by the Light:
The performance was phenomenal and Mandoki had the audience in the palm of his hand. Mandoki puts his big heart and passion for freedom into every song and production. His message is thought-provoking, full of love with resounding messages of change and dreams and freedom – I don’t think you can attend a Mandoki Soulmates concert and not be moved. No wonder he is so beloved. Kathy said the music and message was beyond good – it was bring-you-to-your-knees great!
It was a wonderful evening. Proceeds of the event go to MusicCares which helps musicians who are in need of medical and other kinds of help.