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Johnny B.
Reviews:
- March 17, 1997
- November 22, 1995

Jimmy Buffett Reviews
- June 25, 1998
- June 21, 1997
- June 8, 1996
- June 10, 1995
- June 18, 1994

Buzz Kilman Reviews:
- December 16, 1995

CD Reviews:
- Piranha Man: Blowing Goats

Jonathon Brandmeier's
Summer Kick-Off

A Review
[To the Photos Table!]

June 20, 1997

Skyline Stage

Chicago, IL

A Review and Photos by
The Dude on the Right
The Stormtroopers
The Stormtroopers
It's a Friday morning, 3:30 AM, and I'm getting out of bed. As the shower tries to clean the sleep out of me, I'm sort of reminiscing. A few years ago, back in college, on a Friday morning at about 3:30, I would be just getting ready to head to sleep, or maybe pass out is a better term, after getting liquored-up covering bands in our local pub. Those days back then were the start of this crazy place we call Entertainment Ave!; me and The Dude on the Left writing about bands for beer money. Anyway, while most of the midwesterners are having sweet dreams, myself and some thousandish people are dragging ourselves out of bed a little earlier than planned. It's not to go stand in line for lottery tickets, and it's not because we are dedicated employees and want to get to our jobs way early. Nope, it's to head to Skyline Stage on Navy Pier in Chicago for Jonathon Brandmeier's Summer Kick-Off Broadcast. Me, I'm psyched for summer, especially with the piece of crap spring we had here in Chi-town. What better way to build-up to summer than a morning of a Black Sabbath tribute band, Ronnie "Woo-Man" Wicks, Michael Brandmeier and his band, maybe the world's youngest Frank Sinatra impersonator, and my personal king of summer, Jimmy Buffett.
Buzz Kilman
Buzz Kilman

For those of you internet folks who found this place searching for Jimmy Buffett, right now you're probably asking "Who the hell is Jonathon Brandmeier?" Well, Jonathon Brandmeier, a.k.a. Johnny B., hosts a morning radio show here in Chicago on WLUP (97.9 on the FM) and AM1000 (1000 on the AM). For how much longer, I don't know, especially with the crazy radio games, trades, and re-positioning just totally messing with my morning radio, but as of Friday he was still "Johnny in the Morning" for me.

Sometimes once a year, sometimes more, he takes his show out of the studio and to banquet halls and stages around Chicago (and sometimes around the world), to let a few thousand people see the folks who entertain the listeners each morning. Me, I've taken it upon myself to let the rest of the listeners, and the rest of the world, see these people too. So, sit back, relax, and let your internet browser take you through a radio broadcast.

 
Rachel Barton
Rachel Barton
It's now 6:00 AM, I'm positioned for photos, and I brought Trash along to handle some note taking. The crowd is calm, it's already almost 80 degrees and humid, and out come the Stormtroopers to open the show. In their traditional eastern German style military garb, the circus that would be a morning show has begun. Out runs Johnny B., the crowd livens up, and War Pigs, the Black Sabbath tribute band, is blasting away. In strolls Buzz Kilman, Harry Teinowitz, and Piranha Man from Pakistan for the traditional blessing. But a blessing isn't enough to open this show, it's time for the National Anthem, and who else but Rachel Barton, violin virtuoso, takes the stage, in a Pantera t-shirt and all, to get the crowd started.

 
Ronnie, Buzz, Milt, and Johnny B.
Ronnie, Buzz, Milt, and Johnny B.
Now, it's time for some guests, and out comes Milt Pappas, ex-Cub pitcher, who Johnny B. still thinks he can hit off of. Joining Milt was a young dude named Joey, known for his boycott of speaking during the Cubs recent losing streak, and what would a Cubs theme be without Ronnie "Woo-Man" Wicks. Conversation comes around, and it's time for some batting practice. Joey didn't fair too well, but Johnny had to try also. Johnny, stick to radio and leave the baseball career at home. Even with a wiffle ball and plastic bat, Milt showed why he was famous in baseball and Johnny wasn't. Finishing out the little Cub segment brought another band called The Cleaning Ladies playing their look at the future, "When the Cubs Win the World Series." It was time for a little break, some commercials as it would be, and the mayhem in the morning was slowly getting underway.

 
Buzz and Don Gorske
Buzz and Don Gorske
Now, for those of you who don't know, Johnny B. is from a town called Fon du Lac in Wisconsin. You're thinking "Yea, I heard of that place, but why?" Well, the next guest might have been the reason, and his name is Don Gorske. He's been plastered all over the news lately, and not because of some mad killing spree. No, Don is the Big Mac king of the world, or at least the only guy who has kept track. Every day, rain or shine, except for a couple three or four days in the last tens of years, this dude eats Big Macs. Expecting tons of fun to roll on stage, Don Gorske brings his thin-framed physique instead. He very well may have the diet plan of the next century, and I'm sure McDonald's couldn't be happier. Don is closing in on 15,000 Big Macs and has gotten a little help with some gift certificates to get him there, all the while maintaining a thin frame that I wish I didn't have to work so hard for.
Spid Pieper
Spid Pieper

Well, in keeping with the Fon du Lac theme, the next musical guest brings the likes of Spid Pieper with his guitar and harmonica, to the stage for a great version of the fishing song and Buzz's Shanty song. Buzz Kilman then does the news like Buzz does, Harry gets the boo's during his little stand-up routine, and he is exiled to the dunk tank for later. It was seven in the morning, the bar was now open, and Trash says "Excuse me, I must visit the bar and have a reason for blowing off my day job." Her notes got a little sloppier as the morning went on, but I digress.

 
Michael Brandmeier
Michael Brandmeier
Now, as much as Johnny B. kept saying this wasn't a concert show, it sure as hell had its share of musical guests, and up next came Johnny's own brother, Michael, whose got a new CD out, and a band, and blasted through "Right Back Where You Are." Trash goes to me later, "It was good, but it sounded kinda 80's." I came back, "You haven't been listening to the radio a lot lately, have you? Guess what sound is coming back? Yep, melodic, guitar driven rock and roll, and light pop." Seems like Michael Brandmeier might be in the right place at the right time, with songs with a message, easy to listen to, and a mix of rock and pop, who knows?

Well, let's keep the music theme moving, kinda like foreplay to the climax, with some bagpipers leading in the former King of TV Medleys, Paul Goebel, and the new King, Arnold Lagos. Now yea, sure, at the St. Patrick's Day broadcast, Arnold beat out Paul for the crown, but for charisma and singing ability, Mr. Goebel sure works the image better. He belted out a TV theme medley, even woo'd the ladies, while Arnold tried his best to taunt the original king. It wasn't working, Paul still seemed in control, but there was no time for a re-match. Nope, it was time for some jump-rope.

 
The Dog Rope Family
The Dog Jumping Rope.
Not much to explain here, check out the picture, and yes, that is a dog jumping rope with his human family, and even Johnny B. joined in.

So, it was a little deviation from the music theme, but not for long. Up and coming were treats from Rachel Barton, doing this blasted version of "Paranoid" with her string partner (this is truly amazing to hear), Julio Cesar Castillo, a tiny little tyke singing the Mexican tune-age, Bobby DeNiro bluesing it up and talking to me, Vlasta the "Polka Queen" jammin' away on the accordion, Michael Brandmeier back on stage with Buzz on harp and Johnny playing the congas, and some Sinatra.

 
Dakota Horvath
Dakota Horvath
Alright, Frank wasn't there, but Dakota Horvath was, and he was in rare form. Blasting out a couple of Sinatra tunes, this little guy has every move, a voice to match, and here's hoping puberty doesn't kill his career. Complete with hat, suit, swooning voice, and working the ladies, Dakota knew how to get the crowd on their feet, and every time I see him I wonder what I'm doing wrong when I'm singing Sinatra in a crowded bar. Could it be my little belly (I can fix that), maybe my wardrobe (I can fix that), or maybe I'm too tall? In any case, always a crowd pleaser, Dakota was kinda like a little boost in the foreplay on to the main event.

 
Jimmy B. and Johnny B.
Jimmy B. and Johnny B.
The climax, the peak of happiness, what all men get and a lot of women wait for, it was time for summer, and what better way to kick off a summer and a Jimmy Buffett weekend in Chicago than by having Jimmy play some acoustic stuff. Yep, all one needed to do was look at the crowd and you could see the Parrot Heads had invaded, and every mention of Buffett throughout the morning brought cheers from those same folks who were up and ready at six, drinking at seven, and on their way to their own states of mind by the time Jimmy made it to the stage.

Johnny B., bowing to my God of summer, introduced Jimmy, the crowd went wild, and it was time for some casual conversation, but also some music. Jimmy talked a little about his being "stationed" in Chicago for the next couple of weeks, bike riding down Lake Shore Drive, his musical, "Don't Stop the

Carnival," a future internet concert from France, and a show in Hawaii. But the people wanted Jimmy to sing, and low and behold there was a guitar and mike stand calling.

Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffett

Here's Jimmy Buffett, hanging out in some shorts, t-shirt, baseball cap, losing his hair, and just kicking back. Having fun is the name of his game, and maybe that's why guys like Jimmy B. and Johnny B. can last so long - it's all about having fun. And have fun they did. Jimmy played a little "Stumpo El Bando" and lost (here's a hint to some of you going to see Buffett later this summer - he didn't know "Captain America" or "The Lawyer and the Asshole" - he might know them now, but they are probably a good shot to win - tell him I told you to request them). He also said "Shit." Yea, so what, many people say "Shit," but not over the radio (hope the censors caught it). He did some quick requests, Johnny B. resurrected "Buck, Buck the Turtle," and a great version of "Banana Republic" closed Jimmy's set, as well as Johnny's show.
"Wayne Newton"
The Security Dude

This was one hell of a way to kick off the summer, I'm just pissed that I had to work. Yea, sure I was there, but I had to take pictures, make sure I could remember most of it, and tell all of you about these things later, but yea, that's my job. As for the broadcast, Johnny kept saying it wasn't a concert, but you

know, it really sort of was. The other broadcasts I've been to have had their share of musical guests, but a lot more variety acts. This one had interviews, this one had musical acts ranging from heavy metal to classical, and this one had Jimmy Buffett. I can always look forward to facing my day waking up to Johnny B, now I can look forward to my summer.

Well, Trash had a good time, I had a good time, the crowd had a good time, and about the only person who didn't seemed to have a good time was Jimmy, the "Wayne Newton" security dude. Sure, I saw him laugh a couple of times, but mostly he had the wonderful job of keeping people from rushing the stage. Well, everybody's got a job to do, and he kept the crowd in check, so I guess maybe he even had a good time too.

It's TWO BIG THUMBS UP for Johnny B's Summer Kick-Off - and it would have been difficult to be anything but that. As I now look forward to the summer, it's not without some fear because of the impending radio station earthquake coming to Chicago. I just hope that after the rubble settles, the casualties will be few and Johnny B. will still be waking me up in the morning, just not at 3:00 AM.

That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!  

 

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