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The Holiday Inn & Convention Center ~ Liverpool, N.Y. ~ February 6, 2004

Report by: Paul Davie ~ Joe Pellegrino ~ Gary Stopyra ~ Tommy Allen ~ Rick Kellogg
Photos by: Rick and Brian Kellogg ~ Gary Stopyra

The Fab Five
(L to R) Arty Lenin • Gary Frenay • Dave Miller • Dave Novak • Paul Davie

Hello Badƒinger-People! This is Paul Davie, and I’m the “Brian Epstein” of the Syracuse/Liverpool, NY based band called “THE FAB FIVE”. We had the honor and privilege to open up AND back up Joey Molland this past February 6th, at “From Liverpool UK to Liverpool USA – A 40 Year Celebration of The Beatles & The British Invasion”.

Rick asked me to give a report on the show from MY perspective – musician, concert organizer/promoter and most of all - a Badƒinger fan.

I can’t tell you how much ‘love’ was in the room that night. I feel like I’ve made 1000 more friends, and a dozen more BADFINGER friends (from all over the country!) who share the passion. Thank you for all of your compliments on the job I did. You guys wouldn’t believe the obstacles I faced along the way…most notably THE WEATHER. Syracuse had record sub zero cold and snow which prevented adequate advance ticket sales. Most were sold the last three days BEFORE the show, and at the door. And boy, did they sell in droves. We actually sold out to standing room only.

Photo by Brian KelloggPhoto by Gary Stopyra

First, as organizer: I couldn’t have chosen two better British Rock legends to choose for this concert. Joey, of course, and Terry Sylvester of THE HOLLIES, who now lives in Toronto. This aspect is one of the most heartwarming, as these two blokes have known each other for over 40 years, and have never been together on stage. Dinner the night before was magical, as I listened to the “Catching Up On Old Times” stories between the two. There are things they shared that I had never heard or read before, and I will keep them to myself to keep them even more special. Terry’s wife Diane was also a pleasure to get to know.

They both did every thing I asked of them…radio/TV/newspaper interviews, sponsor meet and greets, autographs after the show (including a raffled autographed guitar going to charity!), etc. And Joe stayed around an extra day to catch up with friends, and to also have brunch on Sunday morning at The Sherwood in Skaneateles (with a fan I did not know… “Dan”), where former President and current Senator Clinton(s) always eat when they ‘pass through’ town.

Click on the Bio Sheets to read

Secondly, as a musician – This was the first dream come true for The Fab Five in 2004. The second will be in August 2004, when we represent Liverpool NY USA at International Beatle Week in Liverpool England! Joey and Terry will be filling me in as our trip comes closer, as to where to REALLY hang out in between gigs at The Cavern (pinch me), The Royal Court Theatre, The Adelphi hotel and on the main stage of The Mathews Street festival in front of 100,000 along the banks of the Mersey River! (Enough about me…check us out at www.thefab-five.com and you can hear an audio clip and surf around, including some PICTURES of the show in a couple of weeks…I am learning how to be a webmaster from our REAL web guy.)

We played a “British Invasion from A to Z/Animals to Zombies” set for 50 minutes, broke for 20, then played an “Ed Sullivan Show” set of EVERY song The Beatles played live in their 4 appearances from Feb 1964 and Sept 1965. At this point the decently sized dance floor in front of the stage was constantly filled, as others in the convention center milled about the ‘marketplace’ with record/CD vendors selling all kinds of Beatles/British Invasion merchandise. It was at this point we had to turn people away at the door, as we had broken the fire code of 850!!

Right after the Sullivan set was when Joey, in his never ending boyhood energy, just hopped up onstage, started tuning and getting ready. A crowd started to form right in front which was exciting for us. The ‘love” in the room was starting to come to it’s peak…I could feel it.

Gary Stopyra: My wife, Melanie and I were talking to Joey while he was tuning up, and the next thing you know we were surrounded by the crowd. So we just stayed put right up front, and it seemed that everyone was there to see Joey. I ran into Paul Davie last Saturday, and he said that the crowd estimate of 650 reported in the newspaper was way low, that there were closer to 900 people squeezed in there.

Paul Davie:At about 9:30pm (about 10 minutes later than the program schedule…oh well!) the station’s morning disc jockey introduced Joey.

Photo by Gary Stopyra
(L to R) Paul Davie • Joey Molland • Tommy Allen
Photo by Gary Stopyra
 

When Joey played those wonderful “power chords” opening Baby Blue, I cannot describe the experience. The absolute rush of pure joy, passion, adrenaline and energy that went through every muscle, vein and nerve in my body was (dare I say it) a SPIRITUAL experience. I was SO sore the next day from a pleasure filled exhaustion!

We were all nervous, but prepared. Even though we rehearsed for less than an hour that afternoon, we were MENTALLY ready. All five of us in the group made mistakes here and there, but they were mainly what the Germans call ‘the startzenstops.’ Everything else was actually quite professional.

(Props to my teammates Gary Frenay on rhythm guitar/bass, Arty Lenin on lead/rhythm, Dave Novak on acoustic rhythm and Tommy Allen on drums).

Photo by Gary Stopyra
(L to R) Arty Lenin • Joey Molland

Joe Pellegrino: It was plain to see that everyone was having a great time at the Beatles 40th celebration in Liverpool, NY. For me it was fantastic being surrounded by all the Beatles memorabilia and all the rare record albums on sale. But to top that off, an appearance of Joey Molland and Terry Sylvester was more than us fans could ask for. What a great break for us in the middle of one of the toughest winters the east coast has seen in years. Amazingly, the weather was cooperating for once!

Photo by Rick Kellogg
(L to R) Paul Davie • Joey Molland • Gary Frenay

The Fab Five were very good and it sounded like they certainly did their (Badƒinger) homework in the eight numbers they performed with Joe. As you saw, Joey opened with that powerful rendition of Baby Blue and it got the crowed really pumped up. Secondly, the band went into a driving performance of Suitcase which was modeled after Badƒinger's early version and even included the descending piano riff in the beginning. Next up was Joey's obligatory performance of Come and Get It which went over quite well. And Day After Day had all those elements which make that song so great, including Mike Gibbins' signature drum fills being played accurately by the solid drummer Tommy Allen, brought in from NYC. After this, the pace slowed down a bit with a smooth rendition of Money/Flying (which even had the psychedelic element added by Joey's seasoned guitar work). Then Joey's Long Long Way Back Home became a welcome addition that again got everyone swaying to the music.

Paul Davie continues: We got the crowd going on Baby Blue, and Joey warmed the crowd a bit with his chat and charm. I flew behind to the piano to start Suitcase, only to run back up on bass sing harmony on this, my FAVORITE Joey tune. Funny thing though…WE FORGOT TO REHEARSE IT earlier in the day. Oh well…that’s rock n roll! Video footage that I got showed it really wasn’t too bad. Kinda fast, but fairly tight with quite a few f-ups on bass. Sorry everyone...I was still a little nervous!

Next I relinquished the Hofner bass to Gary, to go back on piano for a few more songs. Joey wanted me to start off Come and Get It faster than the record, so I obliged. It made for a great crowd pleaser. (My running joke to Joe was that I hadn’t played piano for 15 years, so I had “10 Badƒingers” and to bear with me!) Our version with Joe was REALLY good for that.

Another song I was looking forward to was Day After Day. We rehearsed that one more than any other. We REALLY wanted to nail down the beautiful harmonies and Arty did wonderful slide work a la’ George Harrison. (Arty is Syracuse’s version of “the guy in town who can play anything in any key” after he hears it once. Scary. Really.) I am certain Joe was happy playing that one with a competent guitarist.

Photo by Rick Kellogg

Tommy Allen (guest drummer from the Flashcubes interjects): As a Badƒinger fanatic, I was overjoyed to be performing with Joey at the Liverpool gig... He is a fantastic human being and a kick-ass musician!!!! ....As we played Day After Day, I felt as though someone had plopped a needle down on the record!!!! ....Most definitely a musical highlight for me!!!

Paul Davie: Right! We were also serious in the arrangement of instruments, in our quest to sound ‘just like the record’. Our Fab Five “big brother” DAVE NOVAK added a second acoustic guitar and lovely harmonies. Dave was the first in Syracuse to wear the Beatles haircut while playing in the top local pop group in town, that opened for THE ANIMALS and THE BEACH BOYS in the early 60’s. And, our friend ED McBARRON played percussion all evening…and was just as much in heaven as the rest of us. His cowbells, bongos, maracas and hand claps (like the breaks on No Matter What) added authenticity that was very appreciated.

Photo by Rick Kellogg

Now we move to Money/Flying, which we, as a group only rehearsed once with an unfamiliar chord change to a key lower than the record. Again, we noticed but I don’t think anyone in the crowd noticed. Gary & Arty are full time professional musicians here in Syracuse, and had played five gigs in four days before the concert. Their throats were sore, but they pulled out amazing harmonies, of which I think Joey appreciated. Kudos to G&A for hanging in there.

Joey intro’d Long Way Back Home from "The Pilgrim" and we automatically started rocking to it. Arty had the accompaniments down solid. The crowd responded well and even danced to that non-radio pop gem. That says a lot for this conservative town called Syracuse, believe me.

Then came the power-house hits. Without You featured Arty singing lead IN THE ORIGINAL KEY, FOLKS! Joey’s lower harmonies and bluesy guitar was again…magical.

Joe Pellegrino: Joey then explained to the crowd that when another song was needed to fill the "No Dice" LP, their manager Bill Collins suggested putting together two songs that Pete and Tom wrote that became Without You. Joey did sing backup vocals on this, but the lead was handled by the guitarist with the Fab Five. All to soon it was ending with a tight version of No Matter What which of course got the crowed reeling once again.

Paul Davie: I jumped off the piano, and back to my prized 1965 Hofner to join Joey for what I consider Badƒinger’s signature tune No Matter What. Oh my God! The room was pulsating with energy. Arty again came to the forefront with great slide work and Joey’s “supplemental” guitar playing. The harmonies were glorious. I FELT for a moment like we were Badƒinger!


The Post-Standard

Saturday, February 7, 2004
The Fab Five make Liverpool thrive

By Mark Bialczak - Staff writer

The history hanging over the room Friday night at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Liverpool certainly was significant. Most of the folks in the packed room were around when the Beatles came to America for the first time to go on "The Ed Sullivan Show" 40 years ago. So they came to the show, billed by Syracuse radio station WSEN as "From Liverpool U.K. to Liverpool, U.S.A.," to celebrate the British Invasion with all of their might.

But a cool thing happened when Syracuse band The Fab Five belted out two sets of Beatles tunes and more, then backed up Terry Sylvester of The Hollies and Joey Molland of Badfinger. The music was great in the here-and-now. When Sylvester sang The Hollies' hit Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress, the room throbbed because the song still pulsed with energy. When Molland sang Badfinger's hit No Matter What, fans swayed along because the beat still moved them.

Sylvester's voice was a little rougher around the edges than in the days when The Air That I Breathe and He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother first carried across America's airwaves, but he had more than enough star power to dazzle. Molland's voice sounded amazingly similar to the days when Come and Get It and Day After Day made fans wonder "is that the Beatles?"

Yet Central New York's stars, the five guys in The Fab Five, truly made the whole night work. Guitarist-singers Gary Frenay, Arty Lenin and Dave Novak, bassist Paul Davie and drummer Dave Miller were dead-right with their Beatles harmonies and pretty near perfect with the stuff they played from The Zombies, The Animals and Gerry and the Pacemakers, too.

"We're The Fab Five, and we don't do makeovers," Davie told the crowd in a wink-of-the-eye to the new generation's Fab Five, the crew in the TV show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." But it was a crowd more familiar with the Fab Four.

After that first set, the fivesome pulled off a great idea with style. They strung together the songs the Liverpool boys played on "The Ed Sullivan Show" Feb. 9, 16 and 23, 1964, and Sept. 12, 1965. As they warmed the room with All My Loving, I Saw Her Standing There, This Boy, Twist and Shout, Yesterday and more, it was easy to close your eyes and imagine John, Paul, George and Ringo earning all those shrieks from teen-age girls four decades ago.

Then, with the help of drummer Tommy Allen, who drove up from New York City to join his old bandmates from The Flashcubes and Screen Test, Frenay and Lenin, the Central New York gang joined Molland and then Sylvester. They practically out-Badƒingered Badƒinger and out-Hollied The Hollies so strong were their renditions.

Molland and Sylvester generously complimented the local crew, deservedly so. When The Fab Five travels to London in August as one of seven U.S. bands to participate in International Beatle Week, U.K. fans who catch their act in the famous Cavern Club should be impressed, too.

© 2004 The Post-Standard
Photo by Rick Kellogg
Photo by Gary Stopyra
Photo by Rick Kellogg
Photo by Rick Kellogg

I MUST say that I was FLOORED the next day when Mr. Bialczak said that The Fab Five “practically out-Badƒingered Badƒinger”. I thought it would piss off Joey. But I was assured by my new found Badƒinger Web Ringer friends not to worry about it, and to be proud. After watching the raw video, I actually am proud. (Before you all ask for copies, I have to FIRST send Joe (and Terry) a copy before I can do anything with it. You understand, right?!)

Back to the concert now…

Then Joey signed off to enjoy the crowd and sign autographs so that Terry could come up for his part of the show. But there were more surprises to come.

Joe Pellegrino: Fortunately Joey didn't finish his set here, as he got up and joined Terry Sylvester on the last two songs of the evening (which were standard rockers). It was great seeing them sing harmonies and kidding around together just like old times. Of course Joey was playing great guitar riffs throughout all of this. Again, I don't think we could have asked for more as afterward Joey and Terry were so friendly to their fans signing just about anything.

Rick, it was a pleasure to meet you. I would have like to meet some of the other fans that have made comments on the guest books, but as you know, the place was jam packed and apparently all 1000 tickets were sold. When I went out to my car mid-show, a guy even approached me to buy my ticket....

Paul Davie: Joey came back after Terry’s set-closing monster hit He Ain’t Heavy (He’s My Brother) to join his childhood schoolmate for a couple of standards from the “Cavern Club Days” – Terry’s 1964 hit with The Swinging Blue Jeans Hippy Hippy Shake, and The Beatle-esque version of Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven.

Photo by Rick Kellogg
(L to R) Paul Davie • Terry Sylvester • Dave Miller (drums) • Joey Molland • Gary Frenay

Oh lordy…you know the place was rockin’…going ‘round and ‘round. So much joy. So much energy. These two legends of popular music were acting like they were 18 again. They both even duck walked during Beethoven! With these two songs, whatever mistakes were made musically were TOTALLY over looked. The crowd was BEGGING for more at the end.

And imagine how I felt during those last two songs…seeing Joey wear our “Fab Five/Dreams Can Come True” T-shirt (that we are selling to help pay for the expensive airfare to Liverpool in August), and backing him up at the same time. As they say in the VISA commercials…PRICELESS!

Lastly, I must extend my thanks to Mr. Molland for giving The Fab Five the thrill of a lifetime, and to Kathie Molland for our chats on the phone. These two people are truly “salt of the earth”. They have given me a gift that will last a lifetime.

Paul Davie – THE FABFIVE

Liverpool, NY - USA (February 17, 2004)

  www.thefab-five.com  

Photo by Gary Stopyra
Liverpudlians : Joey Molland and Terry Sylvester

Rick Kellogg: The show ended just about 11:30 PM, (a half hour late!) but no one was ready to quit! After a few minutes wait, both Terry and Joey came out and sat at a table to sign autographs and chat with everyone, and they even kept a running conversation on going with each other... There were dozens of fans waiting to speak with each of them, but the pace was not hurried.

I was able to chat with Terry first and I asked him sign my "Hollies" album. (The 1974 release with the song The Air That I Breathe on it). I then spoke with Joe and handed him my 1983 "After The Pearl" LP. Joe grabbed the album and said: "Terry! Terry! Look! MY ALBUM...." Terry just smiled and said: "Yeah Joe... That was a good one." I asked Joe to sign the album right over the 'pearl' on the cover. That is when Joe asked me if I knew what the 'pearl' was. I didn't have a clue and Joe explained that when this album was recorded in Columbus, Ohio, the art director went to Ohio State University and borrowed from the Science Lab a large planet from a 3-D model of the solar system. Ah! Now we know...

photo by Christi
Joe signs Brian's guitar

My son, Brian brought his 2001 Les Paul blue Quilt-top Classic guitar and had Joe sign it on the back cover plate. Joe really liked the guitar, especially the deep blue color, and spent some time looking it over and talking with Brian about it.


Hey Brian, All the Best - Joey Molland - BfR

As everything was finally winding down, a group of us gathered at a large round table. We caught up with the latest news and talked about the show. Seated at the table were: Melanie and Gary Stopyra, Gary's brother, Rik, Sandi and Mike from New Jersey, Christi, Brian and myself - then at various times, Terry Sylvester and his wife, Diane, Arty Lenin, Paul Davie, and Joey Molland joined us.

Diane and Terry stopped by first and we were all soon laughing at the stories that Terry was telling. He told us that Joey idolized him - he was Joey's hero. He remembered Joe as a early teen, pressing his nose to the glass window watching Terry practice with his band. (Later, Joe nodding, confirmed the story, with a smile... "Yeah! Terry's older and I looked up to him. I wanted to be in a band like him.")

When Joe joined us at the table, the stories really started to flow! Both Terry and Joe played off each other, telling jokes, recalling roadie mis-adventures, Terry's animated Paul McCartney impersonations and his thoughts on why the Hollies are not in the R'n'R Hall of Fame, yet.... Joe also told us that he liked to read mystery stories and when traveling, visit antique stores in the area. This is when Joe related a funny story that happened a day earlier at a radio interview. "Terry and I were doing an interview on the WSEN radio station. Between commercial breaks, I asked her casually where all the porn shops where in Syracuse. Her eyes went wide and her mouth dropped open for a moment in complete shock. I had to explain to her that I had said P-A-W-N shops, not porn shops..."

At about 2:30 AM, we all decided that it was time to call it quits for the night. Plans were quickly formulated to meet up with Joe on Saturday, as he was staying over for a flight out on Sunday. Brian, Christi and I already had other plans and we were not able to join the group, but everyone else met up with Joe on Saturday afternoon and evening.

Gary Stopyra wraps it up: Well, that was some show, and a great weekend too! We did hook up with Joe on Saturday, after he had lunch with Terry Sylvester and Terry and his wife left for Toronto. We browsed the antiques at the Syracuse Antiques Exchange, had dinner, then hung out at my house for a few hours. Later we went to the Dinosaur BBQ where blues artist Joe Whiting was playing, and had a late snack. Sandi and Mike were with us, as well as my brother Rik. I thought we might hear from you, but since you were busy, it wasn't a complete surprise. Great show! Good friends! Fantastic weekend! We should all do this again!

  Links to Check Out  

  www.joeymolland.com     www.thefab-five.com  
  www.terrysylvester.com     www.theflashcubes.com  
  Frenay & Lenin Music Page  
  More of Gary's Excellent Photos on Barb's Badƒinger Boogie  

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