Written by: Michael Roman
In New York’s Upper West Side, nestled between the lamppost-lit pathways of Central Park and the townhouses made famous in “When Harry Met Sally” sits the legendary Beacon Theatre, site of 200-plus sell out shows for the The Allman Brothers and the Rolling Stones stage in the Martin Scorsese-directed rockumentary “Shine a Light.”
Last night, the stage lights shined brightly over the ManDoki Soulmates, comprised of German-Hungarian musician and producer Leslie Mandoki, Bobby Kimball of Toto, Nick Van Eede of Cutting Crew, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band vocalist Chris Thompson as well as legendary saxophonist John Halliwell of Supertramp, trumpet extraordinaire Randy Brecker, saxophonist Bill Evans and Grammy winning jazz pianist Cory Henry as the band played to a lively audience in a concert benefiting the MusiCares foundation, supporting members of the music community in need.
Born behind the Iron Curtain, Mandoki opened the show by talking about his childhood, longing for freedom and tolerance, the idea of playing music in a city like New York that was so fantastical a dream, it seemed impossible. Yet all these years later, here the man played, sharing the stage with Grammy winners, performing top 10 hits and new originals, and taking the opportunity to remind the audience that in these politically divisive times, it is music that unites us.
Song after song, hit after hit, highlighted the musical dexterity and expertise of those assembled on stage–whether it was Randy Brecker’s Dizzy Gillespie-esque solos, Cory Henry’s deft command of the Hammond, Bobby Kimball’s effortless vocal range on “Rosanna,” or Nick Van Eede’s acoustic open to his 80’s hit “I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight”.
On this night, these citizens of the world called the Beacon their home.
For those assembled it was clear that home is not only where the heart is, but where the hits play and never sound better.