On the Road with Mike

Before the NBA season got underway I went to see Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at the PlayhouseSquare’s Palace Theatre in Cleveland Ohio. I come from the same area of North Jersey as Frankie and grew up listening to his music. Frankie is one of my favorite singers of all time, so it was a thrill to see the living legend perform in person. He put on a terrific show that lasted nearly two hours. After the concert Frankie and his manager Dean Egnater joined a small group of my friends for a dinner at Michaelangelo’s in Littly Italy, where chef Michael Annondono prepared a fantastic meal for us.

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On the Road with Mike: Jersey Boys

I’ve remained close with a handful of guys from my old high school crew. We usually try to meet up at the Hackensack High School football game that takes place on Thanksgiving, but I couldn’t make it this year because I was in Atlanta doing the Wizards at Hawks broadcast on TNT. Fortunately I had a night off between Nets games this week, so we were able to grab dinner together at Victor’s Maywood Inn.

Being from Jersey, we all grew up listening to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Someone at the table asked how many of us had seen Jersey Boys. I caught the Broadway production a few years back and thought the performers put on a terrific show; they’re an extremely talented group. My buddy Al, who’s technically an Essex County guy and not a product of Hackensack, was struggling to come up with the name of his favorite tune, which he described as a “slow” song. So we tried to help him out by rattling off all the hits we could think of. Every time someone yelled out a name the entire table started singing the song, and Al would eventually shake his head and cut us off shouting, “No, no –  that’s not it!” overtop our a cappella efforts.

We must have gone through a dozen songs before my friend John remembered that he had the Jersey Boys soundtrack in his car. John retrieved the CD and we went down the play list one by one. Wouldn’t you know Al’s favorite tune wound up being the very last track “Who Loves You.” Safe to say Al’s description was a little misleading – no wonder we never guessed it!

We had a lot of fun catching up and re-telling our favorite stories from back in the day. It’s great that our gang has managed to stay tight over all these years.