March 28, 2010 - The
Long Center’s Second Anniversary Party
Center's purple-themed Second
Anniversary Party came off with out a hitch - thanks to party planners
and uber-hostesses Bobbi Topfer and Patty Huffines. The crowd
seethed with local star power, as the well-heeled and recently elected
mingled with live entertainment fans of every stripe on Saturday, March
At the tented VIP pre-party, the
open bars pumped out the drinks while Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel held court on the stage, joined by special guests that
included Rick Trevino and W.C.Clark. The never-ending trays of
delicious morsels - including foie gras canapes, bacon-wrapped quail,
and lobster-and-grilled-cheese sandwiches - were deftly executed by the
staff of the Four Seasons.
At 8 p.m., the show started in
Dell Hall with a weird opening tableau featuring local theatre legend Judy Arnold -
suspended from the stage framed by Russian silk acrobats and ballet
dancers - singing Prince's "Purple Rain." I got the
idea, but the execution was very strange.
Then after a welcome from Executive
Director Cliff Redd, Hall
& Oates took the stage for a
hit-filled show that had the entire sold-out crowd on its feet. I
saw Hall & Oates perform at the Frank Erwin Center back when I was
in college - when their H2O
album was topping the charts -
and I most remember how little they interacted with the audience, as if
they were afraid to speak directly to their fans. That hasn't
changed, but I realize now they don't need to utter an extra word -
their age-defying music and vocal prowess spoke volumes.
After three standing ovations and
two encores, it was off to the after-parties: food and entertainment
and more open bars, scattered across the Long Center complex.
Asleep at the Wheel returned to the big tent, W.C.
Clark took over one lounge, and the Grooveline Horns held
sway with DJ Manny in the other.
I got a kick out of all the
middle-aged folks lining up 100+ deep to get a free slice of Roppollo's Pizza from the
truck parked on the terrace. I guess when you get too old to go
down to 6th Street or the Warehouse District, you have to get your
Roppollo's fix any time the
opportunity presents itself.
Trust me folks - the Frito pie and
entertainment was much better in the Rollins Theatre, without the
ridiculous line. It was there that Matt Wilson -
sometimes-Austinites and star of the Tony Award-winning Broadway
musical Movin' Out - held the crowd transfixed, seated behind the baby grand
piano and backed by a five piece swing band, belting out rock and
blues. And when Austin legend Kat
Edmondson joined him on the mic,
the night became sublime.
A huge "thank you" to
Shaady, Cliff, and all the Long Center staff for making the evening so
memorable. FYI - Mark Truett, Marketing Director for the Long
Center, told me that the 2010-11 season will be announced in two weeks
- we'll have it first for you the minute all the shows are finalized.
(- Long Center photo by Jerry Hayes, courtesy of
- Hall and Oates photo by Mark Maglio;
- Matt Wilson photo by Angela Gomez.)