Show Spotlight: TOMASINA

“I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier…”

Lead singer Tomasina, bass player Jim and guitarist Johnny performing at Tomorrowland Terrace.

Lead singer Tomasina, bass player Jim and guitarist Johnny performing at Tomorrowland Terrace.

What is TOMASINA?

Lead guitar player Robert and Tomasina at Halloweentime.

Lead guitar player Robert and Tomasina at Halloweentime.

Even the band name is so much larger than life it needs to be shouted: TOMASINA!

TOMASINA is one of the recurring bands that performs at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland Terrace and is the most rock ‘n roll show you will find at the Resort. Their main repertoire ranges from Led Zeppelin to AC/DC to Guns ‘n Roses, but even when they’re mixing it up playing Lady Gaga or Bruno Mars, somehow it’s still rock ‘n roll to me.

And yet, they’re also one of the most glam shows here too, thanks to the amazing fashion stylings of the one and only lead singer, Tomasina! Some of the favorite moments of any TOMASINA show are the seconds as the stage rises for the first set, when you wonder: what on earth will she (or the band if it’s a special occasion like Halloween) wear tonight?!

Who are the performers?

Robert, Jim, Tomasina, Johnny and keyboardist Steven dressing up as their favorite rock stars for Halloween!

Robert, Jim, Tomasina, Johnny and keyboardist Steven dressing up as their favorite rock stars for Halloween!

TOMASINA is one of the larger bands playing in this space as it consists of lead singer Tomasina, lead guitar player and singer Robert, bass player Jim, drummer Pat, as well as a second guitar player (this position may be filled depending on the availability of various musicians but lately has often been Johnny), and a keyboardist (another position that is also often filled with any of several terrific instrumentalists).

When and where can I find them? Continue reading

British Revolution and Sounds Like Summer – Getting Your Cover Jam on at EPCOT

British Revolution performing at the UK Pavilion in EPCOT.

British Revolution performing at the UK Pavilion in EPCOT.

British Revolution was one of the few acts to survive the recent massive overhaul of EPCOT World Showcase entertainment that resulted in the departures of many popular performing groups including Canada pavilion’s beloved Off-Kilter (to be featured next week!).

I’m relieved and happy that these guys are still performing as they were a definite must-watch when I’ve visited EPCOT. I hadn’t even planned to stop the last time I visited the World Showcase but hearing that they were playing as I was passing through the United Kingdom pavilion, the lure of their music and their energy was too great and I had to go and watch and sing along and yes, maybe dance a bit off to the back!

Honestly, seeing these guys was like a touch of home for me as they reminded me of bands that I love at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure like The 80z All-Stars and The Mad T Party band.

They play a fun selection of music from various British rock icons ranging from The Beatles to The Who to Queen and I can’t pay a higher compliment than to say that they made me stop and watch them and I just had to groove along with them.  That’s the definition of great entertainment for me. I really liked these guys a lot each time I saw them and would definitely recommend stopping by the UK Pavilion at EPCOT to check them out!

But if you’re looking for an additional, wider range of music this summer, you might also want to head for the America Gardens Theater at the American Adventure in World Showcase from June 7 to July 25 where several tribute bands will be participating in the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series! Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: CC Springfield @ The 80z All-Stars

“Sometimes I feel I’ve got to run away…”

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Now this guy was the other reason I originally went to see The 80z All-Stars perform at Tomorrowland Terrance at Disneyland – CC Springfield is one of the substitute guitar players for the band. Sporting the classic heavy-metal hairdo that clashes with his sweet, goofy smile, CC is a great guitar player who I’m always happy to see playing with the band!

What I like most about this guy when he’s playing with 80z is that he just seems to so enjoy the escapism of playing into that 1980’s style. But there’s also an endearing kind of shyness about him onstage as one of those “quiet ones” that makes him a good balance to the more extroverted performers in the band like lead singer Nigel and bass player Devo 2.0. It’s like he’s both a little embarrassed by the silliness of it all but still secretly really enjoys the freedom of its expression too. And when he relaxes and just smiles, you can’t help but want to smile back!

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It doesn’t mean he can’t take the spotlight when it’s given to him, but his best moments are those more quiet ones where he can just relax and forget everything and just play the guitar. He’s one of those internal performers that plays the music for himself rather than for the audience. I always find that harder to relate to, but in this case, he’s worth the effort to notice and pay attention. Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Devo 2.0 @ The 80z All-Stars

“If there was a problem, yo, I’ll solve it…”

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Let me start by saying that there is no performance… by anyone… anywhere… that makes me as ridiculously, giddily, grinning-from-ear-to-ear-like-an-idiot happy as Devo 2.0 performing “Ice Ice Baby”.

The sheer audacious, totally committed honest absurdity of this performance is either the most meta commentary on the cheesiness of 1980’s pop culture – or it is someone having such a simply perfect time enjoying himself being so retro-not-cool-cool – or perhaps both at once, that I bow down in utter devo-tion (ha!) and respect.

Now if you read the article on the band that Devo 2.0 performs with at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland Terrace, The 80z All-Stars, you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about a rap song when Devo is the bass player of the group. Well, it’s because on many (and happily most) performing nights, lead singer Nigel graciously gives over the stage to the pure beautiful fromage that is Devo 2.0’s awesome rapping and DANCING ability to the Vanilla Ice hit.

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I will grant that Devo is also an awesome bass player. I love to watch his hands work their magic and listen to him play, but the man was born to perform and even when I try to focus on the music, it’s his utter love of being on the stage and interacting with the crowd that is clearly his greatest joy and greatest gift as a performer.

So here we go again: PEACOCK ALERT! Yeah, I can’t help what appeals to me most onstage. Continue reading

Show Spotlight: The 80z All-Stars

“Oh, baby, please! Give a little respect to me!”

Nigel, CC Springfield and Devo 2.0 of The 80z All-Stars

Nigel, CC Springfield and Devo 2.0 of The 80z All-Stars

So the last two weeks we went a little bit country, now it’s time to go a little bit rock n’ roll! And one of the best ways I know is to enjoy some great 80’s pop and rock music with The 80z All-Stars, who are one of the best of the regular performing groups at Tomorrowland Terrace in Disneyland. It’s no wonder they have a very dedicated and adoring fanbase!

What is The 80z All-Stars?

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The 80z All-Stars is an awesome band who sing all manner of hit songs from the 1980’s from Billy Idol to Prince to Bon Jovi – and they do it in proper 80’s style and fashion!

The band has their own choreography to the music with some signature crowd-pleasing moves.

Who are the performers?

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The 80z All-Stars main lineup includes:

Nigel – the endlessly energetic man of a multitude of multicolored wigs on lead vocals

The Karate Kid – the drummer who rocks that 80z beat for the audience to dance along with

The forever cool Jamie Starr on guitar

And the one and only Devo 2.0 – a bass player who walks the line between the sublime and the ridiculous with far too much ease and who manages to make the fangirls both laugh and swoon simultaneously with just the wink of his eye!

The band sometimes has substitute musicians jamming with them, and 80z has one of the deepest benches when it comes to guitar players that I’ve ever seen! Honestly, they’re all so terrific that my ideal 80z show would probably have a different guitar player for each set because I always want to see them all! They each bring their own 80z vibe, but a few particular favorites would definitely include CC Springfield, Eugene, Mr. Roboto and QBert. There’s just a crazy amount of talent this group has to play with!

When and where can I find them? Continue reading

Top 10 Other Things That Could Be Done With the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree

Returning once again to the underused space of the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree (fka the Festival Arena) makes me think of all of the potential this area has. And yet, so often, events or shows don’t work here well enough to draw a lot of guests to this somewhat distant location in the park.

It may be due to the size of the space that overwhelms most shows. Or the limited, shorter-term options for seasonal events that may fill the area, but not *inhabit* it.

But it just seems to me, in my own personal opinion, that there are so many possibilities for transforming this area into something really exciting and interesting and, dare I say it – magical!

First, a look back at what hasn’t worked here:

  • Semi-permanent shows like our dearly missed Billy Hill & the Hillbillies (to be spotlighted at a later date) who I wish had never been moved out of their perfect fit home in the Golden Horseshoe Saloon as they worked so much better in that more intimate atmosphere
  • Temporary shows like The Music of: Nashville or the 2014 Christmas melodrama (to be spotlighted at a later date) – as much as I enjoyed the Nashville show in particular, it didn’t bring a lot of people over to this far corner of the park
  • Visiting school bands and choirs – these shows seem to work so much better on the Backlot stage in the easier to get to Hollywood Land area of Disney California Adventure and they gather more “traffic” there

Okay, so what has worked here?

  • Holiday celebrations like the pumpkin carvers and villains Meet & Greets at Halloween or visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Christmas or the recent Spring Roundup with Disney rabbit characters entice people to head over here for these brief periods
  • Long Lost Friends weeks with rare character Meet & Greets (to be spotlighted at a later date) filled this space every day with hour-long+ lines
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – Sneak Peek 3D movie preview featuring various pirate-y entertainment including an appearance by Captain Jack Sparrow – one of the best uses of this space that I can recall in ages!

But since it’s been several years since such a fun event like the Pirates preview has occurred and the seasonal events leave this area often closed or underused for much of the rest of the year, here are some off-the-top-of-my-head personal ideas of what this area could be more productively used for year-round instead: Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Dapper David @ The Dapper Dans of Disneyland

“Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream…”

Stepping away from the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree area and out onto Main Street today for a look at another terrifically talented member of The Dapper Dans of Disneyland – this time, it’s lead vocalist Dapper David!

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So remember when I said I have a bad habit of missing the quiet ones because the first entertainers I always notice and who so quickly steal my fannish heart are the really flashy “peacock” performers who step up and immediately grab your attention and never let go?

Well… PEACOCK ALERT!

Dapper David performing the “Limited Time Magic” boy band medley.

Dapper David performing the “Limited Time Magic” boy band medley.

Dapper David was one of the very first Dapper Dans who stood out for me and really made me take notice of him. He has such charisma and is a great singer and dancer. It’s hard to take your eyes off of him when he’s performing – he is such a showman! Continue reading