Spotlight Central
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Spotlight Central

“He Always Keeps Us Coming Back for More!” Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone LIVE! at The Strand Lakewood

By Spotlight Central. Photos by Love Imagery

In Herman’s Hermits’ 1966 Top 10 hit, “Leaning on a Lamp Post,” lead singer Peter Noone croons:

I’m leaning on the lamp post at the corner of the street

In case a certain little lady comes by

Oh me, oh my…

In case a certain little lady comes by

Oh, she’s wonderful, she’s marvelous, she’s fabulous, she’s beautiful

And anyone can understand why

I’m leaning on the lamp post at the corner of the street

In case a certain little lady comes by

Fast forward to Oct. 6, 2018, and we’re leaning on a lamp post at the corner of Clifton Ave. and Fourth St. outside Lakewood, NJ’s historic Strand Theater, where we’re here to chat with a bevy of “wonderful,” “marvelous,” “fabulous,” and “beautiful” Peter Noone fans who call themselves The Noonatics!

Oh me, oh my…

Why?

Because Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits will be making a rare NJ Shore appearance here tonight at the Strand!

First, on this balmy Fall evening, we chat with Donna from Middlesex — a fan who has seen Noone over 30 times. Donna tells us she enjoys his shows because of his “spontaneity with audiences,” as well as his “impersonations and comedy.”

Elaine from Morris Plains — who has seen Noone over 150 times — is proud to be a Peter Noone fan explaining, “Peter is always very kind to his fans,” and revealing, “One of my favorite memories is taking my sons to see Peter in 1988 when they were seven and ten years old and they had their picture taken with him. Recently, however, when Peter was performing locally, my sons joined me again and Peter graciously offered to recreate the picture!”

Stephanie — here in NJ all the way from Portsmouth, VA — has seen Noone in concert over 250 times, and says she is not only a fan because she enjoys his music, but also because he “mingles with the audience” and even “remembers his fans by name.”

Ernie — Stephanie’s self-described “husband, driver, and photographer” — adds, “I enjoy his shows, too. I listened to him on the radio when I was a kid.”

When asked how he and his better half became such devoted fans, Ernie explains, “Stephanie and I saw Peter Noone at an oldies show where he was the headliner and, later on at a music festival, we got to meet him. When Stephanie was talking to him, Peter told her about his website and chat room and that was the end of my life as I knew it! That was about 18 years ago and we have been following him ever since! And we’ve made lifelong friends from following him, too, so each performance is a social event as well as a concert.”

Joanne from Montvale, who has seen Herman’s Hermits over 100 times in person, calls Peter Noone a “great entertainer” in addition to being “easy on the eyes.” She also appreciates the musical talent of his bandmates — notably Rich Spina on keyboards, and Billy Sullivan on guitar — noting, “Rich and Billy did a benefit concert in Cleveland in 2015 and we even traveled to see them.”

When asked about her infatuation with Noone, Joanne replies, “Peter Noone was my Justin Bieber! Back in 2012, when I saw he would be performing at the IZOD Center, I said, ‘We gotta go.’ Afterwards, I was in line to meet him and I thought I was going to pass out. I was giddy like a teenager. My knees were weak. I bought a T-shirt and got to meet him, and since then, I’ve been hooked!”

Joanne’s husband, Russ, adds, “I like to go to the concerts, too, because then I get to go somewhere I would never have gone otherwise,” revealing, “We’ve been to places like Houston, Las Vegas, and Charlotte — and it’s all been great!”

As a group, the Noonatics tell us about their most memorable Peter Noone concert — one which was slated to take place at The Festival of Ballooning in Readington, NJ, but was called off because of torrential rains. That notwithstanding, the friends showed up anyway where, according to the group, “Peter showed up in a pair of jeans and a shirt with his acoustic guitar and played for the 15–20 people who showed up there. It was like a private concert!”

Just prior to showtime, we enter the historic Strand Theater and take our seats in the venue’s immaculately restored auditorium. Here, concert promotor James D’Amico welcomes the crowd and introduces tonight’s opening act — a seven piece cover band from Brooklyn entitled Just Us.

With their big rockin’ sound, Just Us entertains the crowd with songs such as Chicago’s “Make Me Smile,” The Eagles’ “Take It Easy,” Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ in the Years” and an audience favorite — a medley of funk songs which include Average White Band’s “Pick Up the Pieces” and The Soul Survivors’ “Expressway to Your Heart.”

The band really gets the crowd revved up — dancing and clapping along — on their uptempo rendition of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.”

Following a short intermission and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, D’Amico introduces tonight’s headliners — Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone!

The Noonatics in the audience wave glow sticks and British flags as lights flash and Peter Noone and the other members of Herman’s Hermits — Vance Brescia and Billy Sullivan on guitars, Rich Spina on keyboards/bass, and Dave Ferrara on drums — take the stage to wild applause. With a backdrop featuring an enormous British flag, the group launches into their first number — Herman’s Hermits’ 1964 smash, “Something Tells Me I’m Into Something Good.”

As the crowd joyfully sings along, Noone and the band segue into their 1965 hit — a remake of Sam Cooke’s 1960 tune — “Wonderful World,” after which Peter introduces his musicians and moves on to a rockin’ cover version of the Clovers’ 1959 Leiber/Stoller classic, “Love Potion № 9.”

In a comedic segment, Noone mentions how, growing up as a lad in England, it was always a “dream” of his to play the Strand Theater in Lakewood, NJ. After noting that following the Pledge of Allegiance, the curtain opened to show a huge British flag, Peter shows his socks with flags on them!

One of socks is adorned with a British flag, but the other one displays an American flag!

After a jaunty version of Herman’s Hermits’ 1966 tune, “Dandy,” Noone and Co. follow up with their 1966 recording, “A Must to Avoid.”

Audience members clap along as Noone plays harmonica and sings Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” Then, Peter comes down into the audience to perform “Leaning On a Lamp Post” — all while covering his face with an LP album photo of a young Peter taken on TV’s The Ed Sullivan Show.

Quickly moving on to a rollicking rendition of Frankie Ford’s “Sea Cruise,” the audience sings and dances in the aisles while Noone and keyboardist Rich Spina have fun onstage.

Noone races all the way up into the Strand balcony while singing The Beatles’ “All My Loving,” where one audience member can’t contain herself and goes up to him to give him a kiss!

Back on stage, standing between his guitar mates, he and the boys perform The Hermits’ rockin’ 1965 hit, “A Little Bit Better,” while Vance Brescia high kicks as he plays!

Hands wave on Peter’s cue on Herman’s Hermits’ 1965 remake of The Rays’ hit, “Silhouettes.” The group follows that up with their 1966 smash, “Listen People,” it’s “Everybody’s got to love somebody sometime” message clearly resonating with this Jersey crowd.

Stating this is “our 107th concert this year,” Noone promises to sing a new song tonight and then rips his set list off the floor and attaches it to his microphone stand before lamenting, “I can’t read my own writing!” Here, he launches into an updated comedic version of the classic Herman’s Hermits’ tune, “Travelin’ Light,” crooning, “Travelin’ light, travelin’ light/I’m at the Strand Theater in Lakewood, New Jersey tonight.”

After the crowd shows their love for his quirky sense of humor, Noone quickly segues into a stellar rendition of his 1967 hit, “No Milk Today,” his green electric guitar still in hand.

Dedicating his next number “to all the fans who have followed Herman’s Hermits since the beginning,” the spotlight focuses on Peter as he performs a heartfelt and poignant rendition of his 1965 ballad, “End of the World.”

Following cheers and applause, the group performs a spirited version of their 1965 #2 Billboard hit, “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat.” As Billy Sullivan and Noone dance around during the instrumental break, the Noonatics clap overhead in time with Peter and the band.

The entire crowd sings along on the group’s 1965 #1 smash, “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,” and they also join in on another 1965 Herman’s Hermits’ #1 hit, “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am.” Creating a singing competition among various sections of the auditorium, Noone has the audience standing, singing, and swaying by the end of this energetic number!

To conclude the evening’s festivities, Noone and the Hermits entertain the crowd with their final number, a nostalgic rendition of their classic 1967 recording, “There’s a Kind of Hush.”

After singing along to this enjoyable feel-good tune, the audience rewards Noone and the Hermits with a final standing ovation!

Noone takes a selfie with the audience. Then, he and the band bow and Noone exclaims, “Have a great life!” before making his way through the audience, shaking hands, and out into the lobby to sign autographs.

As audience members follow Noone out into the lobby, we chat with several fans who share their thoughts with us on tonight’s concert.

Comments Donna from Toms River, “Peter Noone was just great tonight! I’ve seen him three or four times and he always does a good show. He’s funny and entertaining, which always makes it a treat to get to see him perform.”

Jim from Freehold remarks, “I loved this show! Peter Noone puts his heart into it. You can tell he’s not just going through the motions.”

Lori from Toms River agrees declaring, “Peter Noone was great! This is the second time I’ve seen him here at The Strand. He’s hysterical — I love his jokes — and my favorite song tonight was ‘Henry the VIII.’”

We also get a chance to catch up with The Noonatics, starting with Donna from Middlesex, who says, “He was in rare form tonight — he was really great!”

Elaine from Morris Plains concurs stating, “Peter never disappoints. He sings the songs you want to hear just the way you remember them!”

Stephanie from Portsmouth VA, remarks, “Tonight’s show was great — funny and full of energy!”

Lastly, we chat with Joanne from Montvale who exclaims, “Peter was great, as usual! He has so much energy, he puts us younger people to shame,” before concluding, “He always keeps us coming back for more.”

For further information about Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone, please go to peternoone.com. To learn more about future performances at The Strand — including A Golden Oldies Spectacular with The Brooklyn Bridge, Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and Uncle Floyd on Oct. 27; Tavares, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, and Just Us on Nov. 3; The Machine Performs Pink Floyd on Nov. 17, and Kashmir, The Live Led Zeppelin Show on Dec. 15 — please go to strand.org.

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