The One and Only Billy Shears

Last Monday night, we stayed up late for a concert at the Aladdin Theater in Portland. It was a touring production called Beatles vs. Stones, in which a pair of dueling tribute bands paying homage to these influential British rock groups squared off against one another in a fun competition to answer the question, which band was better? The tickets were a birthday gift to Tara, and she finally got to enjoy her present three and a half months after her actual b-day. She’s a big fan of both groups, as am I, so I figured it would be a fun evening. We were not disappointed.

“It’s wonderful to be here,” I told Tara. “It’s certainly a thrill.”

Each band performed three sets from different eras, changing into outfits to reflect each time period. For instance, Abbey Road (aka The Beatles) started out dressed for the Ed Sullivan show in their very proper English suits and mop-top haircuts, then came back out in Sgt. Pepper attire for the next set, and so on. All the music was great, and everybody really got into character. It’s hard to pick a winner, but I’d say Abbey Road nailed the music best (especially fake-George-Harrison’s blistering rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”) while Satisfaction’s (The Rolling Stones) Mick Jagger lookalike/soundalike was an absolute dead ringer for the real deal, and aced every little mannerism, right down to the patented strut. They took turns trading lighthearted jabs at one another through their witty stage banter (e.g., “Mick’s got a big mouth”). It was all a ton of fun. I am normally not a fan of going out on a Monday night, but in this case it was totally worth the lack of sleep.

If these guys come to your town, check ’em out!

I mentioned in a previous post about stopping in at Prairie Berry Winery on our visit to Rapid City last month and enjoying the wine so much, we came back with 10 bottles. When I said that South Dakota had surprisingly good wine, one of my closest friends – that would be you, Heidi – scoffed at the idea. She and her husband live a stone’s throw from Napa Valley (no, not literally; but they do reside in Sacramento, which is probably more like a few stone throws away) and are connoisseurs of wine.

Anyway. Heidi treated the idea of fruit wines with contempt, hardly worthy of residing in a wine rack beside classier numbers like  Chardonnays and Cabernets and Pinot Grigios. Which I really didn’t understand, because a grape is a fruit, right? So aren’t all wines fruit wines?!

Ha. But I get it, though. And I still love you, Heidi. I had the same preconceived bias against “fruit wines” myself, even though my parents brought a bunch back from Florida one time and I thought they were pretty good. But Prairie Berry has won all sorts of local and regional awards, so we kept an open mind when going wine tasting and were very pleased and surprised to find we liked them.

So much so that we placed an online order for a few more bottles the other day, and are having them shipped to us. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, after all, and I really, really want to enjoy a glass or four of their Red Ass Rhubarb with my turkey and trimmings.

(Side note: Why do we call the side dishes and other accompaniments “trimmings”? I suppose I could Google this but I’m feeling too lazy at the moment to bother.)

All this talk of turkey and trimmings and the fact that Thanksgiving is right around the corner reminds me that THANKSGIVING IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. Like, seriously. It’s next week, folks!

Which means I’d better get on the Christmas-present-buying bandwagon, because that ho-ho-holiday is bearing down on us full tilt, as well. Proof of this occurred last night when we were over my parents’ house for dinner. My dad wanted to listen to music, so he put a “sounds of the season” playlist on, thinking it was going to be Veteran’s Day-themed songs. Which would be…John Phillips Sousa marches or something? I’m not sure. Instead, we were treated to Christmas music. After a couple of songs, he turned it off. Can’t say I blame him. As much as I love Christmas music, it felt a little too early yet. Let’s at least get through Thanksgiving first!


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

5 thoughts on “The One and Only Billy Shears

  1. I’m not a huge Beatles or Stones fan, but I have to say, the concert sounds like fun!

    I’m also thinking I wouldn’t like fruit wine, because isn’t it cloyingly sweet? Then again, I love things like raspberry beer, so maybe I would like it!


  2. Mark, the concert sounded FAAAAAAAABULOUS! Love the costumes!

    I LOVE the look of the wine bottle labels you purchased! I prefer full-bodied and dry red wine, so as long as it wasn’t sweet…I think I would enjoy it.

    I know, can you BELEIVE that Thanksgiving isn next week already?!?! And then Christmas is right around the corner.

    Time flies waaaaaaay too fast.

    Have a super week, my friend!


  3. I would have really enjoyed that concert, it sounds like Tara and you had a blast.

    Thanksgiving is practically here already, and you are right it’s still too early for Christmas music and sales.


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