The New York Dolls @ South Street Seaport (8/18/2006)

Logo - New York Dolls

Artist: New York Dolls
Label: Roadrunner Records
Venue: South Street Seaport
Date: 8/18/2006
Genre: Glam Rock

On Friday August 18th, I went down to the South Street Seaport Pier 17 in NYC to catch a free outdoor concert by the New York Dolls. It was a beautiful night in the shadow of the Peking (a 1911 four mast merchant sailing ship) that added a bit of ambiance to the show. Feeling the vibe, singer David Johansen wore a pirate’s hat for the first few numbers and thanked all the Pirates for coming to the show. The New York Dolls put on a rocking show that was energetic, raw and woefully under serviced by the seaports low powered, dinky PA. Despite this, The Dolls visibly seemed to be enjoying performing to an enthusiastic crowd that sang along to their classic songs and seemed to be having an equally good time as beer flowed, cool breezes wafted with the faint smell of sea air and seafood.


Johansen strutted and pranced as he delivered his vocals with a raw growl and attitude over the bands rock/boogie blues, punk onslaught. This was a simple, straightforward show with edge. Not super slick and not overly polished, just how I would expect the Dolls to be and just how I like it. Serving up a set that combined classic Dolls numbers along with covers and songs from their current CD “One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This”. The Dolls are a band with attitude, edge, and a sense of humor, wrapped up with an energetic delivery. Steve Conte of Crown Jewels is a NYC in demand session musician & songwriter, who adds some rock/blues licks to fire up the Dolls filling in the vacant guitar slot left by Johnny Thunders. Sylvain and Conte displayed a higher level of musicianship than the Dolls are classically known for. Trading leads and riffs, with a flair for showmanship Sylvain displayed some lead playing that shows he has only gotten better and more skilled with age. Bass and drum duties were respectfully handled by Sami Yaffa (bass) and Brian Delaney (drums). Yaffa comes to the band from Hanoi Rocks, a group that was very influenced by the Dolls. The Original Members were David Johansen, Johnny Thunders, , Sylvain Sylvain, Arthur “Killer” Kane, Billy Murcia followed by Jerry Nolan. Of the original members, only Johansen and Sylvain are alive.


The bottom line is that it was a great rock show, on a great night, and free! It just does not get much better than that. Since I am not writing a historical piece or a career overview on the New York Dolls, there are links provided below to offer you a little more insight on their beginnings.

Ken Pierce adds the following commentary:

I attended as well to capture the photography and enjoy some Rock and Roll on a Friday night. I have to agree with Joe that this was a perfect show and setting. I found the band energetic and on target, totally appreciating the people in attendance. The audience was a weird mix of visiting tourists, rockers and aging punks along with the occasional yuppie tossed in for good measure. The response from the audience was impressive and had to show well to the Dolls, who were a last minute addition to this “River To River” festival event. Johansen was good-natured through the set as he mentioned that many bands were influenced by them, joking that one of the biggest was Janis Joplin. From there the band jumped into “Piece Of My Heart”, one of her most famous songs. They also did a rendition of “Pills” by Bo Diddly. Sylvain sang the tribute to Johnny Thunders in “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory” and mention was also given to Arthur “Killer” Kane who they lost only last year to illness as they played “Private World”. Hanoi Rocks Sami Yaffa was a perfect fit to the group as is guitarist Steve Conte. The rest of the set was as noted above, a fine blend of the classic material and the new album. I admit that I was surprised that they omitted “Vietnamese Baby” for tonight yet highly recommend that readers check the band out to see where a lot of Rock influence comes from.



Song Listing (not in order):
1. Looking For A Kiss
2. Pills
3. We’re All In Love
4. You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory
5. Jet Boy
6. Trash
7. Punishing World
8. Puss And Boots
9. Private World
10. Plenty Of Music
11. Rainbow Street
12. Gimme Love & Turn On The Lights
13. Human Being
14. Fishnets And Cigarettes
15. Dance Like A Monkey
16. Lonely Planet Boy
17. Personality Crisis

Click HERE for the Full Concert Gallery w Photos by Ken Pierce

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