Back in April, Steely Dan came to Charlotte for an exclusive, small group concert in McGlohon Theatre hosted by Music with Friends. It was AWESOME. I knew All The Words to All The Songs. She’s the raw flame The live wire She prays like a Roman With her eyes on fire.
The McGlohon is arguably the city’s acoustically finest venue, and it seats only 730. So I felt like I could practically reach out and touch the band. (which 1980 me might have tried with 1980 them, but now-a-days…not). Hearing Steely Dan LIVE brought back so many memories of so many good times.
She said oh no Guadalajara won’t do.
It was pretty much like going to a private concert with a bunch of friends, to hear one of our all-time favorite bands from back in the day.
Steely Dan | photo [c] Donna BiseAnd there you have it ~ the guiding principle of MUSIC WITH FRIENDS.
A private music club that holds concerts 3 times a year featuring legendary musicians from the happiest times in the collective memory of the upscale “over 40” crowd. Artists such as Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Earth Wind and Fire, Sheryl Crow, Jackson Browne, Joe Walsh, Chicago, Glenn Frey, Steve Winwood, The Doobie Brothers, Loggins & Messina…the list goes on. It’s a list filled with performers and groups that literally bring music to the soul of any fan of classic rock, soul & pop.
Joe Walsh | photo [c] Donna Bise
Chicago photo [c] Donna Bise
Chicago | photo [c] Donna BiseAs you can see, the setting is practically like the bands are playing in your living room. Ok maybe in your favorite neighborhood venue, provided it has amazing sound and serves up cocktails and drinks throughout the concert. The vibe is happy and chill ~ people stand up, people don’t stand up, people head out to the lobby for a drink refill, and the music plays on. Just like it would at a private party, which is pretty much what Music with Friends is.
The concerts are not open to the public nor are they publicly announced, other than by invitation to members. It’s part of the in the know, word-of-mouth thing that members enjoy. As a member, you’re polled months in advance to pick your favorite potential performers from a list of possibles. So you kind of know who’s in the mix. Owner Larry Farber works his magic to marry the members’ top picks with the performers’ schedules, and voila, you’re invited to this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
At publication time, we aren’t free to announce who will be playing for the November MWF concert in Charlotte, but I can tell you, it’s GOOD. You can stay tuned for the scoop here next month. Or you can go to the Music with Friends party at The Summit Room on 8/28 and find out first-hand.
Owner & MWF Creator Larry Farber and Earth Wind & Fire | photo [c] Donna BiseMusic With Friends members know that no matter who is booked, they’re in for a stellar performance unlike anything anyone else can attend. At least not here in Charlotte. Each member receives their seat at three 90 minute concerts a year, with a 2 hour pre-concert cocktail & heavy hors d’oeuvres reception (think all you can eat tenderloin, shrimp, crab claws) plus an after party, a chance to meet & greet the artists, and even validated parking.
Membership does have its price. There’s a psl-like one time seat initiation charge of $550 per person and an annual cost of $1,650 per member. So…Music with Friends is definitely meant for those who can afford to pay for essentially a private concert with 600 Charlotteans of the same interests, age and lifestyle. It’s not for everyone, but it is for anyone who loves live music and the classic songs of yesteryear. You don’t have to be super-rich or super-social to join, you just have to really value the intimacy of a small concert performance.
Steely Dan | photo [c] Donna BiseMusic with Friends Charlotte just celebrated its 10th Anniversary with the Steely Dan concert, and membership won’t get much larger than the current 600 number. Members pick their seats from what’s available, and then eye the ones they want to move up to when another member moves up or out. As Larry Farber says “This is a club based on referrals, and we want to keep it that way.”
Maybe it’s because it reminds us of what we like to think were simpler times. Maybe it’s because we literally actually do know all the words. But if I were looking for the PERFECT 50th or 60th birthday present for my husband, something that would happily remind him of all of his decades and of all the great years we’ve spent together, that gift would be a membership to Music with Friends. Theoden Janes wrote a spot-on piece for the Charlotte Observer that is now on the Music with Friends website HERE. In it, Janes quotes the late Glenn Frey, who MWF members were lucky enough to see in 2012, as he describes the feeling he got while performing:
“It’s a great concept,” Frey says to members at one point. “It’s been a lot of fun for us to play – I don’t want to say in a place this small. Let’s say in a place this intimate, where you can feel the band breathe and feel the music. You get in these big venues and I’m telling you, man, stuff is whipping all over the place and you’ve got your earpiece and you’re trying to drive it the best you can. But here, you feel like you’re really in the band.”
Interested in knowing more? You can email Becky Mitchener at email@example.com.
Better yet, Music With Friends is hosting a Summertime Member/Guest Cocktail Party at The Summit Room if you would like to meet some members, find out more about the club and see if you think you would enjoy it. Current members will be bringing their friends to the party to get a feel for things, so it’s a great time for you to do the same. And you might be surprised at how many folks you know or recognize who are members…if you’re reading scoop, chances are good that you know at least one couple who is.
RSVP by Monday, August 22nd to : Becky Mitchener at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Becky is GREAT and would be happy to answer any questions you have, prior to or after the party, or really anytime. Just tell her you saw this post on scoop and want to come by The Summit Room for the Member / Guest party.
Entries will be made at the party and the winner must be present to win.
It’s going to be fun. In the words of the great Joe Walsh:
Joe Walsh | photo [c] Donna Bise