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Marina and Friends Concert Review

by: Alan Roos

     After Tuesday night one thing is for sure, it is worth driving almost 500 miles roundtrip to see these wonderful musicians!! The trip down took about 4 1/2 hours, and I was lucky enough to get a parking space right around the corner from the club. 

     CB 313 Gallery is a satellite club of the well known CBGB'S

     I had a couple of hours to kill so after a 15 minute walk into Little Italy I had a great dinner al fresco right on Mulberry Street.  Afterwards I returned to the club which had just opened it's doors for the night.

     Within a few minutes Marina, Julie, Emil, and Sylvia (more on her in minute)
arrived. I also met the drummer for the new group Doug Yowell. I must say I
almost didn't recognize Julie...her hair is much darker than during the OP
era, and she is thinner than the pictures/video I have seen of her.  

    After talking with them all for a bit they all climbed onstage for a quick sound check. With only about 10 people in the place they belted out RETURN TO ME & ALWAYS with Marina on lead vocals ! :-)

     The opening act, which Marina had booked, went on first. They were called The Two Siberians, and were literally just off the plane from Russia. One fellow played the guitar, and the other the electric violin. If you were/are a fan of Jean-Luc Ponty you would have loved these guys. I know I enjoyed them a lot.

    By now the club had filled up, and there had to be a crowd numbering in the
hundreds. They were all there to see Marina and October Project.  After the set ended the
place emptied out. 

     Marina came out to much applause. She sounded WONDERFUL!! I always knew she
had a beautiful voice, but I really had no idea it was that good. She is certainly capable of fronting a band of her own. The news now is that she will continue writing her own material, and hopefully get a CD together in the next 6 months or so. Emil is serving as her musical director, and they will share the same manager.  Marina will not at this point be a part of the new band that Emil and Julie have formed.

      The audience received her set warmly...there were tons of her family, and also we October Project fans present in large numbers. Below is her set list, as best I could reassemble it:

1) Sorry I Am Ani Difranco
2) Cactus Tree Joni Mitchell
3)Have A Little Faith In Me John Hiatt
4)Blue Train  ???
5)Return To Me October Project
6)Take Me As I Am  October Project
7)Take All The Pain??? Marina Belica
8)Always October Project
9) And So It Goes Billy Joel 


During Return To Me, Marina brought onstage David Sabatino and Urbano Sanchez.  They remained on stage for the rest of the set.  Urbano played talking drum adding a unique sound and Dave played electric guitar.

Marina introduced Take Me As I Am by saying this song was initially
a solo, not the duet that  Mary and herself performed.  Marina confidently
sang both lead parts, backed VERY ably by Sylvia Toessens  who sang backing vocals throughout  the entire set.

Take All The Pain...or perhaps What Do I Have To Hold Onto  was the one song I do know was written by Marina...but she did not give the title of it,so these are guesses. The song was outstanding, and makes me look forward to hearing more of her songwriting efforts down the road!)


Julie Flanders came onstage to make her vocal debut during Always   Always is one of my favorite OP tunes, and they pulled the difficult vocals off quite well.) This was Marina's closing number, but after a well deserved standing ovation she returned for one more song
with just Emil and their lead guitar player Gerry Leonard.  

(Paul Socolow was on bass guitar the whole show.)

As an encore, the band played And So It Goes by BILLY JOEL Marina's version was very heartfelt and touching