The buses said it all.
Seven weeks ago, on a beautiful summer night, The Badlees performed at the Grand Ballroom of the Manhattan Center in New York City. It was a tour-de-force show, with more than two hours of some of the band's best songs from its impressive 12-year career. And what also made the event special were the fans in the audience.
They came on buses from all over Pennsylvania.
"Allentown," said a sign in the front window of one big diesel-fueled wagon as it pulled into the venue. "Reading," said another. Lancaster, Wilkes-Barre and Harrisburg were there, too. Hundreds of Badlees fans from throughout the Keystone State had arrived in midtown Manhattan, and, in the shadow of the Empire State Building, they came to celebrate the music of one of Pennsylvania's favorite bands.
It was, in many ways, a testament to all the hard work the group had done over the years: the thousands of miles logged, the hundreds of shows at hundreds of clubs and the six quality albums it has released. And at 10 p.m. Sunday, you can watch that very same show when the Badlees' "Renew & Rewind" TV special hits the airwaves on WB-38.
"It was really cool," Badlees guitarist Bret Alexander says of the concert and the taping. "I thought it was really nice, and everybody had a good time."
Some of the best audio and video technicians in the business, including people who have worked with Lenny Kravitz, David Bowie and VH1, did the sound and video for the show. Although The Badlees performed for more than two hours, Sunday's TV special will run only one hour due to time constraints. Tunes that made the cut include favorites such as "Running Up That Hill," "Don't Let Me Hide," "Angeline Is Coming Home" and "Silly Little Man," as well as new numbers "Renew" and "Four Leaf Clover."
"It serves as a great snapshot of what we've done and where we're at," vocalist Pete Palladino says. "It's not in an arena, and there's not a lot of special effects. It's just us playing, but it was done tastefully, and it's edited together very well.
WHAT: The Badlees "Renew & Rewind"
WHERE: on WSWB-TV (WB-38)
WHEN: 10 p.m. Sunday, August 18, 2002
"It's basically like being at the show with a great seat."
Both Alexander and Palladino, joined by bassist Paul Smith, drummer Ron Simasek and guitarist Jeff Feltenberger on the program, say they've grown to have a deeper understanding of the connection the band's music has made with the fans. The "Renew & Rewind" special, which also will air in the Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Allentown markets, documents that connection.
"It's just an exchange," Alexander says. "I kind of looked at it as a party and as a dedication."
"It's pretty overwhelming when you actually sit down and think about it," Palladino adds. "When you actually sit back and think that these people have supported what we do, and they have for years — that's something we don't ever take for granted."