Dave Begel is a big guy. He’s of imposing stature and imposing reputation in this town. He’s got opinions, a strong voice and he doesn’t back down easily, though he's not shy about admitting when he’s wrong (at least to me).
But when he made his solo debut on stage at Linnemann’s on Saturday night at his 70th birthday party, we saw the other side of Dave Begel. Sitting with his acoustic guitar, he was understated and he was self-effacing. There was nary a trace of the bluster that he can blow into his columns.
He reminded us that in addition to his hulking frame, he’s got a hulking big heart, too.
He played maybe eight or 10 songs – by the likes of John Sieger and Phil Lee, but also a cover of "Help Me Make It Through the Night." Despite his warnings to the contrary, Dave did a great job, rendering the songs quietly, passionately and in his own style.
Maybe I was wrong, but when he introduced a song for his wife, Susan, I thought I even detected a tear. Luckily, top-notch lensman Dave Bernacchi was there, as he was able to capture the range of Begel's emotions during the performance.
His family and friends came out – and hooted and hollered after every tune – and I was pleased to see a few Milwaukee notables in the audience, too. After Dave finished his set, Sieger and his brother John were joined by ace drummer Bob Schneider (and also John's son Sam) for a few tunes, including a nice version of the Everlys' "Bye Bye Love."
Later they added lefty bassist – and Journal Sentinel columnist – Mike Juley, who played in a newsroom band with Begel in the early ‘80s. They even coaxed me to make my debut playing the drums standing up (I apologize if I offended).
I didn’t get to talk to Dave, really, at the party, but we did share the stage for a few songs and as any musician knows, that was really communication enough.
Happy birthday Dave. Don’t make us wait another 70 years for the next gig.
Happy Birthday Dave! And here's to many more. Have a Healthy, Happy and Fun 2014. (Photodavie.....much better) :) ...and if Dave does go on the road, I have a feeling you'll be signing up as either his Tour Photographer or just a Roadie.
4 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published Aug. 27, 2014
In Franklin, just across 68th Street from the House of Correction there's a barn. Built in 1946, it's one heck of a barn. This attractive red and white marker of a rural Milwaukee past -- now part of Hunger Task Force's The Farm -- stands in stark contrast to the low, modern, blandness of the jail -- and its ominous razor-wire fences -- across the street. But the history of the two are intertwined.
Published Aug. 26, 2014
As the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four's only Milwaukee appearance nears, Milwaukee Public Television launches a 30-minute documentary about the Beatles' half-hour performance at the Milwaukee Arena.
Published Aug. 26, 2014
Meet Ben Dosmann, who at 22 is a young entrepreneur, owner of Top Notch, a company that cleans beer lines at local taverns. He showed OnMilwaukee.com's Bobby Tanzilo how the job is done.
Published Aug. 25, 2014
Taking something of a page from the book of the district's successful public Montessori schools, all MPS schools this year will use a staggered start to help introduce primary-aged children to their schools.
Published Aug. 24, 2014
Lately, a lot of requests have arrived via email asking about how one goes about researching the places they call home. Here are some tips for Milwaukeeans curious about how their abodes came to be and who inhabited them in the past.
Published Aug. 23, 2014
Vintage baseball brought me to Wade House, but history and nature reeled me in. Located in tiny Greenbush, west of Sheboygan, Wade House is a Wisconsin historical site that is managed by the Wisconsin Historical Society. The former stagecoach inn is part of a sprawling complex with a working sawmill, a carriage museum and a brand new visitors center.
Published Aug. 21, 2014
Today, more than 2,500 current and retired GE employees, plus about 150 other volunteers, are walking into 16 Milwaukee Public Schools and four Waukesha Public Schools (as well as Greenfield High School) to paint, clean, organize and landscape to help the schools plan for the first day of school on Tuesday, Sept. 2.
Published Aug. 21, 2014
As beautiful as Milwaukee's historic churches are, visiting them can sometimes be disheartening. That's because so many of them are threatened due to failing -- or even entirely failed -- finances as churches in the heart of the city have fallen victim to suburbanization. This is true for some, but not all churches, as I was reminded recently on a visit to Grace Lutheran Church, which houses a vibrant congregation in a stunning Gothic building.
Published Aug. 16, 2014
From ugly parking structures, to dead stretches of street to a freeway that cuts like machetes, Milwaukee -- for all its vigor -- still has some problem spots. We look at some on the east side of Downtown.
Published Aug. 15, 2014
Ever since my colleague Nick Barth hipped me to the waffle dog, I've been chasing after the Eats & Treats Truck and, yesterday, I finally caught up.