By Drew Olson Special to Published May 12, 2010 at 9:05 AM

"For our last number, I'd like to ask your help. The people in the cheaper seats clap your hands. And the rest of you, just rattle your jewelry." -- John Lennon, Nov. 4, 1963

The Beatles icon delivered the aforementioned quote, arguably one of the more famous stage utterances in rock history, during a Royal Variety Performance attended by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.

The band, which earned its stripes playing sweaty venues like the Cavern in Liverpool and Kaiserkeller in Hamburg, was playing in one of the more august settings in England. Lennon couldn't resist commenting on the difference.

Though on a more modest scale, the BoDeans can probably relate ...

When they started playing in public roughly three decades ago, Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas played gigs at places like The Landing, Harpo's, Century Hall and the top of the bar at Hooligan's. They worked their way up to opening for U2 in football stadiums and headlining hometown gigs for 20,000 fans at Summerfest's Marcus Amphitheater.

On May 28, Neumann and Llanas will join bandmates Bukka Allen (keyboards), Ryan Bowman (bass) and Mike Meadows (drums) for a homecoming concert/CD release party at The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

The show, presented by, will take place inside Uihlein Hall, home of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

The BoDeans, who are supporting their new release "Mr. Sad Clown," have played "soft seat" theaters in the past and have found that stripping away some of the bombast (and volume) allows fans to enjoy the music in a different light.

"It's very different than a Summerfest type of show, where we're outdoors and people want to get a little rowdy and they like the music loud," Neumann said.

"When we go indoors like this, it's a very different mentality. It's more of a 'Storytellers' type of thing where we sit down and talk to the audience about where the song comes from or tell stories surrounding the song.

"It's much quieter. You get to a little more of the beauty of the song instead of just the energy of the song."

Paul Mathews, president and CEO of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, said first-time visitors to the venue are in for a special night on a number of fronts.

"First, they will experience amazing acoustics," Mathews said, noting that the band will be performing within the orchestra shell utilized by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for all of its Uihlein Hall performances.

"They'll also be pleased with the casual, relaxed atmosphere and comfortable seating -- when they are not standing up and dancing to the BoDeans music.

"Visual art will be part of their experience as well, as a number of contemporary artworks on loan from the Milwaukee Art Museum hang in our Atrium and promenades.

"To top off the evening, when they exit after dark they'll take in the Center's dramatic exterior lighting, and see the entire building bathed in glowing and continually changing color schemes."

Although Lennon's "rattle your jewelry" line may not apply on May 28, Mathews expects some crossover attendance from the Marcus Center's regular customers. And, he hopes that it works both ways.

"We hope that the BoDeans will draw a significant amount of new audience, who will experience the Center for the first time, see the incredible performing arts we have to offer and take in more performances here," Mathews said.

"As the community's performing arts center, we believe the diversity of what's on our stage ought to reflect the diverse arts and entertainment interests people throughout the area. We'll look for similar bookings in the future, and the BoDeans can help showcase the Marcus Center as a place for bands looking for great acoustics and amenities to perform in."

Reserved tickets for the show, priced at $50, $45 and $40, are available at the Marcus Center Box Office and through Ticketmaster outlets.

Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.