For Daniel Blanchard last Thursday night may have just been another “gig” in his regular schedule at Amerigo’s upstairs lounge. But for those present who have lived in Montgomery County long enough to remember the fabulous old Park Bar and Grill, and the late Charlie Tilson’s dazzling work there on the ivories of the glass topped grand piano, it was like a delicious trip back in time. Many local residents have been aware of the gourmet food and fine wines available at the posh Amerigo’s Grille. The downstairs bar is a favorite spot as well. But upstairs, in the chicly modern lounge, Blanchard is stealing the show on the keyboard with his fine repertoire of popular songs.
The room is hip and attractive with comfortable upholstered chairs, heavy round copper top tables, and a Museum of Modern Art look. There are polished steel sculptures that resemble New Age toboggans hanging from the ceiling, and colorful designs decorate the long bench sofa. The carpet design would give Jacob’s coat of many colors a run for its money. The excellent ventilation system and comfortable A/C avoided the smoky atmosphere so typical of piano bars. A full glass wall and two pairs of glass doors open into the upper bar. But there was no need to leave the lounge as our friendly and courteous waitress, Gina, was on hand whenever needed.
The real highlight, however, is the music of Mr. Blanchard. Seated alone at the grand piano, he creates the illusion of at least a trio with the rhythms and percussion from a supplementary electronic keyboard. As he opened with “Close to You” and “Unforgettable,” it did not take us long to make our way on to the small dance floor. There was music of Elton John and John Fogerty. Sound levels were comfortable and allowed for easy conversation in the room.
Tina Turner’s “Rollin’ on the River was well done, as was the popular “Bad Moon Rising.” The Eagles “Lyin’ Eyes” was another treat. Elton John’s “Daniel” was beautifully performed. “The Moon and New York City” was a reminder of home. But for my money, the best group of songs included “As Time Goes By,” “All the Way,” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” They would have made my day even without a Double Bailey’s on the rocks!
Amerigo’s Grille is located at 25250 Grogans Park Drive in The Woodlands.
(The Courier 8.5.01)