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Thursday, February 23, 2012

See Henrik Lundqvist, Guitar Hero, Play Guitar at Rock of Dreams Concert


From Ranger Rants:

Meanwhile, goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who probably will not start both games of this back to back, including hosting the Sabres on Saturday, was still pretty pumped up over his sold-out charity gig last night at The Canal Room. Lundqvist doesn’t have the final figures but his six-piece band with tennis great John McEnroe, drummer Jay Weinberg (son of Max, who was in attendance) and singer Tarah Healy, dubbed The Noise Upstairs, played to over 400 people and I believe tickets were $150 a pop as they raised money for The Garden of Dreams and McEnroe’s Johnny Mac Tennis Project.

Lundqvist said there will be video and audio available soon on the website. It went so well that Lundqvist hopes to turn it into an annual event.

Lundqvist and Tarah Healy have done some occasional gigs at Tiny’s, the lower Manhattan restaurant Sean Avery opened with Lundqvist and Lundqvist said about four months ago it evolved into this bigger idea of doing a charity gig.

The setlist was mainly culled from popular rock in the 1980s and ‘90s, with some Kings of Leon and Adele thrown in as well. Lundqvist said he’s probably most comfortable playing Foo Fighters material - “My Hero,” “Everlong,” “Times Like These” - but he also took a nice lead on Guns ‘n Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” which turned into a medley with Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

“It was great,” Lundqvist said of the gig. “I’m so happy it happened. We got it together in a couple of months and a lot of people at the Garden of Dreams helped out.”

Lundqvist said he’s played guitar once before in front of a similarly large crowd but it was in Sweden when he joined an established band on the stage. This time, he knew it was his band so he considers this the “first big show.”

“It was exciting the last few weeks before the event making decisions and there are a lot of things you don’t expect,” Lundqvist said.

I asked him who was in charge of the setlist.

“Some songs, we were not 100 percent on the same page,” Lundqvist said, laughing. “We wanted a set list with something for everybody. There was some old-school rock and some new stuff.”

Lundqvist was also asked the difference between being on stage with a band and playing goalie in front of a sold-out arena.

“It’s a similar feeling,” Lundqvist said. “But when you go out and make an event, you want everybody to have a good time. That’s different from a game where I focus on me and what I have to do. Even though people are helping me (with the gig), I still want it to go smoothly.

“It was exciting to play,” Lundqvist added. “I don’t think that I was nervous. I was excited.”

As he’s said many times in the past, getting to do outside-hockey events - or even just going to a movie or a show - helps him with his hockey because it allows him to take a much-needed mental break. It’s one of the reasons Lundqvist said he loves living in New York.

“It helps me and it helps my game,” Lundqvist said.

Wednesday night at The Canal Room, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist traded in his mask and pads for his guitar and took to the stage with The Noise Upstairs for a concert dubbed Rock of Dreams---a benefit for the Garden of Dreams Foundation and tennis legend John McEnroe's Johnny Mac Tennis Project.

"It was great, and I am so happy that it happened," Lundqvist said of the concert Thursday after practice. "It was sold out, and I don't have the final numbers, but I know we raised a lot of money for The Garden of Dreams and the Johnny Mac Tennis Project. That was the goal: to have a fun night and to raise a lot of money."
Most of Lundqvist's Ranger teammates were on hand to support what The King referred to as his "first big show...where it was my gig". Lundqvist not only played rhythm guitar with the band, but he had a major hand in putting the entire event together.

"I am happy it turned out the way it did," explained Lundqvist. "It was exciting to play, and I don't think I was that nervous. I was more excited."

The Noise Upstairs---the band named after what Lundqvist and the group's singers Tarah and John Healy thought sounded appropriate based on jams at his New York City restaurant Tiny's---performed a varied selection of classic and modern rock covers from bands including Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, The Rolling Stones, Guns and Roses, and Eric Clapton, among others.

Though playing rhythm most of the night, Lundqvist did step forward to perform the lead on "Sweet Child of Mine", the classic Guns and Roses song.

When asked about the set list, Lundqvist laughed and said, "I think some songs we were not exactly on the same page (in selecting), but we wanted a set list where there was something for everybody. And I think we managed to do that."

Lundqvist admitted on Thursday that in some ways taking to the stage to play guitar in a concert was not completely dissimilar to heading out on to the ice to tend goal for the Rangers.

"Going on to the stage and performing was a similar feeling (to playing in a game)," explained Lundqvist. "The difference here was you just want everybody to have a good time. When I play a game I just focus on me and what I have to do. But both are exciting."

The Rangers No. 1 netminder, who said that he is hoping to arrange for a similar benefit concert next year---"why not do this every year? that's the goal"---also pointed out that this concert, and just playing guitar in general, has helped him relax away from the hockey rink, something he finds immensely important during the grind of a long season.

"I think it's important that you get away from the game and have other hobbies and do other things," stated Lundqvist. "It definitely helps me, and helps my game, too. It helps me to relax, and then when I come to the rink I am more excited and reenergized every time I do something else. It's key for me to get away from the game between practices and games."
The concert at The Canal Room was professionally recorded. Please check in the coming days and weeks for photos, videos, and audio selections from the concert featuring The Noise Upstairs.

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