The Sabres -- they're everywhere! At Kleinhans Music Hall on Saturday, a Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra official came out and said, "Good evening. This is Danny Briere." The real Briere hit Mississippi Mudd's, leaving the gal behind the ice cream counter just about weeping into the Rocky Road, gushing: "Danny Briere talked to me. Talked to me!" Friday at the Sportsmen's Tavern, you could see owner Dwayne Hall eyeing the clock and sighing with relief at game's end -- not because we won, but because the band could start on time, which is a point of pride at the Sportsmen's. And in Snyder, Christ the King Church's marquee read: "Congratulations First Communicants Go Sabres."
>Asleep at the switch
That warm weekend caught everyone off guard! Last weekend, Mississippi Mudd's was the only River Road joint open. And on Abbott Road, a Noco station had piles of peat moss -- but a nearby Mobil still displayed snow shovels. Well, two ways you know it's spring: At Kleinhans, Marvin Hamlisch cracked only one snow joke. And all over, Chernobyl-sized dust clouds rose as thousands cleaned out their closets. Buzz took a load of our flotsam and jetsam to Goodwill. "Busy today?" we asked. The rep rolled his eyes. He said: "We are getting bombed."
>Men at work
Spring means construction, even if the project is finished. We thought Genesee Street in Cheektowaga was done. We're sighing, "Thank God!" Then we're away from it for a week, and we come back, and the barrels are up again. Again! Miles of them! How long, O Lord? It's like the Brooklyn Bridge, which you no sooner finish painting than you have to start again on the other side. On a brighter note, workmen are swarming around the old Judge Roy Bean's bar on Forest Avenue. The restless spirits of '90s regulars like Shakin Smith, Phonkbutt and Jamasaurus Rex must be stirring, dreaming of one more gig there. Hit it, boys!
Forget the Horse Whisperer. Our money's on the Horse Shouter. When "The Sopranos" needed a clip of horse racing, producers wisely turned to Batavia Downs. Then, for the audio, they sought out Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs announcer Joe Zambito. Zambito, who will be heard in Sunday's episode, labored in a studio for 45 minutes on his two-minute race call, but it was worth it. " 'The Sopranos' is one of my favorite shows, along with 'Deal or No Deal,' " he said in a statement.