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 rythym 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 rythym 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 www.RockOfDreams.com in the coming days and weeks for photos, videos, and audio selections from the concert featuring The Noise Upstairs.
Were you at the concert? If so, please share your impressions and memories with the rest of the Blueshirts Faithful below.