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Tag: Concert Reviews (1-10 of 39)

The 8 craziest things you missed at Idina Menzel's Radio City Music Hall concert

Take her or leave her, living Broadway legend Idina Menzel gave a sold-out crowd of roughly 6,000 fans a show to remember Monday — when she performed at Radio City Music Hall for the first time in a one-night-only concert.

Idina Menzel: An Unofficial Countdown to “Let It Go” Live was, of course, incredible. The Tony winner showed off her mind-blowing vocal power in a variety of songs, kicking off the night with a chill-inducing “Defying Gravity” and segueing into everything from an Ethel Merman medley (the petition for Menzel to play Mama Rose in Gypsy one day begins now) to Radiohead’s “Creep.” (Yes, really.) Her pipes were even more impressive considering Menzel is currently starring on Broadway eight times a week in If/Then. Mondays are supposed to be her off night!

The audience covered a wide age demographic, from little girls dressed up as princesses to adults hoping she might break out a few hits from Rent; there was also a surprising amount of men in attendance, and not just dads accompanying their elementary-age daughters. Speaking of the children: This show was not meant for fans who only know Menzel by way of Queen Elsa and Elphaba. She covered “Love for Sale” and “Roxanne” in a “prostitution songs” medley, and, just a few minutes into her set, Menzel swore, paused, and then declared with a laugh, “I know we’ve got little kids here, but just hold their ears so I can do my thing.” Cue wild audience cheers.

The quips didn’t stop there: In between over two hours of powerhouse performances, Menzel acted like a total goof, whether she was giving a fake Tony acceptance speech (she lost this year’s Lead Actress in a Musical prize to Jessie Mueller of Beautiful) or pretending to call ex-husband Taye Diggs from stage (!!!) to remind him she was singing to a sold-out crowd. On a serious note, Menzel also turned introspective throughout the evening, covering Joni Mitchell and acknowledging that she’s in a time of “transition” — this year has brought both professional highlights and personal hard times.

Fans already know Menzel can sing (highlights included an a cappella “For Good” as well as a poignant and powerful “Always Starting Over“); below, read eight examples of the crazy stuff that happened Monday in between the songs. Turns out Menzel is both nuts and a goofball. Psst: Menzel also knows exactly how to handle a wardrobe malfunction.  READ FULL STORY

Hello Brooklyn! On the scene at Barbra Streisand's concert

“Hello, Brooklyn!” Barbra Streisand called out to her hometown’s swanky new Barclay’s Center early on in her three-plus hour concert. The last time she did a solo show in Brooklyn, she told the cheering crowd, was when she was 8 and singing on a stoop on Pulaski Street. Remember that, she asked her brother who was in the audience? (In case you’re wondering, he scored good seats, not great.) She looked singularly Streisandly, in a shiny black number that had enough sheer to show off those famous legs. “You like the dress?” she asked the crowd. “Good! Donna Karan!” She complimented a member of the audience who must have been wearing a souvenir shirt. “Did you buy it in the shop?” she asked. “It’s cheaper online.” In other words, not much new material to be had tonight.  READ FULL STORY

Comedy review: Zach Galifianakis rocks with Queens of the Stone Age jabs, bits about 9/11 and Sarah Palin

Dear Rock Stars: You might want to think twice before asking Zach Galifianakis for freebies. The star of The Hangover movies gave Queens of the Stone Age a little more than they asked when they called his manager for free tickets to his sold-out stand-up gig at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles Wednesday night. They got prime seats in Row F and a whole lock of mockery to boot. “I don’t know you f—-ing guys!” the comedian yelled at the band, seated in the all-ages crowd of 270 fans, which ranged from hoodie-wearing hipsters to bearded, bespectacled burly men to indie chicks and comedy nerds. “Can we get tickets?” he mocked in a whiny voice as Queens of the Stone Age members Josh Homme, Troy Van Leeuwen, and Michael Shuman laughed on. “Let me Google them and see who the f— they are! I don’t know you motherf—ers!” READ FULL STORY

'Glee' Live 2011: The shrieks shall inherit

When I boarded a train at Jamaica Station and immediately found myself sitting across from two teenage boys decked out in full Warbler getup — including Dalton blazers and sweaters, despite New York’s 80-degree weather — I began to think that I was in over my head.

We were headed to Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum to see Glee Live!, the show’s second annual concert tour. After this matinee performance and one more show Saturday evening, the cast of Fox’s chart-topping hit would be leaving for Europe — apparently, there’s no rest for the gleeful. I didn’t quite know what to expect… but if the superfans riding the train with me were any indication, the spectacle I was about to witness wouldn’t just be confined to what was happening onstage. READ FULL STORY

'Hope For Haiti Now': The telethon's 10 best performances

Tonight’s George Clooney-organized, multi-network Hope For Haiti Now telethon was a subdued, classy affair, thankfully free of any awkward “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” moments. In all, the two-hour telecast included 19 musical performances, most of which were terrific. I could name two female artists who were a bit out of their league, but since they were singing for charity, I won’t. Instead, I’ll run down what were, in my humble opinion, the 10 best numbers of the night. (You can download them all, by the way, on iTunes.)

10. Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris I confess I’d never heard of Matt Morris before. But after his and Timberlake’s sensitive, almost half-tempo duet performance of Leonard Cohen’s oft-covered “Hallelujah,” I’m a convert. READ FULL STORY

Why is it so hard to get Bruce Springsteen tickets?

Brucespringsteen_lThe Newark Star-Ledger has revealed that although upwards of 38,000 seats were available for Bruce Springsteen’s two shows at East Rutherford, N.J.’s Izod Center this week, only a paltry 6,000 fans actually succeeded in buying tickets from Ticketmaster. The rest seem to have gone to sponsors, label people, and various other cronies. According to the New York Times‘ sophisticated mathematical analysis, this means that "you may have a better chance of becoming a member of Mr. Springsteen’s E Street Band than buying tickets to one of his shows." It so happens that I was lucky enough to attend the first of Springsteen’s Izod shows last night, so… lemme just crunch a few numbers here… carry the 38,000… does this mean that I am the newest member of the E Street Band? Aww-right!

All kidding aside, Ticketmaster makes it insanely difficult to see the Boss. In order to get my tickets for last night, I had to take part in a coordinated three-pronged plan of attack involving myself, my girlfriend, and my girlfriend’s dad all logging onto Ticketmaster at the same instant back in February — and we still almost got shut out because of some computer glitch. It’s a shame, because seeing the E Street Band is one of the most reliably awesome live music experiences in the world. They were in fantastic form last night, from the unstoppable opening one-two punch of "Badlands" into "Adam Raised a Cain" on out. Extra kudos are in order for someone who actually is the newest member of the E Street Band: 18-year-old Jay Weinberg, son of Max, who’s filling in on this tour while his old man is busy preparing for Conan O’Brien’s new gig. The kid can really play. (Is it sacrilege for me to hope he becomes a semi-permanent E Street member going forward?)

No fan should have to miss out on seeing that, and I can’t help but think that Bruce himself would be unhappy to realize how many regular folks are getting shut out. Anybody have any Springsteen ticket-buying horror stories you’d like to share? Or have you been among the lucky few who manage to snag a ticket for this tour?

addCredit(“Springsteen: Pierre Ducharme/Reuters/Landov”)

Rock-It Science Festival: Rufus Wainwright makes his mother proud

Wainwright_lCall me crazy, but I never expected to see Twisted Sister’s "We’re Not Gonna Take It," Rufus Wainwright’s "Hallelujah," and a self-proclaimed "enchanted forest" interpretive dance to Led Zeppelin all at the same concert. But that is exactly what I got at Tuesday night’s Rock-It Science Festival at New York’s Highline Ballroom, an evening dedicated to rock and, uh, science. (Rock-It Science. Get it?) Proceeds went to The Sensation and Emotion Network.

Headliners included Wainwright (pictured), Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, former American Idol contestant Constantine Maroulis and fellow cast members of the forthcoming Broadway musical Rock of Ages. (I have yet to figure out some of these artists’ connection to science, but hey, it’s a good cause!) A vast assortment of other acts graced in the stage, a fair number of them were themselves scientists who moonlight as rock stars. You wouldn’t even know it, either — nearly everyone on stage seemed poised and comfortable, if a bit flustered over technical difficulties here and there. I do have to say, however, I was half-expecting to hear something likeColdplay’s "The Scientist." I mean, with a festival called Rock-ItScience, a couple of more puns were to be expected, right? Of course, Wainwright stole the show. He prefaced his set by saying, "I failed every science course I ever took," which must be really embarrassing since his mother got her degree in physics. Ouch. Wainwright played eight songs, including mainstays "Grey Gardens" and the stunning (and I guess moderately science-y) "Pretty Things."

Did anyone else attend this bizarre concoction of a concert? More importantly, have you gotten goosebumps while seeing Rufus Wainwright perform? (I mean, that voice!) And to the audience member who correctly shouted Summer Heights High at the Australian MC: I salute you. She totally could be Mr. G’s next sidekick.

addCredit(“Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images”)

Grizzly Bear and the Brooklyn Philharmonic: A roaring good show

Grizzly Bear’s show last night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music was a milestone of several sorts. Their first public performance since October, it was a golden opportunity to hear some brand-new selections from Veckatimest (out May 26) — an album so eagerly awaited that fans have set up a dedicated blog to chronicle every crumb of pre-release hype. What’s more, the band was backed onstage by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, promising a rare treat. Orchestral accompaniment can have a magical effect on indie rock, the classical instruments coloring in details and adding unexpected dimensions to the music. That’s how it felt when Joanna Newsom played BAM with the Philharmonic last February, and the same was often true for Grizzly Bear last night. They played 2006’s "Central and Remote" for the first time in concert, finally able to do justice to its epic swells and falls with the Philharmonic’s assistance. The orchestra also helped them debut the even older "Campfire" and the new song "Dory," among others, as well as enabling a wonderful extended version of "Colorado." Credit for all these highlights also belongs in part to modern-classical wunderkind Nico Muhly, who wrote the orchestralarrangements and sat in on piano and celeste.

Yet the Philharmonic didn’t join in on every song, and the best moments might have come when the four Grizzly guys were up there playing by themselves. "Two Weeks," a song that has yet to be released in any form, inspired applause with its opening notes anyway. The crowd knew from seeing it played on Letterman last year or from hearing live MP3s that they were in for something lovely, and they were right — singer Edward Droste’s voice has never sounded richer. And Daniel Rossen’s violent guitar and wistful vocals were transfixing on "Little Brother (Electric)." As the Philharmonic members put down their instruments during these tunes, their conductor/music director Michael Christie sat there right on stage, watching the band in awe. He was doubtless seeing the same thing as we in the audience: Grizzly Bear is a band capable of such extraordinary textures and hues, such dynamic shifts and emotional resonances, that they hardly need an orchestra behind them. The Philharmonic’s contributions were sweet, but they were just icing on an already delectable cake.

Were any of you at BAM last night? What was your favorite part of the show? No footage from last night has turned up on YouTube yet,sadly, so you’ll have to take my word for it if you weren’t there — and check out a year-oldperformance of "Colorado," sans orchestra but still awesome, below.

Sparks: Live at UCLA

Sparksbandronmael_lIt was a subversive Valentine’s Day love-fest for L.A.’s very own Sparks, playing a rare U.S. concert on Saturday at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Why subversive? Well, along with Morrissey and Stephin Merritt’s The Magnetic Fields, Sparks is the band most likely to make you smile with their witty and biting songs about the mysteries of wooing and bedding the opposite sex.

Sparks, the Energizer Bunny of pop acts after 21 albums and 35+ years in the business, consists of brothers Ron and Russell Mael. Ron is the oddball, visionary composer and keyboardist with the John Waters-thin moustache, while Russell is the front man to rival Queen’s Freddie Mercury in energy and falsetto power. They are also on a bit of a roll. Last year, the band played all 21 of their albums on 21 consecutive nights in an historic U.K. tour. Sparks devoted the entire first half of the Saturday show to the band’s new album, Exotic Creatures of the Deep, which continues the form of Sparks’ previous two CDs, Lil’ Beethoven and Hello Young Lovers (rock with a very theatrical edge). More Sparks dish (and clips) after the jump…

addCredit(“Dan Tuffs/Getty Images”)


Honor Society: The next Jonas Brothers?


PopWatchers, I had my first encounter with the Jonas Brothers and Ilived to tell the tale (the slight headache and popping eardrumsnotwithstanding). The uber-popular trio capped off an astonishinglybusy week — one that included stops at Saturday Night Live,David Letterman and, of course, the Grammys (with Stevie Wonder, noless) — by cheering on their good friends Honor Society at a sold-out show at The Fillmore in New York last night.

So, who are Honor Society, you ask? They are four well-dressed, well-coiffed guys originally from New Jersey who were fortunate enough to have their EP, A Tale of Risky Business, catch the eye of Kevin, Joe, and Nick Jonas last summer. Since then, Honor Society have opened up shows for the mega-star siblings, and are now managed by the Jonas Group, which of course also manages the brothers and fellow Disney star Demi Lovato. "We’ve been lucky to be able to cowrite songs for ournew album with the Jonases, and we’ve created this cool,creative environment between the four of us and the three of them,"bassist Andrew Lee tells EW backstage. "They have completely welcomed us into theentire Jonas family, and we have all  become fast friends."

The band’s sound — something lead singer Michael Bruno (no, not the EW staffer) characterizes as "if Justin Timberlake had a rock band" — certainly fits the mold of its famous friends: catchy, unassuming, inoffensive pop. So, the question begs to be asked: Are Honor Society the next Jonas Brothers? Read on after the jump to find out…

addCredit(“Brad Barket/AP Photos”)


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