American Songbook Presents Rhiannon Giddens At Alice Tully Hall, Saturday, May 13th, 2017 – Barefoot and very lovely, Rhiannon defined a form of idealized womanhood, whether sad, angry, or laughing, there was a steeliness about her performance that fit her subject matter very well
Swet Shop Boys At Webster Hall, Wednesday, April 12th – Swet Shop Boys make jokes and write raps that stick in your craw. At their best when they are at their funniest they get away with wearing their concerns on their sleeves when necessary and the East Asian girls lap it up. .
George Strait’s “Strait To Vegas” At the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Saturday, February 18th – Performing in the round, he moves in and out of the center of his band, always at service to what he and Ace in The Hole are doing. “I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time” he sings and that, my friends, is the essence of country. and of everything else.
Jason Isbell And the 400 Unit – Beacon Theatre – Friday, June 23rd – Americana’s greatest moment, Isbell brings the family for a set of modern Southern gentleman rock and country and southern rock.
Micky Dolenz’s “A Little Bit Broadway, A Little Bit Rock And Roll” At 54 Below, Friday, March 24th – Micky has spent his career in this world of pure imagination and any time he wants to share it with us be sure to plunk your money down and watch him do it.
Maria Taylor At Rockwood 2, Saturday, February 11th – I’ve waited literally years to see Maria on stage and she failed to disappoint in the slightest, a wonderful set by our most underrated songwriter, she managed to make a fairly major disaster, the lack of a piano, into another cheerful mishap on the road of life
Elton John’s “The Million Dollar Piano” At The Coliseum At Caesar’s Palace, Sunday, February 20th – Elton reclaims his career for a set that plays very well to his greatest skill: that as a past member of the glam rock Hall Of Fame, and he can return to it with the greatest of ease
Diana Ross At City Center, Saturday, April 29th – A legend near the top of her game.
Complexions Contemporary Ballet Presents “Gutter Glitter” And “Stardust” At Joyce Theatre, Saturday, January 28th – I was at a matinee, an opportunity for children to see it, and the children seemed as enthralled as I was. I don’t know much about ballet, but I know tons about pop culture and I haven’t seen a better example of the ability of pop culture to make people happy since “Harry Potter And The Cursed Child” last year at the Palace
Eric Church’s “Holdin’ My Own” Tour At Barclay Center, Friday, January 27th – Maybe he is a lightweight in some ways. Or maybe he brings his own weight to the proceedings. Either way, round here the buzz is that Church is a must see.
Governors Ball At Randall’s Island – Friday June 2nd to Saturday June 3rd – The usual mishmash, but both Lorde and Danny Brown gave top performances.
True Groove All-Stars: The Global Soul Throw Down At Bowery Electric, Wednesday, April 5th – A jam-packed with up and coming stars show in a showcase for all
The Chainsmokers – Forest Hills Stadium – Saturday, June 10th – The EDM duo know their way arounbd a pop song and when they popped out they were unbeatable and when they EDM jones they weren’t good enough.
Future, Migos, And Tory Lanez, At Barclay Center, Friday, May 19th, 2017 – No, they didn’t invent trap but they perfected it and made it matter, they are monster hook merchants and they are a blend of voices than unlike the de rigeur everybody shout at the same time of rap since the beginning of time, sounds Dolly-Emmylee-Linda integrated voices and sounds
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra – Carnegie Hall – Friday, March 31st – Performing John Adams opera “The Gospel According To The Other Mary”.
Eric Clapton At Madison Square Garden, Monday, March 20th – Far from the best time I’ve ever seen the living legend, it was as beneficent a farewell as possible.
Ryan Adams At The Apollo Theatre, Thursday, February 16th – It is really a shame this didn’t play out better, and I don’t think it is just me who doesn’t much care for the distancing effect of Ryan’s jokes.
Panic! At The Disco At Madison Square Garden, Thursday, Match 2nd – It isn’t presence, no, it is youthfully ingratiating and in the end he pulls it off, nobody claimed he was phoning it in, the man gave it everything he had and didn’t disappoint an adoring audience.
Luke Bryan At Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, March 1st – The songs aren’t good enough (the voice is), the words aren’t good enough. I get it. But he was still pretty good.
Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull – Madison Square Garden – Friday, June 30th – Enrique was a revelation, a fast and furious performance and Pitbull wasn’t a revelation at all but what price “Hotel Room Service,” right?
Phoebe Nir At The Bitter End, Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017 – It was a dynamic performance, a fast paced, always thrilling dash through a handful of songs that added Broadway to pop, not a million miles away from the band fun., not a million miles away from Madonna, with a Dirty Mind like dirty mind, and an addition by addition way around a song
Charlie Wilson At Barclay Center, Wednesday, Match 29th – Old school r&b from the still terrific singer with two world class opening act -none of whom mind banging the Bible if the moment calls for it.
Art Garfunkel At City Winery, Saturday, April 22nd – That voice is still a gift from god, however, the second time round a little less appreciated.
Craig Finn At City Winery, Tuesday, April 4th, – The new album is solid, the set was solid.
Diana Krall – Beacon Theatre – Wednesday, June 21st – The great American songbook as ice cool blonde bombshell. Where’s Hitchcock when you need him.
Barbra Streisand At Barclay Center, Saturday, May 6th, 2017 – Streisand, as a singer, as an actress, as a certain exemplified person, as a vision of a woman , is hard to deny too much. It feels like starting a quarrel, she is too good, her voice too defining, her personality, her vision, her attitude, a doorway into American pop and American feminism
The xx At Forest Hills Stadium, Saturday, May 20th, 2017 – the xx barely squeezed out 90 minutes and while what we got was quite alright, that’s all I felt about it. For such a good band, they’re a little ordinary
Jennifer Lopez: All I Have at the Axis at Planet Hollywood, Friday, February 17th – It is all OK as Vegas show, iffy as art.
U2 – MetLife – Wednesday, July 1st, 2017 – The first fifty minutes were ace and the rest wasn’t.
Billy Joel At Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, February 22nd – Not as good without the foundation glue of Christmas.
David Cassidy At BB Kings, Saturday, March 4th – And by the end of the evening, a beatific “I Woke Up In Love This Morning” followed sharply by “I Think I Love You,” he was rewarded with the adulation he once had. Could it end any other way?
Clive Davis “The Soundtrack Of Our Lives” Premiere AT Radio City Music Hall, Wednesday, April 19th – This is Davis, nothing succeeds like success and Davis’ career speaks for itself, but he isn’t what the movie claims he is.
Green Day At Barclay Center, Wednesday, March 15th – He is like Bruce Springsteen if Bruce was an American idiot, he is too thin skinned, too temperamental, he misses his dad too much, and he knows that as the youngest of six he has to fight for your attention. He got it last night but why bother?
Bon Jovi At Madison Square Garden, Saturday, April 15th- it was certainly a huge improvement and proved Jon learns from his mistakes… just not musically
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – Prudential Center – Friday, June 16th – Petty goes through the motions one more time, but well, he goes through them well.
The Weeknd – Prudential Center – Sunday, June 11th – The Weeknd felt like a manufactured hero for the masses, on drugs.
Ariana Grande At Madison Square Garden, Friday, February 24th – For the three girls with me, taking pictures and videos, texting their friends, singing on the top of their lungs and screaming just as loud, it was all that and more: it was a pop dream come to life.
Nick Cave – Beacon Theatre – Tuesday, June 13th – The second coming of Christ as a reach out and touch someone sexdream
Hillsong United – Sunday, June 18th – The songs are awful and the spirit is willing, plus as overwrought Messianic nitwits go, Nick Cave is worse.
Kings Of Leon At Madison Square Garden, Friday, January 20th – I was very close to the stage and I maybe, maybe not, saw Nathan crack a smile… I’m not promising but maybe. So maybe they need to work from a certain level of intensity that doesn’t allow for a good time being, in fact, a good time. Or, one more, maybe they are bullies.
The Dead And Company – Citi Field – The first three songs were the worst opening of the year and they never came close to recovering.
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “The Getaway Tour” At Madison Square Garden, Thursday, February 15th – I mean, if they were different people playing different songs I would have quite enjoyed it.
The Revolution At BB Kings, Friday, April 28th – The moral to this abomination isn’t very helpful: never ever die.
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