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Tag: Concert Reviews (51-60 of 151)

Rock the Bells: Lauryn Hill, Nas, Erykah Badu and more live at NYC's Governors Island

The most well-dressed folks on New York City’s Governors Island last Saturday looked the bummiest. On the balmy last Saturday of the summer, cutoff shorts, tank tops, dirty sneakers and worn-in sandals were among the best things to be wearing for the daylong hip-hop festival that is Rock the Bells.

Elaborate outfits highlighted by fresh tennis shoes, high heels (wedges, too) or anything that gave off a vibe of effort earned more laughs than sartorial appreciation at rap’s lone major fair.

I mean really, how can you appreciate grimy sets from Wu Tang Clan members, Slaughterhouse, and Mobb Deep when you look so, so clean?

Not I, Mixers. In beat up five-year-old Air Jordans, a star spangled tank top (it was Labor Day weekend!), and a pair of shorts, I came to sweat. And from 2pm to midnight, that’s exactly what I did.

My day began with Black Star. The duo featuring Brooklyn rhymers Talib Kweli and Mos Def performed cuts from their 1998 album Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star. They also broke away to perform solo hits. Kweli did his uplifting “Get By.” While Mos, dressed like a substitute teacher in his tie and short sleeve white shirt tucked into his jeans, broke out “Umi Says.”

Things continued with Erykah Badu, who ran through 1997’s Baduizm. Eclectically clad in a fedora, blazer, and pants tucked into her knee-high gold boots, she killed with her mellow “On & On.” Between singing and crowd cruising, she even showed off her production chops by hopping on MPC drum pad for some quick beats.

Next up was Lauryn Hill. Surprisingly, she was bumped out of her headlining slot in favor of hometown favorite Nas. Still, she performed as if she was the night’s main draw. The theme of this year’s festival was that each act select one of their several albums to play. The decision was easy for Hill, who notoriously only has one solo studio album.


Lenny Kravitz brings 'Black and White America' to New York City's Terminal 5: EW on the scene

Lenny Kravitz’s band is no letdown in the cool department.

The crew’s lone lady sports a shaved head and taps her shoeless feet while shredding her guitar. The horn section follows suit. One member rocks well tailored, yet unkempt dreads. Another, like his lead man, has a mini ‘fro. While the second guitarist resembles Sideshow Bob—but in a “I’d hang out with him” way. All look like if weapons replaced their instruments, they’d be equally capable of defending our planet from the end of days.

Kravitz is captain, of course. And last night at New York City’s Terminal 5, he and company tore it down. The twenty-year veteran dropped his ninth album, Black and White America, Tuesday and he was the evening’s headliner of the Samsung AT&T Summer Krush concert.

Ever the sex symbol, he made ladies squeal upon his arrival. In sunglasses, a fitted black shirt, leather pants, and boots, Kravitz wasted no time getting to his classics. Watch him perform “American Woman” after the jump:


Beyonce performs first of four-night run of her new '4' album at small NYC theater -- an EW review

Only Beyoncé can call performing to a sold-out audience of 3,500 an “intimate affair” with a straight face.

If there’s anything to be learned from the R&B pop talent’s magnificent set last night at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom for her 4 Intimate Nights With Beyoncé run, it’s that Beyoncé’s bigger than any ballroom.

Queen B’s manic swarm of fans attacked the venue early, shoving and jostling through Roseland’s severely undermanned entrance, then rammed their way up to prime viewing real estate in the standing-room-only floor setup. Clear-eyed and swift, none seemed under the influence of a controlled substance. But obviously, they were high on excitement.

Just after 10pm, Beyoncé’s band arrived. For this evening, the first of four in the mini-series concluding Aug. 19 (All dates are sold out; sorry, guys), she brought along not just a drummer, keyboarder, and guitarist, but also a horn section and an orchestra—all women, cramped up on stage like an extremely concentrated dose of musical girl power.

Then came the lady of the hour. In a shimmering gold dress, Beyoncé opened with a refresher course of how a young lady from Houston, Texas, became a pop icon. Similar to her 2009 stint in Las Vegas (I Am… Yours) at the Wynn, the show began with a performance of the Jackson 5’s “I Wanna Be Where You Are,” which was followed by an audio autobiography of sorts.


On the scene: Celine Dion live in Las Vegas. Holograms, Michael Jackson, and more!

Back in March, when Celine Dion’s new show “Celine” opened in Las Vegas, my colleague Tanner Stransky posed a very important question: Will you make it to Sin City to see it?

As a huge (non-closeted) Celine fan, I gave a resounding “yes!” and began my Celine countdown. To say I was excited would be an understatement. So I rounded up some travel partners (otherwise known as my mom and grandmother), and we left for Sin City with only one thing on our agenda—see Celine live at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. (Seriously. We had no other plans.)

Before the show started, I chatted with a publicist for The Colosseum who told me, “well, if you’re already a Celine fan you’re going to love the show. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. It will be great.” I figured I’d enjoy the show. But laugh and cry? Probably not. Famous last words…

I had seen Celine once before on her Taking Chances World Tour, and she sang only her own music, so I was pleasantly surprised that last night’s show included a number of non-Celine classics. She opened the show with Journey’s “Open Arms,” then took it way back to the basics with her “Where Does My Heart Beat Now,” got the crowd to sing along at her request to “Because You Loved Me,” and then went right into “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now.” I’m so used to botching this song during karaoke, it was refreshing to hear it as it’s meant to be heard. She finished off the first set of songs with “I’m Your Lady.” Yes you are, Celine. Yes you are. READ FULL STORY

Paul McCartney rocks Yankee Stadium with epic concert, duets with Billy Joel: On the scene

“When I’m Sixty-Four” was conspicuously absent from Paul McCartney’s set list during his two concerts at Yankee Stadium over the weekend. No wonder. At 69, rock & roll’s most easygoing revolutionary is jamming harder than ever. EW was on the scene at the Saturday show, a nearly 40-song set which also featured some Empire State musical muscle in the form of a certain Bronx-born piano man.

McCartney’s nearly two-hour and 45-minute extravaganza spanned his output from the past 50 years. Chronological hodgepodge was clearly his goal from the outset, opening with late Beatles psychedelic tripper “Magical Mystery Tour,” followed by Wings shout-anthem “Jet,” and then early Beatles Dorian-scaled “All My Loving.” READ FULL STORY

Sade live -- and stunning as ever -- at New Jersey's Izod Center: An EW concert review

I’ve never seen so many people fill a venue so big to see so little. But then again, Sade’s little is a lot.

Last Friday (June 24) the band, led by veteran British Nigerian songstress Sade Adu, stopped at New Jersey’s Izod Center. She surfaced from beneath the stage just after 9pm, in a sheer black shirt, matching pants and heels, and bathed in purple lighting, to sing her last album’s title track, “Soldier of Love.”

To pack a venue as large as the Izod, one might think that there would be more to Sade than what the audience got that evening. There was no glut of costume changes nor were there any elaborate dance sequences like you’d expect at, say, a Beyoncé concert.  In fact, Sade never even broke a sweat (I was eight rows from the stage, close enough to have seen a bead on her brow or forehead—had there been one).

The beauty of her show was in its simplicity. At 52, Adu is gorgeous and elegant. Her gentle sways and slow struts during “Kiss of Life” were sexier than anything I’ve seen from performers half her age. Her moves were smoother and effortless, not contrived and fixed. READ FULL STORY

Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj live in L.A. on the Femme Fatale Tour: EW's review

As I walked through L.A.’s Staples Center for Britney Spears’ Femme Fatale tour last night, the lack of parochial-school uniforms, blonde wigs, and spandex jumpsuits—the sartorial choices of Britney fans of concerts past—had me worried.

The packs of twenty-something females—with some gay men and dutiful boyfriends mixed in—here to see Britney looked to be dressed for a night out in Vegas; certainly a far cry from Gaga’s wig-happy Little Monsters and the diehard Britney fans of yore.(Eleven years ago, some babysitting money, combined with an impassioned plea to my mother, earned this former teenybopper a ticket to her unforgettable “Oops!… I Did It Again” tour.)

Mere minutes after the the singer’s first sultry utterance of “It’s Britney, bitch,” it was obvious that my first instincts were very, very wrong. She opened with a sexed-up rendition of  her single “Hold It Against Me”; singing from a Game of Thrones-esque iron chair while a gaggle of beefed up “hot cops” grinded against her.

Britney’s back, alright.  And with her slim waist, her dangerously toned legs, and most importantly her engaged, wide-eyed smile, she looked happy to be there with us—the crucial element that has been missing from so many Britney shows of late. READ FULL STORY

Katy Perry and Robyn take a sweet-toothed teenage dream tour to New Jersey

Katy Perry brought her sugarcoated psychedelic dreamland to New Jersey last night, using her California Dreams tour to tell the story of a young lady who follows her feline companion Kitty Purry into a circuitous Candy Land-esque setting filled with hallucination-inducing brownies, a slutty slot machine (ha?) and a cavalcade of Top 10 hits.

Say what you will about Katy Perry—sure, she has a weak singing voice and her songs are mostly devoid of substance—but as a courier of frothy delights and eye-catching effulgence, she’s become one of today’s most-satisfying pop stars.

Her stage show—which boasted airborne mimes, floating cotton candy clouds and a gingerbread man kick-line—was a visual feast that brought to mind a tweenage version of Cirque du Soleil. And make no mistake: this stage show was a dream constructed for, and occupied almost exclusively by, teens. I doubt more than ten percent of the crowd was over twenty, and most of those adults were chaperoning fist-pumping teens in blue wigs and candy-button dresses. READ FULL STORY

Lady Gaga kicks off 'Good Morning America' Summer Concert Series: How did she do?

Well, that “Born This GMA” meme certainly didn’t go to waste!

Lady Gaga continued her whirlwind media blitz to promote Born This Way by kicking off Good Morning America’s summer concert series today. In front of thousands of screaming fans, some of whom had camped out for two days, she performed a five-song set from the heart of Central Park.

Needless to say, Rihanna purring “S&M” to open the Today show’s own concert series couldn’t compete with Gaga in the Grand Entrance department. With her bipolar Cruella DeVil hair and a red-riding hood ensemble — she looked like a caped crusader for glitter and grease — Her Ladyship ziplined her way over the heads of her cigarette-glasses-wearing audience to land more-or-less gracefully on stage. Admittedly, it seemed to take a bit longer than she’d anticipated — her spandexed backup dancers had carried most of “Bad Romance” by themselves before she made her arrival. And I couldn’t help but notice a rare look of fear on her face before taking her harnessed leap of faith. Had she learned nothing from Hugh Jackman’s zipline debacle on Oprah? Thankfully, though, Gaga is still without a Spinal Tap-style mishap, even if precious time to see her cat-scratch her way through “Bad Romance” was lost. READ FULL STORY

Twilight Singers bring effortless cool to New York show

If the very definition of cool is not caring whether or not you look cool, then Greg Dulli is Steve McQueen.

The Twilight Singers‘ frontman and mastermind (probably still best known for his ’90s alt-rock band Afghan Whigs but also recognizable to devotees as one half of the Gutter Twins, his tag-team effort with former Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan) spent the entirety of his band’s 90 minute set at New York City’s Webster Hall oozing a casualness that only the true badasses are able to pull off. Dressed all in black, he ambled around the stage, switching from guitar to keyboard and back again, all the while leading his tight band through blasts of rugged R&B and squalling guitar rock.

Don’t let the swagger fool you, though. When it comes to performing, Dulli was spot on, ripping through passionate late-night anthems like “Forty Dollars” and “King Only.”


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