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Tag: Concert Reviews (61-70 of 150)

Puff Daddy and his old family steal Diddy-Dirty Money's Coming Home New York City show

He may not be the best rapper in the game, but boy, Diddy can throw a party.

Last Friday (April 22) he and his Dirty Money crew‘s Coming Home Tour stopped at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom. It was literally a homecoming for Diddy, a Harlem native.

So instead of the refined and rehearsed offering several other cities likely received during the tour’s run, Diddy gave his hometown more, pulling several guests on stage and making it less of a Diddy-Dirty Money show and more of a nostalgic review of his Bad Boy Records heyday.

Diddy, along with DM singers Dawn Richard and Kalenna Harper, performed a few cuts from their Last Train to Paris early on. Diddy emerged dipped in white from head to toe and the trio performed “Ass on the Floor,” “Yeah, Yeah You Would,” “Yesterday,” and even an emotional medley of Sade’s classics, including “No Ordinary Love.”

Surprisingly, Diddy seemed a bit nervous up there at the start—as if uncertain of his Dirty Money material. To his credit, Train is an experimental hip-hop album we loved. Although as far as sales are concerned, it’s not a fan favorite (released last December, it hasn’t gone gold yet). And the audience’s halfhearted responses to their solid opening half hour proved as much.

But as he slid into the next portion of his set and the girls left, so did his nerves. After a roll call of the city’s boroughs, Diddy stopped to introduce Queens icon and A Tribe Called Quest rhymer Q-Tip, who brought the crowd to life with “Check the Rhime” and his solo banger “Vivrant Thing.”

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Lauryn Hill's Moving Target tour lands in Los Angeles: Old-school songs with new-school flavor

Lauryn Hill’s latest tour, Moving Target, finally made its way to Los Angeles on Monday night, following a weekend appearance at the Coachella Festival in Palm Springs.

The singer hit up downtown’s Club Nokia for a healthy dose of songs pulled from several realms of her musical history, including her time with the Fugees, her Grammy-winning album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and even a little tribute to Bob Marley. [Note: The photo shown here isn't of Hill on Monday evening, because press photos were not made available.]

Hill opened her concert—which, despite reports of extreme tardiness in the past, started only about 20 minutes after the scheduled time—by declaring to the crowd: “If it’s okay with you, we’d like to do some classic music.” And classic music she certainly did, launching with her Miseducation hit “Everything Is Everything,” before rolling into Refugee Camp All-Stars’ “Sweetest Thing” and weaving back to Miseducation with “Lost Ones.”

But to be honest, her use of term “classic” should be interpreted loosely, especially when you consider how Hill, wearing an oversized dress and suit jacket, performed the songs. While she certainly sang the lyrics to the aforementioned tunes, they were only recognizable as the songs we’re familiar with at certain, fleeting points. Not that that’s a bad thing—Hill’s voice is still deep and luscious as it ever was but anyone hoping for a tour through the recorded versions of her songs will be sorely disappointed.

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Is James Taylor the coolest uncool guy ever? On the scene at Carnegie Hall's 120th anniversary with Taylor, Sting, Bette Midler, Bill Clinton(!) and more

Last night, those fortunate to be on the New York fundraiser circuit (or fledgling EW reporters) were treated to an intimate concert at Carnegie Hall headlined by none other than the king of soft folk-rock himself, James Taylor.

Taylor was there to help the famous venue, founded in 1891 and celebrating 120 years of being NYC’s premier concert hall by welcoming back some of its most famous performers. The roster included Bette Midler, (Carnegie debut, 1972) Steve Martin, (1971) Barbara Cook, (1961) Dianne Reeves, (1989) and Sting (1991).

While the gala crowds at the Carnegie last night probably wouldn’t be defined as musical trailblazers, they did love them some James Taylor. By the time the musician strode out at about a quarter past 7 p.m., the house was packed. I didn’t check the rafters to see if people were hanging from them, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if some ball-gowned “Country Road” enthusiasts had sneaked their way past security. READ FULL STORY

Eric Clapton and Wynton Marsalis play the blues in Manhattan, Taj Mahal steals show

On Saturday night, Eric Clapton finished his three-night celebration of the blues with Wynton Marsalis and Taj Mahal at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater.

EW was on the scene at the concert, a disappointingly academic, PBS-ready affair with only a few glimmers of the throbbing passion and anguish that have defined this great American musical tradition. READ FULL STORY

On the Scene: Nicki Minaj and the Roots play Times Square and geek out hard

Last night, Nicki Minaj painted Times Square pink.

Accompanied by the Roots, hip-hop’s most fluorescent femme fatale gave a concert at Manhattan’s Best Buy Theatre to launch Casio’s new Tryx camera.  It was a fun, unpretentious 11-song set, culled mostly from tracks off her debut album, Pink Friday.

The Roots kicked off the affair, blasting their comically schizophrenic, funkadelic sounds. After nearly 20 years, the Roots still remain one of the most immersive live acts to witness in person. The sheer number of bodies on stage can be overwhelming—I mean, where do you look? (Okay, to be fair, you’re probably looking at the Muppet antics of the ever mesmerizing ?uestlove on drums.) READ FULL STORY

Hardly heralded R&B singers Marsha Ambrosius and Melanie Fiona fill New York City's Irving Plaza with soul

Every couple of years the same question is asked of R&B music: “What happened to it?”

The inquiry is made as if the genre is dead or has mutated into something grossly unfamiliar. Sure, top-tier artists like Usher and Beyoncé seemingly have both feet firmly planted in pop music. But essentially, they are rhythm and blues singers.

The problem is, to me at least, that what R&B purists are looking for—soulful, non-Auto-Tune–assisted voices sans European club-inspired bass lines and obnoxious synths—is hard to find. Or maybe folks just aren’t looking hard enough.

Last night a capacity crowd piled into New York City’s Irving Plaza to catch two oh-so-talented yet not-so-famous R&B songstresses, Universal Motown’s Melanie Fiona and J’s Marsha Ambrosius, for BET’s Music Matters tour. READ FULL STORY

Janet Jackson: 44 and still nasty during Number Ones show at New York's Radio City Music Hall

Not many artists so far removed from a hit record can fill up a venue as large as Radio City Music Hall. Nearly a decade has passed since Janet Jackson last topped the Billboard hot 100 singles chart (“All For You,” 2001). But there she was Friday night—hair short and slicked—in a sexy, tight gray jumpsuit singing to a packed house on the first of three nights of her Number Ones tour at the famed New York venue.

Oh, how easily we forget. Or perhaps it was just me… Janet’s got hits! Obviously, it’s called Number Ones for a reason. She has ten that have reached the No. 1 spot on the hot 100 during her career, 26 altogether in the top 20, and of those smashes several have ranked above all in their respective R&B and dance charts.

Jackson opened with her 1987 R&B chart topper “Pleasure Principle” and continued with a blitz of classics. Somehow I remembered the words to them all. As did my fellow fans, pausing from reciting lyrics only to squeal or hoot. “Alright,” “Miss You Much,” and  “What Have You Done for Me Lately” all came partnered with the crisp choreography from there ’80s videos. Her voice, both feathery and gruff at times, was strong all evening. There appeared to be no lip-syncing, which she’s often accused of.

In true Janet fashion, the show was sexually charged. READ FULL STORY

New York Dolls at the Bowery Ballroom: Still fabulous after 40 years

While most of the music-loving world has descended upon the indie music mecca of SXSW in Austin, Tx., some of us poor souls are stuck tooling around in boring ole New York. What’s there to do in this city, anyway?

The answer to that was easy last night: see the New York Dolls. Even 38 years after their debut — which is still the most convincing argument that rock is best played loud, fast and in drag — the New York Dolls own the stage like they invented modern rock. Which isn’t that far from the truth anyway. READ FULL STORY

Prince rocks Madison Square Garden: The superstar serenades Leighton Meester and gets a dance assist from Jimmy Fallon

I was a Prince concert virgin before last night and, now, I’m not really sure how I’ve lived the last 31 years without seeing the purple-lovin’ icon perform live. The tiny superstar, currently in the midst of his “Welcome 2 America” tour, was redonkulously good. He had the Madison Square Garden crowd on their feet for almost the entire show. I’m always so happy when small people are able to succeed—it gives me hope. Prince performed a whole slew of his greatest hits, including “Purple Rain” and “Rasberry Beret” (sadly my fave Prince jam, “Seven,” was not featured). He was accompanied by a slammin’ live band as well as three back-up singers who I named “NeNe Leakes,” “Stevie Knicks,” and “Grace Jones” due to their similarities to each of those lovely ladies. And then there where the Twins: Prince had twin female back-up dancers/singers who resembled Nicole Scherzinger and were clad in skin-tight ensembles, many of which included sequins. Needless to say, I was obsessed with them. Look for me to push for them to make a cameo on Glee. I’m gonna make these ladies happen!

Prince also had some celebrity assistance last night. Best of all was when he brought up Gossip Girl‘s Leighton Meester from the audience and serenaded her with “I Love You But I Don’t Trust You Anymore.” Then, Meester walked off with his sweat towel which was a tad gross but oddly sweet. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, who opened for the singer, dueted on Prince’s hit, “A Love Bizarre,” with Jones taking the Sheila E. part. Towards the end of the show, Prince did a rollicking cover of “Dance (Disco Heat)” and brought up a slew of people from the audience to dance onstage, including Meester and talk show host Jimmy Fallon.

For those of you Music Mix-ers who are in New York, there’s one more show on Feb. 7th. You must go! Who knows what other Gossip Girl castmember Prince will pull up on stage?!? That alone is worth the price of admission!

More on EW.com:
Cee-Lo says official ‘F**K You’ duet with Gwyneth Paltrow is on the way
Cake’s sweet new album is No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart

Usher brings explosive OMG tour to NYC's Madison Square Garden

usherImage Credit: Lyle A. Waisman/Getty ImagesLast night, R&B’s present and future pulled into New York City for the first of two nights at Madison Square Garden for Usher’s OMG tour. Upstart vocalist Miguel, riding high off the success of his “All I Want is You” single, warmed up the audience. But Trey Songz, with his recent surge of aggressive yet smooth sex-pop hits, made things sizzle.

After breezing through recent jams like “Say Aah” and even covering Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody,” Songz took some time to appreciate the signs out in the audience. “Can I have your t-shirt, tie, or towel?” one girl’s poster asked. Trey did her one better. He peeled off his sweaty tank top and lowered it into her eager arms. Her night was made. Then it was time for Usher to please everyone else.

While most stared at the stage watching his stick-wielding dancers flash lights, Usher opened the show hovering over the audience before eventually floating down front and center. In a black leather jacket with matching sunglasses and pants, Usher wasted no time getting to his smashes. He has plenty. “Yeah” was the first he leaped into. His dancing, crisp and precise as usual, mirrored the 2004 video. Next was “U Remind Me,” which was followed by a brief skit with his four lovely dancers. “You know I have a past,” he said to his irritated “girlfriend” as he pointed to three jealous women behind him. “But you’re my future.” Nice try, but the line didn’t work—his exes strutted off. As did his new girl. “That’s not how we rehearsed the s— earlier,” he joked. Such was the evening’s loosely tied storyline: a thriving playboy trying to walk the straight and narrow path of monogamy.

Alone again, Usher looked to the crowd to find his next girl to the tune of his steamy, role-reversing “Trading Places.” He pulled an absolutely giddy woman out of the crowd to join him onstage. Excited but poised, she had no problem grinding against the superstar on a chair in front of the sold out arena. Though as the song wound down she got a little too loose, attempting to swing her leg across Usher’s chest. Whap! Instead, she kicked the side of Usher’s face. Embarrassed and profusely apologetic, she quickly rose to see if her clumsy stunt left a mark on his dimpled cheek. Luckily there wasn’t one, and ever the gentleman, he was all smiles. “We play rough in the bed,” he quipped. “We kick each other in the face and all kind of good stuff.”

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