Pharrell is all about the ladies: His most recent album is called G I R L, its songs are almost exclusively about females, and at his American Express “Unstaged” show last night at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater, he made a special point to introduce his “baes” (a.k.a. his backup singers and dancers): “There’s no stars on this stage, everybody up here’s suns,” he said, forgetting that suns technically are stars… but hey, the sentiment was there.
Tag: On the Scene (1-10 of 77)
The day after the Grammys is big for any music fan, so it makes perfect sense that Monday would be the first day for Sean “Diddy” Combs’ new digital cable music channel, Revolt TV, to go live with its first show, aptly titled Revolt Live.
From the channel’s new Hollywood studio, you can see the Hollywood sign perfectly framed in the background. And the setting is fitting — Revolt Live aims to be the music lover’s version of Sportscenter, giving fans the latest music news of the day as it happens; the show also features in-studio performances and interviews. For the first show, rappers Wiz Khalifa and Mack Wilds both made an appearance in the studio while Bastille, fresh off their SNL performance this past weekend, and Knicks player J.R. Smith were interviewed live from New York.
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Every year, the Grammys are loaded with as many artists and performances as possible within three and a half hours (or more, given that this year ran long and they still had to play the credits over the finale). Because of those mega-performances, it’s a televised event that’s just as enjoyable in person — or probably more so.
The inside of Staples Center feels like a one-night-only festival where all the most relevant pop stars and biggest artists of the past are on one bill. And they play together. And they try to one-up each other, meaning that even if a performance isn’t great, it goes down swinging (we might throw Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” witch-fest into the latter category).
Here are some observations from EW’s crew on the inside, including our view of Taylor Swift, when she wasn’t caught on camera dancing in the crowd.
When Joe Walsh performed his solo hit “Life’s Been Good” during the Eagles’ first show back at the L.A. Forum in more than three decades on Wednesday night, he made a small but significant change to the lyrics that perfectly summed up the band’s enduring appeal: “Everybody’s so different, we haven’t changed.”
And aside from having a few more years under their belts, he’s right. The band — which formed in 1971, broke up in 1980, and reunited in blockbuster fashion in 1994 — is in top form, still nailing their signature rich harmonies and wailing guitar solos. But before bringing out the big guns the show started small, with only founding members Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Bernie Leadon sitting on stools with their guitars and telling stories about the early days.
Following the nostalgic acoustic set, Frey asked the crowd, “Do you like California country?” The trio was then joined by a backing band — including Timothy B. Schmit, who started playing with the Eagles in 1977 during the Hotel California Tour — for “Peaceful Easy Feeling” (check out the appropriate SoCal sunset that backed the band in the photo above). But there was still one missing piece: Walsh, who took over for Leadon in 1975, was needed for the haunting guitar strains of “Witchy Woman.”
From there, it was basically like hearing The Eagles Greatest Hits live, starting with “Tequila Sunrise,” “Already Gone,” “Best of My Love,” and “One of These Nights,” and going into intermission with “Take It to the Limit,” on which Frey took over lead vocals for original guitarist Randy Meisner. It was hard to keep track of all the band members throughout the night, considering they constantly swap lead vocal duties, plus Frey switches between guitar and keyboard, and Henley frequently pulls double-duty, singing from behind the drum kit. The band has no true frontman, so their show feels like a team effort.
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You can say a lot of things about Britney Spears — but you can’t say she doesn’t work, bitch.
Pulling off a 90-minute, 23-song tour de force is no easy task. And Spears, with the help of a bevy of fantastic backup dancers, fulfilled her promise to her fans at the opening of her Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood Friday night to “bring the cheese” — in a good way. To those hoping for some sort of schadenfreude disaster, you won’t find it here; Spears speeds through her hits and some new songs off her latest album, Britney Jean, with great energy, slick choreography, and about four different hairstyles, not to mention the seven costume changes.
The show owes more to Cirque du Soleil and her own ’90s-era videos than it does to Celine Dion, but will it be enough to draw a younger audience to Las Vegas for the next two years? The show opens as Britney descends to the stage from a huge sphere — the first of several high-flying stunts in the 90-minute performance — and launches into ‘Work B**ch,” with Spears clad in a sparkly nude bodysuit, reminiscent of her outfit in 2004’s “Toxic” music video. You can almost make out her six pack from the audience; that is to say, she looks amazing. It takes her a few songs to look completely comfortable on stage, but by the middle of “3” she’s given a brief shoutout to the crowd and gotten in sync, just in time to launch into “… Baby One More Time” and “Oops!… I Did It Again,” clad in black and donning a short brown wig, letting us know this was new Britney revisiting old Britney — we weren’t going to get a red leather body suit or the heart thump dance move tonight.
As so many of the best concerts do, CHVRCHES’ set on Tuesday night began with a fire hazard. I spent the evening holed up with the Scottish electro-pop trio at The Heath in New York, a venue only accessible by an elevator that seemed to be operated by a series of hand-held pulleys. There was no other way out and no other way in. Like the band, I was there to stay.
It’s been a relatively quick rise from Glasgow to the Billboard charts for Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook, and Martin Doherty (truly Scottish, aren’t they?). CHVRCHES formed and began writing in October of 2011, released their first official single in November of 2012, were signed in January of 2013, debuted their acclaimed full length debut The Bones of What You Believe in September, and on December 10th, they performed an intimate private concert for Sirius XM contest winners on the last night of their first sold-out U.S. tour.
The unassuming trio floated on stage, introducing themselves via the album favorite “We Sink.” The first song revealed what would become a running theme of the evening: watching the audience exuberantly bop along to melodic beats that belied fierce lyrics like “I’ll be a thorn in your side/’til you die.” It’s difficult to guess from their three-people-in-a-line-singing setup where exactly their lyrics originates. But it became clear when the group took their first break after fluorescent single, “Lies,” to chat with audience. READ FULL STORY
One Direction’s third studio album, Midnight Memories, doesn’t come out until next Tuesday (Nov. 26), but that didn’t stop the boys from hosting an intimate listening party for a couple hundred of their biggest fans on Nov. 22 in Los Angeles.
The event, which was moderated by television and radio personality Ryan Seacrest, took place at Los Angeles’ new iHeart Radio Theater and featured live performances of new songs and old favorites as well as a question-and-answer segment with fans in the audience.
EW sat down with the boys after the listening party and asked them all about the process of making their third studio album. Read on to find out what they said about their more mature sound.
The room was decorated like a hipster wedding venue, most of the attendees were under the age of five with the first Harry Potter book came out, and Alcide the Werewolf was on hand to introduce Lorde (obviously). All was oddly as it should be at the VH1’s You Oughta Know in Concert Monday night in New York City.
You Oughta Know might seem like a silly name at first (and it sure wreaks havoc on a spell check), but VH1’s up-and-comer discovery program has become something of an institution since it’s launch in 2005, serving as a barometer for the brightest new things on the music scene.
The YOK anointment is a prestigious one — shedding light on artists like Adele, Bruno Mars, Amy Winehouse, Mumford & Sons, The Civil Wars and more before they reached the mainstream. And aptly named at that, because while I “knew” most of the concert’s newer featured artists before I saw them perform, there is much more to most of them than just potential. You ought to know them, because they’re good – really good. READ FULL STORY
A Facebook hoax may have claimed that Celine Dion died in a plane and/or car accident last week, but don’t be fooled — the Canadian national treasure’s heart went on (and on) at an intimate concert at New York City’s Edison Ballroom on Tuesday night. “Well, you are definitely bringing me back to life, for sure,” Dion told the enraptured audience.
To celebrate the release of Loved Me Back To Life (out Nov. 5), her first English-language album in six years, Dion performed a 12-song set as a part of the Pandora Presents series of live concerts. (QVC will also air the concert Nov. 1 at 7 p.m., and offer a specially packaged version of the new album that includes five additional bonus tracks.) READ FULL STORY
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