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Tag: On the Scene (51-60 of 75)

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!

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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.”


Kanye West mesmerizes tiny NYC club with 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy': On the scene

kanye-westImage Credit: Walik Goshorn/Retna Ltd.The hundreds of people crammed awkwardly onto the sidewalk outside NYC’s Bowery Ballroom around midnight last night were there for one reason. It wasn’t to hear Kanye West deliver a free-associative monologue about the media, George W. Bush, and Taylor Swift, though maybe that wasn’t a complete surprise when it happened almost three hours later. No, most of us were there for the music. On Monday, West released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, an album that just might be his best ever. Yesterday morning he announced a surprise show at the Bowery, a storied little club on Manhattan’s Lower East Side that fits 550 people, tops. Chances to see the day’s most talked-about star in such an intimate venue don’t come along every day, so downtown we flocked. READ FULL STORY

Miniature Tigers singer talks about their 'awesome' year -- plus his favorite tunes by Kanye West, Katy Perry, and Simon and Garfunkel

miniature-tigersImage Credit: Jason Kempin/WireImage for Entertainment WeeklyMiniature Tigers are one of our favorite new indie bands here at the Music Mix, so we were thrilled to have them headline our latest EW Lounge event highlighting emerging artists. The Brooklyn foursome delighted the crowd last night at Good Units, a hip subterranean spot in Midtown NYC. Amiable singer Charlie Brand (pictured at right) wore a bright red poncho and brandished an acoustic guitar decorated with Dharma Initiative stickers as he led the band through selections from their latest LP, Fortress — twinkly indie-pop confections that burst into blazing noise when required. Tunes like the excellently titled “Rock and Roll Mountain Troll,” “Bullfighter Jacket,” and “Mansions of Misery” were choice highlights. If Miniature Tigers’ career keeps gaining momentum like it has been lately, everyone who saw them in that little room yesterday will have definite bragging rights. READ FULL STORY

Inside the VMAs: What you didn't see on TV

Taylor-Swift-VMAsImage Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesThe crowd settling into the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday evening knew that anything could happen over the next two hours — primarily because anything did happen at the last MTV Video Music Awards. (Lil Mama, you are not forgotten.) I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in that auditorium wondering whether we were about to see any more jaw-dropping surprises when the lights went down at 6 P.M. West Coast time. But did we? Read on. READ FULL STORY

Lilith Fair in L.A. with Sarah McLachlan, Miranda Lambert, Jenni Rivera, Emmylou Harris, and more: EW is on the scene!

sarah_mcLachlanDespite my best efforts, it was awfully hard to walk into Lilith Fair on Saturday with an open mind. I was initially jazzed for this summer’s return of the “celebration of women in music,” but then the underwhelming day-to-day lineups got announced and the show dates started to get cancelled and some big-ticket artists decided to drop out, and by the time Lilith rolled into Irvine, Calif.’s Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, it felt a little bit like attending the funeral of something that wasn’t quite dead. But festival co-founder Terry McBride asked us critics to check out Lilith for ourselves, and “then see if you want to criticize it afterwards.” So off to Irvine I went, through the Lilith looking glass on a beautiful, sunny, SoCal day. What did I find there, between sets from Sarah McLachlan, Miranda Lambert, local fave Jenni Rivera, Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile, and ever so many more? Hmm. You mean besides the free tampons?


On the Scene: Lady Gaga Rocks 30 Rock

Not many pop stars could compel me to wake up at 5 am for a Today show concert, but Lady Gaga is one. This morning Her Ladyship performed at Rockefeller Plaza as part of the “Toyota Concert Series on Today,” and needless to say, she rocked the Rock. I was far from the only one who wanted a little Gaga with my morning coffee, though. The courtyard outside of Today’s Studio 1A was crawling with Little Monsters—paws up, clenched, and suffering from serious “Bad Romance” cat-scratch-dance fever. As Gaga herself acknowledged on Twitter, some of her fans even camped out as much as 12 hours before the show, jockeying for the best possible vantage point for an eye-popping view of their idol in all her spandex-and-sequins glory. Ann Curry reported that the largest crowd ever for a Today show concert—20,000 screaming fans—had assembled in Rockefeller Plaza, breaking the previous record held by Justin Bieber.

Many young Gagaphiles sported the lighting-bolt face paint from the “Just Dance” video. Others donned her sequined mask and stylish swimming cap from the beginning of the “Poker Face” vid, when Gaga emerges from a pool of water not so much as Botticelli’s Venus as the Creature from the Black Lagoon.  One male Little Monster showed off his very own homemade cigarette glasses—and gave them to Meredith Vieira for her to model. Another dude came bedecked in Gaga’s Tholian crystal outfit and headpiece she wore at the Grammys in February.

I attended Gaga’s Monster Ball concert for the first time at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night and, as always, admired the level of passion and intensity she brought to otherwise mostly shallow pop songs. Her commitment to pure artifice is truly inspiring and challenges our tired conceptions of “depth” and “superficiality” more than any other artist of her generation. But I’ll confess I felt some trepidation as her Today concert started.

First of all, and most obviously, Gaga’s never particularly struck me as a morning person. Secondly, the Today show would require her to contain her excesses within the family-friendly parameters of daytime television. She wouldn’t be devoured onstage by a giant anglerfish, or sprawl herself out on her piano’s keyboard and gracefully pound the ivories over and over with her buttocks. When she’s performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show or The Oprah Winfrey Show–and she doesn’t wear the arch-camp persona she assumes in her Monster Ball concerts–she can lay on sappy clichés like “I love my fans so much” as thick as poisoned honey poured over greasy diner food.

When interviewed by Meredith and Ann, Gaga repeated some of these platitudes, but my fears were mostly groundless. Flaunting her Broadway-caliber pipes, she started in right before 8:30 with a passionate rendition of “Someone to Watch Over Me,” followed immediately by “Bad Romance.” During the commercial break, she continued to consult with her musicians, telling her pianist, Joe, he should have left “a little more space” in his accompaniment between the verses of “Someone to Watch Over Me.” Then the heavens opened up. As if it wasn’t enough that Gaga already commanded the crowd, apparently she could summon the weather, as well, because the rain only seemed to enhance her performances of “You and I,” “Alejandro,” and “Teeth”:

It’s hard to believe how far Gaga has come in the 19 months since she first appeared on Today as a fourth-hour guest brought on to give Kathie Lee and Hoda a hilariously awkward dance lesson. From high school outsider to global superstar, Gaga’s career is itself the ultimate wish-fulfillment fantasy—to the point that her audience almost becomes part of her act. During her Monster Ball concerts she talks about how she used to be where all the rest of us are—in the crowd, screaming for her (and our) favorite popstars.

Apparently, she once even camped outside MTV’s Times Square studio to catch a glimpse of Britney Spears performing on TRL. That Gaga has taken such pains to narrativize her journey from obscurity to fame in a way democratizes the experience of being famous. As one fan sporting Diet Coke cans in her hair told me after the show today, “When I see her perform, I feel like a superstar too.” Lady Gaga has not merely captured the hearts of her fans, but like the hungry beast of her song “Monster,” she’s devoured them.

More from’s Music Mix:
Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour: EW’s Top 5 Moments
Pete Wentz announces new bad Black Cards. Are you excited?
Ringo Starr’s 70th birthday concert: Guests galore, and Paul McCartney, too!
Katy Perry rules the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the fifth week in a row
Lady Gaga preps ‘Remix’ album for US release
‘American Idol’ tour dates canceled as Summer of Sadness claims another victim

Bonnaroo '10 Sunday: What the sun heats up, the Dave Matthews Band cools down

dave-matthewsImage Credit: Whitney Pastorek for EW.comIt was hot at Bonnaroo yesterday. (How hot was it?) It was so hot, I could have poached an organic free-range egg in my Nalgene bottle. It was so hot, the mice crawled out of Jamey Johnson’s beard, hoping to catch a breeze. It was so hot, They Might Be Giants only got halfway through “Particle Man” before he evaporated. I’ve got a million of ‘em, folks. Try the veal.

It was so very hot, in fact, that your brave festival correspondent, namely me, decided to forgo the photo pits — always a good 30 degrees or so worse than the temperature outside — and just see as much music as I could. At a music festival! It was a crazy decision, and one that paid off. Between 2 and 8 p.m., I saw a grand total of 14 bands, and time-coded my notes as I went to give you a minute-by-minute recap of my travels leading up to the Dave Matthews Band and their big closing set on the mainstage. Oh, how I was looking forward to “Ants Marching”! All day, as I walked under the oppressive sun, that was my thought: Just a few more hours, and you get to hear “Ants Marching”! Keep going! You can do it! Almost there!

After the jump: Jamey Johnson, Regina Spektor, Against Me(!), Fogerty, Ween, They Might Be Giants, Miranda Lambert, Phoenix, and yet another lesson in why the secret to life is low expectations…


Bonnaroo '10 Saturday: Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z bring in the noise and also the funk

jay-zImage Credit: Whitney Pastorek for EW.comBonnaroo is frequently a land where time has no meaning, where an hour can pass in a blink or an eternity depending on what you’re listening to and the quality of your footwear. While Friday’s 14-hour marathon was an experience I’d not trade — until you’ve watched an entire Kings of Leon set while standing in mud so thick you have to move your rain boots every couple of songs to be sure they don’t get stuck, I believe you have not yet lived — it’s possible that my compact, musically-mindblowing Saturday is the day of this year’s ‘Roo I’ll remember most.

Though I only saw six artists, there were moments in each set that lifted me out of my post-apocalyptic surroundings, transporting me on a cloud of endorphins to a happy place where puppies and kittens roamed, and beer was non-caloric and free. The blisters on my feet stopped screaming. The pain in my back subsided. The worker bee who lives in my head and is constantly telling me to keep moving keep working you’re not doing enough they’re gonna yell at you was silenced, and I was able to enjoy every one of the six acts as a straight-up fan of music who felt very lucky to be standing in her rain boots in that Tennessee field in that humid moment.

After the jump: The soaring emotion of Mumford & Sons; the thunder of the Dead Weather; the songwriting royalty of John Prine; the spazzy joy of Weezer; the uplifting mastery of Stevie Wonder. And then there was the massive mainstream hip-hop headliner who not only started on time — we here at Bonnaroo are skittish about such things, *cough*Kanye*cough* — but proceeded to absolutely rap our faces off. I understand self-aggrandizement is par for the course in his genre, but as far as I’m concerned, Jay-Z is welcome to refer to himself as “the best rapper alive” as often as he’d like from now on. Jigga what? Jigga yes. HIT ME!


Bonnaroo ’10 Friday: Kings of Leon come home

kings-of-leon-1Image Credit: Whitney Pastorek for EW.comIt was 6 a.m. when my head finally hit the pillow this morning, after an epic day in the Bonnaroo fields that started with a standup comedian in exile, peaked with the Tennessee homecoming of a suddenly-giant rock band, and ended with a New York City dance act in mourning. After fourteen straight hours of music, my ears were ringing, my blisters were burning, and my back had taken a brief sabbatical from operating in a fully upright and locked position. It was difficult to remember which foot to place forward first. I may or may not have briefly wept sometime around 3:45 a.m. It’s hard to remember that long ago.

But there’s no rest for the weary at America’s most endurance-based music festival. Bonnaroo demands, and almost always deserves, a herculean effort. To stand inside those walls, surrounded by light and sound and flesh, is to experience a peculiar pull to cover every inch of its currently-muddy soil and consume whatever it cares to offer. I promise I will not write this whole blog post like some sort of epic poem, but seriously, Mixers, yesterday was long.

After the jump, we begin with a little Conan O’Brien, then party with the Gossip, harmonize with Dr. Dog, meet cute with She & Him, raise a glass to the National, raise a sausage to Tenacious D, meditate with Tori Amos, sit at the feet of Steve Martin while he plays the banjo, check out new songs from Kings of Leon, almost get killed in the Flaming Lips photo pit, bliss out to the Black Keys, and finally, finally put the night to rest alongside LCD Soundsystem. Won’t you come along? READ FULL STORY

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