The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus (PGMC) kicked off its 2014-2015 season last week with a repertoire of traditional American holiday classics mixed with a country-music flair. I went Saturday night, sticking to a decade-long tradition of attending the concert with my friend Scott Righter and my husband Mike Toub. The concert consisted of holiday songs by American composers, both old and new, including “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Go Tell It On the Mountain.”
For part of the show, the songbirds were dressed in tuxedos, but in the second act they changed into their sexiest flannel shirts and kerchiefs to perform down-home country favorites like Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas,” sung by Michael Murphy, and an acted-out “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” (Note: No reindeer were hurt during this segment.)
In addition to the angelic voices of the guys, there were dancing boys and a live band accompanying the singers. At the event Joseph J. Buches, artistic director of PGMC, chatted about the upcoming season, which includes the very tempting “Proud Marys: A Diva Sing-Along.” You won’t want to miss it. Buy your tickets early, because these show sell out fast.
Last night in New York City U2 took to Times Square for a surprise concert performance in honor of World AIDS Day. As we reported, a recent bike accident kept Bono from performing, so Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay’s Chris Martin stood in as lead singers for the band.
Springsteen proved a worthy replacement for Bono, taking on “Where the Streets Have No Name,” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Check out the full, 11-minute performance below:
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U2 has announced it will perform a surprise show tonight in Times Square to commemorate World AIDS Day. Well, most of U2. Due to a recent motorcycle accident, Bono won’t be able to perform, so the band has enlisted the help of Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who will take turns standing in as lead vocalist.
The performance, presented by Bono’s (RED) organization, will also feature solo performances by Kanye West and country queen Carrie Underwood.
The show takes place tonight, Monday, December 1st, at 7:30 p.m. in Duffy Square in Times Square. That’s on Broadway between 46th and 47th streets. There’s still time to hop the Amtrak or a Bolt Bus, but if you’re not feeling spontaneous, the show will be streamed live on YouTube here:
I am awed as I sit down at my old-fangled typewriter to report on Stevie Wonder’s show last night at the Wells Fargo Center. It was tremendous.
Stevie played grand piano, upright piano (on “Ebony Eyes”), several harmonicas, and he sang with his effortless tenor. He was backed by a sumptuous array of world-class performers, including a killer horn section, six stunning backup singers, India.Arie as his beauteous and fashionable guest vocalist, and a terrific string section plucked from Philly (including my friend and violin whiz Erica Miller, who accompanied my alter ego Martha Graham Cracker at L’Etage for my all-string-quartet show last Thursday.)
Here are 12 things I learned during last night’s show that I thought you might find interesting, as well:
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I’m going to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of seeing shows at the Union Transfer. The security there is sometimes a bit touchy-feely, there’s always some random fan girl twirling all up in my space, and, well, let’s just say Molly seems to be plentiful. Last night, when I went to see DJ Caribou, all of those things were in place, but I didn’t even notice because the show was absolutely explosive. Both acts that performed took me to another place that was worlds away from the Union Transfer and the twirling sister at my side.
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Bad news if you were heading down to Atlantic City on November 28th to see the much-anticipated Culture Club reunion at Trump Taj Mahal’s Etess Arena. The band just released the following message, announcing that they are canceling all tour dates in the U.S. and U.K for the rest of the year:
It is with great regret that the members of Culture Club have announced the cancellation of their tours in North America and the UK scheduled for November and December 2014.
It became necessary to do so this week when a polyp was discovered in [Boy] George’s throat. The throat specialist has ordered George to not sing as it may necessitate an operation.
George and the band are devastated by this news and so it is with much regret that the tour is cancelled until further notice. Refunds are available at the point of purchase.
“We are hoping we can reschedule the concerts for next year, and hopefully George’s problem will be resolved,” said the members of Culture Club.
Bruce Springsteen is joining other A-list music stars, like Rihanna, The Black Keys, Eminem, and Jennifer Hudson, for the first-ever Concert for Valor in Washington D.C. this evening. The show is a Veterans Day affair, meant to bring people together on the National Mall and on TVs and computer screens across the country to pay homage to veterans and active duty service members.
The Washington Times expects 800,000 people at the event, which takes place tonight, November 11th, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. There’s still plenty of time to drive down if you want to brave the crowd, but there are other ways to see the show. HBO, a partner of the event, will televise the concert live, and it will be available for non-subscribers. For subscribers, Concert for Valor will be aired on HBO and HBO GO throughout the month of November.
Folks can also live-stream the show as it happens at theconcertforvalor.com, and iHeartRadio will provide a live audio simulcast during the show. Find more information and to find all the right links, go here.
The Queen of Soul is making her Kimmel Center debut next month and tickets go on sale today. On Monday, December 29th, Aretha Franklin will sing both her greatest hits and songs from her new album Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, which features ditties made famous by Etta James, Gloria Gaynor, Alicia Keys, and Barbara Streisand, and others.
While promoting her new album, Franklin appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and brought down the house with this cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep:”
Gay-adored singer/actress/comedian/all-around brassy diva Bette Midler just announced that she’ll be heading out on tour for the first time in more than a decade, and—are you sitting—she has penciled in a date in Philadelphia.
The Divine Miss M will be coming to the Wells Fargo Center on June 16th of 2015 as part of her North American tour to promote her latest album, It’s The Girls! As if you don’t know already, the work is a collection of songs made famous girl group singers—everyone from old school trios like The Andrews Sisters all the way up to TLC. (Check out her “Waterfalls” cover below)
The tour kicks off in May with a two-night shebang at Hollywood’s Hard Rock Cafe. Pre-sales begin on LiveNation starting November 10th, which, your favorite Santa Claus should know, is just in time for Christmas. Get more information here.
Get ready for some old school jams: The Annual All-Stars of Hip Hop concert returns on Sunday, January 18th. The just-announced lineup will feature Public Enemy, Naughty by Nature, KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte, and Special Ed. The hip hop legends will join forces for one night only at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets range from $55.45 to $87.35 after online fees. For a true hip-hop fan, that’s a small price to pay to see all these greats in action.