Billy Joel Welcomes In 2014, Neil Young Rocks Carnegie Hall

Billy Joel Welcomes In 2014, Neil Young Rocks Carnegie Hall

Those New Yorkers get everything.  I’d say they’re the luckiest city in the world but residents do have to endure the Mets.

On New Year’s Eve, citizens of the Big Apple will be able to usher in 2014 with a Billy Joel concert.  The piano man is scheduled to perform at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Hmm.  It’s interesting that the New Yorkiest of all New Yorkers is performing at Barclays Center and not Madison Square Garden.  Is this more proof that MSG has been surpassed by Barclays as Gotham’s premiere concert venue?

But I digress…

Opening for Joel is another piano man, Ben Folds.  Actually, Joel’s opening act is the Ben Folds Five, but I really wanted to use the previous sentence. 

Billy Joel and Neil Young

A week later, Joel begins a mini-tour of Florida with two shows in Sunrise (Jan. 7 and Jan. 11), a gig in Tampa (Jan. 17), and a performance in Jacksonville (Jan. 22).

Now, a NYE Billy Joel show is pretty impressive but that’s not why New Yorkers are so lucky.  What makes them fortune’s darling and fate’s buddy is on Jan. 6 Neil Young begins a four-night stand at Carnegie Hall.

The “Cinnamon Girl” singer entertains Carnegie Hall visitors on Jan. 6, 7, 9, and 10. 

In January, Young’s Carnegie Hall-stand caps off a three-month period in which he performed at his annual Farm Aid (September) concert and his annual Bridge School Benefit in Mountain View, California (October).

So in less than a week, New Yorkers can see two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers without ever leaving the city.

Granted, they’re quite different Rock and Roll Hall of Famers but they’re hall of famers nonetheless, and it’s not every day you can say you saw two legends in less than a week’s time. 

Billy Joel is one of the bestselling artists of all-time while Neil Young has inspired generations of mopey singer-songwriters.

Also, one is American and the other is Canadian.

Now, if you can only see Joel or Young which artist should you pick?  That’s easy, you should see Joel.  Not because he’s better (or worse) but for the sole reason that Young tours all the time and Joel does not.  I think Joel is one more bout of alcoholism or another embezzling-manager away from retiring.

Surfboards A02

Eagles Expand ‘History’ Tour Into 2014

Eagles Expand ‘History’ Tour Into 2014

The Eagles have recently announced new tour dates for 2014.

The latest batch of shows is an extension of their “History of the Eagles Tour.”  That excursion started way back in July of 2013.  It was launched to support the documentary of the same name (well, minus the word “tour”).  The biopic first aired on Showtime and can now be purchased online.

Cities on the receiving end of the newly announced Eagles concerts are Atlanta, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Raleigh, and Washington, D.C.

From now until Nov. 23, Eagles are playing gigs in the southern part of the United States that includes stops in Charlotte, Tampa, Miami, and Orlando.

Eagles return from their Christmas vacation on Jan. 15 for a multi-night stand at The Forum in Inglewood, California.  The Eagles have been tapped to re-open the legendary venue after its $50 million renovation.

Eagles tickets

The Forum has booked the quintessential seventies band for six nights.  You can catch the Eagles in Inglewood on Jan. 15, 17, 18, 22, 24, and 25 of 2014.  Those dates encompass two sets of Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

If you can’t make it to one of those concerts you should try to see the Eagles when the go to Dallas.  They will rock the American Airlines Center on Feb. 19, 2014.

On July 28, 2001, Eagles played the first ever concert at the center.  In fact, their performance was the arena’s first ever event (the ribbon-cutting ceremony occurred the day before).

Their upcoming show in Big D will be their tenth at that city’s venue.  No band has performed more times at the American Airlines Center than the Eagles.  According to the band’s Web site, they’ve sold more than 125,000 Eagles tickets to the popular live entertainment site.

They are also the only act to perform at the American Airlines Center thrice during two different tours.  Besides their current outing, they’ve performed three times at the Lone Star’s AAC during 2008’s “The Long Road Out of Eden Tour.”

For their “History of the Eagles Tour,” the band is playing selections from all phases of their career including songs they’ve either never performed before or haven’t performed in quite some time.

Not to scare you, but this tour might be the last for the Eagles—Don Henley has said as much.  Of course, knowing egos and rockers’ penchant for sudden demises, every band’s current tour could be their last.  Then again, when band members are either 65 or 66, like the four members of the Eagle are, saying it “might be the last tour” is more of a smart bet than a knee-jerk reaction.

In related news, Henley has also said that the “History of the Eagles Tour” would continue until 2015.  That means more a lot more dates are coming.

Currently, the Eagles are Henley, Glenn Fry, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit.  Former member Bernie Leadon was invited to join the tour and he accepted.  Former bassist Randy Meisner was also asked to participate but declined due to health reasons.  Guitarist Don Felder was not asked.

surfboard004

Pixies Tour Should Be Renamed

Pixies Tour Should Be Renamed

I don’t want to hear that you’ve got Pixies tickets to their upcoming North American tour.  It’s not that I don’t want you to go—I definitely want you to attend as many Pixies concerts as possible—it’s that they’re not the “Pixies” anymore.  They’re something else.

You see, the legendary alternative band stopped being “Pixies” as soon as Kim Deal said “good bye.”

This past June, while the band was recording new music in Wales, bassist Kim Deal tipped her cap and jumped on a plane for the states.  Here’s how Black Francis described her abrupt farewell to Rolling Stone magazine:

“We were at a little coffee shop near the studio.  Kim walked in at some point and said, ‘I’m flying home tomorrow.’  She quit the band.  It was an awkward moment.  We didn’t hug or shake hands or anything.  [Guitarist] Joey [Santiago] and I just stood up and said, ‘Okay.’  Then we had to get out of there, so we immediately went to a bar.  I had to move from coffee to alcohol.”

Pixies Tickets

Despite the fact that throughout most of the Pixies’ existence there was tremendous friction between her and Black, Deal just as much a part of the band as the other three members.

Yes, Black is the lead singer, and writes most of the Pixies’ music, but Deal, who has been with the band since its inception in 1986, was very much the face of the group.  She was charismatic, cute, and cool.  Fans loved Pixies but they adored Deal.

Some bands are nothing more than a name for a solo artist to perform under.  The Cure is Robert Smith.  Nine Inch Nails is Trent Reznor.  Dave Mustaine is Megadeth.  Pixies are not that type of band.  They’re like U2, The Clash, Coldplay, or Pearl Jam.

Pixies are a group that when whole is greater than the sum of their parts.  You take away one of the parts and you have something else.  You have an entire new entity.

Sting was The Police’s most popular member and its principal songwriter.  Even so, you can’t have The Police without Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland.  You can say the same thing about The Smiths even though Morrissey was larger than life or Journey even though Steve Perry had a voice that comes along once in a generation.

Come to think of it, Journey is a great example as they’re still touring.  While the group had lead singers before and after Perry, many feel (including this blogger) that Journey without S.P. is nothing more than a tribute band.

So is the current incarnation of Pixies nothing more than a tribute band? I don’t know but they’re very close.

The band broke up in 1993 and then reunited in 2004.  Since 2004, Pixies have pretty much done nothing but tour.  They’ve released “Bam Thwok” in 2004 and then the four-song EP1 in 2013.

To sum up, in the past nine years Pixies have released a mere five new songs.

There are plans however to released several more EPs.  The new works will be issued throughout Pixies’ upcoming 18-month world tour.

By the way, Kim Shattuck has been tapped to replace Deal.  She’ll play bass while the band is on the road.  For their aforementioned studio work, Pixies used the talents of Simon Archer.

I’ll admit that I’m arguing semantics.  It’s not the tour or the setlist I’m against just the name the band is using on the marquee.  The four touring musicians shouldn’t be called “Pixies.”

Either way, tickets to the Pixies will be collected in Boston on Jan. 18; tickets to the Pixies will be collected in Chicago on Feb. 9; and Pixies tickets will be collected in Houston on Feb. 27.

The first leg of their world tour begins Jan. 15 in Toronto and ends March 1 in Austin, Texas.

surfboard050

Jay-Z: Sixth Graders Get Lesson In ‘Big Pimpin’

Jay-Z: Sixth Graders Get Lesson In ‘Big Pimpin’

Reading.  Writing.  Rapping.

Those are the new three “Rs” of education at a middle school in Southaven, Mississippi.  Sixth graders there recently spent three days learning about one of the most successful rappers of all-time, Jay-Z.

The kids brought home a list of Jay-Z songs to listen to with one of them being “Big Pimpin’.”  The opening lines to that song are: “You know I, thug em, f**k em, love em, leave em/Cause I don’t f**king need em/Take em out the hood, keep em looking good/But I don’t f**king feed em.”

The fact that the school could find no other person to teach the kids about success other than Jay-Z infuriated many parents.  Their anger was compounded by the school district’s cowardice in responding to complaints and their snarky attitude towards anyone questioning their teachers’ methods.

One parent that was able to get through to a school official was told it was “no big deal.”  They were told that Jay-Z is very successful and even owns a professional sports team.

By the way, Jay-Z does not, nor has he ever, owned a sports team.  He owned less than one percent of the Brooklyn Nets.

Jay-Z tickets

When the concerned parent brought up Jay-Z’s dubious past—he’s rapped about selling drugs, says he fired a gun at his brother after he stole some of his jewelry, claims he’s been shot at three times, and was accused of stabbing a record executive—the school official responded by saying every successful person has some negatives in their past.

That’s a cop out.  That’s the school not wanting to take responsibility for their actions.  You’d think you could expect better from people shaping the minds of our youth.

Why Jay-Z?  Were they unable to think of a renowned figure of historical significance (maybe the teachers need to go back to school)?  Do the students already know everything about Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Eleanor Roosevelt, William Shakespeare, and Gandhi?  What about Steve Jobs?  Wouldn’t kids love to learn about the man behind the gadget they spend all day staring into?

I can see Jay-Z making it into a lesson plan for a group of apathetic teens who are in desperate need of someone to relate to.  But do sixth graders—who are what, 12 years old?—even listen to Jay-Z’s music?  The dude is 43 years old.  He’s old enough to their dad.

Personally, I’m not a fan of public schools and I think this ordeal is completely politically motivated.  Even putting all that aside, I still think teaching pre-teens about Jay-Z is grossly inappropriate.

That’s not to say Jay-Z isn’t successful.  Jay-Z is one of the most successful hip hop artists of all-time.  During his career, he has sold 50 million albums, won 17 Grammy awards, and collected Jay-Z tickets all over the world.  He also has more number one albums than any other solo artist.  Yes, Jay-Z has more number one albums than Elvis!

If you want to take a master’s class in rapping just go to a Jay-Z concert.  Fortunately, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do that in the near future as Hova is getting ready to launch his “Magna Carter World Tour.”  His trek begins Nov. 30 in St. Paul, Minnesota and wraps Jan. 31, 2014 in State College, Pennsylvania.  A couple of notable stops include Jay-Z in Chicago on Jan. 9, 2014 and Jay-Z performing in Boston on Jan. 18, 2014.

Even if you can’t see him in one of those two cities, there are 31 more stops on his itinerary.  Regardless of where you watch Jay-Z live you’re guaranteed to see a living legend.

Away from music, Jay-Z is a very successful businessman.  He’s a record executive, a restaurateur, has his own fashion line, and just recently became a sports agent.  The fact that he grew up in the projects and went on to amass a fortune allegedly worth $500 million is amazing.  He’s definitely an example of the American Dream.

There’s no denying that Jay-Z is successful and one of the all-time greats.  But public schools have 99 problems and teaching Jay-Z to sixth graders shouldn’t be one.

SurfBoard098

Paramore Plays Madison Square Garden For First Time On Nov. 14

Paramore Plays Madison Square Garden For First Time On Nov. 14

What would be more nerve racking for a professional musician?  Headlining Madison Square Garden for the first time when you’re an upcoming band or when you’re an established act?

On Nov. 14, New York puts Paramore on top of the Madison Square Garden marquee for the first time ever.  The road to one of the world’s most important stages has been a long one for the Franklin, Tennessee trio.  Paramore has been around since 2004 and they’ve released four studio albums.

I think it would be easier, and easier on the old nerves, to headline Madison Square Garden early in your career.  That way you get it out of the way.  You can then relax and move on to your next milestone.  Also, if your show sucks, you’ll have plenty of time to rebound.

Paramore tickets

While the members of Paramore are still relatively young, you have to think that their upcoming show at MSG will be the biggest of their career.  Just as their upcoming tour—of which the Garden show is a stop—will be the biggest of their career.  And judging from the way they’re talking about it, they agree with that statement.  They seem to think their pending jaunt around North America will define the future of the band.

Paramore’s “Self-Titled Tour” begins Oct. 15 in Seattle, Washington.  It ends Nov. 27 when Atlanta, okay Duluth, welcomes Paramore to The Arena at Gwinnett Center.  Along the way, Paramore tickets will be collected at venues like the Palace of Auburn Hills, the DCU Center in Boston, the Bell Centre in Montreal, and the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, New Jersey

Their outing gets underway more than six months after the release of their self-titled fourth studio album.  The band is taking so long to hit the road because they’re playing larger venues (for the most part) than they’re used to and they’re trying hard to make sure the tour is special to their fans.

Bassist Jeremy Davis is reworking the band’s setlist and improving their concerts’ production values.  The triad’s lead singer, Hayley Williams, told MTV News in an email that they’re trying “to outdo whatever [they’ve”] already done.”

She also typed that she wants the upcoming Paramore tour to change the way people see the band as performers.  A word Williams used a lot in her communications with MTV News was “new.”  Fans should expect a completely “new” type of Paramore concert this autumn.

Of course, there’s always the artistic doublespeak.  Williams went on to say that while the band is adding new effects and production elements they still want to remain a rock band.

To warm up audiences, Paramore has tapped Metric and Hellogoodbye.

In a preview of things to come, you can catch Paramore performing at the Teen Choice Awards.  The venerated ceremony takes place Aug. 11.  The band is slated to perform their latest single “Still Into You”.

A new album, a big tour, and a sound that will never be more “in” than it is right now, clearly there’s a lot riding on Paramore’s 2013 tour.  Their upcoming concert series is going to “big” in every sense of the word for them, their fans, and the critics.

surfboard099