Entertainment behind the scenes
Gossip columnist Perez Hilton probably hoped for bigger crowds and better buzz for his inaugural North American tour of up-and-coming musical acts. But the three-and-a-half week trek ended on a high note on Saturday as upwards of a thousand people showed up at the Avalon Hollywood theater to check out the vibrant lineup of would-be superstars.
Numbers may have been boosted by the addition of a not-so-secret mystery headliner, indie rock band The Gossip, who are probably better known internationally. The other performers on the final stop of the “Perez Hilton Presents” club tour included the B-52s-like rock band Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, English singer/songwriter Julian Perretta, the glam-rock New York band Semi Precious Weapons, and usual headliner New Zealand dance-pop-rock starlet Ladyhawke (pictured at left).
And, of course, the excitable Hilton drew loud shrieks from his core demographic of young women packed into the front rows each time he took the stage to introduce the next act. “I have this little gossip site, but music is really my passion,” he said at one point. “This is a dream of mine.”
Whether the dream will yield a second tour is questionable. The trek drew modest crowds, and tickets for some of the all-ages gigs were given away. Tickets for the Hollywood show could be bought at the window for $25, down from the advertised day-of-sale rate of $31. Norwegian singer Ida Maria, one of the headliners, dropped out after a week claiming “total exhaustion.”
If Taylor Swift had any intentions of catching Kanye West on the rapper’s North American concert tour with Lady Gaga, she will now have to make other plans. The trek is off, according to a terse statement issued Thursday afternoon by concert promoter Live Nation.
“Live Nation announced today that the Kanye West and Lady Gaga ‘Fame Kills’ tour has been cancelled. Refunds are available at the point of purchase. Tickets purchased online and via phone will be refunded automatically.”
Before the official word of the cancellation, Tyler, 61, described what happened when he fell from the stage and broke his shoulder during a concert on Aug. 5 near Sturgis, South Dakota.
Yusuf Islam, the British folk singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, has largely shunned the pop-music grind since he converted to Islam in the 1977 and devoted his life to his family and his faith.
But he is starting to dip his toe back in the waters, releasing his first mainstream album in almost 30 years in 2006 and playing his first concert in 28 years in 2007. He returns to stores next week with a new album, “Roadsinger,” and will play a handful of intimate shows around the world to promote the release.
First up is a May 3 stop at the Highline Ballroom in New York City, followed by a May 3 show at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. Each venue holds about 700 people.
Islam, now 60, last toured in 1976. After converting to Islam, he slowly withdrew from his pop-star life, and finally hung up his guitar after a London show in 1979.
In a 2006 interview with Reuters, he said he planned to perform occasional concerts although his songs such as “Peace Train” and “Moonshadow” often lose their intimacy in big concert venues.
“Even though you’re singing in front of people live, you’re actually distanced by the stage and the whole presentation of music,” he said.
Strange but true: blues guitarists Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal, longtime admirers of each other, have never toured together. Until now. *** ***The road warriors, who have kept the blues alive for decades, will join forces in August on a 30-date U.S. tour with an unusual fan-driven charity element. They will each perform separately with their own bands, and then take the stage together for a blues jam.*** ***The “BonTaj Roulet” tour of amphitheaters, casinos and wineries begins on Aug 6. in Williamsport, Pa., and wraps on Sept. 25 in Rancho Mirage, Calif.*** ***”We’ve been like ships passing in the night,” said Taj Mahal, who co-produced Raitt’s third album, 1973′s “Takin’ My Time.”*** ***”I watched a lot of the new generation coming up back then. She just got right in there and stomped it down — she took it from where it was really being done.”*** ***For her part, Raitt praised Taj Mahal for “pushing the blues into new territory, digging into his own African and Caribbean roots, collaborating with African and world music as far back as the ’70s.”*** ***Tickets will be priced between about $35 and $85. Raitt and Taj Mahal hope to set aside $1 per ticket for their BonTaj Collective Action Fund, with an online vote by concertgoers at (http://www.bontaj.com/thecollective) determining how the funds are distributed. The designated organizations focus on energy, the environment, human rights, and music education. Additional funds will also be raised by VIP ticket packages.
Summer’s almost here, and the time is right for Aerosmith’s first North American shows in almost two years.
America’s rock ‘n’ roll bad boys, sidelined last year by singer Steven Tyler’s rehab stint and guitarist Joe Perry’s bad knee, said Monday they would begin a three-month amphitheater tour in St. Louis on June 10.
The trek will take the band to 33 cities, including Washington on June 21, Houston on July 17, Chicago on Aug. 28, Toronto on Sept. 3, and finally Detroit on Sept. 16. Opening act ZZ Top will join the tour on June 16, when Aerosmith play to a hometown crowd in Boston.
The Anglo-Australian hard rockers on Monday announced the first nine dates of the trek, which begins July 28 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., about 22 miles southwest of Boston.
Other dates include:
July 31 – East Rutherford, NJ (Giants Stadium);
Aug. 16 – Detroit (Palace of Auburn Hills)
Aug. 18 – Grand Rapids, Mich. (Van Andel Arena)
Aug. 30 – Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, Wash. (Tacoma Dome)
Sept. 2 – San Jose, Calif. (HP Pavilion)
Sept. 4 – Los Angeles (Staples Center)
Sept. 6 – San Diego (Sports Arena)
Sept. 8 – Anaheim, Calif. (Honda Center)
The critics largely enjoyed their trip to the circus with Britney Spears, as the 27-year-old troubled pop diva opened her latest Circus tour in New Orleans on Tuesday night to mostly positive reviews.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune said Spears, who was performing in her home state of Louisiana, nailed the first stop on her comeback.
“With so much at stake, and so much to prove, on the tour’s first night, she was fully focused on executing the complex concert. And execute she did,” Times-Picayune reviewer Keith Spera reported in a blog.
The kid sister of Michael Jackson postponed yet another concert, set for Monday night, and hasn’t performed at all since her show in Montreal was called off at the last minute on Sept 29.