Archive for March, 2014

Outback Concerts Presents:


Josh Groban has announced a series of East Coast summer tour dates that will find him performing with local orchestras, including The Boston Pops at Tanglewood. The two-week jaunt, which kicks off on August 16th, will feature the multi-platinum-selling singer and songwriter performing a wide range of hits spanning his illustrious career.

Groban’s most recent album, All That Echoes, was released in February 2013 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, his third chart-topper. All That Echoes racked up a host of positive reviews from major media outlets, including Rolling Stone, USA Today, The New York Times, and American Songwriter, who raved that “All That Echoes is not only Groban’s most accessible and unified work to date, but it also stands out as the seminal musical moment of his 12-year career.” Last fall, Groban launched the North American leg of his “In The Round” tour, which brought the intimate feel of a theater to an arena setting with its one-of-a-kind, 360-degree, interactive concert experience.

Tickets to the Booth Amphitheatre date range from $49.50 – $75 at the amphitheatre box office and For information on ticket packages, please visit




Counting Crows

w/ special guest Toad The Wet Sprocket

Red Hat Amphitheaterr, June 25

Counting Crows announced today they will kick off a major worldwide tour this summer with new music, starting in North America. The tour will feature songs from the band’s forthcoming album, their first new material in seven years, scheduled to be released in Fall 2014, along with the band’s extensive catalogue of hit songs. Known as one of the most dynamic live bands performing today, the tour will begin June 11 in Tampa, FL and travel through cities like New York, Atlanta, Nashville, Boston, Minneapolis, Phoenix, their hometown of Berkeley, and Las Vegas before wrapping in Los Angeles at the historic Greek Theatre on August 17.

Tickets on sale at:
Ticketmaster outlets or charge by phone at 800-745-3000.
Duke Energy Center box office
Belk box office at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre.

“We spent the fall writing songs in New York, and we spent the winter recording them out in Berkeley. We finished a new album of all new songs, and we’re looking forward to getting out on the road and playing them,” said lead vocalist Adam Duritz. “Come out and see us – we’re excited about this.”

Joining as the tour’s supporting act is Toad The Wet Sprocket, who are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their first LP Bread & Circus along with the release of their most recent LP New Constellation.

“We’re honored to be on the road with Counting Crows on the summer of our 25th anniversary. We recently released New Constellation, our first album in 16 years. Adam Duritz is partially responsible – five years after we broke up, he asked us to reform and play a few shows opening for Counting Crows,” said lead vocalist and guitarist Glen Phillips. “That tour was the first crack in the ice, and now we are back together, touring again with the band that first encouraged us to give it another go.”

For further details visit


Muppets Most Wanted

Two Legendary Motown Hit-Makers

The Temptations


The Four Tops

Durham Performing Arts Center
Friday, September 26, 2014

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Temptations and The Four Tops return to DPAC on September 26, 2014.  Their last two performances were sold out and Triangle fans can expect this show to follow suit.

Tickets on sale at:

Online at

DPAC Ticket Center: 919.680.2787, 123 Vivian Street, Durham, NC / Ticketmaster Charge by phone at 800.745.3000

“We are thrilled to welcome back two of the biggest acts in American music history to the DPAC stage this fall. Fans love hearing their all-time favorite songs performed live, and DPAC provides a perfectly intimate, indoor setting for audiences of all ages to enjoy these timeless classics,” said Emily McLoughlin, Marketing Director for Concerts at DPAC.

The Temptations


For more than forty years, The Temptations have prospered, propelling popular music with a series of smash hits and sold-out performances throughout the world.

The history of the Temptations is the history of contemporary American pop. An essential component of the original Motown machine, that amazing engine invented by Berry Gordy, the Temps began their musical life in Detroit in the early sixties. It wasn’t until 1964, however, that the Smokey Robinson written-and-produced “The Way You Do the Things You Do” turned the guys into stars.

An avalanche of hits followed, many of which (“My Girl,” for instance) have attained immortality. “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” “Since I Lost My Baby,” “Get Ready,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me),” “I Wish It Would Rain” – the hits kept coming.

The Four Tops


The Four Tops were constantly producing songs about love, happiness and romantic heartbreak in the quintessential Detroit sound/Motown tradition. No other popular quartet has stayed together with original personnel intact for as long as the legendary Four Tops. And no other group associated with the American 60s sound has succeeded in remaining as fresh, joyful, lively and timely. The Four Tops have created a special magic that continues to delight audiences of all ages and nationalities, and their reign as the Grand Gentleman of Rock and Roll is far from over!

The Four Tops’ list of top 10 hits, many of them gold records and No. 1 chart toppers, include “Baby, I Need Your Loving,” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” “It’s the Same Old Song,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “Bernadette,” “Walk Away, Renee,” “Standing in the Shadows of Love,” “Shake Me, Wake Me”, just to name a few. They have recorded 35 albums during their illustrious career – 21 of them for Motown which reaffirms their power, punch, and enormous appeal.




Your queen is dead, your king is through, she is not coming back to you…

I traveled to a beautiful city last night; one with beautiful lights, amazing architecture and vivid culture. The city was Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the 1940s and 50s. This is the city and time of Eva Peron, the central figure of the most recent Broadway production to come to DPAC; Evita. This story is a colorful journey of a young actress rising up through the ranks of men, eventually becoming the First Lady of Argentina.

The story opens with a gripping montage dedicated to the life of the powerful figure that is Eva Peron. The scene is reminiscent of the dark streets of France as depicted in Les Miserable; the somber mood is palpable as the death of Peron is announced to her country.

Josh Young, playing the role of Che, stole the show. Young was nominated for a 2012 Tony Award for his performance as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. He portrayed the role of Che with beautiful articulation and intonation; he brought passion and intrigue to the character. Some actors feel success if the audience can relate to the character they have taken on; Young went even farther. I could easily feel every emotion that pours from his soul; the mere look he would display at the thought of Peron told you exactly how much disdain he had for her and the government she represented.

As great as Young’s performance is, the role of Eva played by Carolina Bowman can only be described as adequate. In the scene where Eva steps out onto the balcony wearing that iconic white sequined gown, and delivers the famous “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” Bowman did not disappoint. Aside from that one scene, she appeared to struggle with some of the dynamic shifts from singing with her “chest voice” to hitting the needed note with her “head voice” leaving her sounding unfocused or breathy. Aside from a few touching moments of vulnerability her portrayal mostly fell flat.

Director Michael Grandage is also to be commended for his work with this production. His attention to detail was evident and appreciated. His use of technology from the digital age added a dynamic connection of the opening scene with Che to the closing scene on the balcony with Eva.

Choreographer Rob Ashford added creative blocking and dance moves that easily identified the socio-economic status of each character.  Strong, rigid movements from the elitist military were in stark contrast to the lyrical movements of the lower class.

Neil Austin’s deliberate light design choices of back and side lighting added sharp angles and strong shadowing. The lighting accentuated the shady personality traits of Eva and Colonel Peron. Austin’s use of the backlighting also led the audience to believe that they were the townspeople, basking in the glow of Eva’s powerful personality.

Christopher Oram served in two major capacities as the set designer and costume designer for the tour. The costumes were incredible, especially the customary white ball gown of Eva’s. Peron’s subtle transition from a young and naïve girl, to the strong and rigid leader is defined through the style, line, and color of each and every costume change.  Those changes were also poignant in the way they occurred… onstage.

An exquisite, yet simplified, set design from Oram gives the audience a unique perspective of the home of the Peron’s. The powerful image of the opulent mansion was understated when you consider the wealth and prestige that the Peron’s embodied. As the scenes change the genius design granted the audience the ability to travel through walls with only the movement of a chandelier.

The performance of Josh Young, the direction of Michael Grandage, the costumes, the lighting, and the set all come together in perfect harmony to bring the story of Evita to life in all its glory. It is not in the repertoire of Andrew Lloyd Webber to disappoint, the fantastic cast and creative team of the tour of Evita do not let us down either.


Vampire Weekend

w/ Special Guests


Red Hat Amphitheater, June 12

Tickets on sale at:
via the Live Nation mobile app
Belk Box Office at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
Duke Energy Center box office
Ticketmaster outlets or charge by phone at 800-745-3000

For further details visit

Frankie Valli 1
When: August 9, 2014
Where: Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham
Tickets: Here

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

“Frankie is a legendary artist that we have been hoping to book for years. Our fans have requested this show ever since SunTrust Broadway at DPAC’s 2012 presentation of the smash-hit musical Jersey Boys. Frankie Valli is sure to electrify the stage with hits that span decades,” said Rachel Gragg, Senior Director of Marketing at DPAC.

Frankie Valli, who rose to fame in 1962 as the lead singer of the Four Seasons, is hotter than ever in the 21st century. Thanks to the volcanic success of the Tony®-winning musical Jersey Boys which chronicles the life and times of Frankie and his legendary group, classic songs as “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Rag Doll,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” are popular all over again. With the musical in its seventh blockbuster year on Broadway, and five other casts performing Jersey Boys nightly from Las Vegas to London, the real Frankie Valli is also packing venues around the world.

Please don’t say that Frankie is back. The truth is, he never went away. Sure, the majority of the 71 chart hits of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (including 40 in the Top 40, 19 in the Top 10 and eight Number 1s) came during the 1960s, but the music didn’t just disappear. He has toured almost continuously since 1962, sharing hits like “My Eyes Adored You,” which reached No. 1, “Swearin’ to God”, “Who Loves You” and “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)”. His songs have been in such movies as The Deer Hunter, Dirty Dancing, Mrs. Doubtfire, Conspiracy Theory, Grease and The Wanderers. As many as 200 artists have done cover versions of Frankie’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” (written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio), from Nancy Wilson’s jazz treatment to Lauryn Hill’s Grammy-nominated hip-hop makeover.

Born Francis Castelluccio on May 3, 1934, he grew up in a public housing project—Stephen Crane Village—on the tough streets of Newark, New Jersey. As the character of Tommy DeVito, Frankie’s friend and fellow Four Season, says in Jersey Boys: “If you’re from my neighborhood, you got three ways out: You could join the army. You could get mobbed up. Or—you could become a star.” At an early age, Frankie chose Door No. 3. When he was seven, his mother took him to New York City’s Paramount Theater to see Frank Sinatra. “I saw Sinatra coming out on stage,” Frankie recalls, “and the way he was lit up, it was like he had an aura around him. I decided then and there that’s what I was going to do—be a successful singer.”

For as far into the future as anyone can see, Jersey Boys will introduce the music of Frankie Valli to new generations. For as long as he wants to sing, people will want to listen.

Need For Speed

Tyler Perry’s: The Single Moms Club

Veronica Mars



PNC Arena

Raleigh, NC

May 7, 2014

It’s now official. The one and only Cher herself revealed that she will kick off her “Dressed To Kill” 49-city North American Tour beginning in Phoenix on March 22 with stops around the country, including Raleigh, NC. Cher shared the news with her fans following her performance on the Today Show on September 23.

Cher’s previous tour “The Farewell Tour” later dubbed “The Never Can Say Goodbye Tour” was one of the most successful tours ever by a solo artist and played for a record-breaking 325 dates and seen by over 5.5 million people.

For all online tickets purchased (presale and general public), ticketholders will receive a free copy of Cher’s new album “Closer To The Truth,” out September 24 on Warner Bros Records.

For more information visit

Tickets: HERE


Need for Speed

Rated PG-13

for sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity and crude language

In 1994 Electronic Arts unleashed on the world one of the most successful video-game franchises of all time. The Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn and 3DO were the first platforms to take on the title that would eventually spawn 22 sequels. Need for Speed set the standard for what racing based video games were to be going forward. Over time the gameplay was modified, the graphics improved and the physics of cars included but always true to the core; go as hard and fast as you can to win the race in some of the most iconic exotic cars ever made by man.

There are few things as exciting or iconic in movies as the car chase. A good chase scene can elevate an okay movie to the good or great level pretty quickly. Good use of high-speed cars engaged in precision driving and performing, often impossible, stunts can make up for most any flaw an action movie has. The car chase is what Need for Speed used to get through to audiences and successfully adapt an iconic video-game into a feature film.

The movie is about a street racer, Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul), who lives in upstate New York. Marshall is betrayed by a former rival turned business partner, Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), and left to go to prison for the consequences of a street race that went horribly wrong. When Marshall is paroled, upon completing his sentence, he sets out on a mission to get revenge by taking out Brewster on the biggest stage in street racing, The DeLeon.

The stars of this movie are billed as; Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper and Scott Mescudi (Kid Kudi) but I would dare to say that the real stars are listed here under the heading “Stunts.” The 40+ men and women that made up the stunt and precision driving teams are what made this movie as thrilling as it is. In an effort to be as real as possible, most of the racing scenes in the movie are done on closed courses with real cars being driven to their limits by these amazing professionals.

If the stuntmen and women are the stars, then the best supporting nod has to go to the menu of amazing vehicles used in the story. In one scene the head of the DeLeon race, The Monarch (Michael Keaton), states that the combined value of the cars in his race is around $6 million and average 200mph. Yeah right! Maybe if you are getting some major discounts from the manufacturers and ride the brakes!


Bugatti Veyron Super Sport – $2.5 million and a verified top speed of 265mph


Koenigsegg Agera R – $1.7 million and an estimated top speed of over 270mph


Lamborghini Sesto Elemento – $2.9 million and a verified top speed of 205mph


McLaren P1 – $1.3 million and its top speed is electronically capped at 220mph (It’s also a hybrid!)


Saleen S7 – $500,000 and a verified top speed of 248mph


GTA Spano – $725,000 and an estimated top speed of 220mph

Add all those up and you get… (Drumroll please) a whopping $9.65 million dollars in cars with an average top speed of around 240mph! Thank God the ones that were abused and wrecked were all replicas.

As impressive as that list of cars is, they are not all that appears. A modified 2014 Ford Mustang GT 500, that is rated at 900hp with a top end of 236mph, is the central car figure for most of the movie. There is also a bevy of classic muscle cars from the 60s and 70s that make appearances.


With the sheer volume of cars that are featured in this movie it is easy to jump to the conclusion that this is just another Fast and Furious style movie; ”show a bunch of cars driving fast and add some special effects and hope it works.” The makers of Need for Speed went in a different direction with the way they portrayed the street racing scene and driving in general. The developers took the time to make sure this movie honors the great car chases of the past by focusing on realism as much as possible. Aside from two scenes where I shook my head and thought, “was that really necessary,” the movie uses driving skills and stunts that are very believable and realistic.

As a part of the respect to car chases from the past, you see Bullitt playing at a drive in an early scene, the Pontiac Trans-Am from Smokey and the Bandit makes an appearance, there is even a nod to the Blue Brothers movie. One of the more obscure references is a scene where the Mustang being driven by Marshall is being chased around and around a traffic circle a la The Dukes of Hazzard. Homages to Thelma and Louise and The Great Gatsby are also cool if you catch them and appreciate them. There are countless other subtle references to car chase movies from the past that appear in the dialogue as well.

One of the most important aspects of this movie that I found the most refreshing is in the way the story does not insult you intelligence or seem to be “on the take” from a car manufacturer. An example of what I mean is in the car chase in last year’s The Last Stand, there is no way on this round earth that a bone stock Camaro is going to run down an 1100hp Corvette Blue Demon. Need for Speed, delightfully, chooses to respect the knowledge of the fan base that this movie will appeal to most and not slap them in the face by having a Mustang torch the Veyron SS or anything absurd like that.

I would be remiss if I wrapped this up without really mentioning the various actors and acting. They all played their various roles well with no one really standing out as a positive or negative. I get the impression that they all accepted the fact that they were in a video game movie that was all about the driving and not about them. Aaron Paul as the hero, the brooding Tobey Marshall was a good fit. Dominic Cooper as the manipulative Dino Brewster was also easy to accept. Michael Keaton as The Monarch was fun. I specifically enjoyed the character Julie Maddon played by Imogen Poots, maybe it is just a screen crush or infatuation with the accent.

For the first time in 2014 I am going to put my seal of approval on a movie with no restrictions or caveats. Need for Speed is fun and worth the trip to the theatres, no questions asked.