Justin Timberlake - Madison Square Garden - 2/20/2014

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Credit: C.S. Muncy. See all the photos from last night.
Better Than: Black Snake Moan.

The last time I saw Justin Timberlake live, he was still part of *NSYNC and filling stadiums with excited children and annoyed parents for the boy band's final tour. Since then, he's gotten married to someone who is not Britney Spears, pursued a film career, and with every album, embarked on a brand new level of musical maturity. It started with 2002's Justified, the rootsy R&B release that has become the template for successful male pop star maturation in the 12 years since its debut. He progressed with the even better FutureSex/LoveSounds in 2006 and has most recently added the massive, two part musical "comeback" of sorts, The 20/20 Experience.

At Madison Square Garden, part of some of the last dates of the second North American leg of his world tour, Justin Timberlake was in rare form. Comeback is an inappropriate way to describe this particular performer -- one with an already hefty canon of solo hits from four albums and two released within only the past year. With ease and charm, Timberlake makes the lengthy wait for new material and live performances seem like it was more than worth it all along.

See also: How To Properly Hoard *NSYNC Memorabilia

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Billy Joel Is Madison Square Garden's New Franchise

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Billy Joel at today's press conference
Today, Madison Square Garden and Billy Joel held a press conference to officially reveal their "historic announcement," and it's a fitting one: Billy Joel will be playing a monthly show at the Garden for as long as people attend. In a livestream taking place at the venue this morning, it was revealed that Joel will be the legendary arena's fourth franchise (after the Knicks, Rangers, and Liberty) and first one to be a musical act. Having recently sold out four dates for next year already, one for each of the first four months of 2014, the "Piano Man" will also be performing on May 9th, his 65th birthday. Since 1978, he has played 46 times at the Garden, but has not played a full show there since his 12-show stint in '06. To cap off the news, MSG unveiled a special logo for Billy Joel's monthly residency.

Check out the logo and watch a video from his cameo at last year's 121212 concert event at the Garden after the jump.

See also: Billy Joel, Mayor Bloomberg, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Live: Taylor Swift Brings Selena Gomez And James Taylor To Madison Square Garden

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photo via @aprilrueb
Taylor Swift w/ NeedToBreathe, Danny Gokey
Madison Square Garden
Tuesday, November 22

Better than: Singing along alone in the office.

Taylor Swift closed her Fearless tour before a sold-out football stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, where she performed her encore under artificial rain and gave Justin Bieber a big hug backstage. This might be new information to some of you, but to the majority of last night's sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd, it was old news. And besides, who could dwell on the past when Swift was about to close out another tour, this one even bigger than the last. Most crowds would wonder about the setlist and stage routines, but those whose familiar, flashing signs gave away the fact that they already saw the tour when it rolled through Newark over the summer (guilty as charged, minus the sign) had more important questions to consider. What would be different? Would she reference the evening showers before singing "meet me in the pouring rain"? Who will the special guest be? Will it be Bieber? Oh, please could it be Bieber.

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Live: Lady Gaga, Loopy And Triumphant At Madison Square Garden

Lady Gaga
Madison Square Garden
Tuesday, February 22

Better than: Carmelo Anthony's Knicks debut, probably.

She has attention-span issues, Lady Gaga. Maybe you knew this already. For some of us, though, it's a slower realization -- something not immediately evident until, say, one observes her writhing on the ground on her little mini-stage in the center of Madison Square Garden, dragging out "Teeth" gleefully and interminably, shouting "SHOW ME YOUR TEETH!" at various dudes in her band (the lead guitarist is named Jesus Christ) and demanding they solo for their/our pleasure, only to interrupt the bassist (the bassist is named Kern, disappointingly) mid-solo to deliver an earnest, profane, only slightly defensive mini-speech about how she doesn't lip-sync and never will, no sir, not with all these Little Monsters here who've paid to see her, and certainly not with Liza Minnelli watching. Gaga had mentioned that Liza (and Marisa Tomei!) were in the house during an earlier interruption of "Speechless," a thundering piano ballad I was quite enjoying, actually, now derailed entirely by a long riff on how much Marisa and Liza meant to Gaga back when she was in performing-arts school, a semi-interesting tale at best, but at least she wasn't telling us how grateful she was again, because that happens a lot, the I'm-so-grateful thing.

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Presale For the Strokes' March 1 Show at Madison Square Garden Starts Today at 4 p.m.

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Alright Ticketmaster--here we go again. Will the ticket sales for the Strokes' newly-announced March 1 show at Madison Square Garden be the complete disaster that was the LCD Soundsystem Experience? Tune in today at 4 p.m. to find out, when the band hosts a presale ahead of a general on sale date of February 25. They're also on the cover of NME right now; we basically dare you to tell us they didn't just recycle this entire issue from like 2003:

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The Strokes Are Playing Madison Square Garden The Night Before LCD Soundsystem

So there you go. The Strokes' new album, Angles, will be out March 22 (hear the first single, "Under Cover of Darkness," here), and to celebrate they'll invade MSG the following week, just one night before the LCD Soundsystem show there that's got everyone pissed off. Just remember, Julian, that if the ticket-sales situation for this goes badly, you can't just play Terminal 5 four nights in a row beforehand to make it up to everyone.

Should you just now be learning that Mr. Casablancas is on Twitter, you might consider following him, as his feed also features stuff like, oh, say, a drawing of him clumsily holding several cups of coffee, with a cookie in his mouth, staring at Rachel Weisz. Observe:

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The Rageful Tweets of A Nation of LCD Soundsystem Fans Defeated By Ticketmaster

It's official: LCD Soundsystem will say farewell on April 2, 2011, at Madison Square Garden, to an audience comprised entirely of ticket scalpers and StubHub captcha bots. It was a grim scene this morning on Ticketmaster and Twitter, where LCD fans went first to one and then the other, crying out in pain at their lack of tickets. This show seems to have sold out in about 10 seconds flat; now all that's left are the sad Tweets to remember it by. Well, that and a bunch of probably ill-advised Egypt jokes. The best of both, right here, starting with anguish, of course:

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Scalped LCD Soundsystem Tickets At Madison Square Garden Are Now Available For $1,500

You have no choice to admire the chutzpah of someone who'd hop on Stubhub and offer $1,500-a-shot tickets for a show that isn't even technically on sale yet. And yet here we are. Whether this is serious or performance art or what we couldn't rightly say, but let us politely suggest that you wait until tix for LCD Soundsystem's April 2 farewell show at Madison Square Garden are actually on sale, Friday at 11 a.m., before you go selling whatever amount of plasma it would require to finance this. (The ticket-resale market is already robust, but usually within more logical bounds: Tickets for this morning's Pitchfork presale, which lasted all of like 60 seconds apparently, topped out at a far more manageable $61.50.) Oh, and to whoever's offering this fantastic deal: James Murphy wants to kick your ass.

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Better Get Your LCD Soundsystem Tickets Today

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Don't get pissed at us if you miss this. Pic by Puja Patel.
As your favorite music-news outlet has probably already informed you, the indomitable LCD Soundsystem have announced their final show: April 2nd at Madison Square Garden, a venue unthinkable nearly a decade ago when the band started and more or less inevitable now. Yes, this show will probably sell out. Yes, it will probably be incredible.

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LCD Soundsystem Madison Square Garden Farewell Presale Set For Wednesday Morning

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We find ourselves ever more upset by the news that LCD Soundsystem will be calling it quits on April 2nd at Madison Square Garden. Consider this recently recirculating interview Murphy did with Fresh Air's Terry Gross last year: "I've been on a quest for almost the length of this band to just trust my taste even when it's pretty embarrassing," he told NPR. "Because embarrassment is kind of an untapped rock emotion. Usually people don't get too into embarrassment. They get into heartbreak, and cool, but they don't get too much into just being embarrassing." It's this kind of deft and self-aware take on his own music that we've learned to depend on Murphy for--he gives better interviews, puts on better live shows, and generally just gives a fuck more than the next guy onstage. And, evidently, he has the courage to go out on top. The MSG show will be LCD Soundsystem's last as a formal entity; tickets are on sale Friday, but the band has just announced a presale as well:

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