On May 1 at the "World's Most Famous Arena," Eric Clapton will begin the public commemoration of his 70th birthday with back-to-back performances, clocking in his 46th and 47th dates playing at Madison Square Garden. The revered Bluesman whose guitar style earned him two famous nicknames ("Slowhand" and "God") becomes a septuagenarian on March 30, and while other men of his age ring in this milestone with dinner and a few glasses of wine, Clapton opts instead to play eight celebratory shows split between New York and London (with six dates at the Royal Albert Hall).
Last month, self-professed "Best Jewish Rapper in Koreatown" Kosha Dillz got his website hacked by terrorist group ISIS. Not a joke or a publicity stunt, the Los Angeles-based New Jersey native found his website seized and defaced, leading to Dillz speaking with Homeland Security and eventually being interviewed everywhere from Fox News to local CBS affiliates regarding the story.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.