Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘duran duran’

Concerts I Want to See in 2014

Seeing a performer live is one of my favorite things in life. The roar of the crowd, singing and dancing your heart out, the elaborate staging, choreography, special effects, lighting, great musicianship — I love everything about going to concerts. So who do I want to see in 2014? Read on:Katy Perry

Katy Perry
Katy-cats will be out in full force for her Prismatic World Tour 2014. Starting in the UK in May, it will be sure to hit the US later in the year. Featuring songs including her recent #1 smash “Roar” plus all the old favorites like “Teenage Dream” and “I Kissed a Girl.”

Lady GaGa
Yes, she has taken a few lumps in the media and on the charts recently. But reality is she is an exciting live performer and is sure to come up with another pop spectacle. Lady GaGa’s ArtRave — the ArtPop Ball is sure to keep us entertained and make us fall in love with her again.

Lady Antebellum
Country’s reigning trio takes their signature harmonies back to the road on the “Take Me Downtown” Tour. Supporting the recent deluxe edition of their LP “Golden” along with special guests Kip Moore and Kacey Musgraves.

Robin Thicke
Coming off the biggest year of his career thanks to  “Blurred Lines”, Robin will be taking his white-boy soul to arenas along with Jessie J. and DJ Cassidy.

Cher
Coming out of her touring retirement and after her Vegas engagement, Cher returns with her “Dressed to Kill” tour in support of her recent album “Closer to the Truth.” I saw her on her “Farewell” tour. But I am not so sure I am going this time… but I am sure it will be a good show.

Miley Cyrus
She has a career! Nobody was talking about her last year. And now she is coming off 2 big hit singles (We Can’t Stop, Wrecking Ball) and a hit album too (Bangerz). I hope that she does some of her old Hannah Montana songs too.

Sting and Paul Simon
Two old-timers touring together for the first time. Both came out of groups: Sting from the Police and Simon from Simon & Garfunkel. Both have long song catalogs and have been known to rework their old songs to new arrangements. It will probably be a 3-hour plus show.

Darius Rucker
Coming off one of the biggest hits of his career as a solo artist with “Wagon Wheel”, the former lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish has had quite a run on the country charts. Supporting acts include: Eli Young Band and David Nail.

One Republic
Ryan Tedder’s group One Republic is heading out on a headlining tour for summer 2014. Besides leading his group, Ryan is an in-demand songwriter and producer. Opening act is The Script (Breakeven [Falling to Pieces], Hall of Fame).

Journey/Steve Miller Band
Classic rock mainstays Journey (Don’t Stop Believin’, Open Arms), and Steve Miller Band (Fly Like an Eagle, Abracadabra) are heading out on a co-headlining tour next summer. Opening act is horn-heavy funk group Tower of Power.

And lastly, a couple of acts I wouldn’t mind seeing on the road:

Duran Duran
They haven’t had a new album in a few years, but they are one of my all-time favorite groups. Great songs like The Reflex, Hungry Like the Wolf, and Wild Boys. They have only gotten better over the years with their performances.

Annie Lennox
I loved her with the Eurythmics, and her solo career was pretty good too. She is an awesome vocalist and a fantastic performer. Such a powerful vocal presence. She doesn’t have to have any new material, just come on tour already!

Tickets are on sale for most of these shows in 2014 already. So who do you want to see on tour next year? I would love to hear from you. And look for me in the cheap seats.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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More Boy Bands

A few months ago E (Entertainment) Channel had a program entitled “The 15 Awesomest Boy Bands.” An hour-long special, it featured interviews and clips of all the groups. The groups (in order from 15 to 1) were: The Wanted, Color Me Badd, O-Town, Menudo, LFO, Take That, Hanson, 98 Degrees, Jonas Brothers, One Direction, Boyz II Men, New Edition, New Kids on the Block, NSync and Backstreet Boys.

The most surprising ranking was One Direction. They are a relatively new band,, so I was surprised to see them that high. But this list got me to thinking of who they left off. So here is my list of more boy bands that should be recognized:

  • Duran Duran
    How this group was left off the E countdown I will never know. During their heyday in the 80’s, they were everywhere…tons of magazine covers, posters and merchandise. They totally embraced the idea of the music video, and saw their career take off as a result. Years of touring and recording have made them a better band. Essential songs: “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Ordinary World.”
  • Big Time RushKendall Schmidt, James Maslow, Logan Henderson, Carlos Pena
    This quartet currently stars in their own self-titled sitcom on the Nickelodeon channel. Campy, for sure, the guys play fictional versions of themselves trying to make it in Hollywood. They have released 2 albums, and have done some major touring this year. Essential songs: “Til I Forget About You” and “The City Is Ours.”
  • Westlife
    This Irish quartet (once a 5 person group) came out the same time as BSB and NSync. They didn’t make a splash the way the other groups did, at least in the US. They are mainly known for love songs. Great vocal harmonies… they have dueted with Diana Ross and Mariah Carey. Unfortunately they broke up this year. Essential songs: “Swear It Again” and “Flying Without Wings.”
  • BB Mak
    This trio from England was also part of the Teen Pop boom of the early 2000’s. They were signed to the Disney label. What set them apart, was that they played their own instruments and wrote their songs too. They only made 2 albums. Essential songs: “Back Here” and “Still on Your Side.”
  • Five
    Five guys from England, also part of the Teen Pop boom of the late 90’s. Signed by Simon Cowell, they had a bit more attitude and had a multi-cultural flavor to them. Essential songs: “When the Lights Go Out” and “Slam Dunk the Funk.”
  • Boy Zone
    One of the most successful bands in the UK and Ireland with approximately 20 million records sold by 2010 worldwide. Famous for having an out gay member of the group, Stephen Gately, who has since passed away. They never crossed over to the US though. Essential songs: “No Matter What” and “Gave It All Away.”
  • Bay City Rollers
    The Rollers were a Scottish pop band whose popularity was highest in the 1970s. They were the “tartan teen sensations from Edinburgh”, and were guided to US success by Clive Davis. Essential songs: “Saturday Night” and “I Only Want to Be with You.”
  • Wham!
    OK, so they were a duo and not a group. George Michael and Andrew Ridgely first came on the seen as “Wham U.K.” — I even have the first album with that name. Who can forget the video for “Club Tropicana” with George in a white Speedo. But when they dropped “UK” on the second album, and took on a pure pop sound, they took off like crazy. Essential songs: “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “I’m Your Man.”
  • Go West
    Another duo from England with a short shelf life. They had some catchy dance-pop songs, and some cool videos too. Essential songs: “We Close Our Eyes” and “Faithful.”

So that’s it. Did I forget anyone? I know, you are probably saying, well… what about the Jacksons and the Beatles? But they were much more than boy bands — even if they started out that way. One thing is for sure, as long as there is music, there will be boy bands.

Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. The eBook, A View from the Cheap Seats, can be downloaded from LuluAmazon and the iBookstore. It can be read on any computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Great First Albums

Music is part of my life. It brings me up when I am down, makes me want to dance, and moves my soul. Sometimes artists come on strong, never to make an album as strong again. For others it is just a glimpse of all the greatness to come. Here is my list of the Top Ten Greatest First Albums (in no particular order):

  • The B-52’s — “The B-52’s”
    The band from Athens, GA came on strong with their first album. The music scene didn’t know what to make of them. Were they punk? A comedy group? Were they retro? All I know is this is one fun party album. Classic tracks included: “Rock Lobster,” “Lava” and “Planet Claire.” They would hit the big time finally with “Love Shack.”The B-52's
  • Cyndi Lauper — “She’s So Unusual”
    Benefitting from the early days of MTV, she was a breath of fresh air from the pretty dance queens. This was a girl who definitely marched to the beat of her own drum. Classic tracks included: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “Time After Time” and “Money Changes Everything.” She is still a popular artist on the touring circuit, and released a blues album in 2011.
  • Duran Duran — “Duran Duran”
    “Rio” was the band’s breakthrough for sure, but the success of that one brought their first album back in the spotlight when they added “Is There Something I Should Know?” to it and re-released it. Classic tracks included: “Girls on Film,” “Planet Earth” and “Careless Memories.” Another MTV ready band, they also tour regularly and are still going strong.
  • Alicia Keys — “Songs in A Minor”
    The pretty girl who played piano, hit the big time with her debut. In the process, she has inspired plenty of up and coming singers. Classic tracks included: “Fallin,” “How Come You Don’t Call Me” and “A Woman’s Worth.” She has had many more hits in recent years, slowing down to get married and start a family.
  • Culture Club — “Kissing to Be Clever”
    Another great band from MTV’s early days, when they played videos. Boy George may have looked different with his makeup and outfits, but his voice was pure soul. Classic tracks included: “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?,” “Time” and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya.” (more…)

Winter Concerts

Here’s the sequel to my blog on Summer Concerts. Here are 10 favorites from past winters (December to February) in no particular order. Believe me, it was hard narrowing it down!

Michael Jackson, January 1989, LA Sport Arena
This was my 3rd time seeing Michael, but the first without his brothers. This was one of the hottest shows I have ever seen in my life. Michael was on FIRE. The concert itself was delayed for a few months because he was sick. It was so worth the wait! A high-energy, hit filled extravaganza. “Man in the Mirror” live was awesome! He would never tour the US again. So I was very lucky to see him in his prime.

Spice Girls, December 2007, Staples Center
Reunited and it feels so good. All 5 girls were back for the reunion tour (dare we say Farewell Tour?).  The US never got all five women in concert before, Ginger Spice had quit before their first US tour. They put an excellent show, dancing and singing their hearts out in a high-energy show. Girl power was alive and well!Spice Girls

Justin Timberlake, January 2007, Staples Center
After this show, it was apparent that Justin wasn’t ever going back to NSync. He danced, he sang, he played multiple instruments. He showed what a great entertainer and performer he had become. With Pink as the opening act, and support from Timbaland during the show, Justin became a superstar with this show. The show was in the round and had great staging and choreography.

The Colors of Christmas, December 2003, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
I have seen this seasonal show 12 times. Every year features 4 different performers. This year’s edition featured Peabo Bryson, Sheena Easton, Christopher Cross, and Natalie Cole. They sing their own hits, plus Christmas songs too in solos, duos and groups. It is always cool to see who they match up with whom. Natalie was a last minute replacement for Irene Cara. They have back-up from a small orchestra with band, as well as a local gospel choir. One of the best shows around for the money.

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