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!
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.
If you haven’t noticed, I follow entertainment pretty religiously: movies, TV and music. If you want to know what’s hot, or what’s not, people usually ask me. If I haven’t seen/heard something, I usually have read a review of it. Below are reviews of recent movie, DVD, and CD releases. Let me know your thoughts on them too.
Michael Jackson “Immortal”
The soundtrack to the MJ’s Cirque Du Soleil show of the same name features slightly remixed and edited versions of all his big hits, as well as songs from the Jackson 5 too. Some of the songs are in medleys, and include dialogue from Michael from the videos. A good souvenir for the show, comes in 2 versions, with the deluxe one having more songs. Grade: B
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
There’s life left in this franchise after all. Was anyone really asking for another one? But Tom Cruise is smart, and has recruited a new director and new costars for this latest installment. The action sequences are excellent, you will be asking yourself, how did they do that? A very enjoyable popcorn movie. Grade: A-
The holiday gift giving season is upon us. Do you have something for everyone on your list? As a big music fan, I have quite a CD/MP3 collection. Greatest hits collections are great for gift giving. You get all the hits people know, plus usually a few choice album cuts too. They are great for casual fans or die hards too.
- Madonna “Immaculate Collection”
Still a gold standard as far as “greatest hits” collections. She has had a few other collections, but this one is still the strongest. It is amazing how many of these songs you still hear played today: “Holiday,” “Vogue,” “Crazy for You”. If you want to go deeper, try “Celebration” her most recent and most definitive collection (available as a 1 or 2 disc collection).
- Journey “Greatest Hits”
They are still popular! I really believe we have “Glee” to thank for their continued popularity. After “Don’t Stop Believin’” was featured on there, you heard a lot more of this band. They have great sing-along songs and put on a fantastic live show. Not a bad one in the bunch. If you want to go deeper, try “The Essential Journey” (available as a 2 or 3 disc collection).
- Blondie “The Best of Blondie”
Another influential and overlooked group of the 70’s and 80’s. Big hits like “Rapture,” “Heart of Glass” and “The Tide is High.” Debbie Harry was the cool chick lead singer that influenced everyone from Madonna to Britney Spears. If you want to go deeper, try the anthology “The Platinum Collection.”
- Donna Summer “The Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer”
Her most recent best-of collection featuring all her essential 70’s and 80’s hits (“Love to Love You Baby” to “This Time I Know It’s For Real”) plus a few new songs too that will have you out there dancing on the floor.
- Duran Duran “Greatest”
Little did people think that the Fab Five as some people called them back in the day, would have the legacy that they do. Expanding upon the earlier “Decade” collection, this is the definitive collection for them. Everything from “Girls on Film” to “Ordinary World.”
- Keith Urban “18 Kids”
I’ve heard his music described as “country for people that don’t like country music.” He’s much more rock than traditional country…with pop sensibilities to his songs. You are sure to tapping your foot and singing along to such songs as “You’re My Better Half” and “Think of Me.”
- Michael Jackson “The Essential Michael Jackson”
A much more comprehensive collection than “HIStory,” this CD has everything from the Jackson 5 to the Jacksons to all of his solo mega-hits. One of the biggest and most influential entertainers of our lifetime — that was taken from us too soon. His songs will live on forever.
- Britney Spears “Greatest Hits: My Prerogative”
Yeah, there is another collection called “The Singles Collection” that from the looks of it, is pretty good too (don’t have it), but her first best-of collection shows what made her the star that she is. Catchy tunes that you will be singing for days from “…Baby, One More Time” to “Toxic.”
- ABBA “Gold”
This group has shown some longevity as far as popularity. They never seemed that big in the US to me… always bigger in Europe or South America… but then a little show/movie called “Mamma Mia” brilliantly brought them back into the spotlight and they haven’t left. Hear the original versions of all the original ear candy songs from the 70’s and 80’s. Definitely a guilty pleasure.
- Earth, Wind & Fire “Greatest Hits”
Another great group that has had a great run. Sure to be a favorite at your backyard BBQ or dinner party, these guys combined rock, funk, and R&B into a delectable combination. Featuring such classics as “Shining Star” and “Fantasy.”
These are sure to be popular stocking stuffers for everyone on your gift list. Whether you order them from Amazon or download them from iTunes… you are getting collections with tons of hits on them.