Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Bob Dylan, Long Branch and The Fuzz

August 26, 2009

Did you hear the one about Bob Dylan wandering around the Jersey shore. If you haven’t then this is one of the odder tales of the year. Could be something straight out of Weird NJ. So far ABC News has the best write up.

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Springsteen Lets Fans Down, Adding New ‘Final’ Show Smacks Them in the Face

June 4, 2009

Usually, when Bruce Springsteen adds shows to his tour, especially here in Jersey, it’s a good thing. However, this week’s announcement that two more shows were added to the alleged-final -concert stand at Giants Stadium actually was bad news for a sizeable number of Bruce Springsteen fans.

The original three shows sold out so “due to overwhelming” demand and more shows were added. Thee shows were billed as the “final” concerts at Giants stadium. This means people who bought tickets to the Oct. 3 show [in the interests of full disclosure Jerseycool is one of those people]  thinking that would be the last concert ever at Giants stadium now have tickets to the next to-next to- last show at the stadium. Not bad but it isn’t the LAST show.

Some people have become blasé about this. There hasn’t really been any outcry in the media except for a few message boards online. In all honesty, this affects truly only the 70,000 so suckers who bought the Oct. 3 show. Still it doesn’t make it right.

Artist do this all the time. Last year Billy Joel sold out the final show at Shea Stadium and then sold another final show at the stadium. People at the first show got to see a great show; people at the last got to see Paul McCartney. It simply isn’t the same.

Bruce Springsteen is a different story. He has always presented an image of being for his fans and coming on the heels of recent problems with Ticketmaster, it’s sad to say but Springsteen seems to have lost his mojo as the man of the people.

Some will say, well, they didn’t expect these shows to sell out and they want to accommodate as many people as possible. Poppycock.

They could have easily back-added shows and left the Oct. 3 date as the final show. This would have been fair and it would have been honorable, but I suppose the lure of being able to market a second FINAL show was too much to pass up. Who knows? Maybe a third Final show will be added. Heck, maybe Springsteen will be singing Jingle Bells at the Stadium in a foot of snow on Dec. 24.

It seems anything goes these days. Perhaps we’ve come to expect this sort of soft consumer abuse. The added shows will sell out. People who bought the Oct. 3 show will either accept the fact they were scammed or they will need to try to upgrade to the new final show at the stadium. Either way, 70,000 fans will have a bad taste in their mouth when these shows come up in the fall.

Bad job Sports Authority.

Bad job Bruce.

JerseyCool hopes the money is worth it.

Springsteen’s Gets a New Beat from J Street

May 28, 2009

Bruce Springsteen has a new toy and his name is Jay Weinberg.  JerseyCool was in the house at last week’s Springsteen show and couldn’t help but feel that , even though the Mighty Max Weinberg was missed, this younger Weinberg has added a new dimension to the E-Street band.

Jay Weinberg, Max’s 18-year-old son, was tapped to play drums for most of Springsten’s latest tour because Max has been tied down rehearsing for his new gig as Conan O’Brien’s band leader on the new Tonight Show.  The results reveal a promising career for the junior Weinberg and a re-energized Springsteen on stage.

Several times during last Thursday’s show the Boss beamed, almost with fatherly pride, at Jay Weinberg. The pride was well placed as Jay added a new dimension to old standards like Badlands, Prove It All Night and Adam Raised a Cain. Some of these oldies but goodies sounded almost brand new with the hard pounding Weinberg, who with flowing black hair and beard looks like he would be more comfortable behind the kit for Metallica than the near-60-something Springsteen.

Springsteen has been on a good run of late. Ever since his Seeger Sessions Project when he took on hits from the 60s – the 1860s – he has been rejuvenated on stage.  For his Magic tour, Springsteen began collecting signs from audience members and performing some of his most-requested numbers like Rosalita, Incident on 57th Street and Kitty’s Back.

The Boss has continued this practice into his new shows, performing requested covers from artists as diverse as The Ramones and Bob Dylan. The new energy is even enough to forgive Springsteen some of his more indulgent choices, such as the long, long, Land of Hope and Dreams and the Seeger sessions holdover, American Land, which is a barnburner of a closing tune, but feels out of place with his most recent material.

Springsteen’s music from his latest album is almost an afterthought on this tour. On a good night, he’ll barely perform four songs from Working on a Dream, which is his third solid E-Street Band album this decade. It is almost as if he is having so much fun with the bad that he can’t stand to disappoint his fans by missing any of his greatest hits.

It’s easy to quibble over song choices, but as Springsteen chugs on toward his 60th birthday these is nothing but positive vibes coming out of E Street these days.

Closing Giants Stadium

Springsteen is in Europe now but swings back to the US for more tour dates in the Fall. He’ll be closing out Giants Stadium on Oct. 2, a show that is being billed as the last musical show at the stadium before it is torn down.

The show’s are already sparking controversy as tickets have popped up on broker sites before they go on sale Monday.

For Springsteen’s part let’s hope there isn’t a repeat of the Ticketmaster malfunctions that plagued the Meadowlands shows. Let’s also hope that the Oct. 2 date is, indeed, the last advertised show. People are still feeling burned after Billy Joel added a new “final” show at Shea Stadium well after tickets went on sale.

Melinda Done Wrong

May 17, 2007

What can we say, while all of us bloggers were busy trying to figure out who would lose to Melinda Doolittle in the American Idol finals phone voters and texters were busily trying to keep Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis in the game. End result: bye, bye Melinda.

Yes folks, there is no fairness in American Idol land where voters apparently preferred the beat box gimmickry of Blake Lewis and the golly gee cheerfulness of Jordin Sparks over the much more talented though charismatically challenged Melinda Doolittle.

The anguished look on Simon Cowell’s face said it all as the results were announced and the only thing left to do now is pick apart the bones and let the conspiracy theories begin. Yes, though Doolittle was by far the best singer on this year’s idol, record producers were probably wringing their hands trying to figure out how they would market the 29-year old jazz singer to a generation Y audience.

Underneath the groans from last nights audience were quite a few sighs of relief from record producers. Of course, Doolittle will make a record it just won’t be sold as an American Idol winner’s record and that might not be such a bad thing.

In fact, the perfomace of last years third place finisher Eliott Yamin combined with the success of also ran Chris Daughtry should prove that American Idol is more about the exposure than who wins.

Yamin’s passionate soul singing last night left that other gray-haired singer from last year back in the dust though we were a bit confused when Yamin took the stage and we thought we had accidentally flipped over to a rerun of Adam Sandler in the Wedding Singer.

So farewell Mindy Doo and if nothing else her ouster makes next week’s final all the more unpredictable.

JC

And Then There Were Three

May 16, 2007

Last night’s final three of American Idol was actually a pretty good show. Usually the final two are pretty obvious and it’s just a waiting game for the next episode. But it really is conceivable that any one of the three remaining Idol wannabees could be bounced tonight.

It’s obvious that Melinda Doolittle has the best voice and is the most polished of the final three. In many respects she’s already won. Still, she has an older style and could be a surprising final cut. Remember Chris Daughtry was once the clear cut front runner last season. We think Doolittle will be there in the end and actually should win easily.

Which brings us to a choice between the young and bubbly Jordin Sparks and the quirky cool Blake Lewis; both had there good and bad moments last night but we think Idol fans still reward the vocal over everything else.

So we believe we bid adieu to Mr. Lewis tonight. The Michael Winslow of American Idol will probably go on to have a decent career. We don’t see ever buying one of his records because beat boxing is cool for about 20 seconds and then it gets a bit annoying, much like Michael Winslow of Police Academy fame.

But in a season that despite the gaudy ratings was charismatically challenged Blake gave us something unexpected to look forward to. As for Ms. Sparks, her feel good vibe will have a mighty challenge going up against Melinda Doolittle. If it’s a Doolittle-Sparks final than it may be one the most lopsided AI ending this side of Fantasia-Degarma.

JC

Spiderman 3 Casts Too Broad a Net

May 15, 2007

We caught the third Spiderman installment this weekend and both agreed that the third time was defiantly not the charm for the franchise. Sure, the effects are all there, including some amazing work animating the Sandman, not an easy feat that we’re sure will be rewarded come Oscar time, but where the previous two Spiderman movies moved naturally this one feels forced.

Still, we think this Spiderman worked a little too hard and perhaps tried to do a bit too much. The film is just over two hours long but it defiantly feels longer.

Spiderman 3 is all about threes. It’s a trinity of trinities I guess you’d say. There’s the relationship between the three main characters, Peter Parker, May Jane and Harry Osborn then there’s the trinity of villains, the Goblin, the Sandman and Venom (BTW, another fantastic CGI animation); there are also multiple love triangles in the film between Peter, Mary Jane and newcomer, Gwen Stacy; Peter Gwen and Eddie Brock; and the good old Peter, Harry, Mary Jane conundrum. Did you get all that?

Surprisingly we did.

The story is not hard to follow it’s just that there’s so much of it that it’s hard to invest in any one story line. Peter Parker’s growing relationship problems with Mary Jane just doesn’t dovetail well with the revenge theme in the Spiderman-Sandman story line. Throw in Venom, the alien symbiont that enhances the negative qualities of its host and there’s a lot to juggle in Spiderman 3.

Watching Spiderman 3 makes one pine for the days of Superman vs. General Zod.

The first two Spiderman movies stood apart from other comic book fare because of its performances and here there are issue as well. Rumors abound that this is the last Spiderman with the current cast and that might be a good thing. Tobey Maquire has probably done as much as he can with Peter Parker’s nice guy image and if the next movie demands more of a darker Spiderman, as this one hints at, then there might be better actors for the job. And while Kirsten Dunst has done a nice job of not getting in the way as Mary Jane there’s always a Kate Bosworth or Katie Holmes waiting in the wings to take her place.

Both Thomas Hayden Church and Topher Grace are fine as villains but neither really gets the time to develop the kind of character that Alfred Molina or William Defoe did in their respective bad guy turns.

The only one who seems to still be having fun is James Franco whose Harry Osborn gets to go back to his goofy persona from the first film.

Usually director Sam Raimi is spot on tackling these kinds of issues but it looks like the pressure to out due the first films may have even been too much for Raimi.

If nothing else Spiderman 3 really does prove the axiom that less, indeed, is more.

JC

Is Blake a Goner, I Wouldn’t Bet on It

May 9, 2007

First, let’s apologize for our infrequent posting issues. We’ll try to do better next week.

Anyway, quickly as doomsday approaches for one of our final four American Idol contestants,  despite horrid reviews we think Blake will survive this week’s elimination.

Two things: Out of the four remaining contestants Blake probably has the largest voting pool (where oh where will the Chris Richardson block turn) and the other three contestants, Lakisha, Jordin and Melinda are all similar and someone will be low girl on the totem pole.

We think it’s bye, bye Kiki but we’ve been predicting that for awhile now so we wouldn’t be surprised if there was a shocker and either Melinda or Jordin were unceremoniously dumped. Wasn’t this the same week Chris Daughtry was booted last year.

Anyway, we think Blake “Michael Winslow” Lewis stays to beat box again and that’s bad for him. All along we were saying Blake was playing for a record deal not the American Idol crown. While we wouldn’t go so far as to say he tanked last night’s performances, let’s just say we don’t think he would have been all that upset being a free agent on the recording scene.

JC

Two Idols for the Road

May 2, 2007

Yes ducklings the calendar has turned to May, which means it’s sweeps month in TV land. And May sweeps means stunt casting and “very special” episodes galore as our favorite diversions wind down for the season.

Tonight, for the first time we get not one but two ejections on American Idol. If you’ve been hiding under a rock then you don’t know that Idol deferred last week’s elimination because of it’s begathon for child poverty and will axe the bottom two vote getters this week after adding the past two weeks vote totals together. Get it? No. Well, all you gotta know is two people go home tonight and next week we get to the bottom four, which means your Idol hopefuls will get to butcher not just one but two very special songs a night.

Anyway, last night’s Bon Jovi themed outing had all the makings of a kareoke disaster but, surprisingly enough, there really wasn’t an awful performance. Sure Jordin Sparks stunk up the place with a completly phony version of “Living on a Prayer” but heck even Chris Richardson was mildly in tune on “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

Lakisha Jones also made a comeback of sorts. We still think her vocals have been a bit off but because she couldn’t do a well known AI song she chose the obscure “This Ain’t a Love Song” and brought back memories of her earlier blues-based performances. We think her soul kiss with Simon Cowell after the performance was buzz worthy enough to save her from elimination. Hey Kiki, it’s a small price to pay to save yourself one more week.

Even Phil Stacey continued his winning streak with a powerful performance of “Blaze of Glory” and Melinda Doolittle, as charismatically-challenged as she is, showed she can do just about anything with a very passable “Have a Nice Day.”

The winner though was Blake Lewis, the Michael Winslow of American Idol performers. We’ve contended all season long that Lewis knows he doesn’t have the vocal chops to win Idol but he’s savvy enough to know the show gives him a forum to market himself to a record company. Blake’s not after the Idol crown, he’s auditioning for his own deal. He may just have won it with his beat-box version of “You Give Love a Bad Name.”

The performance from the now black-haired singer was enough to convince anyone that the dude is artistic enough to have a hit, well, at least a movie-soundtrack cover hit.

Anyway, predictions.

The safe bet is that on a night when just about everyone did pretty well, past history will come into play. Bad news for Phil “bottom three” Stacey and Chris Richardson. We honestly, don’t see Richardson making it past this week since he doesn’t have the vocals to out-sing Melinda or Lakesha and can’t out-creative Blake.

The wild card is Jordin Sparks. She had her worst performance and we didn’t like her awe shucks I didn’t do a good job this week act either. We’re thinking others were rubbed the wrong way too and this could be the week when voters decide between Jordin, Melinda and Lakesha. It was a bad week to mail it in, Jordin and we think it could cost her.

We’re going out on a limb saying Chris Richardson and Jordin Sparks will be gone by 10:01 tonight.

JC

Garden State of Mind

May 1, 2007

The Garden State Arts Center (officially known as the PNC Bank Center) announced it’s summer lineup today. We draw the line at shilling for corporations with the GSAC, especially since we’ve never been able to go north on the Parkway after leaving a show there without having to go south. Yeah, we get bitter like that around here.

We’ll probably get a nasty e-mail from one of PNC’s corporate weenies but that’s just the way JC rolls.

Anyway, NJ.com has a real nice blog post about the lineup and points out some of the odd pairings like George Thorougood and Bryan Adams. Could be an interesting crowd at that one.

JC

Excitables for the Weekend of April 27-29

April 27, 2007

I’d be more excited about Boston’s return to Yankee Stadium this weekend if Jerseycool had not spent last night freezing and bored along the first base side of the House that Ruth Built. Yes, ducklings it’s tough times in Yankeeland. Six losses in a row and the hot Boston Red Sox on the way into town. Another sweep and the Yankees could find themselves with a new manager on Monday, so in terms of the sporting world this weekend all eyes will be on Boston-New York part two.

The other big sport event in town is the annual NFL Draft. Football honchos around the country will gather at Radio City Music Hall to pick teams for next season. Truly, it’s the first day of the new season and every fan will be filled with hope as their teams select the next batch of “sure-fire” hall of famers.

Elsewhere this weekend: Looking for a flick? Well, it’s not long until Spiderman3 opens folks. This week’s box office entries including the Cold Stone Steve Austin in the action flick “The Condemned” and a gaggle of teens in the creepy-deep “The Invisible.” We got an absolute rave in our in box from one of our movie buddies about “Hot Fuzz”, the action movie send up by the same guys who brought you Shaun of the Dead. You may not get a better return on your money there.

For readers out there, we’ve been trying to get into Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian but it’s been slow, slow going for the novel that’s trying to bring back life to the Dracula tale (pun intended). No, we’re going to have to go with Charles C. Mann’s 1491, which we recommended a few weekends ago and we’re sticking to our story there.

Have a good weekend everyone,

JC