It’s almost February and all the fourth-quarter album releases that usually precede a spring/summer tour are being illegally downloaded (except Adele, of course).
So it’s time to get fans hyped to spend their discretionary income on tickets to see said recording artists performing the songs they love and the ones they tolerate while standing in line for a drink or the toilet.
Let’s start off with a couple of shows that go on sale Friday, specifically Meat Loaf at the Hard Rock Live at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in Northfield. He will appear March 30.
New Age music legend Yanni returns with a new tour and a new album released on Friday with the sublime title Sensuous Chill. I feel compelled to say that title in my best Barry White voice ... “And now, here’s Yanni with …. S-s-s-s-ensuous Chi-i-i-l-l.”
Let’s take a moment to allow the man himself, Yiannis Chryssomallis, to explain the concept.
“I wanted to create a sensuous melodious and sexy environment for the listener; and I wanted it to last a long time. ... This album knows what it wants to be! ... And it is unmistakably Yanni!!”
Back in my Barry White voice, I say, “Awww yeah, y’all …. Yanni is keeping it sexy and sensuous with stamina for the all brothers, sisters and anyone else who doesn’t need Netflix to properly chill. Guh-roooovay.”
Sorry about that smooooth and sexy digression — back to business.
I haven’t been backstage at Blossom Music Center since the Jonas Brothers were here almost a decade ago, but I’m pretty sure that Dave Matthews and Toby Keith must have fully furnished apartments with a couple of cats back there somewhere by now, because every year those acts hit the road (which for Keith, feels like every one of the 14 years I’ve been in Northeast Ohio), they stop at Blossom to play for the faithful.
I’ve long since vowed to never see either of these artists at Blossom again, not because I hate them ... oh, wait ... I actually dislike the DMB, but it’s mostly because four times (five for Keith) is really enough to get the full DMB/TK experience particularly when their respective shows doesn’t change much each year.
This year, the DMB, celebrating 25 years of activity, hits Blossom on May 21 with ... well ... you know his affable, friendly, wouldn’t-he-be-cool-to-have-a-beer-with stage presence and boring groovy music.
By the way, DMB fans, Matthews has said he’s taking 2017 off, so don’t miss this chance to stand on the lawn and halfheartedly pay attention to the band while you smoke everyone else’s weed and make plans for the evening (the 21st is a Saturday) and say “what’s up” to that dude from high school with the hot sister whose name you can't remember.
Also on the Blossom schedule are six-time 2016 Grammy nominee Florence and the Machine bringing music from her 2015 album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful for the How Beautiful Tour on June 4 along with openers Of Monsters and Men. The mandatory “classic-rock double bill” will be fulfilled by Journey (who brought rock hall inductee Steve Miller and Tower of Power last year) who will be bringing the Doobie Brothers and special guest Dave Mason formerly of Traffic on June 29. Singer and funny dude Josh Groban brings his classical-crossover pop stylings along with opener Sarah McLachlan to town Aug. 10.
Of course, if you are a mainstream country fan, Blossom should be your spring/summer music temple and the 2016 Cintas Country MEGA! (echo goes here) TICKET! (more echo, please) is your annual tithe. The venue’s schedule is once again dominated with big-name country acts who always bring along some up-and-coming acts some of whom surely will be headlining their own shed tours in the near future.
What makes a ticket Mega, you ask?
Well, beginning at 10 a.m. Friday for a mere $375 to $1,175, you (just you, all by yourself) can attend a dozen country concerts at Blossom. I hope you really like country dudes, because apparently few female artists can headline amphitheaters.
Your hard-earned bucks will get you in to see the following: Blossom season opener Dierks Bentley (May 20), Kenny Chesney (May 26), Rascal Flatts (June 25), Keith Urban (July 15), the lone lady headliner Miranda Lambert (July 28), Toby Keith (Aug. 5), a two-night stand from Luke Bryan (Aug. 11-12), Hank William Jr. and Chris Stapleton (Aug. 19), Darius Rucker (Aug. 26), Florida Georgia Line (Sept. 9), Brad Paisley (Sept. 16) and Jason Aldean wrapping it up Sept. 23.
Bocephus and Chris Stapleton co-headlining a show is a pretty interesting bill. The tour is only eight dates, but it’s the most high-profile tour that Hank Jr., who released a new album It’s About Time this month, has done in quite awhile.
Since Chris Stapleton with his country chart topping and critically hailed album Traveller is the current “putting-country-back-in-country-music “It” boy, helping to wash the aural taste of bro-country out of many fans’ ears. Perhaps by enlisting Bocephus (such a great nickname), Stapleton is attempting a Nine Inch Nails/David Bowie-style tour where the young artist hopes to remind his fans about the awesomeness of one of his influences.
Notice which previously hugely successful country-crossover act is distinctly NOT a part of the MEGA! (yep, echo) TICKET! (still more echo)? The reconstituted Dixie Chicks and their DCX MMXVI World Tour hits “Cleveland” — I don't know why that regional shortcut still bothers me — at Blossom on June 3.
Go to www.livenation.com for tickets and more information.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3758. Read his blog, Sound Check Online, at www.ohio.com/blogs/sound-check, like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml and/or follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.