Classic music acts are still on the road with big summer tours
Here's a sobering thought:
Someday, Kesha, Kanye and Katy Perry will all be on the oldies station. Or whatever they'll be calling the oldies stations in the future.
As surely as one generation's longhairs, rockers and freaks are destined to become the next generation's dads, teachers and bosses, music will move on. Rock 'n' roll never dies, but it does start worrying about lawn care and 401ks at some point.
In the '80s and '90s, the oldies radio format was fairly new and could actually expose listeners to a fairly broad cross-section of music from the '50s and '60s, much of it great. You could hear all the giants — Elvis, the Beach Boys, Chuck Berry and the Beatles, as well as the great soul singers, from Otis Redding to Sam Cooke to Smokey Robinson. There were teen idols, surf instrumentals, doo-wop, Buddy Holly, bubble-gum novelties, even some bluesy British Invasion stuff like The Kinks and The Animals.
Then it started to change, first including the soft-rock singers of the '70s, and even some disco-era smash hits. Soon, even the super-slick pop smashes of the '80s were fair game. According to industry publication Radio Station World, many stations were rebranded “classic hits” to reflect the addition of songs from the '70s and '80s, like Pittsburgh's 3WS (94.5-FM). Others ended up in another niche, “adult standards” (heavy on the Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow), or “adult hits,” which adds a few contemporary pop or dance hits to the old favorites.
Now, the term “oldies” is falling out of use in a radio context. Still, the combination of classic hits, adult hits — and a few all-'80s stations — equals “radio's most listened-to format,” according to industry publication Inside Radio.
This week, there's a glut of old-school acts performing in Pittsburgh. Some fit the old oldies radio format, some are more classic rock, and others are harder to pin down.
About 50 years after the Four Seasons scored their first hit with “Sherry,” lead singer Frankie Valli with new backup singers will come to Heinz Hall, Downtown, for a one-night stand on July 20.
Valli and the Four Seasons have gained a new set of fans with the Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys,” which tells the story of the formation and breakup of the original group. In 1990, the Four Seasons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The show's program salutes the band's first decade of work and includes hits such as “Big Girls Don't Cry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Rag Doll,” and “Can't Take My Eyes Off You.”
The concert starts at 7 p.m. July 20. Admission is $39 to $129. Details: 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org
— Mark Kanny
“St. Somewhere” is here.
The annual Parrothead migration reaches First Niagara Pavillion on July 18 when Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band's “Songs From St. Somewhere” tour makes a stop.
Buffett, who has been a touring staple since the 1970s, is set to release a new album of the same name, and a few of the songs have been showing up on the set list, like “Too Drunk to Karaoke” (which on the album will be a duet with Toby Keith but, in concerts, features Mac McAnally), “Something Bout a Boat” and “Useless But Important Information.” The album, Buffett's first studio effort in seven years, has an Aug. 20 release date.
The new album includes an appearance by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, who according to his Facebook page, co-wrote and performs on “Oldest Surfer on the Beach.”
The tour began its current leg June 22 in Boston after kicking off April 27 in Nashville.
If the title sounds familiar, it's because it borrows from the song “Boat Drinks” — “I gotta fly to St. Somewhere, I'm close to bodily harm.”
The Burgettstown show is set for 8 p.m. There is no opening act. According to the Ticketmaster website (ticketmaster.com), some pavilion seats, $36-$148, were still available earlier this week. Details: 800-745-3000 or www.livenation.com
— Vaunda Bonnett
Brian Wilson is the eccentric pop genius behind one of the greatest American bands of all time, the Beach Boys. You can make an argument that he's the greatest pop composer ever, with pop smashes and intricate album-length masterpieces such as “Pet Sounds” to his credit.
He's also lived a hard life, with drugs, mental illness and long periods of absence from music-making. Since the late '90s, though, he's been gradually re-emerging to find his place in the pop pantheon, as new generations of musicians rediscover his ornate production techniques and eternal melodies. In 2004, he finally released “Smile,” the legendary, unfinished pop-psychedelic landmark, which had been bootlegged and talked about for decades — and it actually met expectations.
Wilson is currently touring with another founding member of the Beach Boys, Al Jardine. In addition to solo and Beach Boys songs, it's likely he'll be performing his take on the American Songbook, particularly the music of George Gerswhin, a focus of recent recordings.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. July 21 at Stage AE, North Shore. The show is outdoors, and tickets range from $25 (lawn) to $49 (reserved pit seating), with VIP packages ranging from $125 to $250. Details: 800-745-3000 or www.stageae.com
— Michael Machosky
The Eagles, one of the most iconic and successful bands in American rock history, will be bringing their “History of the Eagles” tour — which celebrates the release of the documentary by the same name — to Consol Energy Center on July 23.
The Eagles' long career started in 1971 in Los Angeles. The band put out numerous hits during that decade, including their signature song “Hotel California,” “Take It to the Limit,” “Lyin' Eyes,” “Take It Easy” and “Life in the Fast Lane.” When the band split up in 1980, the two lead singers, Don Henley and Glenn Frey, embarked on successful solo careers, and the concert's set list will include some of these solo songs.
The band reunited in the mid-‘90s and has toured intermittently since then. The studio album “Long Road Out of Eden” in 2007 earned two Grammys.
“History of the Eagles,” released April 30, features three discs, with two covering the history of the Eagles, and the third featuring vintage Eagles concerts, including a show in 1977 in Washington, D.C., for the “Hotel California” tour.
The show begins at 8 p.m. July 23. Tickets are $39 to $195. Details: 800-745-3000 or www.consolenergycenter.com
— Kellie B. Gormly