Do you believe in life after an Oscar, a variety show, an ex-husband dying on a ski slope, a transgender child and gazillions of gay fanboys? Then you believe in Cher, who’ll be playing in Dallas on March 26, the third stop on her Dressed to Kill Tour. The gays love their uber-diva more than Judy herself, and the No Tie Dinner and Dessert party knows its audience. So, before the big fundraiser for AIDS Services of Dallas on April 12, the group is giving away tickets so any gypsies, tramps and thieves can see Cher in concert. Just pre-register for the No Tie Dinner now through March 19 at NoTieDinner.org, and you’ll be entered in the drawing. Don’t be late, though, because you can’t turn back time.
Dallas and Rihanna have had a contentious relationship in the past — a point she brought up last night when recalling (1) in the 2011 show, where a fire onstage cut her gig short and of course, (2) this year’s cancellation, which led to Monday’s make-up concert at American Airlines Center. But she worked to make sure Dallas fans got the show she intended them to have. With a solid set of hits, RiRi delivered an expectedly big concert that straddled both old school performances and a karaoke night.
After her prologue of “Mother Mary,” the show exploded big with “Phresh Off The Runway,” setting a fast and furious tone for the rest of the night. Her cadre of dancers and her band surrounded the singer in a fairly minimal, but nonetheless, creative set of architectural columns and obligatory pop-star-concert display screens. But they never allowed eyes to be taken off the star. Or she wouldn’t. And couldn’t. Rihanna seemed to strive hard to win Dallas over and the screams were likely proof she did. The energy from the opening track to “Cockiness” was a nonstop flurry of clipped hits that was both thrilling and disappointing.
Often, she would edit her songs down to (perhaps) manage a quicker flow of her 23-song pre-encore set list, but nonetheless, it felt at times like a convenient medley. This reflects Rihanna’s pop expertise. She’s become a megastar through some respectable talent but more so through a blatant use of force. Seven albums in seven years, constant tours, her new Styled to Rock show on Bravo and that relentless media display of her 777 Tour last year, Rihanna knows that she needs to punch hard to be big and that first act of last night’s show was that on huge display.
But when she stepped away from being Rihanna The Product, she had genuine, even surprising moments that revealed the star she could truly be. Although merely a set-up, her opener “Mother Mary,” with just her on the stage is her frankness about fame. A haunting track where she admitted never thought this many people / would even know my name is one of the most confessional lines in pop and her voice extended that notion through the almost-capacity crowd.
She took the crowd to church as she winded the set down with her dance hits and again, she broke from both her brand and her fuck-it-all attitude. As the first notes of “We Found Love” chimed in, the grooves burst into jams and she enveloped herself in the blasting vibes of the track followed by “S&M,” “Only Girl (In the World)” and “Where Have You Been.” If even an expected move, the suite of songs were akin to a gay dance floor times infinity.
Unfortunately, she’s a fan of the backing track and didn’t shy away from not singing — while still “singing.” As she had even on her small and mid-size venue 777 tour, she would often let the mike drop to either pose or dance in hits like “Umbrella” and “You Da One.” That disregard though was so painfully obvious in her ballads where she practically refused to belt out the majorly dramatic chorus of “What Now,” her upcoming single of Unapologetic. If last night was Rihanna-karaoke, then the entire night would have been stellar.
At 25, Rihanna controlled the stage with rebellious poise. With cameras on her at all times, she almost doesn’t have a bad angle. She’s a stunning woman and can seduce both the stage audience and the camera at the same time. Rihanna then turned that into the party girl she needed to be to wrap the audience up into the show. Although a somewhat pseudo-show at times, she won her way back into Dallas’ graces without being unapologetic (see what I did there) for previous snafus. But when she returned for her one-two punch encore of “Stay” and “Diamonds,” all was forgiven and the crowd chorus wasn’t just a sing along, it was an embrace.
2 Chainz kept the fanfare on low but was nonetheless a monster onstage. Relying on the power of tracks like “Riot” and “I’m Different,” and rousing the crowd even more with “Beez in the Trap,” Chainz’s set had the polish of a pro with the spirit of a rebel.
Before Sunday’s concert at Annette Strauss Park, Pink Martini’s gay bandleader Thomas Lauderdale discussed just why the eclectic jazz outfit as been so productive lately. With four releases in the last three years, the band has churned out material faster than in their early days.
Lauderdale also says that with Dallas’ random weather lately, Pink Martini is set to deliver on Sunday whether there’s a crowd or not proving the band’s commitment to spread its distinct sound that delves into foreign lands and classic movies.
Read my conversation with Lauderdale after the jump. Pink Martini performs at Annette Strauss Square at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 8 p.m. $45–$65.ATTPAC.org.
Trey Jacobs knew exactly who he had in mind when forging the concept of the upcoming Turtle Creek Chorale concert Madonna to Madonna: The Ageless Strength of Women. The show was conceived to feature music that honors women from the Virgin Mary to the queen of pop. Iconic as they are, Jacobs looked to high school for the women who made him the person he is today — besides Mom, of course.
“As a musician, my role model was my high school choral director Jane Price,” says the TCC’s interim conductor. “She taught me how to express emotion through music.”
Thus, Jacobs will take a cue from Madge and express himself with a selection of Madonna songs — and then some.
Jacobs took over the chorale after the season outline had already been set. Running the gamut of women throughout history, from antiquity to the contemporary, was not his idea. But he expanded the idea to make his own mark.
“There was no music selected yet,” he says. “For me, it was about trying to pair [the idea] with a concept that would resonate with people. And it became this show that truly honors women.”
With a set-list that goes from Rachmaninoff to Shania Twain, the chorale teams up with some special guests for a unique experience. Enlisting the help of local singers Patty Breckenridge and Sally Vahle, New York musician Nisha Asnani and Cathedral of Hope’s the Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson, the ladies add the appropriate feminine touch to the show.
While people are scrambling to get loan approval for Madonna tickets in October, there is a distinct curiosity for how the TCC boys will be pulling off some of her greatest hits. There will even be some “chorale-ography” involved.
“They’ll be singing ‘Open Your Heart,’ ‘Dress You Up,’ ‘Papa Don’t Preach,’” says Joe Rattan, who also does the chorale’s marketing. “Oh, and ‘Vogue.’”
Rattan and Jacobs confirm that the TCC men will, in fact, be vogueing.
Clearly Madonna is a big draw for any gay event, but both men are sure to note that the inspiration of this show isn’t just about the material girl or even just about the Virgin Mary.
“The show runs the full emotional gamut,” Rattan says. “It’s very touching, there are some funny moments. Trey really breathed life into it to be this and has done a wonderful job. The guys are excited and inspired by what they are singing and I’ve been moved by what I heard.”
Jacobs assures that a concert about women by men won’t miss the point.
“I had talks with the chorale and many of them would talk about these female role models,” he says. “Sometimes it was a strong character from a movie or musical, or more personal, but it was fascinating to hear all these different men talk about women in such reverence. That’s what this is about.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 2, 2012.
Madonna offers fans here a double dose of good news. First, as you may have heard, she’s released her second single of her upcoming album. She dropped “Girl Gone Wild” today much to the likely pleasure of pop music bloggers everywhere. I can’t say I’m knocked out by it compared to her first single, but I’ve had some deadlines today that have kept my focus elsewhere. As we do. I kinda miss the sophisticated edge she had for Ray of Light or Music. I fear she’s trading her hot cougar-ness for some reductive pop confections.
No video yet, but you can give the song a listen on this lyric video.
The holiday season isn’t complete without the annual Christmas concert by the Turtle Creek Chorale. In My Favorite Things, they pay tribute to The Carpenters Christmas Collection and of course, they add their own special touch.
DEETS: Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. 8 p.m. $16–$65. TurtleCreek.org.
Gary Lynn Floyd killed a few birds with one stone last night. First, he helped celebrate the Interfaith Peace Chapel’s one-year anniversary. Second, he shot footage for his upcoming reality series slot on Troubadour, TX. Most importantly, though, he reminded us all why we love listening to him sing.
His concert Sunday night, which also served as a release party for his new CD Then+Now, featured Gary on piano, voice miked, singing solo: Songs from his long career, some from his days in Christian music (including his only No. 1 hit as a songwriter), moving up to his current output. He joked that people may still detect a bit of the church in his voice; ain’t that the truth. Listening to Gary is sort of like your own private sermon — he seemed to be connecting directly with me as he sang. (Of course, I was sitting behind his mother, so maybe he was just singing to her.) But I bet all of the 80 or so attendees felt that same connection. That’s what good singing is all about.
1. The Houston Pride Band presents “Guilty Pleasures,” a concert featuring the favorite guilty pleasures of the Pride Band members, tonight at 7:30 at the Hobby Center. The concert marks the premier of the Pride Band’s new artistic Director, Skip Martin. Martin chose the feature favorite’s from the bands 30-year history. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased from the Hobby Center.
2. The “Haute Boys of Fall II” gather at James Craig Furniture (4500 Washington Avenue), since their founding in 2010 the Haute Boys (which includes quite a few girls) have raised over $15,000 for area AIDS charities. Tonight’s event features complimentary signature cocktails by Harmonie, an array of neighborhood bites, elements of design and fashion, music and more. Admission is an unwrapped toy, gift card or $20 donation for Houstonians in need.
3. Voter turnout held steady for the ninth day of early voting in Harris County. So far 34,329 people have voted, only 80% of the 42,968 who had voted by this point during the 2009 municipal elections. Montrose’s own Multi Service Center on West Gray broke 400 voters for the first time since voting began on Oct 24. Early voting continues through November 4. Election day is Nov 8. A list of all early voting locations and sample ballots are available at harrisvotes.org.