Crossroads Comes To NYC

A tidal is wave is coming, filled with rock and roll and blues.  This swell has some of the greatest guitar players of all time and it’s due to hit today.  This weekend Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 will fill Madison Square Garden with 30 legendary guitarists.  The lineup includes BB King, Allman Brothers, Los Lobos, Jeff Beck, Keith Urban, Buddy Guy, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Jimmie Vaughn, Vince Gill, John Mayer, Eric Clapton and more.

This is a guitar lover’s dream, but you don’t have to dream to envision these awesome groups of guitarists playing side by side tickets are still available.  Proceeds go to The Crossroads Centre, Antigua.  Clapton founded the 32-bed center in 1977.  Located on the island of Antigua, The Crossroads Centre was created to provide quality, affordable treatment for alcohol and other drug dependencies. 

To purchase tickets, http://www.crossroadsguitarfestival.com/.

12/12/12 Concert for Sandy Relief Top Event for 2012

Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi

December 12, 2012 was an auspicious occasion for myriad reasons.  One of them being the 12/12/12 Concert for Sandy Relief in Madison Square Garden and it ranks as the top event that occurred in NYC in 2012.  The enormities of Superstorm Sandy were catastrophic to say the least.  The beloved Jersey shore…Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island and its residents will feel the effects for years to come, but for one night the tri-state area stood defiant and proud, armed with the knowledge that not even Mother Nature could hold us down – we are too resilient.

The celebrities that donated their time for this event was mindboggling, between the legends that manned the phones and performed on stage The 12/12/12 Concert for Sandy Relief boasted more star power than those hovering in the Milky Way.  Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen showed the world just what it means to be “Jersey Strong”, Alycia Keys and Billy Joel represented The Big Apple with timeless musical gems and Adam Sandler represented us all with a big “Screw ya” to Sandy.  Pair that with the likes of The Who, Rolling Stones, Sir Paul McCartney, Chris Martin, Michael Stipe and Led Zepplin and you have one concert for the ages, The Garden has hosted many legendary nights, but 12/12/12 was an evening that  rocked the roof off the theater and will be a hard event to top.

Billions are needed to restore these neighborhoods to what they once were; the families affected by Superstorm Sandy still need our assistance.  To donate please visit, http://www.robinhood.org/rhsandy, http://www.redcross.org/hurricane-sandy .

Photo: AP Photo/Starpix, Dave Allocca

 

 

 

 

Trout KOs Pre Fight Dinner

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In ancient Rome the celebrities and gladiators of the day provided thrills and chills for the screaming mob at the Colosseum.  In New York, artisans and athletes of today make themselves immortal at our version of the legendary Italian amphitheater – Madison Square Garden – and they’ve been doing so for decades.  Madison Square Garden known as “The Mecca for boxing” has hosted plenty of epic bouts.  On Saturday Austin Trout, WBA light middleweight champion, intends to retain his title and have a break out performance that lives up to the awesome boxing spectacles The Garden is known for.  But before Trout defends his title against four-time world champion Miguel Cotto, he made time to do something essential for all champions – he ate.

On November 28, Trout was the guest of honor at an intimate candlelit meal at Courgette Restaurant & Bistro, located at 204 W. 55th Street.   Courgette, the French word for zucchini, features Mediterranean cuisine with Italian and French twists and has a sexy basement speakeasy that includes a state-of-the-art sound system and karaoke room.  The champ and guests, who included designers, press, entertainers and other athletes, savored on a tasting regale of the restaurant’s staple dishes.  The event was a feast that quenched all the senses and provided a scorching hot alternative to the frigid temperatures outside. 

Austin TroutThe man of the hour was as cool as a pair of Ray-Bans as he greeted guests and shook hands with an affable flair that is indicative of all great champions.  He stated he was looking forward to today’s weigh-in and admitted he had no intentions of losing his title tomorrow.  If the 25-0, undefeated pugilist’s fight plan is as killer as his style and personality, then he should have no problem shutting up the pro-Cotto mob at The Garden as he hands Miguel his fourth loss.

Photos:  Greatest Entertainment (www.greatestent.com), Tom Casino/Showtime

The Healing Powers of Maxwell

Like most music lovers looking to be redeemed from the underwhelming, uninspiring sounds that dominate most of Top 40 FM stations, I viewed the release of Maxwell’s BLACKsummers’night as the return of the savior of soul ready to deliver us from the oversexed, over-auto tune buffoonery that is in heavy rotation.  It had been eight years since he had released an album and seven years since he performed live. In the music industry a disappearance that spans that long usually signifies a death sentence as the record label, media and public are on to the next “it” vocalist.  But music that possesses a true voice can never fade away into the sunset.    His 2008 performance at the BET Awards cemented his resurrection, complete with a new sophisticated look that made his fans fall in love with shy singer from Brooklyn all over again.

So imagine my surprise when I thought my ticket to Maxwell’s June 26 performance at Madison Square Garden would go to waste as I began to suffer the effects of food poisoning.    Weak but willing I had nothing but sheer determination to fuel me as I made my way to the Garden.  My sickly condition was quickly rectified as Maxwell took the stage for a smorgasbord of music for my soul.  Maxwell gave me and the audience a black summers’ night filled with sensual energy and unabashed emotion, which spilled over into tears as Maxwell tried to explain how surreal his musical journey has been.  “I come from humble beginnings,” he stated as wiped tears from his eyes. 

As a performer Maxwell delivered with more dedication than the mailman – every song seemed to be right on time.  He took charge of the band, an awesome group of players, with the same hip shaking male bravado as James Brown.  Singing all the audience’s favorite material and channeling the soul singers of the past, Maxwell’s vocal delivery was a sexy, sanctifying sermon that ran the gamut of emotions.  One moment I was raising my hand to the sky in recognition of his testimony (fighting my own tears) the next moment I was gyrating in my seat.  Like a preacher Maxwell seemed to be singing to each audience member individually reaching down to the core of our souls.  He literally sang my pain away and gave the most intimate performance I have ever seen at such a large venue.   His show is a testament to supremacy of good music.  Maxwell made magic on stage with a live band, background singers and himself.  Whether a baby or a great memory was made, the exchange of energy that circulated in the Garden last Saturday left everyone rejuvenated.

Besides leaving his heart and soul on the stage, Maxwell donated a dollar from every ticket sold to charity, helping to heal souls on stage and off.  The power music has to stir emotion and restore the soul is undeniable; those with the ability to reach others with sound know that music is a gift.  Music has the capacity to open minds, repair hearts and cure food poisoning; it also has the power to fill the soul with love.  Hopefully the love Maxwell gave and received on June 26 will inspire him to thrill his audience with the next two installments of the trilogy that started with BLACKsummers’night and encourage him to never stay away that long again.