Music To Your Ears

The year closes out with unforgettable performances

In between all that holiday shopping, photos in front of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and sips of hot beverages, make sure not to miss out on all the live music happenings this month. Major artists past and present bring their magic to New York’s top stages, including New Year’s Eve (December 31) when one of our featured musical acts Huey Lewis & The News plays Barclays Center with Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band. This feature story can be found on the following pages as well as breakout singer-songwriter Charlie Puth, who lights up Madison Square Garden on December 16 for Z100 Jingle Ball with a huge roster of pop acts including The Weeknd, Calvin Harris, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Tove Lo, 5 Seconds of Summer, Hailee Steinfeld and more. In the legends category, psychedelic rockers Phish jam out for a whopping four-date residency at Madison Square Garden which includes New Year’s Eve, December 30 – January 2. Country royalty Kenny Rogers croons over the Theatre at Westbury December 23, Darlene Love spreads joy December 20, 23 and 26 at B.B. King Blues Club, Billy Joel fires up December 17 at Madison Square Garden and Andrea Bocelli delights December 9 at Madison Square Garden. For some energetic throwbacks, 80s dance diva Sheila E. shakes up B.B. King Blues Club December 4 and reggae artist Shaggy ignites the stage at Kings Theatre December 13. If these aren’t enough, check out our other big picks for the holiday season:

Georgia-raised country singer Kip Moore takes over Terminal 5 with his “Wild Ones Tour” on December 3. The rising star has already toured with some of country’s best including Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum and Dierks Bentley. What is most apparent about Moore’s music is that his raspy voice and song structure sound more along the lines of rock artists than country ones–his recent album “Wild Ones” has many 80s rock elements and songs may remind some of a combination between Bryan Adams, John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen. With this record and debut “Up All Night,” Moore already has a diverse catalog including introspective Southern rock ballads like “Running For You” and “Heart’s Desire” to the anthemic, stadium-ready tunes “Lipstick,” “Wild Ones” and “Magic.” He’s got relatable songs about everyday life like “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck” and “Beer Money,” as well as the timeless, delicate love song “Hey Pretty Girl.” Kip Moore delivers a hard-rocking show with high energy and rowdy fans singing along to every word.

Queens native Cyndi Lauper continues her “Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays” concert spectacular for the 5th year at the Beacon Theatre December 5 benefitting the True Colors Fund, all supporting LGBT youth who are homeless. Past guests have included everyone from Pink, Sarah McLachlin, Natalie Maines and Nelly Furtado to Josh Groban, 50 Cent and Jason Mraz. This year, Cyndi welcomes Boy George, CAM, Ledisi, Richie Sambora & Orianthi, Keb’ Mo’, Justin Tranter, “Kinky Boots” star Joey Taranto, appearances from Sharon Osbourne, Judy Gold and many more, hosted by Carson Kressley. The memorable night of collaborations, duets, harmonies and holiday cheer will likely include some of Cyndi Lauper’s greatest hits like “Time After Time,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “She Bop,” “True Colors” and “Change of Heart.” Lauper may also include a surprise or two on the evening’s set list from her Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical “Kinky Boots.”

New York superstar Mariah Carey shines over the Beacon Theatre for the 2nd Annual “All I Want For Christmas Is You” concert series, a five-night residency starting December 8 and including 12/9, 12/14, 12/15 and 12/17. Carey is one of the best-selling female artists of all time with 200 million records sold and 18 #1 hits. Her two holiday albums, 1994’s “Merry Christmas” and 2010’s “Merry Christmas II You” serve as the bulk of the seasonal celebration, with tunes such as “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” “O Holy Night” and arguably the most widely recognized Christmas song of the modern era, the up-tempo “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” But don’t count out some other big Mariah Carey hits–bets are on for her duet with Boyz II Men, “One Sweet Day,” the always-popular “Always Be My Baby,” the somewhat recent Miguel-featured “#Beautiful,” her big comeback “We Belong Together” and most recent single “Infinity.”

In 2010, Sting recorded his 10th studio album “Symphonicities” at Abbey Road Studios in the UK and he toured with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. On December 14, the multi-instrumentalist singer and frontman of The Police takes on Carnegie Hall for a very special performance alongside New York City’s very own Orchestra of St. Luke’s conducted by Rob Mathes. “An Evening With Sting: Symphonicities” is a gala benefit open to members and the public at the Stern Auditorium pairing the 16-time Grammy Award-winning musician with classical genius for once-in-a-lifetimes arrangements of some of his most celebrated songs such as “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” “Roxanne” and “Every Breath You Take” from The Police days and solo material such as “Fields of Gold,” “Desert Rose” and “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You.” This marks Sting’s first headlining performance at Carnegie Hall, where he will be joined alongside a quintet of musicians including longtime guitarist Dominic Miller, vocalist Jo Lawry, bassist Ira Coleman, percussionist Joe Bonadio and keyboard player Mike Ricchiuti. This evening with an “Englishman in New York” is one not to be missed.

(Photo Credit: Olaf Heine)