It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s no different for live music. Our featured interviews are with Cyndi Lauper who headlines the sixth annual “Home for the Holidays” at the Beacon Theatre December 3, and country duo Dan + Shay who light up the Playstation Theater on December 16.
The iHeartRadio Jingle Ball tour stops by Madison Square Garden December 9 with Z100’s top talents Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Diplo, The Chainsmokers, Meghan Trainor, Fifth Harmony, and many more. Phish circle Madison Square Garden December 28-31. R. Kelly grooves over at Kings Theatre December 17, Andrea Bocelli enchants December 10 at Madison Square Garden, Kip Moore and Jon Pardi round ’em December 1 at Terminal 5, and a cappella group Straight No Chaser harmonize December 1 at the Beacon Theatre. Billy Joel serenades December 17 at Madison Square Garden, Dragonette starts a dance party December 10 at Warsaw, Kelsea Ballerini inspires December 2 at Irving Plaza, and MØ blows a kiss December 3 at Terminal 5. For the other entertainers we’re checking twice off our list, keep reading…
Stevie Knicks with Pretenders – December 1 – Madison Square Garden
The rock gods have spoken and The 24 Karat Gold Tour heads to Madison Square Garden December 1 with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Stevie Nicks solo, co-headlining with another 70s/80s heavyweight act, Pretenders, fronted by Chrissie Hynde. English-American band Pretenders are best known for hits like the timeless “I’ll Stand by You,” the funky “Brass In Pocket,” the foot-tapping “Back On The Chain Gang,” and the feel-good tune “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” among others. Pretenders’ latest album, “Alone” (released in October), was produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, so fans can expect a mix of nostalgia and new material. Stevie Nicks, who leads Fleetwood Mac, was a solo star in her own right with a number of hits including the bluesy “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” featuring Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Edge of Seventeen,” “Leather and Lace,” and the danceable “Stand Back.” Fans can expect Nicks to play some Fleetwood Mac favorites as well. Nicks’ 2014 album “24 Karat Gold – Songs from the Vault” features all new material from decades past, so Nicks will likely share some of these new/old songs in addition to her catalog, making for an overall night of rock ‘n roll’s best.
Andra Day – December 1 – Playstation Theater
Two-time Grammy-nominated singer Andra Day is one of the most promising vocalists in music today, sweetening the season with her Cheers to the Fall Tour coming to the Playstation Theater December 1. The San Diego native is so much more than her timeless song “Rise Up,” which truly is the gift that keeps on giving, included in a Beats by Dre commercial featuring Serena Williams leading up to her 22nd Grand Slam title, a Team USA commercial during the Rio Olympics, and a memorable performance at this year’s Grammys mashed up with Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do.” Andra Day’s got a new five-track collection called Merry Christmas from Andra Day, which includes “Someday at Christmas” with Stevie Wonder, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” with Jennifer Nettles (which they performed on CMA Country Christmas Special at the Grand Ole Opry last month), “Winter Wonderland,” and other favorites. Day is expected to perform a combination of tunes off her debut album as well as holiday favorites, and maybe even some covers (she’s known for one helluva Michael Jackson medley).
Bon Iver – Multiple Dates and Venues
Wisconsin indie-folk band Bon Iver, fronted by Justin Vernon, plays a number of sold-out shows this month including December 5-7 at Pioneer Works arts and exhibition space in Red Hook, Brooklyn followed by 12/10 at Hammerstein Ballroom, 12/12 and 12/13 at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, and finally 12/14 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. These are the only U.S. dates before the band heads to Europe through February. The Grammy Award-winning band (Best New Artist, Best Alternative Music Album, 2012) released its third album, “22, A Million” earlier this year (debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200), with much experimentation taking them into the realm of folk-tronica with both ambient and distorted production, including samples that range from Stevie Nicks to Mahalia Jackson to Paolo Nutini. Trumpets, saxophones, violins, and overall rich instrumentation color the new material, from the gospel-flavored “22 (Over Soon)” to the warped “715 (Creeks)” to the delicate, soulful falsetto tune “666 (Upsidedowncross).”
Kacy Musgraves – December 8 – Town Hall
Texas country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves shimmies over at Town Hall December 8. Musgraves has a slew of awards and nominations to her name as well as two major label albums, releasing her first Christmas collection, A Very Kacey Christmas, with guests Willie Nelson, Leon Bridges, and The Quebe Sisters, with songs like “Feliz Navidad,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” and “Mele Kalikimaka” among four original tunes. The unapologetic singer was honored as the CMA New Artist of the Year in 2013 and won Song of the Year at the CMAs in 2014 for the timeless “Follow Your Arrow,” and also won the Grammy for Best Country Album (for debut Same Trailer Different Park), and the ACMs crowned her Album of the Year, as well. At the 2014 Grammys Kacey was even tied with Taylor Swift and Lorde for having the most nominations by a female artist. Musgraves was just included as a performer for the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award celebrating Dolly Parton alongside Reba, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles, and Martina McBride at the 50th CMAs. Having co- written Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” and toured with Lady Antebellum, Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, Kenny Chesney, and Katy Perry, Kacey Musgraves is a class act with so much ahead for her.