A melting pot of live music this month in the City.
Though it’s the shortest month of the year, there’s a lot to love about February, and we’re talking about music. Pop, rock, folk, R&B, Latin, country, you name it. 90s hit maker Babyface swoons at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Valentine’s Day (February 14), folk pioneer Don McLean charms at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on February 19 and The Gaslight Anthem rock on at two shows, one at Webster Hall on February 26 and another at Terminal 5 on February 28.
Few Latin artists have bragging rights of calling themselves global icons, but Marc Anthony has proved this time and time again with over 25 years in the spotlight and one of the Top 10 highest-grossing tours of 2013. His breakthrough as a household name came during the late 90s Latin wave starting with 1999 hit “I Need To Know” followed by “You Sang To Me.” The New York native of Puerto Rican descent plays across the Hudson River at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on February 14 for the Cambio del Piel Tour with special guest Tito “El Bambino.” Anthony is the top-selling tropical salsa artist of all time, earning two Grammys and five Latin Grammys over the years with 12 million albums sold. With his soaring, operatic-like vocal tone, lovers and singles alike can expect plenty of dancing, lively trumpets and horns and some romantic ballads on this amped up Valentine’s Day evening.
July 1, 2015 New York’s own “Piano Man” will break the lifetime record for the most performances ever at Madison Square Garden, with his 65th date. This hot ticket is one of the most sought-after in New York, part of Billy Joel’s on-going sold-out monthly residence, sharing an American songbook arguably more recognizable than any other over the last half century. The Bronx native will play February 18 (and another date each month through July), impressing at hometown shows with upbeat hits including “Only the Good Die Young,” “Big Shot” and “Uptown Girl” along with ballads “She’s Always A Woman” and “She’s Got A Way.” Fans will probably agree it’s almost a rite of passage in New York live music to hear this action-packed set including the crowd-pleaser “New York State of Mind” in unison.
Grab the nearest cowboy hat or boots and “Cruise” on over to Madison Square Garden on February 25 for country music’s hottest duo Florida Georgia Line. Florida Georgia Line’s major breakthrough (“Cruise,” which features Nelly on the remixed version) is the best-selling country song of digital history. The guys (Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley) have consistent platinum status scoring several No. 1s with every single released in the Top 5 on the country charts, with cheerful, party-friendly songs like “Get Your Shine On,” “Round Here,” “This Is How We Roll” and “Sun Daze” as well as equally-powerful songs like “Stay” and the newer “Dirt,” which have deeper life lessons at the core. Tyler and Brian may be known for being a part of the rise of “bro-country” but their anthemic music crosses genres and has a hands-swaying-in-the-air-sing-a-long quality that is perfect for a stadium or arena.
Jamie Cullum is not quite as well-known in the states, but he should be. The British jazz-pop prodigy is the best-selling jazz artist of all time in the UK, a landmark he reached when second studio album “Twentysomething” impressed with originals, standards and covers. Fast-forward to 2015. With several albums behind him, Cullum recently released “Interlude” in January and launched The Jazz Tour, which stops at the Beacon Theatre on February 5. Jamie Cullum recently opened for Billy Joel on several dates including Madison Square Garden, and he’s not just a singer-songwriter, but a showman and true entertainer with a voice that soars and uplifts, especially solo at the piano. Some of his top standards include “Singin’ In The Rain” and “I Get A Kick Out Of You” while he’s known commercially for his cover of Radiohead’s “High & Dry” and “These Are The Days” medley with his jazzy cover of Pharrell’s “Frontin.'” One of the biggest treats besides top-notch jazz is Cullum’s unpredictable cover choices which range from Nat “King” Cole and Sufjan Stevens to Snoop Dogg and Rihanna, and he’s been known to mash-up Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” with The Beatles’ “Come Together” backed by one of the tightest bands in the biz.
(Photo Credit: Jeremy Cowart)