By Providence Journal Arts Writer Rick Massimo
On Friday, Ozzy Osbourne will lead the fans at Dodger Stadium in a scream that they hope will be loud and long enough to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
In the middle of the fifth inning of the Dodgers' game against the really-long-named Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Osbourne and Stuart Claxton, of Guinness World Records, will lead the crowd in a scream as part of the third annual ThinkCure! cancer-telethon weekend.
Osbourne's wife, Sharon, herself a cancer survivor, has recorded a promotional message that will air during the game, during the telethon and online.
Probably not totally coincidentally, Osbourne's latest disc, "Scream," comes out June 22.
The current record for the loudest scream, according to the Guinness people, is held by the crowd at a FAMA show in Hong Kong on Sept. 6, 2009. They hit 131.6 dbA, although that was indoors.
The video for Sarah McLachlan's latest single, "Loving You Is Easy," can be seen exclusively on the Huffington Post Web site.
Norah Jones and Lilth Fair tourmate Sarah McLachlan will sing Friday morning on the Summer Concert Series of ABC's "Good Morning America," Jones's record company, EMI, announced Wednesday.
The performance will be between 7 and 9 a.m.
R&B legend Anita Baker will perform the National Anthem Thursday, June 10, before Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and the Lakers at TD Garden, in Boston, her label, EMI, announced Wednesday.
Baker is recording a new album, due out in fall, producing it with Nathan East, Daniel Moore, George Duke and more, the announcement said. The album will include collaboration with Snoop Dogg on a version of Curtis Mayfield's "Give You My Love."
Don Preston and Bunk Gardner, former original members of The Mothers of Invention, will play at The Hi-Hat, in Providence, on Wednesday, March 31, at 8:30. According to the statement from the publicist, they'll play Frank Zappa music ranging from the Mothers' first disc, 1966's "Freak Out!," to Zappa's 1976 solo album "Zoot Allures."
The Hi-Hat is at 3 Davol Sq. Call (401) 453-6500.
BY RICK MASSIMO
FOXBORO - U2 doesn't work small.
The Irish rock legends brought their U2 360 Tour to Gillette Stadium for the first of two shows Sunday night, and it's tempting to simply review the stage.
Since it was impossible to ignore, it's as good a place as any to start.
The gargantuan structure, which took four days to build, resembled nothing so much as a four-legged spider with light-green skin and orange polka dots. Its legs contained dozens of speakers; smoke billowed from various portals. Above the band was a huge cylindrical screen that could project or be projected upon, and which expanded to nearly reach the stage later in the show.
A 360-degree catwalk surrounded the round stage, with movable ramps connecting the two, allowing band members to stroll pretty much wherever they wanted (guitarist The Edge was further freed up by a headset microphone and a technician adjusting his guitar sounds, rather than using footpedals). Larry Mullen's drum riser also revolved.
They displayed ambition in their set list as well, starting off with four songs from this year's No Line On The Horizon disc and returning to it several more times in the two-hour show.
Mullen came out first to kick off the rolling, tumbling "Breathe," a triplet rhythm with vocalist Bono spitting out rapid-fire verses alternating with slow, lazy choruses. After the midtempo title track, they finally charged out of the gate with "Get On Your Boots" and moved on to the stately "Magnificent," with its slide-guitar solo from The Edge.
They finally dipped into the back catalog with "Mysterious Ways" (showcasing bassist Adam Clayton's Memphis-soul chops) and the straight-up shout of "Beautiful Day" (with a quote from "Blackbird" by Bono over the coda, one of several of his trademark nods to other songs during the night).
The set mellowed out about midway through, with an affecting, acoustic, Bono-and-Edge-only "Stuck In a Moment (You Can't Get Out Of)," with sweet falsetto vocal in the coda from The Edge; the keyboard-driven "The Unforgettable Fire" and the uplifting "City of Blinding Lights."
Even with all the technical whiz-bangery, several moments, such as the full-on rock of "Vertigo" and the gorgeous ballad "One," as well as the encores, saw virtually no visual trickery.
New or old material, high-tech production or no, the template has remained the same over the decades - slow-moving chord changes with a rock-solid beat from Mullen, fast-strumming guitar from The Edge that alternates between chiming and jagged, and of course to-the-back-row vocal dramatics from the leather-lunged Bono.
They also don't think small when it comes to statements, and there was no shortage of those, mostly from Bono, whether shouting out to Marvin Minsky, author of the artificial-intelligence book Conscious Machines or encouraging "freedom in the streets of Iran" before "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (with visual backdrops recalling that conflict, including a wash of green light) and freedom for Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi before "Walk On," complete with fans marching onto the catwalk while holding masks of her face.
They even threw in an inspirational video from Archbishop Desmond Tutu before "One" and a snippet of Maya Angelou's "A Brave and Startling Truth" before the encores, which started with "Ultraviolet," going back to the Achtung Baby album, and "With Or Without You," both performed with Bono swinging from a hanging mike wearing a suit festooned with tiny red lights and with a lit-up disco ball luminescing from the top of the 150-foot stage during the latter.
The mournful, organ-led "Moment of Surrender," again from No Line, closed it out - seemingly incongruous for a stadium rock concert, but in keeping with the big-hearted humanitarian theme of the show.
"You're gonna have fun tonight - but first, us," Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody said early on in their set. He was being a little too self-denigrating. Opening acts are opening acts. But while the Northern Irish group's stadium-rock anthemry can wear thin on record, in an actual stadium they filled the space well, particularly Lightbody's powerful voice.
They were allowed to use a lot of the space on the stage, and a fair amount of the technology, they took it up, such as when Lightbody prowled the stage, guitarless, during "Hands Open." They opened with "If There's a Rocket Tie Me To It," with space-age keyboard squiggles opening up to an anthemic chorus, and went into "Chocolate," with its heroic-sounding guitar.
The lean syncopation of "Shut Your Eyes" grooved as well, and Lightbody so inspired the crowd to sing along that they took the chorus up again after the song was over, prompting a salaam from the singer.
The hit single "Chasing Cars" showed the band's debt to the chiming guitars of The Edge and the hesitant romanticism of Coldplay, and by the time of "Open Your Eyes" it was again beginning to wear thin - virtually any of these songs could have been the opener or closer. But then there was "You're All That I Have" and that was it - another virtue of opening acts.
Both bands play again Monday night.
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BY RICK MASSIMO
LEDYARD, Conn. - It would be really easy for Donna Summer to trot out on stage, say "Here's one you might remember," sleepwalk through "On the Radio," "She Works Hard For the Money," "Last Dance" and a few more of her seemingly endless trove of disco and post-disco dance hits and call it a night, a tour, a career.
And sure, those songs were on display Friday night at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, as was a lot of nostalgia for Summer's '70s heyday. But promoting Crayons, her first studio record in 17 years, Summer had more to offer and, it seemed, a bit to prove.
Summer put six songs from Crayons, all of which she co-wrote, in Friday night's show, and while a few, such as the self-celebratory opener "The Queen Is Back," were rather robotic and didn't show off Summer's vocal strengths, the funk-rock throwdown "Mr. Music" and, especially, the double-time dancehall of the title track were effortless updatings of the Summer dance ouevre. And "Sand On My Feet" was a lovely acoustic changeup, far in spirit from the rest of the set.
And of course, the hits were there, Summer's strong voice in the lead throughout. Her high notes as strong and high (if not quite as long) at age 60 as in her classic period.
Her band easily replicated the crack musicianship that even made ridiculous songs such as "MacArthur Park" and "Could This Be Magic?" credible and evocative, as well as the crunch of the disco-rock mini-set of "Bad Girls" and "Hot Stuff." The only misstep from that standpoint was "I Feel Love," which didn't - couldn't, really - pack the same impact in a full-band celebration that it did as a stark, futuristic throb in the '70s.
The less expected highlights came in an unadorned piano-and-vocal version of "Smile," done as a tribute to Michael Jackson, and her duet on "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)," with sister Mary Gaines Bernard taking Barbra Streisand's part on a pedal-to-the-metal rendition of the already-fast dance-floor banger.
And of course Summer finished with the pure aural champagne of "Last Dance," possibly disco's high-water mark.
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