We in Atlantic City love Philadelphia.
Oh, sure, on the Boardwalk we don’t put cheese whiz on our cheesesteaks—you know, in favor of actual cheese—but that’s just a minor regional thing between close cousins. Atlantic City is Philadelphia’s beach and we share everything from a love of the Philadelphia Eagles to a penchant for funnel cake on the boards.
And then there’s the music, from the old “American Bandstand” days to the great jazz of the City of Brotherly Love.
And who can forget Philadelphia Soul? No, not the arena football team but the great soul music of Philadelphia that came out of the 70s?
Whether you called it Philadelphia Soul, the Philadelphia Sound or just Sweet Philly, Philadelphia introduced a style of soul music that swept the country and was characterized by funk influences and lush instrumental arrangements. The sound is seen as laying the foundations for disco, quiet storm and smooth jazz.
And three of the best examples of this sound are coming to Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa at the Borgata Event Center January 31 with the show The Sound of Philadelphia. On the bill are the O’Jays, Russell Thompkins Jr. & The New Stylistics and The Delfonics.
It’s been 20 years since the Philadelphia trio of G. Love & Special Sauce first appeared on the music scene with their alternative hip hop, “sloppy” laid-back jazz sound.
Yeah, you read that right—alternative … hip hop … laid-back … sloppy … jazz.
Oh yeah, and they’re very bluesy. And there is a lot of classic R&B in their sound.
Let’s face it, there’s a lot going on musically when G. Love & Special Sauce jam. And there’s not a lot of bands out there that can pull off a combo like that, let alone make it for 20 years since the release of their first album, G. Love & Special Sauce, in 1994.
But in 2014, the band is back with a new album, Sugar, a hot new single, “Nothing Quite Like Home,” and are touring with their original line-up—Garrett “G Love” Dutton, Jeffrey “The Houseman” Clemens (drums) and James “Jimi Jazz” Prescott (bass)—for the first time in eight years.
The group hits Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on January 3 at The Music Box.
Tony Bennett is timeless.
Now on the surface that seems like a pretty standard publicist’s type of thing to say about a singer who had his first No. 1 hit, “Because of You,” in 1951 and saw his most beloved song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” released in 1962.
But Bennett—who performs November 28 in the Borgata Event Center—doesn’t need some slick code for “old” or “from yesteryear.” Not when he has the No. 1 album in the country right now in 2014.
That’s right. His No. 1 album Cheek to Cheek, featuring classic duets with the very modern Lady Gaga—you may have seen Bennett’s and Gaga’s recent live televised concert special on PBS—is being hailed by critics for introducing jazz to a new generation.
On the charts at No. 1 in 1951. On the charts at No. 1 in 2014.
Tony Bennett, at 88, is still new.
His secret? He stays true to himself and sings the standards of American music that can touch any generation. And since his revival with young audiences in the 1990s (Anyone remember Tony at the “MTV Video Music Awards” at the height of the grunge era?) he’s sung them with a litany of great artists, old and new, from Christina Aguilera to Willy Nelson to Amy Winehouse to Billy Joel and so many more.
The story of singer/songwriter Justin Hayward, who appears October 31st at the Borgata Music Box, is a strange tale of a musician taken over and heavily influenced by a diabolical device known as the Mellotron.
This spooky machine led to one of the most influential symphonic rock bands of all time making late laments and giving their sound over to an electro-mechanical, polyphonic tape replay keyboard.
And that’s just scary … or maybe just a little moody. And blue?
Ok, it’s not scary at all. We’re stretching.
The truth is that Hayward, longtime lead singer of The Moody Blues and writer of such hits as “Nights in White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Question” is playing the Music Box on Halloween because, well it’s a Friday and a big party—Halloween is always a party at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa—and that’s always a good time to bring in one of the legendary stars of classic rock.
And Hayward certainly qualifies as the frontman for the band’s glory days starting in 1966 and penning most of The Moody Blue’s biggest hits.
In 1981, anyone who bragged of having a good record collection (yes, vinyl records still ruled) had a copy of Foreigner 4.
Cleverly titled as it was the fourth album from the British/American arena rock gods Foreigner, the album included some of the group’s most iconic hits including “Urgent”, “Waiting for a Girl Like You” and “Juke Box Hero”.
An entire generation of air guitarists alone playing “Juke Box Hero” helped propel the album to more than 6 million copies sold in the U.S. and a 10-week stint at No. 1 on the album charts (which was a record for Atlantic Records artists). Worldwide, the album sold more than 9 million copies.
(Note for younger people: Music fans used to buy entire albums at once, which came in a cardboard sleeve. Or at least a cassette tape. No downloads.)
Those were heady days, and Foreigner and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa are bringing them back again with special October 3 & 4 performances of “The Best of Foreigner 4 & More,” an homage to the band’s most successful album ever. The shows will be held at Borgata’s Music Box.
The two shows are the last U.S. stop on Foreigner’s current tour before the band heads off to Europe. The band will debut an entirely new set consisting of the best of Foreigner 4 along with several other chart hits.
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and Bay Atlantic Symphony close out this summer’s concert series September 20 with a little something different.
In the symphony’s two previous concerts at the Borgata Music Box, things have gone decidedly classical—as symphony concerts usually do. The concerts featured world-renowned soloists, including international superstar pianist Yuja Wang, the symphony’s principal clarinetist Christopher Di Santo, and acclaimed violinist Amy Beth Horman.
But for the final show, the symphony is going all Great White Way.
This concert is dubbed Broadway A-Z, ABBA to Les Miz, and is the Bay-Atlantic Symphony’s Seventh Annual Gala Concert featuring the music that has defined the magic of Broadway for generations.
Broadway A-Z, ABBA to Les Miz features some of Broadway’s greatest all-time hits—from Jerome Kern to Comden and Green—performed by Broadway stars Teri Dale Hansen and Jeremiah James accompanied by the Symphony conducted by Music Director Jed Gaylin.
Songs from “Show Boat,” “Les Misèrables,” “Guys and Dolls,” “The King and I,” “Peter Pan,” “Rent,” “West Side Story,” “La Cage aux Folles,” “Cabaret” and “The Music Man,” will be featured. If that doesn’t cover the full gamut of Broadway history, we don’t know what does.
Fans of comedian Chris Tucker have to be a patient bunch. There’s no Kardashian-like media blitz when it comes to Tucker’s career.
His 2012 role in “Silver Linings Playbook” was his first movie role in five years since “Rush Hour 3” (a movie that briefly made him the highest paid actor in Hollywood) in 2007—a film franchise he hopes to reprise with a Rush Hour 4.
No, Tucker is too much of a perfectionist and too involved with his family life to rush his own career. But in 2011, Tucker did return to his roots by beginning to play comedy clubs again.
“I waited a long time and the right things weren’t coming to me—the roles I was offered weren’t that challenging—so I started trying to develop a bunch of projects for myself,” Tucker told The Daily Beast in 2012 (he doesn’t do a lot of interviews either). “I was always looking and hoping the right thing would come. I knew stepping back a bit and going back to my stand-up roots would help me gain perspective.”
Tucker fans can see some of that perspective when the comedian plays at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa this Saturday, August 23 in the Event Center. Tucker’s Borgata appearance is one of only three remaining shows he has scheduled for the year and the only stop on the East Coast.
When it comes to music, everybody knows how to describe their favorite styles. And it usually just takes one simple phrase … I like jazz. I like hip hop. I like R&B and so on.
Pretty clear and everybody knows what to expect.
And then there’s funk.
Think about it. It’s kind of hard to describe funk. It’s jazz, rap, R&B, hip hop, soul and even rock all rolled up into one.
Yet somehow, you still know what to expect—great music, especially when it comes from a hard-edged funk act like Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.
Trombone Shorty appears August 29 at Borgata’s Music Box.
It’s going to be a real Motown week at Borgata with Smokey Robinson Presents: Human Nature – The Motown Show at the Borgata Music Box August 8, 9, 10, 15 & 16.
Then, on August 17 comes An Evening of Motown in the Event Center featuring The Four Tops, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Mary Wilson and Jr. Walker’s All Star Band.
The impact of the Motown sound with its mix of doo-wop, R&B, pop, blues, rock and roll and soul changed music in America and you can relive that explosion with an Evening of Motown at the Event Center. Together, the lineup presents some of the greatest songs of the 1960s from Martha Reeves and the Vandellas’ “Nowhere to Run” to the Four Tops “Reach Out I’ll Be There.”
Tickets are $75, $65 and $55 and are available here.
Motown and Borgata, is there a better way to spend a summer night?