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Fleetwood Mac begins an ecstatic new chapter at Wells Fargo Center

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Fleetwood Mac | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Fleetwood Mac is a band that continues to grow through the good and bad times,” Lindsey Buckingham told the sold-out Wells Fargo Center crowd on Wednesday night. “Especially in the moment when Christine returned. I can say we have begun a beautiful, poetic and profound chapter.”

It certainly was a nostalgic evening as the legendary rock outfit – reunited with Christine McVie for the first time in 16 years – ripped through hits from their top-selling albums including Fleetwood Mac (1975), Rumours (1977) Tusk (1979) and more. Continue reading →

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Five songs that will take tomorrow’s Fleetwood Mac concert from awesome to amazing

Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac plays the first of two sold-out Wells Fargo Center shows tomorrow

Tomorrow night, Fleetwood Mac comes to Philadelphia for its first of two sold-out shows at the Wells Fargo Center. While we cannot wait to witness Lindsey’s guitar acrobatics, Stevie’s poetry and twirls, and Mick and John’s dependable rhythm section, what has us really excited is that keyboardist/singer/songwriter Christine McVie is appearing with them in the area for the first time since 1997. We know they’ll play “Don’t Stop,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “So Afraid,” and I’m sure they’ll tell that story about a Welsh witch. But what else will the band treat us to? Here’s five choices that would make this Fleetwood Mac fan very happy. Continue reading →

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The Who bringing 50th anniversary tour to the Wells Fargo Center

the who
The Who | photo by Joe del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

The Who will bring its 50th anniversary (and reportedly final) tour through Philadelphia, making two stops at the Wells Fargo Center.  We’ve got a little time to wait though – the legendary English rock group won’t be hitting our town until May 17th and November 4th of next year.

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Keeping rock and roll dreams alive with Tom Petty at the Wells Fargo Center

Tom Petty | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Tom Petty | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

If you told me that a dude who’s about to turn 64 was capable of drawing 20,000 Philadelphians out to the Wells Fargo center (that’s right, the place that unabashedly charges about $8.00 for a slice of Lorenzo’s pizza that would normally run you $3.00, but I’m not bitter) on a Monday night during an Eagles game no less, I’d crack a smile and say, “good one”. But that joke is a reality and that dude is Tom Petty, a man who is undoubtedly the world’s most offhand rockstar. But Petty wasn’t alone in his blithe glory; his quintessential almost all-American (drummer Steve Ferrone hails from Brighton, England) backing band, The Heartbreakers, was not just equally old, but equally killin’. Continue reading →

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Kind of Awesome: Miley Cyrus covers The Smiths in Philly on Saturday night

Miley Cyrus at the Wells Fargo Center | Photo by Joe Burns
Miley Cyrus at the Wells Fargo Center | Photo by Joe Burns

On Saturday night, pop star Miley Cyrus headlined the Wells Fargo Center in a reportedly outrageous performance that involved a tongue-shaped-slide, a hot dog that flew around the arena – wait, wait, does this mean she took a page from Phish? – confetti cannons, nine costume changes and The Smiths’ “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Shining Backwards and Forwards w/ live score by Psychic Teens, Tim Motzer and Bart Miltenberger Duo at Boot and Saddle

Photo by John Berry via facebook.com/psychicteensnetwork
Photo by John Berry via facebook.com/psychicteensnetwork

Just when you thought The Shining couldn’t get anymore classically creepy, it does. Tonight at PhilaMOCA as part of the Cinedelphia Film Festival, the 1980 horror classic will be projected forwards and backwards simultaneously on one screen creating an even more chilling experience for the audience. This idea originally comes from John Fell Ryan’s work with Brooklyn’s Spectacle Theater and later from a 2012 documentary Room 237. To top things off, Philly goth punks Psychic Teens will perform a live score to accompany the film. Watch their video for “LESS” below and get tickets here.

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We Exist: The arena art-rock of Arcade Fire proves compelling at Wells Fargo Center

Arcade Fire | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Arcade Fire | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Could they pull it off? That seemed to be the question on the minds of the music community when Arcade Fire announced a winter arena tour in support of its 2013 double LP Reflektor. Could musicians that got their start ten years ago as a small-scale indie art-rock band with massive ambition finally bring their show to an arena-sized audience? Was the group ready for a production of this scale? Were that many people willing to travel with them down the heady rabbit hole of Reflektor, a surrealist patchwork commenting on modern life in a disconnected world?

Despite an initially positive critical reception to the album’s release, there was a noticeable backlash – Arcade Fire and frontman Win Butler were dismissed in some circles as pretentious. Their SNL appearance had viewers scratching heads. Their tongue-in-cheek “formal attire required” caveat for the tour was viewed (by evidently humorless commentators) as a serious demand. And ticket sales proved slow in venues of this size, with several markets (including Philadelphia) resorting to a Groupon campaign to urge them along.

But when Arcade Fire took the stage at Philly’s Wells Fargo Center last night, all that baggage went away. The band’s two-hour set was compelling, sharply executed and endlessly creative. And the crowd, though not a sellout, was a strong turnout, filling the arena up through the rafters with many taking part in the masquerade ball / formal attire end of things. (More on that later.)

Arcade Fire | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Arcade Fire | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Arcade Fire took advantage of the full span of the arena’s floor, with Butler emerging on a mini stage near the soundboard for a sparse rendition of Neon Bible‘s “My Body is a Cage” (illuminated with a human disco ball, the Reflektor of the album’s title). As the full band kicked in on the final crescendo, he scurried around the arena’s perimeter and hit the stage to the disco bump of “Reflektor.” From there, it was a strong opening sequence, with the groovy dub of “Flashbulb Eyes” leading into back-to-back jams from 2004′s Funeral, “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” and “Rebellion (Lies),” with thousands of voices singing along to a euphoric conclusion.

A pause for band and crowd to catch their collective breath gave us a chance to reflect (har, har) on what we’d seen. When he wasn’t playing guitar, bass or piano, Butler was working the crowd, grasping hands – but also snatching the smart phones from the outstretched arms of fans attempting to capture the moment. “What if the camera really do steal our soul?” he sang staring straight into someone’s screen during “Flashbulb,” and the point was clear. Put away the phones, put away Facebook; unplug and be here in the moment. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Arcade Fire at Wells Fargo Center, A Winged Victory for the Sullen at First Unitarian Church, and The Internet at the TLA

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Celebrating their fourth album Reflektor, indie rock heavyweights Arcade Fire will light up the Wells Fargo Center stage tonight. With three years separating each of their LP releases, the band hasn’t rushed to maintain momentum due to success and critical acclaim. They take their time when it comes to new material. After releasing Reflektor and scoring Spike Jonze’s Her, the band is bigger now than ever before. Watch them perform “Afterlife” on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon below and get tickets here.

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Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 tour dazzles at the Wells Fargo Center

Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com
Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

Anyone in search of evidence that Justin Timberlake has far surpassed his boy band roots needed look no further than last night’s ecstatic performance at the Wells Fargo Center.

Bringing the tail end of his 20/20 Experience Tour back to the venue that launched it in November, the singer / dancer / style icon / born entertainer dazzled a capacity crowd with a nearly two and a half hour set of theatrical proportions. The show was rich in production value: eye-grabbing projections on a mammoth acoustical shell, a backing band lined up behind sharp “JT” bandstands, a nimble crew of dancers, a catwalk that moved from one side of the venue to the other on a hydraulic lift. But the impressively-crafted setlist was the centerpiece – pop jam after rapid-fire pop jam. Even when it seemed to relent, during the cluster of ballads at the top of the show’s third act, it nevertheless felt like boom, there’s a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” that reels everybody back in.

Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com
Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

Timberlake released his third solo record – from which the tour borrows its name – almost a year ago, and it made clear his desire to break the pop music mold. If 2002′s Justified was the performer signaling that he could do it alone outside of his formative N*Sync, and 2006′s Future Love/Sex Sounds was his asserting of a nightclub-fuled dance aesthetic to break from his bubblegum past, 20/20 showed that Timberlake wasn’t just some chump with an entourage and a record deal, he was a musician with expansive songs and unconventional sonic-textural ideas, a pop player with a bona fide artistic vision. It’s a point hammered perhaps a bit too hard in the album and tour’s heavy use of Phoropter-related imagery, but still, it’s the songs that do it.

Opening number “Pusher Love Girl” stretched out over ten minutes, Timberlake rising to the stage backed by silhouettes of a string section. It wasn’t totally clear whether the orchestra was real or just projected, but the 15 backing players that rose to the stage with him (trombone, tuba, trumpet, guitar, keys, etc.) were very much real, and totally sharp players to boot.

Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com
Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

As the song played out, Timberlake danced to the front and worked the crowd beneath, then rushed up to either end of the catwalk, greeting fans in the lower-level seats as elaborate choreography with six backup dancers ushered him from place to place. The song cut to silence, and Timberlake stood in a spotlight, basking in a solid thirty seconds of screams. Clearly, this crowd needed no winning over.

But he continued to work it – “It’s about 9.7 rigt now. We’re gonna turn it up to 10″ – dropping the ultra-sexy “Rock Your Body” and melding it into the crackling audio collage of “Don’t Hold The Wall.” Continue reading →