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Archive for the ‘New Brunswick, NJ’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 4, 2021] King Crimson

This show was originally scheduled at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, which would have been an amazing place to see King Crimson.  The sound would have been incredible, and it’s only 30 minutes from my house.  When this was first rescheduled, it appeared that they’d be playing at the Count Basie in Red Bank, which would have been fine–great sound, but a further drive.  Then it wound up at PNC Bank Center, which has less great sound, but is a nice venue and is very easy to get to.

A few days before the show I heard an ad on the radio that said this was King Crimson’s final tour. I hadn’t heard that before.  And maybe if they had originally played in 2020, they might have done another stretch into 2021…who knows.  Anyhow, an article recently said that yes, this was probably the final tour, but they didn’t want to make a big deal about it.  So it’s possible that this will be my final King Crimson show (five times in eight years is pretty good–especially for King Crimson).

The last few times King Crimson has played two 90 minute sets.  But this time they had the Zappa Band opening for them.  Which meant that they’d do only one set.  Sadly, for the same amount of money.  But oh well.  What this meant was that they did a 90 minute set that almost felt like a greatest hits (of the last few tours) package.

I decided to splurge somewhat for this show–not paying for a VIP, sorry Robert–but I was reasonably close and more or less in the middle.

The back row has remained consistent throughout these tours: Tony Levin (bass, Stick, keyboards this time, too); Mel Collins (saxes, flutes); Jakko Jakszyk (guitar, vocals), and of course, Robert Fripp (guitar and more).  From this vantage point I could see everyone very clearly, which was ideal.  A very obnoxious couple sat down next to me but there were, thankfully, two empty seats on the other side of me so I slid over and was able to sit between the heads of the two people in front of me for an unobstructed view.  The obnoxious couple left mid set…huh. (more…)

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[POSTPONED: April 29, 2021] Diavolo [rescheduled from April 28, 2020; moved to March 25, 2022]

indexOne might have thought postponing this show an entire year would have been sufficient.  But now they have postponed again for nearly another entire year.  I think I’ll be very ready to see a Cirque by then.

I love going to see Cirques–all kinds of fun acrobatics and stunts on display.  When my kids were younger, we went to a lot of them.  Then we stopped for a while and I felt it was time to do it again.

Diavolo is in fact a dance company, but they perform amazing acrobatics and physically demanding pieces (as you can see from the reviews like: “Diavolo’s performers are fearless, elegant and strong with a sense of timing by which a Swiss watch could be set, and the way the troupe interacts with the moving sets, makes for a truly spectacular and awe inspiring show.”).

I found out about this show after it was cancelled, but when I saw that it was rescheuled for April of 2021, I was really interested in going to see it with the family.

VOYAGE is Diavolo’s newest adventure, inspired by travels in space and the 50th Anniversary of the first Moon Landing. A young woman dreams of traveling distances only astronauts can, escaping from the ordinary world into a surreal landscape of infinite possibilities. Gravity-defying bodies join her on a large wheel structure that rolls along the stage and on the journey in a universe that is alive with kinetic energy, fantastical whimsy, and surprising transformation.

TRAJECTOIRE is a signature Diavolo work that takes the audience on a visceral and emotional journey through the ebb and flow of the human experience. Watch as performers jump on and off a “Trajectoire” which is a 3,000 pound boat made of wood, aluminum, and steel that continuously rocks back and forth. Watch the performers struggle to find their balance on a voyage of destiny and destination in a daring display that shows the transcendence of the human soul against all odds.

diavolo

 

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[POSTPONED: December 29, 2020] Cirque Dreams: Holidaze

indexI love going to see Cirques–all kinds of fun acrobatics and stunts on display.  When my kids were younger, we went to a lot of them.  Then we stopped for a while and I felt it was time to do it again.

This seemed like a perfect show to start up again.  It’s family friendly, it’s holiday themed, it seemed to be safely out of virus risk being taking place in December.  Surely the last few days of the year would allow some public entertainment….

Well, I hope Cirque Dreams comes back, if not for Holidaze, then maybe one of their other shows.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze lights up the 2020 season with the must-see holiday show The New York Daily News proclaims a “delicious confection of charm, sparkle, and talent by the sleighload and so full of energy it could end our dependence on oil.” Created by Cirque Dreams founder and Broadway director Neil Goldberg, Cirque Dreams Holidaze is a new cirque adventure, Broadway musical, and family holiday spectacular wrapped in one! This incomparable phenomenon features over 300 imaginative costumes, 20 world-class astonishing acts, the finest singers, original music, and seasonal favorites celebrating the most wonderful time of year from Thanksgiving to Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s. Audiences of all ages will marvel at soaring acrobatics, gravity-defying feats, and extravagant theatrical production numbers the Boston Globe hails as “Entrancing…Las Vegas meets family entertainment.”

holidaz

 

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[POSTPONED: June 22, 2020] King Crimson / The Zappa Band [moved to  2021]

indexI have seen King Crimson four times and have been blown away by each show.  Even hearing many of the same songs doesn’t dampen my enjoyment since the songs are so amazing to see live.

Given the fickleness of Robert Fripp, it’s always possible that the band will break up at any moment.  Given that, I will see them every time they come close, and the fact that they were coming to new Brunswick (super close!) was like a personal invitation.

Normally there is no opening act.   I don’t know if the addition of an opening act meant less King Crimson time.  But the opening act was The Zappa Band.

I’ve been a big fan of Zappa’s work for years, although I never saw him live.  I’ve considered going to the various posthumous shows, but they all seem kind of cheesy.  The Dweezil show is supposed to be okay, but I feel like I;d have to have a real lull in shows to go out to see him.

However, having them open for a show that I was already going to was the best of all worlds.  Especially given the current lineup:

The Zappa Band’s lineup features Zappa alumni Ray White (lead vocals, guitar), Mike Keneally (guitar, keys, vocals), Scott Thunes (bassist) and Robert Martin (keyboards, sax, vocals).  I mean, that’s practically the Zappa band without Zappa right there.  It seems like Dweezil is not even part of this show, which is interesting.

I didn’t know if the end of June would be a safe time to see a show, and clearly neither did KC or State Theatre, as this show was postponed in early April.

King Crimson, originally scheduled for June 22, has been postponed. We have been closely following the developing news on COVID-19 and the current response recommendations from our Federal, State, and Local officials. The health and well-being of our guests, artists, and staff are our top priority. Ticket holders will be contacted as soon as we have a new date. Current tickets will be valid for the rescheduled date, once announced, and if you are unable to make the new date, we will discuss alternate arrangements. Due to the high volume of changed or cancelled performances, we ask that you please wait for State Theatre to contact you in regard to your tickets.

I hope when the show is rescheduled, that The Zappa Band opens.  That sounds like a blast.

 

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[POSTPONED: April 28, 2020] Diavolo [moved to April 29, 2021]

indexI love going to see Cirques–all kinds of fun acrobatics and stunts on display.  When my kids were younger, we went to a lot of them.  Then we stopped for a while and I felt it was time to do it again.

Diavolo is in fact a dance company, but they perform amazing acrobatics and physically demanding pieces (as you can see from the reviews like: “Diavolo’s performers are fearless, elegant and strong with a sense of timing by which a Swiss watch could be set, and the way the troupe interacts with the moving sets, makes for a truly spectacular and awe inspiring show.”).

I found out about this show after it was cancelled, but when I saw that it was rescheuled for April of 2021, I was really interested in going to see it with the family.

VOYAGE is Diavolo’s newest adventure, inspired by travels in space and the 50th Anniversary of the first Moon Landing. A young woman dreams of traveling distances only astronauts can, escaping from the ordinary world into a surreal landscape of infinite possibilities. Gravity-defying bodies join her on a large wheel structure that rolls along the stage and on the journey in a universe that is alive with kinetic energy, fantastical whimsy, and surprising transformation.

TRAJECTOIRE is a signature Diavolo work that takes the audience on a visceral and emotional journey through the ebb and flow of the human experience. Watch as performers jump on and off a “Trajectoire” which is a 3,000 pound boat made of wood, aluminum, and steel that continuously rocks back and forth. Watch the performers struggle to find their balance on a voyage of destiny and destination in a daring display that shows the transcendence of the human soul against all odds.

diavolo

 

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[POSTPONED: April 25, 2020] Okilly Dokilly / P-Funk North

indexI saw Okilly Dokilly open for Mac Sabbath last summer.  The show was bizarre for sure.

Okilly Dokilly are a goof to be sure.  All five guys dress like Ned Flanders from The Simpsons and all of the lyrics are things that Ned has said. Except that the band plays pretty extreme metal (death growls and whatnot).  They call it Nedal music.

It’s very funny and quite surreal.  And the band puts on a pretty darn good show.

I wasn’t sure if I’d ever need to see them again, but when I saw that they were playing a at a pub in New Brunswick (not far from me at all), I thought it would be a fun place to see them again.

I hope they do come back there.

P-Funk North is “a musical cocktail with a reggae rock core. PFN, which means North Plainfield, is in reference to our hometown in NJ and being George Clinton’s neighbor to the north.”  I listened to one or two of their songs and thought they were okay–not really my thing.  But they have five records out so I guess they are in it for the long haul.

Maybe they’re awesome live.

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[ATTENDED: October 26, 2019] MST3K Live

I didn’t realize it was exactly one year ago that I went to the previous MST3K Live experience.  How funny.

I have enjoyed both of the two previous MST3K Live shows quite a bit.  So when it was announced that they were going to do it again and this time it was going to be in New Brunswick instead of Glenside, PA, I got tickets right away (and wound up in the third row).  I only wish I had picked the other side of the stage, because Joel and the bots did their movie watching from over there.

I have been very lucky to have gotten two movies each time I’ve seen the performance.  It seem like a lot of locations get only one movie.  I’m not sure why I’ve been so fortunate.  (And State Theatre offered a discount if you bought seats for both movies!).

Last time the riffing was done by Joel Hodgson and Jonah Ray as well as many of the actors from the show.

This time things were very different.

Jonah Ray was not there.  Nor was Rebecca Hanson as Synthia Forrester.  And of course, no Felicia Day nor Patton Oswalt (not even on video).

But the big announcement was that this was going to be Joel Hodgson’s last MST3K Live tour.  I don’t know if that means there will be more, or if this is the end of them entirely. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 5, 2018] Screaming Females

It’s ironic, I suppose, that Screaming Females are a band from New Brunswick, NJ (not far from me) who apparently plays (or once played) lots of basement shows and unnamed clubs in that city, but I traveled all the way to Philly to see them for the first time.

I’m not the kind of person who gets invited to secret underground shows, and that’s fine.  I’ll happily see a band in a great venue with a rowdy crowd.

The focus in Screaming Females is centered on Maria Paternoster because she is a stellar guitarist and a compelling singer and front woman.  But we mustn’t forget King Mike Abbate on bass and Jarrett Dougherty on drums who have made up the band since the beginning.  All three were there in fine roaring form, working like a tight machine. (more…)

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[ATTENDED:November 13, 2017] Regina Spektor

I have really enjoyed a lot of Regina Spektor’s music.  I have never seen her play, so this show at the nearby State Theatre seemed like a great opportunity.  I don’t know what she normally tours like, but this show was advertised as just her, playing solo.  And that was fine with me.

She came out on stage to thunderous applause and whispered “thanks” into the microphone.  She then proceeded to sings songs and drink water (a lot of) water.  Turns out that she had bronchitis.  And amazingly, she sounded freaking terrific.  Her voice was outstanding (and her piano playing was pretty fab as well).

The show was listed as being an hour and forty-five minutes and in that time she told stories, played different instruments and sang twenty-five songs.

It turns out that I really love the middle stuff (her fifth and sixth albums).  I don’t know her really early stuff and I somehow missed the new album.  So when I heard that this tour was going to be a lot of old stuff and rarities, I figured that I wasn’t going to know much, but I’d still enjoy it.  Sarah said she actually didn’t know any of the songs (but she loved her voice).  I knew about six songs. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 5, 2017] Shaolin Warriors

When I first saw this listing in the State Theatre calendar, I knew I had to get tickets for the four of us.   I didn’t really know what to expect, but I knew that it would be different from the acrobats, and yet have that same inspiration behind it.  I sort of imagined simple displays of strength, focus and cool Shaolin spirituality.

I did not expect that there would be a “story.”  And indeed there was one.  We follow two children as they make their way into the Shaolin temple and grow and develop into Shaolin adults.

The only compliant I have is that the program notes state this: “Shaolin Warriors, highly acclaimed as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” live on stage, is definitely a must-see for family audiences and martial arts lovers alike.”  By invoking Crouching Tiger, it suddenly set my expectations way too high. That film is mind-blowing, a visually stunning production.  And this production is nothing like that.  Rather, they could have described it as a Jackie Chan film come to life, and that would be more accurate (and still impressive). (more…)

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