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Winter 2019 – Connecticut’s Best Gigs

   Pink Floyd’s 1979 album, The Wall, has been lauded over the years as a tour de force, an epic, genre-defying album that encompases all that occasionally bloats most self-aggrandizing records: artsy pretentiousness, petulant rock-star posturing, and more self-awareness than a roomful of mirrors might allow.  None of these are bad things!  After all, Pink Floyd did all of this better than their contemporaries – and the truth could very well be that no one has done it as well since 1979.  With the approach of the double album’s fortieth anniversary, New Haven’s College Street Music Hall is proud to announce The Wall Live Extravaganza on Saturday, January 12th.  This, of course, isn’t the genuine article.  The passing of Floyd’s keyboardist Richard Wright a decade back, not to mention the ever-present animosity between frontmen Roger Waters and David Gilmour, preclude the chance for any type of band reunion.  What this is instead is a meticulous homage to the theatrics and polemics of one of the most iconic records in contemporary music.  Fans will witness the elaborate light shows and stage designs, not to mention the personally charged songs Waters penned about adolescence, rock stardom, madness, war, and most notably, alienation.

    If that’s too heavy for some, the London African Gospel Choir might be a better fit.  They come to College Street on Thursday, February, 21st where they will perform Paul Simon’s beloved 1986 masterpiece, Graceland.  The Grammy winning album, known for its title track, as well as monster hits like “You Can Call Me Al” and “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” has sold upwards of 16 million copies worldwide.  Fusing disparate genres into a grandiloquent swell of pop perfection, Gracelandmarked a comeback for Simon that hasn’t ceased to this day.  The London African Gospel Choir will turn in some a cappella performances, as well as some with a twenty piece band and choir.  Embellishing the performances will also be the dance choreography the group has become known for.

    Mumford & Sons will be touring behind their new album, Delta, by playing at Hartford’s XL Center on February 28th.  Delta, the band’s fourth studio record, debuted at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200.  With its lead sing, “Guiding Light,” the album is less anthemic and more introspective than previous outings.  Fans of the British group can expect to hear such M&S classics as “I Will Wait,” “The Cave,” and “Believe.”

    Iconic singer & songwriters Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt return to the Garde Arts Center stage in New London the next week. The show on Sunday, March 3 will be a unforgettable night of intimate, acoustic music and conversation. Built in 1926 during the golden era of the motion pictures and vaudeville theatres, the restored Moroccan interior of the Garde Theatre, provide a very audience-friendly theatre venue in a warm and beautiful atmosphere.

    Two weeks later, on March 15th, the inimitable Fleetwood Mac will take the stage in Hartford.  The band, fresh from their split from longtime member and creative force, Lindsey Buckingham, boasts two new members: Crowded House’s Neil Finn, and Tom Petty wingman, Mike Campbell.  By all accounts, the group is well rehearsed and looking forward to playing with its new lineup.  With no new material to their oeuvre, the group will likely rely on such megahits as “Little Lies,” “Dream,” “Landslide,” “Don’t Stop,” and “The Chain.”

    On January 20th, the Fairfield Theatre Company is excited to host The Jayhawks, who are continuing to tour behind their latest offering, Back Roads and Abandoned Motels.  The record, the band’s tenth, is a wonderful songwriting collaboration between frontman Gary Louris and a host of other artists such as Jakob Dylan, Emerson Hart of Tonic, and Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks.

    Jazz guitar maestro Bill Frisell will be playing the FTC on February 15th.  Music IS, Frisell’s new record, is his first solo guitar album in eighteen years.  The versatile artist, known for his multi-genre chops in folk, country, and Americana, has taken a foray into electronica that might remind some listeners of the late John Martyn’s playing.

    The following month, on March 27th, Pat Metheny, another jazz titan, will play Fairfield Theatre Company.  Metheny, who’s played with everyone from Joni Mitchell to Bruce Hornsby to Herbie Hancock, is at the top of his game these days.  Though the artist has no new record to support, he hardly needs it.  With a hefty output of albums dating back to the seventies, the guitarist will no doubt have a heady task in compiling a set list.

Check out venue websites to confirm dates of shows as well as ticket prices.

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