Posts Tagged ‘Faith Hill’

A Little “Name Dropping” Just For Fun

In life, there are times when we luck out and run into a “celebrity”.  It might be on vacation, at a county or state fair, or just a random encounter.

As a television meteorologist, my job is a public and high profile position (if you’re lucky and people watch the news and your channel!).

That wasn’t the case for me in Salisbury, Maryland.  No one watched my channel and I was never recognized in public in the year-and-a-half there!  However, I was much more well-known in the Quad Cities after 11.5 years and people did recognize me in Panama City, Florida.

I don’t buy into that whole “you’re a celebrity” thing, yet my career has given me better access to some big names in the world of entertainment and politics.

Celebrity.jpg

It’s also presented some not so fun moments.

In Lubbock, Texas, I was thrown against a car by an irate man and another time, I was likely urinated on in a crowd of Marilyn Manson fans after his concert while doing my live report (I felt a warm wetness on my leg while talking)!

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And, in the Youngstown, Ohio, market, I was first on the scene of a shooting inside a car outside a school and had to look at the body until police covered it.  (At that point, we didn’t know if it was a murder or suicide.)

But, back to the positives.  For today’s blog, I’m “name dropping”!  Some of these people I met through work and some through sheer luck!

I’m going to start off with the three that mean the most to me, so these are not in chronological order of when I met them.

On a cold January morning in 2016 in Davenport, Iowa, I made my way through the crowd and got to say hello to former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Hillary AP

Some people even thought this was photo-shopped and then I point out that her hand is on my shoulder! 🙂

The highlight of my move to Panama City, Florida, was meeting my childhood idol, President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

In July 2017, I got up in the middle of the night and drove almost four hours through the backwoods of Florida, Alabama and Georgia to Plains, Georgia, to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church.

Autograph Carters

After getting back home, I sent the Carters a “70th Anniversary” card with our photo.  I was totally shocked when they sent it back to me — autographed!

I’ve told this story many times, but I’ll tell it again.  As an 12-year-old in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1976, I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother and pull the lever for Jimmy Carter.  I did it again in 1980!

In April 2005, I was living in Salisbury, Maryland and working for the ABC affiliate.  We also broadcast the CW network that aired the “Reba” comedy series.

Reba Anthony 2005

To kick off her tour that spring in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we took a bus with twenty viewers to see that cold, windy outdoor show.  Two of those lucky people (and me) got to go backstage and meet Reba.

She was just as you’d imagine her to be — sweet and delightful.  Here are the framed memories of that night.

Reba Art

And, in 2014, I took my first awkward selfie with Shania Twain in Las Vegas, when she walked out into the crowd!

AP Shania

As I name drop the people I’ve been fortunate to meet, I so wished that we had had smartphones earlier than we did.  I could have had photos of the others that I’ve met. 🙂

THE SOS BAND — 1984

In 1984, while a student at Murray State University in western Kentucky, I was doing the nightly weather on the campus television station and I started a music countdown show called “Music Visions”.

The first “celebrity” that I got to meet for the show and in my life was the group, The SOS Band, which was in concert at Murray State.

You might remember them from their #3 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Take Your Time (Do It Right)”.

LIONEL RICHIE — LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — DECEMBER 2017

I met Lionel before his concert and when I said “Hello” (get it?) and extended my hand, he grabs me and says, “I’m a hugger!”

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MADELEINE ALBRIGHT — First Female U. S. Secretary of State (in President Bill Clinton’s administration)

In 1999, while working as a reporter and weathercaster in Youngstown, Ohio, I interviewed Secretary of State Albright.   She was so gracious and kind and, at the time, she was the highest ranking political figure I’d ever met.

Madeleine Albright.jpg

I interviewed her about several things, but we focused on Serbian President Slobodan Milošević.

Once I got back to the station, I practiced saying his name over and over so that it’d roll off my tongue easily when I did my live report.

It did. But, then I flubbed an English word that followed next! 🙂

MARTHA LAYNE COLLINS —  MAYFIELD, KENTUCKY — 1983

I met Collins while she was campaigning for her successful bid to become the first (and only) female Kentucky Governor.

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LEANN RIMES — SALISBURY, MARYLAND — NOVEMBER 2005

LeAnn is so sweet and adorable!

AnthonyLeAnn

RANDY TRAVIS — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

This was an interesting meeting during Rhinelander’s “Hodag Music Festival” at my first real television job.

It was a little awkward because Randy was so kind and talkative and the whole time, his ex-wife/manager watched us like a hawk!

Randy Travis.jpg

RHETT AKINS — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Rhett and I share the same birthday, even though I’m older.  I interviewed him a school where he was reading to students.

By the way, he’s the father of current country music superstar Thomas Rhett!

Akins scored his first Top 5 hit in 1995 with “That Ain’t My Truck”!

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LEE ANN WOMACK — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

I met Lee Ann as her first two singles were moving up the country charts.  While I love her music and I saw her in concert years later opening for Reba, her demeanor was very short and curt that day.

I was hoping that she was just having a bad day.  However, throughout the years, while talking with others in the business, she must have had many bad days when it came to reporters and interviews!

Lee Ann Womack.jpg

GARY ALLAN — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Not only was Gary dreamy and so kind in the interview early in the day, I saw him at his show that night.

After the show, he told me that got a laugh out of the fact that people stopped him in K-Mart before the show after seeing our interview on the news! 🙂

LONESTAR — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Luckily, I interviewed Richie McDonald and Dean Sams and I didn’t have to even see close-minded homophobe John Rich!

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BRAD PAISLEY — CANFIELD, OHIO — 2001

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

THE BAND PERRY — DAVENPORT, IOWA — AUGUST 2012

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FAITH HILL — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

Anthony & Faith Hill

TIM McGRAW — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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PAM TILLIS — BETTENDORF, IOWA — NOVEMBER 2012

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PAM TILLIS & LORRIE MORGAN — CLINTON, IOWA — JUNE 2014

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

TRACY LAWRENCE — LUBBOCK, TEXAS (1997) & DAVENPORT, IOWA (2011)

I first interviewed Tracy when I was working in Lubbock, Texas.  We crossed paths again when I got to introduce him at a concert at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa.

Both times, he was warm and down-to-earth!

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NEAL McCOY  — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

EMILIO — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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TY ENGLAND — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Ty England

STEPHANIE BENTLEY — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Stephanie Bentley

DAVID KERSH — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

David was such a sweet person (and no I didn’t say “Goodnight Sweetheart” to him) and was very grateful for the television exposure.

Sadly, after a string of hits from 1996-1998, he had to take time off in 1999 for vocal strain and left the music business in 2005.

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TARA DAWN HOLLAND — Miss America 1997 — LUBBOCK, TEXAS

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CAROL CHANNING — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

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DEE DEE MYERS  — Bill Clinton’s press secretary in 1993 & 1994 

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C. EVERETT KOOP, Surgeon General, 1992-1999

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KAY BAILEY HUTCHINSON, Republican Texas U.S. Senator & PHIL GRAMM, Republican Texas U.S. Senator

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ED RENDELL, former Pennsylvania Governor

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DENISE BROWN, sister of Nicole Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s murdered wife

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JIM TRESSEL, former Ohio State University and Youngstown State University football coach

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MOLLY SIMS — And, before any of these celebrities I’ve met through my career, I worked at a college textbook company in Murray, Kentucky, for the Sims family.  Their adolescent daughter was always around in the warehouse.

Molly Sims.jpg

Molly Sims would go on to become a model and staple on MTV.

WISHFUL THINKING!

Outside of music, I still want to meet Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”)

Dexter-michael-c-hall

Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files” and “Hannibal”)

Gillian Anderson

and Laura Linney (“Ozark” and “Tales of the City” series)!

Mary Ann

Now, there are four other singers that I’ve seen in concert a total of ten times, but I’ve never gotten to meet them.

It’ll have to be luck if I ever do!

Madonna MDNA

I’ve seen Madonna four times…

Madonna

Lady Gaga three times…

Gaga Las Vegas

Britney Spears twice…

Britney

and Mariah Carey once!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

So, tell me who you’ve met!

Anthony

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My Fantasies Don’t Involve Football Leagues

I’m not really going to talk about the kind of fantasies that might involve Christian Grey (“Fifty Shades of Grey”) or since I mentioned football, Tom Brady.  Not that those would be bad, but…

Tom-Brady

Okay, minds out of the gutters.

Recently, I was talking about all of the “residencies” in Las Vegas, the ones coming up, and the “rumored” ones in the works.

Back in October 2012, I was fortunate to see the one of the best entertainers in music, Sir Elton John in “The Million Dollar Piano” at Caesars Palace.

Elton LasVegas

And, then last May, I saw Shania Twain at Caesars Palace.

Shania

And the night before I saw Shania, I saw Olivia Newton-John at the Flamingo.

Olivia

In addition to those “residencies”, I saw Madonna on my birthday in October 2012 at the MGM Grand.

Madonna

And, we saw Lady Gaga there on her “Born This Way Ball” Tour in January 2013 just three weeks before an injury, that required surgery, forced the cancellation of the rest of the tour.

Gaga Las Vegas

That was then and this is now.

Britney Spears is now playing a residency at Planet Hollywood and coming this summer at Caesars Palace, Mariah Carey will begin a residency in May and Reba and Brooks & Dunn will start in June.

Reba 2011

I absolutely adore Reba and I’ve seen her in concert twelve (yes, that’s 12) times and I met her ten years ago this April.

While I get lost in her beautiful voice, I would love to see Reba’s concerts in Vegas go back to the glitzy productions of costume changes, dancers, and various sets like when I first saw her in Chicago in 1995 and Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1996.

Every time since those first two shows, it was Reba in a no (or very few) frills concert — just her and her beautiful voice.

Reba’s new show with Brooks & Dunn is already selling out months in advance.

And, recently, it was announced that “The Boss” Diana Ross would be performing a nine-show engagement this spring at The Venetian.

The hotel is trying to become a competitive concert venue for residencies after a successful show with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

Also, hushed rumors on “The Strip” say that talks are in the works for residencies for Ricky Martin, Lionel Richie, and the subject of today’s fantasy (see, I’m back to that again).

NO, MY FIRST NAME AIN’T BABY, IT’S JANET, MISS JACKSON, IF YOU’RE NASTY

Just the other day, I was saying that I’d love to see Janet Jackson in a residency in Vegas and then I see an article that she might be close to signing a deal with either The Venetian or Planet Hollywood when Britney’s “Piece of Me” show is on hiatus.

It’s also rumored that Miss Jackson will be dropping a new album in 2015.

I have two of Janet’s concert VHS tapes (no typo there, VHS — not DVD): “The Velvet Rope Tour” and “Live in Hawaii”.

Now, here’s where my ultimate fantasy comes in, as if seeing Janet for the first time in concert wouldn’t be enough.

Janet-Jackson-And-Paula-Abdul

Before Miss Jackson takes the stage, special guest Paula Abdul, Janet’s former choreographer, would come out and do a 20-minute set of her high-energy dance and pop radio hits from the late-1980s and early-1990s.  And, it would have to include “Rush Rush”!

At this point, my imagination runs away from me.  As Paula wraps up her set, either in a special effects hologram or on the concert monitors, Paula and Janet are in a diner in the current day and you hear:

“What’s up girl?
He stood me up again
Again?
Mmhmm
Well what’s up with this guy?
Do you really like him that much?
Yes honey, I love him, he is fine,
he does a lot of nice things for me I know he used to do nice stuff for you,
but what has he done for you lately?

And, then the arena explodes with a fabulous light show and Janet kicking off a magical show with “What Have You Done For Me Lately”!

I can’t remember how many times my friend, Steve, and I did this video routine over the years getting ready to go out for a night of clubbing!

And, one final note about Vegas, concerts, and holograms.

I recently read that a new concert with a “hologram” Liberace is coming to town.

If that’s successful, I have one suggestion Vegas  — get Richard Carpenter on the line and bring the angelic-voiced Karen Carpenter back to life and back to the stage soon!

As you can tell, I’m obsessed with shows in Vegas.  There it isn’t just a concert, it is magic!

Don’t tell Ray, but I’ll be working on convincing him to retire to Las Vegas in a few years.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 11, 2014

The weekend is upon us!  While I have a couple of work-related events to take part in this weekend, one Saturday and one Sunday, I plan on taking full advantage of my down time.

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

GIVE YOUR LOVED ONES AN EXTRA HUG

We all get overwhelmed and sometimes we forget to do simple things like show others how much we care.

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You just never know what will happen that day.

Who would have thought this innocent-looking 16-year-old boy is now suspected of stabbing 21 students and a security guard earlier this week in a Pennsylvania school?

To my friends, I appreciate you.  To my loved one, I’m thankful you’re in my life!

RE-WRITING THE BIBLE

Failed presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee wants you to know he is not homophobic.

Huckabee

That’s what he told a crowd earlier this week at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Spring fundraiser.

Huckabee says, “I’m not against anybody. I’m really not. I’m not a hater. I’m not homophobic. I honestly don’t care what people do personally in their individual lives…but… when people say, ‘Why don’t you just kind of get on the right side of history?’ I said, ‘You’ve got to understand, this for me is not about the right side or the wrong side of history, this is the right side of the Bible, and unless God rewrites it, edits it, sends it down with his signature on it, it’s not my book to change.’ Folks, that’s why I stand where I stand.”

I admit that Huckabee knows more about the Bible than I do, but I really don’t think that God put his signature on the first one, much less rewriting it, signing it, and sending it down now!

HIT THE ROAD, JACK

After thirty years of marriage, it’s over for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila.

Putin

Unless she’s like him, I wonder why it took thirty years?  Who knows (or cares)?  Maybe his hateful, ignorant attitude is something relatively new.

They have two daughters.

COUNTRY MUSIC SHINES ON CBS

Last Sunday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards show on CBS brought in some big numbers with 14.2 million people watching.

While I had no desire to watch it, I did flip over from “Crisis” on NBC during a couple of commercial breaks and I have three observations to make.

49th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards - Show

In her performance with husband Tim McGraw, Faith Hill looked amazing.  I didn’t really care for the song they performed and I really wish that she’d release an incredible album that country radio would have to embrace.

Meanwhile, show co-host Luke Bryan (left, below) looked incredibly hot.  Whatever he’s doing, it’s working.  As for Blake Shelton, not so much.

Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton

I didn’t watch the opening monologue and I know that the point is to poke fun at pop culture.

I thought Blake’s comment about marriage equality was funny, “A year ago, same-sex marriage just meant once you got married, you had the same sex over and over and over again.”  From what I’ve read, his wife, Miranda Lambert, in the audience, mouthed, “Thank you” to him!  It might have been a cold night in Las Vegas in their suite that night!

But, I didn’t care for one of his other “jokes” that I’m sure others thought was funny.

When the hosts were talking about the upcoming live performances on the show, Shelton added, “And if you don’t like live music, you have to go down the block and see Britney Spears”.

Britney Las Vegas

Stop!  I’m laughing out loud.  Not really.

I know it was a joke and they have writers, so I’m saying this in fun.  Blake, when you get own residency in Vegas and can ask for $800 a ticket and $2,500 for a VIP/Meet & Greet ticket, give me a call!

HERE’S THE KICKER TO BLAKE’S JOKE

Rascal Flatts, performing their new single, “Rewind”, on the ACMs now admit to lip-syncing (badly)!

Rascal Flatts

The band says, “After having performed several shows earlier in the week, Gary lost his voice.  So instead of canceling our commitment to do the show, we made a last-minute decision to lip-synch. We’ve never done it before, and we’re obviously not very good at it. We look forward to singing live again in the very near future!”

“WTH” FASHION STATEMENT

And, my last ACM Awards comment is about Miranda Lambert.  She is a beautiful woman and she looks amazing in the right and left pictures from Sunday night.

Miranda Lambert

However, in the middle picture, from the braided hair to the demin shirt and the belt, the whole ensemble had me censoring myself and just saying, “WTH”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

 

Freaking StupidDog Social MediaPeas and Hominy

WAY TO GO, NOTRE DAME

In life, there are good and bad Democrats and Republicans.  There are good and bad straight people and LGBT people.  There are good and bad <insert group here>.

The University of Notre Dame, a Catholic college, in South Bend, Indiana, is making strides to be on the right side of history.

Matt Dooley

Watch this amazing video the University released after tennis play Matt Dooley came out as gay.  It’s incredible and touching.

REMEMBERING RYAN WHITE

It was 24 years ago this week that 18-year-old Ryan White died of complications of AIDS.

Ryan White

It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long.  We have come so far in the fight against AIDS and today, with proper medication, it’s no longer a death sentence and people can now live a full and long life.

That wasn’t the case back in the 1980s.  Ryan, a hemophiliac, was infected with HIV from contaminated blood in December 1984 and was given only six months to live.  He surprised doctors and the world by living for another five years.

While he posed no threat to other students, he was expelled from middle school because of his diagnosis.  Many parents and teachers in Kokomo, Indiana, fought against him returning to school and the family left Kokomo after bullets were fired into their house.

elton_John_ryan_white MIchael Jackson Ryan White

In life, Ryan became good friends with Elton John and Michael Jackson, along with John Cougar Mellencamp, and former President and First Lady Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

Before he died, Ryan became a national spokesperson for bringing AIDS discrimination to the forefront in America.  Sadly, he died a month before graduating from high school.

Ryan, your memory is still alive.  And, to all of the Ryan Whites in the world today, live life to the fullest.

Here’s Elton John performing “Skyline Pigeon” at Ryan’s funeral.

DID YOU KNOW?

On a lighter note, now that it’s warming up, ice cream sounds like a great treat to enjoy outdoors.

In the July 2013 issue, “Better Homes and Gardens” reported that the average American eats 24 pounds of ice cream a year!

rocky road ice cream

While I love many flavors of ice cream, if I had to choose only one, it’d be Rocky Road.  And, if I could add one ingredient, it’d be coconut.

Now, there are many ranking of favorite flavors.  My favorite, Rocky Road, barely makes the Top 15.

Most rankings have Strawberry at #4, Butter Pecan at #3, and Chocolate comes in second place.

What’s shocking to me is that Vanilla is the favorite by a three-to-one margin!  Maybe because of its versatility?

PICK HIT

Pharrell Williams is hot right now.

As a solo artist, he’s at #1 with his song, “Happy”, and last year, he was featured in two of the biggest songs of the year, “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and “Blurred Line” with Robin Thicke.

I don’t really care for “Happy”, but I love him accompanying other artists.  I first became aware of him when appeared on Madonna’s album “Hard Candy” and on her 2008’s #1 dance smash, “Give It 2 Me”.

Pharrell is featured on one of my favorite songs from Kylie Minogue’s latest album, “Kiss Me Once”.

kylie_pharrell

“I Was Gonna Cancel” is the album’s second single and the follow-up to the #1 Billboard Dance hit, “Into The Blue”.

Radio programmers, add this to your playlist now!

“THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY”

While it’s a Christmas-themed movie, I recently watched “The Best Man Holiday”, the sequel to Malcolm D. Lee’s 1999 hit, “The Best Man”, and I loved it.

The-Best-Man-Holiday-Poster

The $17 million movie brought in an incredible $71.6 million in theaters.  While I didn’t see the original and know the history of the characters, I could still follow the storyline.

In the movie, Mia and Lance invite their group of friends —  boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses, and a couple of single friends to their ritzy, gorgeously Christmas-decorated mansion to share a secret with them.

However, Mia and Lance’s secrets aren’t the only ones revealed.

“The Best Man Holiday” is funny, cute, and sentimental!

GRADE:  A-

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Earlier I talked about Luke Bryan, so I’ll feature him in my segment of some of my favorite country songs.

In just seven short years, the 37-year-old Georgia native and married father of two boys has racked up an incredible 15 Top Ten hits on the Billboard Country chart.  Of those, 11 of  have reached the Top Three with seven making it to the #1 spot!

His latest, “Play It Again”, is at #3 this week and it could top the chart, too.  However, he’d have to knock himself out of the top spot since he’s featured on Florida Georgia Line ‘s “This Is How We Roll”, at #1.

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I really like many of his hits like “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” and “Rain Is A Good Thing”, but his first hit, “All My Friends Say”, which reached #5 in 2007, is my still my favorite.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.  As always, feel free to let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree with any of them.

Have a great weekend.

Anthony

They Said What??? Alec Baldwin, Ann Coulter, Anjelica Huston, & Faith Hill

TALK SHOW HOST ANDERSON COOPER

(about Alec Baldwin after the actor called a photographer a c**k su**ing f*g”.  Baldwin claims he didn’t use the “f-word” and that he didn’t know the “c-word” could been seen as homophobic):  “For him to say, I was informed of this afterward, I mean come on!  If Alec Baldwin had yelled the n-word to that photographer, or yelled some anti-Jewish slur, it would be over!”

RIGHT WING EXTREMIST ANN COULTER

(defending Baldwin, who was suspended by MSNBC):  “They shouldn’t have suspended him. In defense of Alec Baldwin, the photographer, he’s not actually gay.  This was just a curse word. It was like using the f-word and, frankly, a lot of these paparazzi photographers deserve it. It’s not something Alec Baldwin said in a calm moment on television. He has been harassed horribly by photographers and now this stalker, and he’s trying to protect his family and he curses. That is what happened.”

SINGER LILY ALLEN

(commenting on her song, “Hard Out Here”):  “It’s hard out here for a bitch.  Dolly Parton is a bitch.  Adele’s a bitch. Angela Merkel is a bitch … Rihanna’s an inspiring bitch, my mum, Miley’s a bitch, rising. She’s my hero. Kate Middleton is not a bitch.”

COUNTRY SINGER FAITH HILL

(denying rumors that she country singer Tim McGraw are heading toward divorce):  “[Rumors] seem to be running like crazy right now for some reason. It’s perplexing.  I don’t know why ‘happy’ can’t be a story.”

POP ICON LADY GAGA

(after debuting at #1 on the Billboard album chart with “ARTPOP”):  “I put so much love into my music, into my shows, I make it all for you. I’ll never understand the overflow of hate sent my way.  Or maybe thats what entertainment is now. It’s more fun to point & laugh than appreciate the artist. I’ll keep rehearsing my steps.”

COUNTRY SINGER BLAKE SHELTON

(on “The Voice” responding to his co-judge Adam Levine being picked as “People” Magaine’s “Sexiest Man Alive”):  “This is why I drink so much.  He stole my thunder.”

SINGER KANYE WEST

(saying he was “used” by President Barack Obama):  “I just think that we’re pop icons, and the president likes to use that type of thing just to be down and stuff. People was fine with me being everyone’s punching bag for about five years — ‘Man, this is the person we love to hate, so if you want to distract people from everything that’s going on…, just say you hate Kanye and there’s going be 30 other people who say they hate Kanye. … That was kind of my position in culture so he also used that too — ‘Oh, he’s a jackass’ — because that’s how the world felt.”

OUT “GLEE” STAR ALEX NEWELL

(who plays transgender student “Unique”):   “When people don’t understand something their first reaction is to hate it,” he said of his groundbreaking role. “But [the LGBT community] isn’t going away. We’re a part of everyday life and people need to be educated.”

BRYAN FISCHER, OF THE “AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION”

(responding about the public debate between former Vice President Dick Cheney’s two daughters who have different views on marriage equality):  “Who’s the one who’s been intolerant here? Who’s the one who’s being a bigot?  It’s not the Christian, it’s not the heterosexual … it is the intolerant lesbian bigot that’s doing that … It is Liz Cheney’s sister who is, in fact, the intolerant bigot.”

ROBERT RITCHIE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE RIGHT-WING GROUP, AMERICA NEEDS FATIMA

“The massive tornadoes that hit Illinois after the passing of the same sex “marriage” bill, has stimulated many people to reflection.  In it, some see God’s chastisement; others see it as yet one more merciful warning from Providence; others yet deny both options and give various reasons.”

ACTRESS ANJELICA HUSTON

(in her new book, “A Story Lately Told”, about her director father, John, who used to hang out naked in front of the children):  “He was extremely well endowed.”

Anthony

You’ll Perform For How Much? Okay, I’ll Pay It To See You

I’m excited that we’ll be flying out to Las Vegas tomorrow to see Lady Gaga Friday night on the “Born This Way Ball” Tour.  This will mark my second or third time seeing Lady Gaga, depending on your definition of a concert.  I’ll explain that tomorrow. 🙂  What a tease!

Born This Way Ball Tour

As of now, the Lady Gaga concert is the only one I have planned in 2013.  However, I’d still love to see Helen Reddy, Olivia Newton-John, Shania Twain, Lorrie Morgan, and Depeche Mode in concert.  And, if the opportunity presented itself, I’d love to see Josh Groban, Reba, and Britney Spears again!

Last year, I saw only four concerts:  The Band Perry (Davenport, Iowa) , Elton John (Las Vegas), Madonna (Las Vegas), and Pam Tillis (Bettendorf, Iowa).  While two of those concerts were inexpensive (free and $15), the others were much more expensive ($125 and $375)!

I want to talk about how expensive concert tickets are these days, the best concert deal I know of, and share with you all of the acts that I’ve seen in concert one time.  Tomorrow, I’ll share the artists that I’ve seen multiple times.

2012 Top Tours

In a recent blog, I talked about Madonna’s “MDNA” tour being the number one worldwide tour in 2012 making $296.1 million .  But, today, I want you to focus on the number after the artist’s name, the average ticket price.  As you see, several artists in the Top Ten (Madonna, Roger Waters, Lady Gaga, Cirque Du Soleil – “Michael Jackson:  The Immortal”, and Elton John) all earned an average of more than $100 for a ticket!

Although the average Madonna ticket was $140.38, just outside the Top Ten, Barbra Streisand (#22) ticket prices averaged $263, Celine Dion (#29) $157, the Rolling Stones (#33) were the big winners in every sense with an average ticket price of $529!!!! At #37, people paid an average of $165 to see Andrea Bocelli.  And, Vicente Fernandez (#49) tickets averaged almost $141.

With these ticket prices, I checked to see how much I paid the last time I saw New Kids on the Block at Alpine Valley in East Troy, Wisconsin, in 1990.

New Kids 1990

What???? Only $25.50 (before service charges) for reserved seats!  Holy cow!  So, just as a comparison, I decided to go to Ticketmaster and check to see how much it’d cost to see 2013’s version of the New Kids, One Direction.  Since there wasn’t a concert in Milwaukee, I’ll use Tinley Park (near Chicago).

One Direction

I know this is like comparing apples to oranges, but what a difference.  $25.50 vs. $89.50!  Everything is more expensive these days.  Nevertheless, to see concerts, even in the Quad Cities, you still have to be ready to hand over your cash.

One of the best bargains I know is Northalsted Market Days held in early August in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago.  It’s the largest two-day street fair in the Midwest and it’s so much fun.  There are street vendors, food, liquor, live concerts (last year’s line-up included Olivia Newton-John, The Pointer Sisters, Sheena Easton, and Karmin), and lots of half-naked people!  I mean, seriously, you don’t see this every day (pictures from 2010)!  You gotta love gay pride and Market Days in Chicago!

Twister Market Days 2010 Gay Pride 2010

All for the bargain price of $8 a day for “Market Days”!

With that being said, I want to share the artists that I’ve seen in concert once!  Now, the list is long!   Keep in mind that several of these were at Market Days or they were opening acts, so I haven’t spent a fortune on concerts in the past 28 years.

For the artists that I didn’t take pictures of in concert, I’ll add a video or album cover!

My very first concert was in the mid-1980s — John Cougar Mellencamp in Carbondale, Illinois.  (This video is not from that tour, but it’s one of my favorite songs from John!)

Bette Midler (Las Vegas, Nevada – 2015)

Bette

Enrique Iglesias (Rosemont, Illinois – 2014)

Enrique Iglesias 2014

Erasure (Chicago, 2014)

Erasure 2014

Shania Twain (Las Vegas, Nevada — 2014)

Shania 2014

Olivia Newton-John (Las Vegas, Nevada — 2014)

Olivia 2014

Ke$ha (Tinley Park, Illinois — 2013)

Kesha June 2013

Rick Springfield (Bettendorf, Iowa — 2013)

Rick Springfield May 2013

Depeche Mode (Tinley Park, Illinois — 2013)

Depeche Mode Tour 2013

Britney Spears & Nicki Minaj (West Allis, Wisconsin — 2011) 

*I want to see Britney again.  Maybe another trip to Las Vegas when she starts her rumored residency there!*

Britney SpearsNicki Minaj

Josh Groban (Moline, Illinois — 2011)  

*Amazing musician.  I can’t wait for his new CD February 5th.  Maybe I’ll get to see him play live again.*

Josh Groban

Elton John (Las Vegas — 2012) 

*Amazing!  This was a bonus concert, since we went to Las Vegas for my birthday to see Madonna and got these tickets at the last-minute!*

Elton John

Dixie Chicks (Chicago — 2006) 

*Great entertainers*

The Human League (Chicago — 2002)  

*Although it took me 20 years to see them after their #1 hit, “Don’t You Want Me”, I absolutely loved seeing them.  I felt 18 again!*

Keith Urban  & Taylor Swift (Moline –2009) 

*Keith was amazing and Taylor was enjoyable back then.*

Keith Urban Taylor Swift

Scissor Sisters (Chicago — 2010) 

*What a fun time.  I had a blast!  I love my Scissor Sisters!*

Scissor Sisters

Lady Antebellum (Bloomington, Illinois — 2008) 

*Great energy and beautiful harmonies*

Lady Antebellum 2008

LeAnn Rimes & Phil Vassar  (Salisbury, Maryland — 2005) 

*LeAnn was so sweet.  The show was fun.*

LeAnn Rimes 2005Phil Vassar

“Glee in Concert” (Chicago — 2011) 

*Gretel’s birthday present and when Darren Criss (Blaine) walked by us, he touched my hand!  Swoon!”

Glee Live

Expose (Chicago — 2008) 

*Great dance band with many hits during my formative years in the late-1980s.  Fun time!*

Expose 2008

Clay Walker (Merrillville, Indiana — 1996)

Sweet Sensation (West Allis, Wisconsin — 1990) 

*Fun freestyle dance trio.  No frills show — just singing and basic choreography.*

Terri Nunn of Berlin (Chicago — 2009)

*She was beautiful and incredible.  I’ve been a fan of Berlin since the early-1980s when “Pleasure Victim” and “Sex (I’m A)… came out.*

Terri Nunn Berlin

Martin Solveig (Las Vegas — 2012) 

*French DJ that opened for Madonna.  He has so much energy.  I bought his CD, “Smash” and it was my second favorite of last year, behind Madonna!*

Kelly Clarkson (Moline — 2008) 

*This was the concert where she and Reba were on stage together and sang each other’s songs.*

kelly-clarkson

Faith Hill & Tim McGraw (Rhinelander, Wisconsin — 1996)  

*I met both of them in the early part of their careers before they were megastars.  I hope to see them again in Las Vegas this weekend!*

Faith Hill 1996 Tim McGraw 1996

Kristine W (Chicago — 2009) 

*One of the most talented and successful dance artists in Billboard Dance chart history!*

Kristine W

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts (Chicago — 2010) 

*It took almost 30 years to see her, but, even now, “I Love Rock & Roll”!*

Joan Jett

Jody Watley  (Chicago — 2009) 

*Looking For a New Love” anyone?*

Jody Watley

Jennifer Holliday (Chicago — 2010) 

*AMAZING!  The original Effie White from Broadway’s “Dreamgirls”!*

Jennifer Holliday

Jon Secada (Chicago — 2010)

Jon Secada

CeCe Peniston (Chicago — 2009) 

*”Finally, it has happened to me… Meeting Mr. Right, the man of my dreams/The one and only true love or at least it seems?/With brown cocoa skin and curly black hair…” *

CeCe

White Tie Affair (Chicago — 2010) 

*Lead singer Chris Wallace’s solo debut, “Remember When (Push Rewind)” was one of my favorite songs last year.  It’s still trying to catch fire at Top 40 radio.  Check it out.  I’ll make it easy for you.  I’ll put the video under his picture.* 🙂

White Tie Affair

David Kersh (Cleveland, Ohio –1998)

David Kersh

Martina McBride (Darien Lake, New York — 2001) 

*Part of Reba’s “Girls Night Out” Tour*

Martina McBride

Sara Evans (Darien Lake, New York — 2001) 

*Part of Reba’s “Girls Night Out” Tour*

Sara Evans

Jamie O’Neal (Darien Lake, New York — 2001) 

*Part of Reba’s “Girls Night Out” Tour*

Jamie_O'Neal

Jason De Rulo (Rosemont, Illinois — 2010) 

*Opened for Lady Gaga three years ago.  Great CD.*

Jason+Derulo+JasonDeruloCoverTCC

Tracy Lawrence (Davenport, Iowa — 2011) 

*Fun country music and very nice man.  I interviewed him in Lubbock, Texas, in 1997, and I introduced him to the stage in Davenport two summers ago!*

Tracy Lawrence

JoDee Messina (Bettendorf, Iowa — 2011)

JoDeeMessina

Amber  (Chicago — 2010) 

*Major international dance artist!*

Amber

George Strait (Rosemont — 2011)

*Saw the “King of Country” with Reba.*

George Strait

Lee Ann Womack (Rosemont — 2011)

Lee Ann Womack

Martha Wash (Chicago — 1991)

Bjorn Again (Chicago — 2002) 

*ABBA tribute band.  They were flawless!*

bjorn-again

En Vogue (Chicago — 2009)

En Vogue

Blake Lewis (Chicago — 2010) 

*”American Idol” runner-up to Jordin Sparks.*

Blake Lewis

Lucas Prata (Chicago — 2009)  *Dance artist*

Lucas Prata

Joe Nichols (Virginia Beach, Virginia — 2005)

Joe Nichols

Eden’s Edge (Moline — 2011)

Eden's Edge

Steel Magnolias (Moline — 2011)

Steel Magnolia

Patty Loveless (Columbus, Ohio — 2001) 

*This concert was my birthday present that year and I’d love to have new music from Patty and to see her again.*

Toby Keith (Tinley Park, Illinois — 1995) 

*Before he was all political and anti-Dixie Chicks, he was good in concert early in his career.*

Toby Keith

September (Chicago — 2010)  *Swedish dance band*

September

Linear (West Allis — 1990)

Linear

Dino (Cincinnati, Ohio — 1989)

Dino

I enjoyed this little trip down memory lane and I hope you did, too.  Tomorrow, I’ll feature the artists that I’ve seen in concert multiple times.  One of them I’ve seen enough times that I’m surprised there isn’t a restraining order!

By the way, I loved my shirt I wore for the Madonna concert and I already have one picked out for Gaga!

Madonna Anthony

Anthony

Still Celebrating My Birthday VIP Style

I got my first Christmas card of the season yesterday (thank you, Kelly and Sam) and last week, I got my first Christmas present.  Actually, while it arrived closer to Christmas, it’s really more of a birthday present six weeks late.

As you recall, I spent my birthday in Las Vegas with Ray, Madonna, and 12,500 of her closest friends.

The concert was incredible, my unlimited champagne and mimosa brunch was amazing at Stratosphere, and the overall trip to Las Vegas was very fun.

I’m already looking forward to our next trip there in late January to see Lady Gaga and hopefully, Rod Stewart and/or Faith Hill and Tim McGraw!

But, what about my belated birthday present?  I would like to say that Madonna was so happy that I’ve been a huge fan for 30+ years, that I’ve seen her in concert three times, and that I’ve blogged about her countless times that she just had to send me something.  However, I know in the universe of the Material Girl, I’m one of those small specks out in space.

Last March, because we bought VIP tickets, they sent us two copies of Madonna’s “MDNA” album.  I also bought the “deluxe edition” to get the best song on the album “Gang Bang”, since it was so violent that it was left off the clean version.  The “deluxe” version also came with a second disc of five songs.

Nevertheless, because we had VIP tickets for the “MDNA Tour” (with only mediocre seats), Live Nation rewarded both Ray and I with gifts last week.

In addition to getting the CD last spring, the VIP package also got us the “MDNA” tour book, a Madonna poster, a “MDNA” key chain, a “MDNA” VIP laminate, a laminated commemorative ticket, and a Madonna concert t-shirt!

 

There are now only ten shows left in the sold-out worldwide “MDNA Tour” in South America.  It wraps up in Argentina on December 22, 2012, and then Madonna can go home for Christmas.

All I need to know now is when the concert DVD comes out so I can sit back, watch it, and re-live everything I missed because I was so excited.  Oh Madonna, please add some of Martin Solveig’s performance before your set.  He’s incredible.

Thanks for the gift, Madge and Live Nation.  Merry Christmas!

Anthony

Three More Holiday Albums Worth The Money

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us and Christmas is one month from today, I don’t feel as crazy listening to and blogging about Christmas music.

Last Sunday, I highly recommended new holiday music from Rod Stewart, “Merry Christmas, Baby” and “On This Winter’s Night” by Lady Antebellum.  Today, I’m reviewing two more new Christmas entries this season and one from four years ago that you definitely need to get if you missed it then.

“CHRISTMAS SPIRIT”– RICHARD MARX

Chicago singer/songwriter Richard Marx was on fire in the late-1980s and early-1990s scoring 14 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

He topped that chart with classics like “Hold On To The Nights”, “Satisfied”, and “Right Here Waiting” and he also reached the Top Four with “Don’t Mean Nothing”, “Should’ve Known Better”, “Endless Summer Nights”, and “Angelina”.

Richard Marx

While Marx hasn’t had a Top 40 radio hit since 1994, he’s had many hits on Adult Contemporary radio.  His latest album, “Christmas Spirit” has already introduced two new songs you’re hearing this holiday season on the radio, “Little Drummer Boy” and “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, a duet with singer/songwriter Sara Niemietz.

If you were a fan of Richard Marx during his heyday two decades ago, you’ll love his new Christmas album.  “Christmas Spirit” is a perfect collection of holiday songs and it also features a duet with another 1980s pop star, Kenny Loggins, on “Let The Be Peace on Earth” and a duet, “Silent Night” with singer and fiddler Sara Watkins.

There are two new original songs on the 13-song album, the title track, which is spectacular and “Christmas Morning”, which is a decent song.

Marx excels on “I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day”, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “White Christmas”, and “O Holy Night”.

His version of “Little Drummer Boy” is my favorite on the disc and will likely be a staple of Christmases in the future.

My only regret with “Christmas Spirit” is not a fault of Richard Marx.  I wish I had shopped around before buying the CD from Amazon.  If you buy the Target version, it comes with four additional songs, “Blue Christmas”, “Silver Bells”, “Jingle Bell Rock”, and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.

GRADE:  A

“CHRISTMAS WITH SCOTTY McCREERY — SCOTTY McCREERY

ScottyMcCreery

The other new purchase I made recently is the second album from 2011 “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery, “Christmas With Scotty McCreery”.

His debut album, “Clear As Day”, was released in the fall of 2011 and sold more than 1.1 million copies and generated three country hits, “I Love You This Big” (#15), “The Trouble With Girls” (#17), and “Water Tower Town”, which barely cracked the Top 40, (#38).

Since I’m not an “American Idol” viewer, all I know about Scotty is that he’s 19-years-old, from North Carolina, is cute, won an ACM Award for “Best New Artist”, and that he has a voice that reminds me of Josh Turner.

McCreery is great on the upbeat classics like “Let It Snow!”, “Jingle Bells”, and “Holly Jolly Christmas”, but the album drags a little on “Mary Did You Know” and on the new song, “Christmas Comin’ Round Again”.  The other original song on the album, “Christmas In Heaven” has the potential to be heard again next year.

McCreery has a great voice and this is a decent album for the holidays.

GRADE:  B

“JOY TO THE WORLD” — FAITH HILL

Faith_Hill-Joy_to_The_World

While it isn’t new, I missed out on buying Faith Hill’s “Joy To The World” when it was released in 2008.

Epic fail on my part.  Of the eleven songs on the album, ten are classics and there’s one new song, “A Baby Changes Everything”.  That song actually reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Faith’s voice is just angelic with the big band orchestra sound of the album.  It features such classics as the title track, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Holly Jolly Christmas”, “Away In The Manger”, “O Holy Night”, “Winter Wonderland”, and “Silent Night”.

Faith blows me away with her version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”.

Buy it now and don’t hesitate!

GRADE:  A+