Posts Tagged ‘Tim McGraw’

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)!

MM.gif

 

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!”

Capture2

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.

Martha Layne Collins.jpg

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”!

Rhett Akins.jpg

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!

Lonestar.JPG

BRAD PAISLEY — CANFIELD, OHIO — 2001

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

THE BAND PERRY — DAVENPORT, IOWA — AUGUST 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

FAITH HILL — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

Anthony & Faith Hill

TIM McGRAW — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

Tim McGraw.jpg

PAM TILLIS — BETTENDORF, IOWA — NOVEMBER 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

AP TL.jpg

NEAL McCOY  — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

EMILIO — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

McCoy Emilio.JPG

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.

David Kersh.jpg

TARA DAWN HOLLAND — Miss America 1997 — LUBBOCK, TEXAS

Tara Dawn Holland.jpg

CAROL CHANNING — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Carol Channing.jpg

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

Dee Dee Myers.jpg

C. EVERETT KOOP, Surgeon General, 1992-1999

220px-c._everett_koop,_1980s

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

Hutchinson Gramm.JPG

ED RENDELL, former Pennsylvania Governor

Rendell.jpg

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

Denise-Brown.jpg

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

tressel

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

Advertisements

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

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

[Our] Country Needs More “Faith”

Let’s play word association.  If I say “stuffing”, you probably start thinking of Thanksgiving leftovers and not the scarecrow on “The Wizard of Oz”.  If I say “hope”, maybe the future of the world comes to mind.  And, if  I say “faith”, many of you think of Christmas and religion.  I, too, have hope and faith that there will be more peace and love on Earth, but since I don’t live in a fantasy world, I know it won’t replace hate.

When I hear “faith”, I think of the holidays and mankind, but also of Faith Hill.

Anthony & Faith Hill

I’ve been a huge fan since her first single, “Wild One”, was released in the fall of 1993.  That song, and many others that have followed, shot to the top of the country music charts.

I was fortunate enough to meet her at the Hodag Country Festival in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, in the summer of 1996.

While working at WJFW, we profiled all of the singers performing.  But, I did a separate story and bonded with Faith over the challenges her father faced with literacy.  Three years later, in 1999, Faith’s tour supported a national children’s book drive, The Faith Hill Family Literacy Project, which collected more than 35,000 books.

Before the interview, the only thing her people told us that was off-limits was any personal questions about her relationship with Tim McGraw.  While it was no secret, the two grew very close on the “Spontaneous Combustion Tour” that spring.  Both broke off previous engagements and by the fall of 1996, they were married.  They’re still together and are the parents of three girls.

The couple will be opening a new show, “Soul2Soul”, this winter in Las Vegas at the Venetian.

Tim Faith Las Vegas

After selling more than 40 million albums worldwide, scoring an amazing 37 country hits, with 22 of them reaching the Top Ten, and nine topping the country charts, we haven’t heard much of Faith until recently.

She performed “Come Home” at the “CMA Awards” in November 2011.  The song was to be the first single from her upcoming album, but it didn’t catch fire.  As much as I love Faith, I didn’t care for it and neither did country radio.  It stalled at #26.

However, she is currently at #29 on the country airplay chart and at #39 on the Billboard Country chart with “American Heart” and I really hope radio embraces it.  She sounds great and looks absolutely fantastic in the video.

Sadly, I think Faith will have a hard time selling her new music and the new album, expected in early 2013, to country radio because of the same thing that Reba, Dolly, Loretta, Martina McBride, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Trisha Yearwood, and so many other women face.  Age.

While Faith is only 45 years old, the hottest stars at radio now are Taylor Swift (she turns 23 in December), Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert (both 29 years old), and Kelly Clarkson, who is 30.

And, those younger ladies are the hit makers.  Taylor Swift has charted 28 country hits and 40 pop hits.  Of her country hits, 14 have hit the Top Three and seven have hit #1.  Miranda Lambert has scored 14 Top 40 country hits since 2004 with seven reaching the Top Ten, and 3 topping the charts.  And, pop star Kelly Clarkson is finding a home on country radio since reaching #2 with Reba on “Because of You” in 2007 and #1 with Jason Aldean in 2011 with “Don’t You Wanna Stay”.

However, the hottest female on country radio is Carrie Underwood.  Despite her “American Idol” song, “Inside Your Heaven” stalling at #52 in 2005, once she released her first real country song, “Jesus, Take The Wheel”, all 16 of her songs sent to country radio have peaked at #1 or #2!  Of those sixteen country hits, 12 have topped the charts.

I really hate bringing up Faith, Reba, or even in the pop world, Madonna’s age, because I think it’s irrelevant.  However, it’s a reality.  Programmers had rather play young women on the radio.  On the pop charts, the same thing happens, too.  While her music is fun and catchy, it’s only taken Rihanna six short years to tie Madonna and the Supremes in fourth place with the most number one hits (12) on the Billboard Hot 100.

I’m going to have “faith” that the new Faith album will be hot in 2013 and you’ll hear her all over country radio where she was for much of the 1990s and the 2000s.

Faith’s first album, “Take Me As I Am” was released in October 1993.

Take Me As I Am

The first two singles, “Wild One” and “Piece of My Heart ” both topped the country charts.  The third single, “But I Will” was a misfire at radio only peaking at #35.  The fourth and final single from that debut album, the title track, went all the way to #2.

The “Take Me As I Am” album is my second favorite of Faith’s six studio albums (not counting 2008’s Christmas album, “Joy To The World”), but it is a very close race.  My favorite is the follow-up to that debut album, “It Matters To Me”.  (This is my autographed CD cover from when I met Faith!)

It Matters To Me Autograph

That album came out in August 1995 and produced five Top Ten hits:  “Let’s Go To Vegas” (#5), “It Matters To Me” (#1), “Someone Else’s Dream” (#3), “You Can’t Lose Me” (#6), and “I Can’t Do That Anymore” (#8).

Faith would have her next chart topper in the summer of 1997.  “It’s Your Love”, a duet with husband Tim McGraw from his “Everywhere” album, reached the top of the chart in only five weeks and dominated all of country music for six weeks.

In the spring of 1998, Faith released her third album simply titled “Faith”.  Unlike her first two albums that were straight up “country”, this album was aimed toward a crossover crowd.

The lead off single, “This Kiss”, not only topped the country charts, but it reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.  The country and pop success of that first single also helped “Faith” become her biggest selling album to date with U.S. certifications of more than 6 million albums shipped.

Faith would also have four other country hits from the album:  “Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me”, another duet with McGraw (#3), “Let Me Let Go” (#1), “Love Ain’t Like That” (#12), and “The Secret of Life”.

But, Faith’s star was still blazing bright and would shine even greater in the fall of 1999 when her fourth album, “Breathe” came out.

faith-hill breathe

The title track was the lead single and it hit #1 on the country charts and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.  The follow-up, “The Way You Love Me” would also top the country chart and it made it into the Top Ten on the Billboard Hot 100.

The video to “The Way You Love Me” was a pure sugary confection and it’s still one of my favorite Faith videos.

The album “Breathe” would ship more than 8 million copies and produce two more Top Ten country hits, a duet with McGraw, “Let’s Make Love” (#6) and “If My Heart Had Wings” (#3).  That was followed by the “Pearl Harbor” soundtrack hit, “There You’ll Be”, which hit #11 on the country chart.

With more than 14 million albums shipped of her last two albums, Faith released another pop album, “Cry”, in 2002.

Faith Hill Cry

While the album debuted at #1 on both the pop and country charts and sold more than four million copies worldwide, radio was not very receptive.

“Cry”, the first single only reached #12 country and #33 pop.  But, it did reach #1 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart.   Two more singles would chart at country radio, but they would only reach #26 and #28.  The song, “One”, would also reach the top ten on the AC chart.

Faith did win two Grammy awards for “Cry”, “Best Country Album” and “Best Female Country Vocal Performance”.

I loved the “Cry” album, but I’ll admit that eleven of the songs on the album are almost perfect, but the album drags a bit toward the end with filler material.  Sadly, this was a precursor of things to come.

In August 2005, Faith veered back to country music with the release of “Fireflies”.  It debuted at #1 on both the pop and country charts and would go on to sell 3.8 million copies worldwide.

Faith Hill  Fireflies

The first single, “Mississippi Girl” would top the country chart and three more songs from the album would reach the Top Ten.

I feel almost bad for saying this, but this is by far the least enjoyable Faith Hill album.  I loved the first three songs from the album and a few others, but most of them are sub-par for a woman of Faith’s caliber.

A greatest hits album would come in 2007 with two more modest hits that only reached #32 and #28 on the country charts.  “Red Umbrella”, the second new release from “The Hits” album should have been a bigger smash at country radio.

Faith’s first Christmas album, “Joy To The World”, was released in the fall of 2008 and it is absolutely amazing.  I love every song on the album and if I had to choose a song that was my least favorite, it would be “A Baby Changes Everything”.  However, it would top the AC charts for three weeks.  I highly recommend this one!

Faith_Hill-Joy_to_The_World

I would love to see Tim and Faith in Las Vegas when I’m there in January 2013 to see Lady Gaga, but it’s going to take a stroke of luck on eBay like when we won the Elton John tickets in October.

Faith Hill American Heart

Check out “American Heart”, it’s Faith better than she’s been in years!

Anthony