*Just like the headline says, this page/board is where you can discuss the stuff that we didn’t cover in today’s issue. (It’s sort of like feedback with a twist) Remember, NO name calling, racial taunting, graphic sex talk and vulgarity in general, PLEASE.
EUR MOTIVATIONAL NOTE
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dec. 12: Singer Dionne Warwick is 72. Singer-percussionist Sheila E. is 55.
Dec. 12, 1899: African-American George F. Grant, dentist and avid golfer, receives a patent for a wooden golf tee. (Source: www.BlackFacts.com)
She is best known for her work with Prince, George Duke and Ringo Starr.
As a child and teenager, she frequently performed with her father who was also a percussionist. By her early twenties she had already played with George Duke, Lionel Richie, Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock, and Diana Ross. She joined Prince on several Purple Rain recording sessions and served as a writer and musician on many of his records as well. In her own right, she scored hits with “The Glamorous Life” and “The Belle of St. Mark”. She was nominated for an American Music Award and a Grammy for “The Glamorous Life.”
She says of her faith, “I was raised Catholic and only went to church because I had to. But I actually gave my heart to the Lord for the first time when I was 18. I was playing in George Duke’s band and one of the singers was driving me to a meeting and I was crying, just stressed out. There was a bunch of stuff going on and I said, ‘You know what? This is crazy.’ She said, ‘Look, if you just give your heart to the Lord, everything will be fine.’ And I thought, ‘You know, it’s not that easy.’ She said, ‘No, really, it is.’ So we prayed in the car and I accepted Christ right then.”
Well, what’s there not to say? She was a musical prodigy darn near since birth and, we’re sure you all know about the whole Prince stint, as well as the slew of solo hits she has to her credit.
Recently the musical impresario sat down with EURweb.com’s Lee Bailey for a conversation about this and that. Practically everything except sneakers and hats. First and foremost though, she talks about the Playboy Jazz Festival as well as her music and a troubled event in her youth that inspired her. However, upon doing research for the interview we came across a piece of information that even we didn’t know about. An Emmy nomination?
“I got a call from Bounce (TV network), as well as the White House, to be musical director for a performance called Fiesta Latina for TBS and Terrence Swift, and other people from Bounce, asked me to be one of the producers as well,” she explained. “It was very cool to be honored and be acknowledged in that way for the first time ever, being nominated for an Emmy.”
Being nominated is one thing, but winning is another. It’s likely we didn’t hear more about it because she didn’t get the award.
“It’s pretty ironic actually,” said Sheila. “Everyone always asks me if I wasn’t playing music what would I be doing with my life. I was running track early in my years and I was breaking track records in sprint running. I was training and I wanted to be in the Olympics. I thought I was going to be able to win a gold medal and my mind was pretty much set on ‘this is what I want to do’. I loved running track, and I loved sports. I got that part from my Mom. The Emmy that I lost, and I can’t remember his name, I lost to the man who did the Olympics. So, it was great to lose to him. It’s the Olympics. ”
By the way she lost to composer John Pearce, musical director for the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Sheila E. (The E is for Escovedo) has performed with so many talented, Rock and Roll hall of fame bound, musicians and in renowned venues that it is a bit hard for one to fathom that she would be in awe of any event. However, she told us that playing at the legendary Playboy Jazz Festival is a little different.
“You grow up and you see on television these performances where someone has played the Hollywood Bowl,” she explained. “I didn’t live in Los Angeles, I grew up in the Bay Area, so to see it on television you see all the greats performed there. Then, when you finally drive up to the actual venue and see this historical place where you’re going to perform, and the great thing is for it to be called the Playboy Jazz Festival. It’s music! It’s part of the foundation of who I am as an artist, growing up listening to Latin jazz because of my Dad. It’s just an incredible place to be and I’m just honored and thrilled to be a part of it for so many years.”
Part of the reason why Sheila has so many fans from different backgrounds is because she is great at playing a multitude of musical styles. So, what can attendees at the Playboy Jazz Fest expect? The unexpected, of course.
“Actually, I have five different bands. I put bands together, like I’ve done for Beyonce, Prince and whoever. So people call me to put bands together or, for corporate things that I do, I just love playing music so much. Sometimes it just depends on whose available. My band members are incredible players, and they play with so many different people that I had to have like 5 bands. Some for just Latin jazz or salsa music, maybe one for some R&B or funk music, some Sheila E music. This band (that I’ll be playing with) is a band I put together more recently, I’d say about a year. We’ve been playing, on and off, for about a year now. It’s a great group of people that I think everybody is going to enjoy and, yes, my Dad (percussionist Pete Escovedo, a legend in his own right) will come and play a song or two with me. I gotta have Papi there.”
“You’re going to hear music that has inspired me over the years as far as me being an artist,” she continued. “My genre of music is very eclectic. I might play some latin jazz, or just go into a spontaneous jazz thing. That’s the thing about coming to one of my performances. Not every show is the same. The majority of my show is improvising. I can have a set of songs that we’re going to do, but a lot of it is just enjoyment. Part of it is interacting with the audience. I bring people up on stage. There’s a lot of improvising and that’s what keeps it fun for me. I don’t play the same thing all the time.”
For those that don’t know the Hollywood Bowl is … well, a bowl shaped outdoor venue in, where else, Hollywood … at the base of the Hollywood hills. It has been the home to the Playboy Jazz Festival for 34 years. We asked Sheila what unique challenges does playing outdoors present.
“One time I was playing on a tour with Ringo (Starr) and it was so hot that I had to be taken off the drums. The paramedics were there. That was the first time that ever happened. It wasn’t only the heat, but also the heat from the lights. I like it being hot, but temperature does play a role in how I play. When it gets cold outside, and it starting to get cold, and I’m playing the drums, because of the moisture on the drums you actually have to play harder. It doesn’t give you something back because of the moisture in the air.”
We understand not everyone can get out to Hollywood to check out the Jazz Festival to end all jazz festivals, but if you’re hankering for some Sheila E sounds then there is good news.
“I did want to mention that the E family has out a new CD called ‘Now and Forever’. We have such guests as Earth, Wind and Fire, Joss Stone, Raphael Saadiq, Joyce Gibbs and Israel Hoover.”
One of the incredible things about being in this line of work is finding out things about people that you otherwise would have never known. Sheila told us about her charitable endeavor, which is no big surprise really. Many artists have charities. It’s a widely recognized tax shelter. But this one goes much deeper than that. Way deep!
“People can go online to my foundation,” she explained. “It’s called elevatehope.org. We raise money and use that to bring music to children in foster care. It’s to give them tools and give them hope to be creative and express themselves. One reason that’s important to me is because my Dad, for a couple years, he was left in an orphanage. Early on he put all our instruments in the car and said ‘As bad as we have it, even though we’re on welfare there’s always someone who is worse off than we are. So, let’s just go to these facilities and play for the kids and give them something. I know how it feels.’ My manager and I did Elevate Hope together. We found that the more people we talked to, more than half were molested or raped. I was raped at the age of 5 by a babysitter, and she was molested as well. Music was one of the healing parts of my life. It’s not like a book that we just read. We understand because we went through the same things. We know how music helped us to heal. Some of them have been so abused that they don’t know how to communicate and they don’t know how to express themselves. Music is a speaking piece for them to allow them to break down those barriers and those walls.”
If you want to catch Sheila at the Playboy Jazz Festival, along with Ramsey Lewis, Boney James, Robin Thicke, the Dap Kings and many, many others, there’s still chance. The fun doesn’t start until June 16th and runs through the 17th. Log onto www.elevatehope.org to find out how you can help bring music to a child who really needs it.
*As previously reported, Gloria Gaynor, Gladys Knight, Thelma Houston and Sheila E. were due to honor the late Donna Summer during Wednesday’s “American Idol” finale, but the all-star moment never happened – with zero explanation from producers.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the salute, which also included Jennifer Holliday and Nelly Furtado, was scheduled for the first half of the two-hour show, but was pulled last-minute by the network.
Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe tells THR that the reason the medley was cut was “purely and simply time [constraints].”
However, some in the audience had seen a portion of the tribute taped at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater on Tuesday, when Kristin Chenoweth and “Idol” runner-up Jessica Sanchez teamed for “Enough is Enough,” Summer’s chart-topping single with Barbra Streisand. The performance was described by one observer as “weak,” notes THR.
Some of the tribute participants were also heard rehearsing a medley on Tuesday night. In fact, according to a THR source, “Idol” had already paid for several of the artists’ travel and accommodations. Still, another insider tells THR that at least one of the women — Furtado — was never confirmed for the finale in the first place.
In related news, ratings for this year’s “American Idol” finale were the lowest in its 11-year history – and down 32% compared to season 10′s last show.
American Idol finalists Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez
*Tonight’s “American Idol” season 11 finale will feature all-star musical tributes to the late Donna Summer and Robin Gibb.
Helping the contestants translate Summer’s classic songbook (the disco queen appeared on the season 7 finale) will be a group performance with ’70s icons Gloria Gaynor, Thelma Houston and Gladys Knight joined by Nelly Furtado, Sheila E., Jennifer Holliday and, of course, the Season 11 girls (later in the show, they perform with Chaka Khan).
In addition, Broadway and “Glee” star Kristin Chenoweth will trade vocals with finalist Jessica Sanchez on the Summer-Barbra Streisand girl power anthem, “Enough is Enough.”
Among the other stars set to perform with the finalists are John Fogerty, who will duet with Phillip Phillips, Reba McEntire, who will kick up her boots with Skylar Laine and the long-awaited Fantasia-Mantasia mash-up for second runner-up Joshua Ledet.
Sanchez will join “Dreamgirls” soul-mate Holliday for an encore performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” and the boys will sing with Neil Diamond for yet another group number.
Latin superstars Wisin and Yendel will salsa with touring partner and “Idol” judge Jennifer Lopez, while Hollie Cavanagh will team with Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks for a Broadway show tune.
Previously announced performers include hitmaker Rihanna and rockers Aerosmith.
The season finale airs tonight from 8 to 10:07 p.m. on FOX.
*Fourteen thousand, three hundred and forty five people converged upon The Hollywood Bowl to enjoy Dave Koz and Friends at the Smooth Summer Jazz concert.
Presented by the LA Philharmonic, performances featured Bobby Caldwell and Sheila E., jazz fusion band Spyro Gyra, vocalist Phil Perry and iconic bassist Larry Graham with Graham Central Station.
Dave Koz has generated fifteen studio albums over the past two decades including his latest release “Hello Tomorrow” and finishes a two-and-a-half month tour on this night. To add even more flavor to this spirited lineup, the legendary Pete Escovedo sits in.
It simply doesn’t get much better than this.
Phil Perry opened the show. With musical collaborations that read like a “Who’s Who in Music” Perry is recognized for his bright, multi-octave range so aptly demonstrated on this night with his amazing cover of the Patti LaBelle staple, “If Only You Knew.” Perry, who toured the country with Dave Koz in 2007, has also recorded an impressive body of work in film music. Tonight he and his incredible band set the tone for an awe-inspired evening; caressing the audience with Christopher Cross’ “Ride Like The Wind, and The Spinners, “Love Don’t Love Nobody” – a hit for Perry on his 1994 solo album, “Pure Pleasure.”
As the beautiful Hollywood Bowl stage made its 180º turn to reveal Spyro Gyra, one of the most commercially successful and musically diverse bands of the era, the audience is transported to another place and time by ‘Caribe’ a lazy afternoon kind of song set to a solid reggae beat. A single from the bands’ newest CD, “A Foreign Affair,” with a beautiful sax overlay by bandleader, saxophonist Jay Beckenstein, the song is an appropriate introduction to Spyro Gyra’s newest member, Trinidadian drummer Bonny B. a phenomenal talent who at one point was given the stage, where he performed a heated solo sparking momentous applause from the audiences.
When Larry Graham and his band, Graham Central Station took the stage it was as if someone had turned up the heat. It was, after all, this inventor of the ‘slap bass’ or ‘Thumpin’ and Pluckin’ technique that brought the crowd to its feet…and kept them there. Audible before they were even visible, the groups’ emergence from the audience was in itself, dramatic. Fresh off a “special guest” gig with Prince in Copenhagen, Denmark, Graham, clad in his signature all-white, with a hat topped off by a huge aqua blue feather, hit the stage where he performed a brief ‘happy dance’ – grabbed his prominently placed electric bass, held it in dramatic pause above his head and sent the audience into a frenzy before segueing into the group’s opening mantra, ‘We’ve Been Waiting.’
A band with this kind of staying power has obviously gone through some casting changes. On this night Graham took a moment to introduce the groups’ newest vocalist, Ashling ‘Biscuit’ Cole, who takes over the unmistakable vocals made famous by original GCS member, Patrice “Chocolate” Banks. ‘Biscuit’ as she is called, and her powerful alto, had the audience in the palm of her hand by the third song: “I Can’t Stand the Rain”. The band performed their 1975 hit, “The Jam” before taking fans back in time with “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again), and “Dance To The Music” from Graham’s Sly & The Family Stone days. At one point the band exited the stage leaving Graham to work that thumb, alone with the drummer, for a two-minute-forty-five-second bass solo.
For his fans this was nothing short of a Holy moment.
Dave Koz is celebrated as one of the most passionate and skilled saxophonists around and on this night he was on fire. Feeding off of guitarist Randy Jacobs and bassist Andre Berry, the three brilliantly shared center stage; as Koz performed the music that has made him one of the most respected artists of the genre. Performing “Put the Top Down” from Hello Tomorrow (2010) and “Can’t Let Go” (The Sha La song) from The Dance (1999) among other favorites, he definitely gained new fans as some audience members, obviously unaware of the artist’s repertoire screams excitedly, “OMG, this is HIS song!?” Bobby Caldwell and later, Sheila E. have been featured artists on the “Dave Koz and Friends” tour, and they share the stage with him tonight.
Caldwell, who gave Dave Koz his first professional gig in 1985, sings his timeless classic, “What You Won’t Do For Love” and laughs as he shares with the audience how, in 1979, Billboard hailed him as “The Best New Black Artist of the Year.” You had to be there to really appreciate this remark.
Seeing as Bobby Caldwell is a white man.
Fans cheered when Sheila E. came on. The sexy and spirited percussionist played her timbales before bringing her 76-year-old percussionist dad, the renowned Pete Escovedo onstage to join her. Together with Koz, they rocked the house; inviting dozens of fans onstage to dance to the song, “All Around” from the new E. Family CD, “Now and Forever.”
“Now you can put this on your resume. You danced onstage with Dave Koz, Sheila E. and Pete Escovedo!” Sheila E. exclaimed before performing “Glamorous Life” on which Dave Koz did a solo. Before exiting the stage, the former Prince protégé teased the crowd with a few notes that implied she would perform, “Love Bazaar” but no such luck. She exited, much to the crowds dismay, without doing the song. But Dave Koz brought her back to join him on one last performance, a tribute he said, “to one of our fallen heroes: Michael Jackson.” The audience, who had started to filter out of the stadium, stopped and joined those onstage singing the chant, “Mama se, mama sa, ma ma kusa” as Jackson’s song, “Don’t Stop Til’ You Get Enough” filled the airwaves.
DeBorah B. Pryor is a freelance journalist with more than 400 published articles to her credit. She is an adjunct instructor at UCLA Extension and the author of a communications-based curriculum, “Public Speaking for the Private Person” now on CD. Visit The Art of Communication website at http://www.dpryorpresents.com to learn more about her work.
*In case you missed Prince on “Lopez Tonight,” here is the interview as well as footage of his performances, including a rendition of James “D Train” Williams’ “You’re The One for Me” with Sheila E, his new song “Laydown” and his classic “The Beautiful Ones.”
But first, Prince sits down with Lopez to discuss his influences, how the Internet has changed music, and why he auctioned off one of his favorite guitars for charity. He also admits to forgetting the lyrics to his own songs.
*A desire to memorialize his heroes — including James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist Garry Shider and jazz legends such as Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis — drove Bootsy Collins to make “Tha Funk Capitol of the World,” his first new album in five years, reports Billboard.
“In 2008 we went out and did a tribute to James Brown tour with…as many of the JBs together as I could,” the iconic bassist and bandleader, who’s worked with Brown as well as Parliament-Funkadelic and his own Rubber Band, tells Billboard.com. “That really got me thinking about all these great cats who are no longer around and how people are just forgetting about them, and the music is becoming so watered down now. We’re forgetting the ones that really opened the door. Since I’m still here, I really wanted to connect those dots…so young people can see that what they think is so new isn’t so new.”
The 16 tracks on “Tha Funk Capitol of the World” — due April 26 on Mascot Records — were written and recorded during the past two and a half years, according to Collins. They feature a stellar guest list that includes P-Funk mate George Clinton and Shider’s widow, Linda, on “Garry Shider Tribute;” the rap trio of Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and Public Enemy’s Chuck D, on “Hip Hop @ Funk U;” Musiq Soulchild and Tom Joyner, on “Yummy, I Got the Munchies;” Bobby Womack and Collins’ brother, the late guitarist Catfish Collins, on “Don’t Take My Funk;” actor Samuel L. Jackson (“After These Messages”); Dr. Cornel West (“Freedumb”) and Rev. Al Sharpton on the Brown tribute, “JB — Still the Man.”
The speaking voice of Jimi Hendrix, meanwhile, shows up on “Mirrors Tell Lies.” “We’ve got him speaking about certain things that went on in his career and how he saw things,” says Collins, who narrated the “Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child” documentary for “West Coast Seattle Boy” box set released in November. “He’s speaking through it in different spots. It’s pretty cool, a different approach to a song, I think.”
Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten and Dennis Chambers, meanwhile, play on a “country meets funk, folk kind of thing” called “If Looks Could Kill,” while Collins is putting the finishing touches on a tribute track called “The Jazz Greats,” which will include guest performances by George Duke and possibly Herbie Hancock.
“I wanted to kind of expand and not just have an album of only funk,” Collins explains. “I wanted to add a little rock, a little jazz, a little gospel in there, just come up with this thing where I can break out into a whole new kind of area. You still get a whole lot of funk, but at the same time we took a few different approaches.”
Collins is planning appearances at the NAMM convention Jan. 12-16 in Anaheim and on Feb. 28 at the private Hard Rock Funk Legends show in New York City, but he also hopes to tour behind “Tha Funk Capitol of the World” this year.
“The next project is to try to work that out,” he says. “(The show) would have to be based around this album, not based around what I’ve done in the past…All these (guests) are up for it, so it’s a matter of scheduling…maybe get one or two people to show up at certain gigs. That would be amazing. I’m into challenge. I’m into change and doing things differently. This would be something different for me.”
The full track listing for “The Funk Capitol of the World” includes:
*TV One just wrapped up its panel at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour promoting two upcoming programs: the first full season of Tatyana Ali’s series “Love That Girl!,” premiering Monday (Jan. 10) at 9 p.m., and a four-part Black History Month celebration titled “Way Black When,” coming in February.
In “Love That Girl!” Ali stars as Tyana Jones, a young divorcee who returns home to Southern California for a second chance in life and a career in her father’s (Phil Morris) real estate business. When her unemployed brother Latrell (Alphonso McAuley), an aspiring stand-up comedian, unexpectedly moves in with her, the world that she was trying to create is suddenly turned upside down.
TV One aired four episodes of the series last year as a test run. Creator Bentley Kyle Evans, a writer from “Martin” and “The Jamie Foxx Show,” produced the episodes himself – calling on favors from friends and industry contacts to get the shows made. Based on viewer reaction, the network opted to produce an additional 13 episodes.
“The ratings were great,” TV One Senior Vice President of Original Programing Toni Judkins tells EURweb exclusively. “The audience loved it. We took some of their positive comments, negative, whatever it was as we decided to go forward.
“We don’t have the opportunity to go out and test and do some of the things the major networks do. So we said you know what, Bentley? We’ll put it up there. If they respond, then we’ll look into it.”
Sinbad, one of the hosts of TV One's "Way Black When"
“Way Black When” – back for its second year as part of TV One’s “Our History Month” initiative – is a month of programming designed to reflect on black pop culture from the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s.” Sinbad hosts the 70s, while Niecy Nash covers the 80s and Christopher “Kid” Reid takes on the 90s.
Each hour-long talk show will feature interviews with pop culture icons that span the three decades, including Jim Brown, Jayne Kennedy, Ernest Thomas, Todd Bridges, Dick Gregory, Sheila E. and Paul Mooney– to name a few, as well as musical performances from Cuba Gooding Sr., Evelyn Champagne King, Doug E. Fresh and Larry Graham.
The House Band for all of the episodes: Mint Condition.
"Way Black When" co-host Christopher "Kid" Reid
“They had just flown in in from performing in Iraq,” Judkins told the room full of TCA reporters this afternoon in Pasadena. “Jimmy Fallon has the Roots, we have Mint Condition.”
“We’re trying to organize a [TV] band fight,” Kid chimed in. “…Have Mint Condition go against the Roots and Paul Schaffer.”
Also on deck: a “New Jack City” night with guests Mario Van Peebles, Jasmine Guy, Christopher Williams, and “the guy that shot Nino Brown,” Kid said.
As for rounding up the guest stars, Judkins said everyone they approached was more than willing to participate. In fact, the biggest challenge was trying to figure out which decade would be hosted by Nash.
Niecy Nash of "Way Black When"
After talking to the former “Clean House” host, Judkins said it quickly became apparent where she belonged.
“I think of myself as an eighties baby,” Nash told reporters Wednesday. “Maybe it was because I was in high school. I was a head cheerleader, thank you very much. …The music, the hairdos – I had them all. Todd Bridges didn’t know he was my boyfriend.”
Also on deck for TV One, a new season of “Unsung” will begin airing in the spring and fall, and TV One’s biography series “Life After” begins airing new episodes in the summer.
*The sudden death of Teena Marie has generated shock and sadness among her fans and friends in the music industry, many of whom took to Twitter to share memories and express condolences, reports MTV.
Diddy tweeted: “R.I.P Teena Marie. God Bless. Damn I just saw her the other day.”
Mary J. Blige also took to Twitter to pay her final respects to the influential artist, who was a friend and protégé of Rick James’. “Rest in peace Teena Marie,” Blige wrote. “My Love for u is forever.”
Common cited their shared astrological sign as a reason he felt so connected to her music. “Teena and I are both Pisces and we believe that we’ve been here before,” he tweeted. “That’s why ‘De Ja Vu’ is my favorite song.”
Prince protégé Sheila E, also shared how much she will miss the singer on Twitter. “I will miss my girl Teena Marie, Real music by real people. God bless my sistah and her family. U will be missed.”
R&B songwriting duo Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff, who wrote hits like “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” the “Soul Train” theme song and “Back Stabbers,” remembered the singer in a statement: “We’re shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Teena Marie. She was one of the most memorable, soulful and unique R&B vocalists to come out of Motown. We send our condolences to Teena’s family, the entire Motown family and of course, our dear friend Berry Gordy.”
Teena Marie sings to Motown founder Berry Gordy (L) during a tribute honoring Gordy at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Heart Foundation in Beverly Hills, in this June 7, 2008 file photo.
Eddie Levert, founder of the O’Jays, recalled Marie’s personal and professional contributions in a statement to CNN. “There are a lot of black people who swore by her and believed in her, as far as her music was concerned,” he said. “She was a good mom, and to me, that is saying a lot.”
Marie was known for hits like “Lovergirl” and “Square Biz.” Her daughter found her dead Sunday. No cause of death has been released, but her publicist said Marie suffered a grand mal seizure a month ago, from which she was still recovering.
*Prince put on the first of three scheduled concerts at Madison Square Garden Saturday night and it was was teeming with celebrities – many of whom ended up jamming with His Royal Badness on stage.
Spike Lee, Naomi Campbell, Jamie Foxx and his homegirls from “The View” – Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd – were among the famous faces pulled on stage during the sold-out show.
Prince had some extra fun with Shepherd, who famously swooned over him during his surprise visit to “The View” last week. After calling her on stage Saturday, he pretended to bolt — like he did at “The View” after she told him of her longtime fantasy to make love to him. But when he mentioned her name at the Garden, he slyly told her: “Come on, Sherri. Dance with me, please. I wanna see what you really do.”
Lee played the tambourine as Alicia Keys, Foxx, Professor Cornel West, talk-show host Tavis Smiley, Sinbad, John Leguizamo and others danced onstage with Prince and Sheila E. to their hit “A Love Bizarre” during the second of two encores. The audience benefited from huge monitor screens above and around the stage — which was in the shape of Prince’s logo and featured lights around it like an airport landing strip.
The concert was part of Prince’s “Welcome 2 America” performances in the New York City area; this was his first night at MSG.
Although Prince released a new album overseas this year, Saturday’s concert was classic Prince. He sang memorable tunes like “Kiss,” “1999,” “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Purple Rain” — the only thing missing from the old days were the heels he used to wear, according to AP. (He strutted and danced on stage in more sensible flats.)
Prince gave fans a surprise as he dusted off some of the more sexier songs from his classic catalog, including “Cream,” “Shhh” and “U Got The Look.” The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer hadn’t sung many of those songs in years since he became a Jehovah’s Witness. He didn’t get too wild though and didn’t pull out songs from his once-raunchy past, according to the AP.
The audience roared at the opening chords of each familiar number, from “The Beautiful Ones” (performed with the accompaniment of a sexy ballet dancer) to “Let’s Go Crazy” to “Delirious” to “Raspberry Beret” to “Nothing Compares 2 U” to “Purple Rain.” The only cover songs on display, Sylvester’s “Dance (Disco Heat)” and The Time’s “Cool,” were melded seamlessly into the lineup.
Before her appearance for the all-star ”Love Bizarre” encore, Sheila E. was brought out to thunderous applause for a duet on “U Got the Look” and a lengthy solo on “The Glamorous Life” that allowed Prince time for a costume change.
Bass player Larry Graham and Graham Central Station, one of Prince’s musical inspirations, served as the opening act. Graham commented that it was his first time performing at Madison Square Garden since he appeared as part of Sly & the Family Stone. Prince briefly joined them for a raucous medley of that group’s hits, including such classics as “Family Affair” and “Everyday People.”
Prince has two more dates left at the Garden — one later in December and another in January. Judging from the extended standing ovation he received Saturday night, he’s looking forward to coming back. As he left the stage, he quipped: “This is my house now.”
*Prince’s two-night stand at New York’s 20,000-capacity Madison Square Garden – where he will play master of ceremonies to an all-star revue that will feature performances by Janelle Monae, Maceo Parker and Sheila E., among others – has sold out in 30 minutes.
The Dec. 18 and 29 shows, which the singer announced at an Oct. 14 press conference held at Harlem’s Apollo Theater, mark his first performances on the East Coast since 2004.
Three more shows at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, are scheduled for December 14, 15 and 17.
Upon announcing the five-date “Welcome 2 America” jaunt, Prince, who never plays the same set twice, encouraged ticket buyers to arrive early and “bring foot spray” because, “it’s gonna be funky.”
*Prince just revealed some dates for his upcoming “Welcome 2 America” tour.
As previously reported, His Royal Badness announced the outing at an Oct. 14 press conference at New York’s Apollo Theater, and that he would be joined by Janelle Monae, Sheila E., Maceo Parker and Graham Central Station, among others.
Also, Prince announced he would play a solid gold Fender Custom Stratoscaster that would be auctioned off to charity at the end of the run.
That run, according to today’s announcement, will include stops in New York and New Jersey in December. See below.
Order tickets starting Saturday, October 30 at 10 am through livenation.com, 800.745.3000 or at Ticketmaster locations and box offices. Tickets start at just $20.10!
Wanda Sykes in her Emmy-nominated HBO special "I'ma Be Me"
*Wanda Sykes, Sheila E and Andre Braugher were among the nominees announced this morning for the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards.
Sykes’ HBO special “I’ma Be Me” was recognized in the Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special category, alongside the MTV-produced telethon “Hope for Haiti Now,” CBS’ “The Kennedy Center Honors” and fellow HBO specials “Bill Maher: But I’m Not Wrong,” “Robin Williams: Weapons of Self Destruction ” and “The 25th Anniversary Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Concert.”
Sykes’ “I’ma Be Me” was also nominated in the Outstanding Writing for Variety Music or Comedy Special.
Percussionist Sheila E earned a nomination as the music director of PBS’s “In Performance At The White House: Fiesta Latina.” She’s in the Outstanding Music Direction category with Marc Shaiman (ABC’s 82nd Annual Academy Awards), David Foster (PBS’ “Andrea Bocelli & David Foster: My Christmas (Great Performances)”), David Downes (PBS’ “Celtic Woman: Songs From The Heart”) and Rob Mathes and Rob Berman (CBS’ “The Kennedy Center Honors”).
Sheila E with President Obama and first daughters Malia (left) and Sasha during PBS's "In Performance At The White House: Fiesta Latina"
Andre Braugher earned recognition in the Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series category for his role in TNT’s “Men of a Certain Age.” He’ll face off against Aaron Paul of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn of ABC’s “Lost,” John Slattery of AMC’s “Mad Men” and Martin Short of FX’s “Damages.”
Forest Whitaker and BET show up In the category of Exceptional Merit In Nonfiction Filmmaking. Whitaker received an executive producer nod for “Brick City,” the Sundance Channel documentary series on Newark, New Jersey and its
Andre Braugher (middle) with co-stars of TNT's "Men of a Certain Age"
mayor Cory Booker. BET’s docu-series “Pressure Cooker,” about an inner city high school culinary arts class and its teacher Wilma Stephenson, earned a nomination for executive producer Jeff Skoll. Both are nominated against executive producers for the PBS specials “My Lai,” “Nerakhoon (The Betrayal),” “Patti Smith: Dream Of Life.”
HBO’s “By the People: The Election of Barack Obama” received nominations for Outstanding Nonfiction Special, as well as editing (Sam Pollard, Geeta Gandbhir and Arielle Amsalem) and directing (Amy Rice, Alicia Sams) in the Nonfiction Programming category.
Isaiah Mustafa – aka the Old Spice brother – helped his famous ad “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” earn a nomination for Outstanding Commercial. Its biggest competition in the category will likely be “Game” the Snicker’s ad starring Betty White. Also in the category: “Anthem” (Absolut); “Coke Finals” (Coca-Cola), “Green Police” (Audi) and “Human Chain” (Nike).
Clarke Peters as Albert "Big Chief" Lambreaux in HBO's "Treme"
Other nominees of note…
HBO’s “Treme,” about life in post-Katrina New Orleans, received nominations for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (Agnieszka Holland for the pilot “Do You Know What It Means”) and Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics (Steve Earle, composer/lyricist for “This City” in the episode “I’ll Fly Away”).
The “Robby” episode of A&E’s “Intervention” featuring Robby Pardlo of the R&B group City High was nominated for Outstanding Picture Editing for Reality Programming. The episode’s editor Erik Christensen faces competition from CBS’ “The Amazing Race” (ep: “I Think We’re Fighting the Germans, Right?”); ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (ep: “The Muppet Edition”), CBS’ “Survivor: (ep: “Tonight, We Make Our Move”) and Bravo’s “Top Chef” (episodes: “Vivre Las Vegas” and “Magical Elves”).
Wendy and Lisa, former members of Prince’s band The Revolution, were nominated for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music for Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie.” (Watch here.) Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman will compete against the creators of theme songs for Fox’s “Human Target,” FX’s “Justified,” NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” and Syfy’s “Warehouse 13.”
Overall, HBO’s World War II miniseries, “The Pacific,” led with 24 nominations; followed by Fox’s “Glee” with 19, including best comedy series and acting nods for stars Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele.
HBO's "The Pacific"
Conan O’Brien’s short tenure as host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” nabbed a nomination for Best Variety, Music or Comedy Series, while resurrected Jay Leno was snubbed in the category.
Besides “Glee,” other newcomers receiving Emmy recognition include “Modern Family,” with nods for best comedy series and for five members of its ensemble cast; and “The Good Wife,” a nominee for best drama and recognition for star Julianna Margulies.
The critically-acclaimed but ratings-challenged “Friday Night Lights” received two acting nods for its stars Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton.
Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton of NBC's "Friday Night Lights"
The most-nominated reality programs were “Dancing with the Stars” with nine bids, “The Amazing Race” with seven and “American Idol” with six.
“Saturday Night Live” received 12 nominations for a total 126 nominations during its run, surpassing the “ER” all-time record of 124 bids. One of the “SNL” nominations went to the broadcast featuring host Betty White.
HBO received the most nominations overall, with 101 bids, followed by ABC with 63 and CBS with 57. NBC earned 48, Fox received 47 and PBS had 32. Showtime had 23 nods.
The Emmy Awards will air Aug. 29 on NBC, with Jimmy Fallon hosting. The ceremony, which usually airs in September, was moved up to avoid a conflict with NBC’s Sunday NFL broadcasts.