U2 to Showcase their Experience on 2018 Experience + Innocence Tour

U2 announced that their 2018 Experience + Innocence Tour will commence this May in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  It’s set to end in June in Newark, New Jersey.

When it’s all said and done, U2 concert tickets will have been collected in 15 North American cities including Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Boston.

This will be U2’s second tour in as many years.  In 2017, they hit the road to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their seminal release, Joshua Tree.  The band played more than 50 dates in three continents while celebrating their legendary album.

This is U2’s second trek using the “Experience + Innocence” moniker.  Their previous trip under that name took place in 2015.

That excursion supported the album Songs of Innocence.  Their upcoming jaunt will support Songs of Experience.  The new opus is set to drop on Dec. 1.

U2 lost their innocence long ago, but have experience to spare.  All four band members are closer to 60 then they are to 50.

The teenage son of Bono, Eli Hewson, and the twenty-year-old daughter of The Edge, Sian Evans, adorn the cover of the band’s forthcoming LP.

Adult children are only the beginning of the band’s “experience.”

U2 is 41 years old.  They formed in 1976.

This past spring, the foursome celebrated the 40th anniversary of their first gig.  This winter, they can wish their first tour happy 37th birthday.  “U2-3” launched in 1979 and ended in 1980.

Their first single, “Another Day,” and their first album, Boy, both dropped in 1980.  In other words, both are 37.

The band’s third album, War, which knocked Michael Jackson off the top of the charts in the United Kingdom, is 34-years old.

U2’s performance at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium is more than two-and-thirty years.  That performance showed the world the greatness of a U2 concert.

We’ve already mentioned that three decades have passed since the release of Joshua Tree.  Not only was that the band’s creative pinnacle, it was also their bestselling album.  It has moved more than 25 million units.

In 2018, the band’s popular rockumentary, Rattle and Hum, will celebrate its pearl anniversary.  That means Bono has been asking fans if he’s “bugging” them for 30 years.  Both the album and movie were released in October of 1988.

Also turning the big 3-0 in 2018, are the first two of U2’s 22 Grammy Awards.  That year, they won the trophies for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Album of the Year.

In 1997, U2 released what many view as their weakest offering, Pop.  The oeuvre’s age is now north of three decades.

To put the band’s immense experience in perspective, their tenth studio album, All That You Can’t Leave behind—the one with “Beautiful Day” and “Elevation”—will be old enough to vote in 2018.

That is if the album was American and an actual person.  All That You Can’t Leave Behind came out in 2000!

In 2018, the band celebrates the ninth anniversary of the highest grossing tour of all-time, “U2 360° Tour.”  That 110-concert odyssey grossed nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars.

U2’s 2018 Experience + Innocence Tour

Andrea Bocelli’s Music Attracts Chicks Says Science

Andrea Bocelli and his wife

You’ll probably agree with me that Andrea Bocelli is one of the world’s most successful musicians.  In case you don’t, let’s quickly rundown his accomplishments.

Andrea Bocelli concerts sellout all over the world.

The singer has sold more than 80 million albums during his illustrious career.

His 1999 release, Sacred Arias, is the bestselling classical crossover album of all-time.

His duet with Sarah Brightman, “Time to Say Goodbye,” is one of the bestselling singles of all-time.

He has performed for Pope Benedict XVI, Italian president Silvio Berlusconi, the British Royal Family, and U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

He has performed with dozens of big name artists including Céline Dion, Josh Groban, Mary J. Blige, Katharine McPhee, Valery Gergiev, Renée Fleming, Gianna Nannini, and Sesame Street’s Elmo.

While it’s easy to sing the praises of the Italian singer, it’s unlikely that many will place him in the same category of popular music icons like Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, and Harry Styles.

After all, Bocelli sings music of the classical and operatic persuasion.  Those kinds of tunes are supposedly stuffy and banal.  Sure, he’s extremely successful, but he doesn’t have “rock star” status, or even pop star credentials.

If that’s your opinion, you might want to reevaluate.  That’s because a recent Daily Mail article shows Bocelli living the rock star lifestyle.

The article I’m referring to is: “Andrea Bocelli, 58, enjoys romantic beach day with bikini-clad wife Veronica Berti, 33, during Italian vacation on the Mediterranean.”

The story contains about a dozen images of Bocelli, and his smoking hot wife, having fun on Italian sands.  Thankfully, Berti was the only one scantily clad—Bocelli had a shirt on.

If frolicking on the beach with someone half your age, and who’s nearly naked, is not part of the “rock star” lifestyle then I don’t know what is.

“Getting chicks” has always been the main motivation for young boys to pick up guitars and teach themselves to windmill power chords.  After seeing that article, maybe some will learn to sing Puccini.

Sure, being accepted into the realm of Rock Valhalla was also on the minds of these burgeoning musicians, but their immediate goal was making themselves attractive.  Teens hold shiny new guitars and glide their hands over its curves because they hope that if they master the instrument they’ll be able to glide their hands over another kind of curves.

Looking at Bocelli and his betrothed, the genre of music doesn’t matter—although it probably does matter if you’re playing polka or sing in a barbershop quartet.  Andrea Bocelli proves that if you can make beautiful music, you can land a beautiful cohort.

Up until now, my tongue has been firmly planted in my cheek.  While no one is going to object to the attention of an attractive suitor, Bocelli, and countless other musicians, are serious artists committed to their craft.

Bringing attention to the article was meant to highlight the age-old notion that musicians land chicks.  Thanks to some very smart Canadians, there might be something to this notion.

There is new scientific evidence that shows a connection between music and sex—beside the one fostered by seven decades of rock and roll.

A recent study conducted by neuroscientists at McGill University in Canada found that music and sex stimulate the same chemical system in the brain.

To discover all this, researchers blocked, in seventeen test subjects, the natural opioid substances the brain produces when “having a good time.”  Then, they had their guinea pigs listen to music.

The test subjects knew they should like the music, some even said it was beautiful, but none were moved by it.  In other words, the music didn’t stir their emotions.

McGill University’s test was a bit of history.  It was the first time the brain’s opioids had been shown to be directly involved in the enjoyment of listening to music.

Since these opioids are also produced by food and drugs, researchers hope to use their findings to help treat addiction.

The implication of all this, besides showing that young boys forming rock bands are amateur neuroscientists, is how big of a role evolution has played in our enjoyment of music.  The ability for music to affect our emotional state didn’t happen overnight.  It took a long time.

So, “chicks,” and more specifically Andrea Bocelli’s wife, are drawn to singers, guitarists, and the like because music makes them feel good and they associate those positive feelings with the individual musician.

If you want to woo a potential paramour, or force your brain to release opioids, all you have to do is become a world-famous musician or attend an upcoming Andrea Bocelli concert.

The Italian tenor has several dates on the books for the waning months of 2017 in Europe and North America.

In October, Bocelli has two shows planned in Verona and one in Amsterdam.  The following month, look for Bocelli in Kaunas at the Zalgiris Arena on Nov. 4; in Riga at the Riga Arena on Nov. 7; and in Krakow at the Tauron Arena on Nov. 11

In the second half of the month, Bratislava hosts Bocelli on Nov. 19 and Budapest rolls out the welcome mat at the Papp Laszlo Sport Arena on Nov. 25.

Bocelli has eight dates planned for December in the United States.  On Dec. 1, Bocelli will perform at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.  On Dec. 3, the crooner is set to perform at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit.

Staying in the Midwest, and getting away from awfully-named arenas, Bocelli has a concert plotted for Chicago and the United Center on Dec. 6.  Two days later, he’ll wow fans at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.  The Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. greets Bocelli on Dec. 17.

New York City is the site for Bocelli’s final two performances of 2017.  Both are organized for Madison Garden and they’ll happen on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14.

The classical crossover artist already has ten dates planned for 2018 including shows in Zagreb, Munich, and Prague.

Seven Reasons Why Queen Is A Legendary Band

In late June, Queen + Adam Lambert launched their first tour of North America since 2017.  They’ll visit 26 cities in the United States and Canada between June 23 and August 5.

Look for the band in Chicago on July 13, Boston on July 25, and New York City on July 28 (Queen will perform at Barclays Center in Brooklyn).  Their final date in the New World is set for August 5th in Houston.

The current version of Queen is comprised of just two members of their classic lineup—Brian May and Roger Taylor.  Freddie Mercury died in 1991 and bassist John Deacon retired in 1997.

Adam Lambert has been with Queen since 2011.  Before that, Paul Rodgers sang lead.

Queen has not released an album since Made in Heaven in 1995.  That was created with parts Mercury recorded before he died.

I think even May and Taylor will tell you that the current incarnation of Queen isn’t really Queen without Freddie Mercury.  Nonetheless, their music is so memorable, and so powerful, that fans will take what they can get.

May reprising his face-shredding licks on Red Special, and Taylor expertly leading the rhythm section, is still pretty good.  Basically, seeing half a great band in concert is better than not seeing one at all.  Furthermore, Lambert is an amazing performer and does the material justice.

Regardless of what the remaining members do, Queen’s greatness is not in doubt.  In fact, this author extolls their virtues even further.  Queen is a legendary band.

What makes Queen legendary?  I’ll tell you.  Below are seven reasons why Queen deserves a place in the Valhalla of Rock.

Legendary Album Sales

In terms of sales, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, and Madonna lead the top tier of artists who claim 250 million, or more, in album sales.

Queen is in the next tier with legends like The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Celine Dion, and Whitney Houston.

Starting with their self-titled opus in 1973, Queen claims to have sold more than 200 million albums.  They’ve moved more units than The Eagles, U2, Aerosmith, and the Bee Gees.

Queen released their Greatest Hits compilation in 1981.  It went on to sell 25 million copies.  It’s the bestselling album in the United Kingdom and one of the bestselling albums of all-time.

Legendary Accomplishments

Beyond sales figures of 200 million, Queen has also charted 18 number-one albums and 18 number-one singles.  Ten of their DVD collections have also gone to the top of the charts.

Queen are members of the Rock and Roll, Grammy, UK Music, and Songwriters Halls of Fame.  They were the first band to be inducted into the Songwriters H.O.F.—hitherto, the organization had only inducted individuals.

Three of their songs, “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” have been enshrined in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

In 1990, Queen received the British Phonographic Industry‘s Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award.

Legendary Songs

To be a legendary rock band you need more than one legendary song.  You need several.  As alluded to in the previous section, Queen has at least three.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” is the second to the last song on A Night at the Opera (1975).  It’s the “Good Vibrations” of the 1970s.

“We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” were the first two tracks on their 1977 album, News of the World.  They were released on either side of the same single with “We Are the Champions” as the A-side and “We Will Rock You” as the B-side.

Legendary Albums

You can’t call yourself a rock fan unless A Night at the Opera, Sheer Heart Attack, Jazz, and News of the World are in your music collection.  While we’re talking about your tunes, you should probably have Queen II and Day at the Races too.

A Night at the Opera, named after a Marx Brothers film, was Queen’s breakout hit—it was their first platinum album in the United States.  At the time, it was the most expensive album ever made.

A Night at the Opera appears in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die as well as several lists and polls chronicling the best, or greatest, albums of all-time.

Legendary Live Band

Freddie Mercury was a born performer.  In fact, when he was alive, if aliens landed on Earth and asked to see a rock singer, you’d take the green extraterrestrial to a Queen concert.

In his suicide note, Kurt Cobain applauded the way Mercury embraced the roll of frontman.  David Bowie, Georgie Michael, and Robbie Williams have also expressed appreciation for Mercury’s stage prowess, but in less morbid forums.

Let’s not forget May, Taylor, and Deacon.  They’re no slouches when it comes to blowing the roof off the place.

During their career, Queen rocked about 700 live performances—the majority coming in the 1970s and many over two hours long.

Queen was renowned for including their fans.  In fact, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” were written, in large part, to encourage audience participation.

Legendary Performance

Every legendary band has a moment.  A moment that propels them into the upper atmosphere of rock music.

For Queen, that was their 1985 performance at Live Aid.  They only played 20 minutes, but those 20 minutes were the stuff of legend.

During a section of a cappella, Mercury held a note so long, and so well, that the moment became “The Note Heard Round the World.”  In 2005, a music industry poll named Queen’s Live Aid performance the best of all-time.

Legendary Diversity

To be a legendary rock band, you can’t keep releasing the same songs over and over again.  You need to diversify, take risks, and employ influences from other genres of music.

Queen certainly did that.  We’ve already mentioned their rock anthems, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions,” and their iconic incursion into blending rock with opera, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Let’s not forget their rockabilly inspired “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” their funky “Another One Bites the Dust,” and their perfect pop song, “You’re My Best Friend.”

Those are just the hits.  The aforementioned A Night at the Opera and Jazz are both known for being eclectic.

How Katy Perry, Adele, Lady Gaga, and Others Followed Up Their Hit Albums

Katy Perry
Katy Perry released her fifth studio opus, Witness, in June.  She’ll launch a tour to support that work late this summer.

Her trek kicks off Sept. 7 at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio.  The North American leg is scheduled to wrap Feb. 5, 2018 when Katy Perry performs in Vancouver, B.C.

Look for K.P. in Philadelphia on Sept. 18, Brooklyn on Nov. 11, and Atlanta on Dec. 12.  She plays two shows in Toronto, Boston, and Chicago.

Katy Perry also has two concerts planned for New York City.  Three shows are booked for Los Angeles.

Perry is an artist that’s released a very successful album.  I don’t mean an album that went to number one and sold a few copies.  I mean an album that sold millions and millions of copies, produces several hit singles, and won numerous awards.

Her historic album is Teenage Dream (2010).  The work went to number one in several countries, including the United States, sold more than six million copies, and was nominated for seven Grammy Awards.

Even more impressive, the album produced five number one singles.  Only one other album in the history of the world has ever done that, Michael Jackson’s Bad (more on that album later).

The success of Teenage Dream catapulted Perry into the record books, but it also put her in a tough situation, perhaps the toughest situation in music.  That tough situation is making an album after you had a monumental hit.

Her follow-up to Teenage Dream was Prism (2013).  It debuted at number one and eventually sold more than four million copies.  Instead of five, it produced just two number one singles.

Perry’s follow-up to Prism is the aforementioned Witness.  It hasn’t been released long enough to compare sales figure, but it did debut at number one (although it dropped to #13 the following week).

It should be noted that critics seemed to like Witness a lot less than they liked Teenage Dream or Prism.  That’s saying something because neither received many rave reviews.

How did the success of Perry’s follow-up compare to the follow-ups of other artists who released historically important albums?  See for yourself.

Below, are ten artists, their hit records, their follow-ups, and brief descriptions of their successes.

Hit Record: 21 (2011)
Follow-Up: 25 (2015)
Adele’s 21 was the bestselling album of 2011 and 2012, it won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and set a record for most weeks on the Billboard 200 for an album made by a woman. Adele’s next opus saw a 35 percent drop in sales—21 sold 31 million copies while 25 sold just 20 million. Like her debut, 25 won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

Alicia Keys
Hit Record: Songs in A Minor (2001)
Follow-Up: The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003)
Two Grammy ceremonies before Beyoncé won five, Alicia Keys took home the quintet. Songs in A Minor has sold about 13 million units. Quite a feat for any singer, but especially impressive when you consider Keys was 20 when all this went down. Her follow-up avoided the sophomore slump. The Diary of Alicia Keys sold eight million copies and picked up three Grammy awards.

Hit Record: Dangerously in Love (2003)
Follow-Up: B-Day (2006)
Beyoncé has yet to match the success of Dangerously in Love—eleven million in sales and five Grammy Awards. Her follow-up, B-Day, and the follow-up to that, I Am… Sasha Fierce, both sold more than eight million copies. Dangerously in Love and B-Day both peaked at number one. Then again, every Beyoncé album has reached the top spot of the Billboard 200.

Britney Spears
Hit Record: …Baby One More Time (1999)
Follow-Up: Oops!… I Did It Again (2000)
Britney Spears’ first two albums were released during the waning moments of when fans still bought physical copies of music. Together, her first two LPs combined for 45 million in sales. Both were gigantic successes, but her debut made her the “next Madonna,” a cultural icon, and a household name.

Bruno Mars
Hit Record: Unorthodox Jukebox (2012)
Follow-Up: 24K Magic (2016)
Doo-Wops & Hooligans (2010) sold as many units as Unorthodox Jukebox, six million, and both produced two number one singles. Doo-Wop was nominated for seven Grammy Awards but won none. Jukebox won a trophy for Best Pop Vocal Album. Unorthodox reached the zenith of the album charts. Doo-Wop only got as high as number three. That’s why I’ve picked Unorthodox Jukebox. His follow-up to that record, 24K Magic, failed to summit the Billboard 200 and has yet to sell 2 million units.

Hit Record: The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
Follow-Up: The Eminem Show (2002)
The Marshall Mathers LP (34 million) is the bestselling album of the 21st century. The Eminem Show (30 million) is the fourth best. He followed that up with Encore (2004). That oeuvre sold 21 million copies. Altogether, Eminem has released eight studio albums. Five have sold more than 10 million copies.

Lady Gaga
Hit Record: The Fame (2008)
Follow-Up: Born This Way (2011)
If you include The Fame Monster, then The Fame has moved more than 15 million units. Rolling Stone magazine ranks The Fame as one of the greatest debuts of all-time. How did Lady Gaga follow it up? She released Born This Way three years later. That collection has sold around six million copies. Interestingly, The Fame stalled at number two, but Born This Way reached the top of the album charts.

Linkin Park
Hit Record: Hybrid Theory (2000)
Follow-Up: Meteora (2003)
Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory is the bestselling debut of the 21st century. It has sold more than 30 million copies. Three years later, they released Meteora. It wasn’t the cultural phenomenon of Hybrid, nor was it rated as high its predecessor, but it did reach the top spot. Hybrid Theory halted its climb at the penultimate position.

Michael Jackson
Hit Record: Thriller (1982)
Follow-Up: Bad (1987)
Michael Jackson’s Thriller can easily be a follow-up to Off the Wall (1979). At the time, critics asked how he can Jackson best Off the Wall? He did. Thriller is the world’s bestselling album of all-time—sales figures exceed 65 million. It also won eight Grammy Awards. Besides the five number one singles, Bad sold more than 30 million copies and earned six Grammys.

Norah Jones
Hit Record: Come Away with Me (2002)
Follow-Up: Feels Like Home (2004)
Norah Jones is another artist on our list who has won five Grammy Awards in one night. She achieved the feat thanks to Come Away with Me, an album that’s sold more 27 million units. What most music fans don’t know is her album actually won three more Grammys (eight in total), but those went home with other people. Her follow-up, Feels Like Home, sold just over 12 million copies and earned Jones an additional trophy for her crowded mantle.