Legends played a big part in the Coast’s big music moments this year. Here, in no particular order (and it’s certainly not a comprehensive list), are 10 of the most memorable entertainment events in 2016.
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Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
This was a memorable concert for those who were able to go. Big girls don’t cry, but they might have if they didn’t order their tickets quickly; the March 11 event at the IP Casino, Resort & Spa sold out in a flash.
Has it really been 50 years since “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” was released? Just about; the album “Alice’s Restaurant” came out in October 1967, but Arlo Guthrie got a head start on the celebration with his “50 Years of Alice” tour, which he brought to the IP on Feb. 27. A singer-storyteller much like his father, Woody Guthrie, he added some personal history to each song, such as “The Motorcycle Song” and “Coming to Los Angeles.”
“Weird Al” Yankovic (aka Alfred Matthew Yankovic) brought his clever spins on pop songs via his Return of the Mandatory World Tour, which came to Hard Rock Live on July 15. Yankovic, no stranger to the Coast, included fan favorites from 40 years of entertaining audiences with his parodies.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Art Garfunkel rolled into town on the eve of Cruisin’ The Coast, adding an intimate performance Oct. 1 at the IP casino Resort. He shared memories and moments from his upcoming book, which he described to Sun Herald writer Jeff Clark as “autobiographical, it runs through the years, but it’s very poetic.” Indeed, Garfunkel is a poet, and actor and a musician, with both a solo career and his legendary teamwork with Paul Simon as Simon and Garfunkel.
“Don’t Look Back,” one of this iconic ’70s group’s hits implores us, but the rock band’s sold-out show Aug. 5 at the Beau Rivage was filled with memories for anyone who drove around town as a teen with an eight-track tape player in the car. Tommy DeCarlo now sings in place of the late Brad Delp, and fills those respected shoes well. Fans were blown away.
Music legend Leon Russell played at the Golden Nugget on April 1. Only seven months later, on Nov. 13, he died in Nashville. With a career that ran for six decades, musician and songwriter Russell’s talents spanned many genres, from pop, rock, surf and blues to country, bluegrass, standards and gospel.
Another sold-out show in 2016 was Chris Stapleton’s. He played the Coast Coliseum on Oct. 20, bringing the “wow” factor and soulful country to the Coast. He’s known as a country singer/songwriter, but it’s hard to peg him to one genre.
Nettles performed at the IP on May 20. Perhaps best known as half of the country duo Sugarland, she is also a solo singer, a songwriter and an actress, appearing in “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors.” If you missed seeing her, you’ll have another chance soon; she’s scheduled to return to the IP on Feb. 24.
John Schneider is known as an actor (“Dukes of Hazzard,” “Smallville,” “The Haves and the Have Nots”) and country singer, but he’s also feeding his passion for directing and developing films. Along with producer Alicia Allain of Maven Entertainment, he has formed CineFlix, an opportunity for independent filmmakers to have their works seen in theaters. He brought the CineFlix Film Festival to the Grand Theatre in D’Iberville, Oct. 10-13.
Wynonna and the Big Noise brought Christmas to the Coast in a big way Dec. 16 at the IP. Both secular and sacred Christmas music reflected the holiday season, and she saing some of the band’s songs from their 2016 album. But the moment that probably blew everyone away was her rendition of the late Leonard Cohen’s masterpiece “Hallelujah.”