Taking Back Sunday
at House of Blues
WHO ARE THEY: Taking Back Sunday is an emo rock band from Amityville, N.Y., whose 2002 debut album "Tell All Your Friends" set the stage for the band's launch into rock's mainstream. After a couple of lineup changes, Taking Back Sunday's second album, "Where You Want To Be," was released in the summer of 2004, debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. After extensive touring, the band retreated to the studio to work on its third full-length album, "Louder Now," which debuted at No. 2 on the charts.
WHAT TO EXPECT: The band has always taken great pride in its live performances and this weekend's show should be no different. Fans can expect to hear songs the band's entire career, including tracks from their most recent album, "New Again."
SHOW INFO: Tickets are $29.50, and the show begins 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, at the House of Blues.
Mary J. Blige
WHO IS SHE: Mary J. Blige has won three Grammy Awards and sold nearly 25 million albums since she burst onto the scene in 1992. Her debut album, "What's the 411?" sold 3 million copies and featured the singles, "You Remind Me" and "Real Love." Her sophomore album, "My Life," was Blige's first attempt at songwriting and was co-produced by Sean "Puffy" Combs. The album sold another 3 million copies. In the summer of 1995, Blige scored a hit with "I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need to Get By," a duet with Method Man. Later that same year, she recorded the Babyface song, "Not Gon' Cry," for the soundtrack to "Waiting to Exhale." The single reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in early 1996. Blige's third album, "Share My World," debuted on top of the albums chart in April 1997. Her first No. 1 single came with 2001's "Family Affair."
WHAT TO EXPECT: "The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul" helped pave the way for a younger generation of female artists who combined R&B, soul and hip-hop along with street sensibilities and sophistication. Blige concerts feature an assortment of her hits that span the past 15 years along with impressive choreography and pyrotechnics. Also expect songs from her latest CD, "My Life II … The Journey Continues (Act 1)."
WHAT'S NEW: "My Life II … The Journey Continues (Act 1)," serves as a sequel to her 1994 release, "My Life."
SHOW INFO: Tickets are $65, $85, $115 and $130, and the shows begin 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Dec. 29 and 30, at Caesars' Circus Maximus Theatre.
Wale at House of Blues
WHO ARE THEY: Known as the "Ambassador of Rap for the Capital," Wale attended college on a football scholarship, but left to pursue music full-time, gaining his first airplay in 2003 with "Rhyme of the Century." Wale became a local phenomenon, scoring a string of hits in his Washington, D.C., hometown as well as the surrounding areas of Maryland and Virginia. After a bidding war, Wale signed with Interscope Records in 2008 and released his debut full-length album, "Attention Deficit," in 2009. The first single, "Chillin," featured Lady Gaga on vocals.
WHAT TO EXPECT: "The Ambassador of Rap for the Capital" was a local hero who graduated to the big time quickly. The rapper will be performing "Chillin" along with the singles "Pretty Girls," "World Tour" and plenty of material from his new album, "Ambition," including "That Way" and "Chain Music." Fans can also look forward to hearing earlier material such as "Nike Boots."
WHAT'S NEW: "Ambition" was released in November, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.
SHOW INFO: Tickets are $20 and $25, and the show begins 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30 at the House of Blues.
at Trump Taj Mahal
WHO IS HE: Known as "The Geator with the Heater," Jerry Blavat is one of Philadelphia's best-known disc jockeys.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Nobody knows how to throw an old time rock 'n' roll party quite like Blavat, and his passion for R&B, doo-wop, oldies and obscurities is part of what have made him a legend. Blavat's colorful banter between songs is as much of what makes a Blavat show great as the actual music is. The event features an open bar from 9:30 p.m. to midnight, party favors, dinner, a champagne toast and the Alex Grover 9 piece orchestra.
SHOW INFO: Tickets are $123, and the show begins 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, at the Taj Mahal's Mark G. Etess Arena.
at House of Blues
WHO ARE THEY: Brand New released its first album, "Your Favorite Weapon," in 2001, after amassing a strong following on the local scene. The band's sophomore album, "Deja Entendu," was released in 2003 and received excellent reviews. After moving to Interscope, the band released "The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me" in 2006. It contained the alternative hit single "Jesus." Three years later, Brand New released "Daisy," which reached No. 6 on the Billboard 200. The lead single was "At the Bottom."
WHAT TO EXPECT: Brand New's steady climb seemed to have culminated with the commercial success of its latest release, "Daisy," released in late 2009. Brand New will perform three sets. The first will be acoustic, the second will feature the band performing the "Your Favorite Weapon" album in its entirety and the third will be made up of fan requests.
SHOW INFO: Tickets are $47.50 and $57.50, and the show begins 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, at the House of Blues.
WHO IS SHE: Along with her group The Pips, Gladys Knight became one of the most successful soul singers of the 1960s and '70s. Under the Motown label, Knight scored hits with "Friendship Train," "It Should Have Been Me," "If I Were Your Woman" and "The End of Our Road." After scoring a No. 2 hit in 1973 with "Neither One of Us," Knight left Motown and wound up achieving superstar status with the No. 1 smash "Midnight Train to Georgia." Other hits such as "I've Got to Use My Imagination" and "Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" were soon to follow.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Though she has a great deal of upbeat Motown-era material to draw from, it is her more laid-back R&B soul numbers that leave crowds hypnotized. If you're looking for the perfect romantic way to ring in the New Year, then look no further. Gladys Knight will take care of the music, while you and your significant other take care of the rest.
WHAT'S NEW: Knight was recently honored with a Legend Award at the 3rd Annual Soul Train Awards.
SHOW INFO: Tickets are $50, $65, $75 and $100, and the show begins 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, at the Showroom at the Tropicana.
The Goo Goo Dolls
WHO ARE THEY: This Buffalo, N.Y.-based trio began their career as a punk band in the style of The Replacements, but found commercial success in the mid-'90s with their album "A Boy Named Goo," which featured the hit single "Name," which cracked the Top 5 and propelled the album to platinum sales. The single "Iris" from the "City of Angels" soundtrack was a smash hit in 1998 and paved the way for its next album, "Dizzy Up the Girl," which featured the hits "Slide," "Dizzy" and "Black Balloon."
WHAT TO EXPECT: The Goo Goo Dolls are masters at playing in front of audiences both large and small as headliners and as a supporting act. The band is nothing if not adaptive, and it has shown this by transforming its style dramatically to become radio favorites. The majority of the band's current fans will most likely be clamoring to hear the hits that first began in the mid-'90s, and they won't be disappointed. The Goo Goo Dolls also are known to play the occasional cover, including Tom Petty's "American Girl." This New Year's Eve performance is sure to bring out the best in the veteran band.
WHAT'S NEW: In June, the band released the song "All That You Are" on the "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" soundtrack.
SHOW INFO: Tickets are $75, $85, $100 and $125, and the show begins 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, at Caears' Circus Maximus Theatre.
WHO IS HE: Don Rickles made his first appearance on "The Tonight Show" in 1965 and went on to make another 100 appearances on the show. The New York City native became known as an "insult comedian," which Rickles developed after retorting to hecklers at his shows. The audience liked Rickles' insults more than his planned routine, so he decided to go with it and it paid off. He is sometimes referred to as "Mr. Warmth," which is a satirical reference to his brand of comedy.
WHAT TO EXPECT: This aging "insult comic" has made a career out of the put down and has ridden this success, achieving legendary status in the process. Despite the fact that Rickles is not exactly a Mr. Universe contestant, his act has centered around berating others and no one is safe from his rants.
SHOW INFO: Tickets are $55, $75 and $85, and the show begins 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, at Harrah's Resort's Concert Venue.
Night Fever at Resorts
WHO ARE THEY: Night Fever is a Bee Gees tribute group that performs all of the hits such as "Stayin' Alive," "Jive Talking," "Night Fever" and "More Than a Woman." It performed at top venues and has a fantastic reputation for its visual and musical recreation of the famous trio.
WHAT TO EXPECT: The show will feature a countdown and champagne toast at midnight.
SHOW INFO: Tickets are $45, and the show begins 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, at Resorts' Superstar Theater.
Pitbull at Borgata
WHO IS HE: Pitbull is a rapper, singer, songwriter and producer who released his debut album "M.I.A.M.I." in 2004. "El Mariel" and "The Boatlift" followed in 2006 and 2007, but it was in 2009, with the release of "Rebelution," that things really took off for Pitbull. The album included the singles "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" "Hotel Room Service" and "Krazy" and sold more than 7 million digital singles and albums. In 2010, the Miami, Fla., native released his first Spanish-language album, "Armando," which was a hit at the Latin Billboard Awards. "Planet Pit" was released in June and included Pitbull's first No. 1 single, "Give Me Everything."
WHAT TO EXPECT: His most recent album, "Planet Pit," features the rapper's first No. 1 single in "Give Me Everything," a song he will most definitely be performing at Borgata. Fans can also look forward to hearing songs such as "Hotel Room Service," "Krazy," "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)," "Hey Baby (Drop it to the Floor)" and "Rain Over Me."
WHAT'S NEW: Pitbull's latest album, "Planet Pit," debuted at No. 7 on the charts and features the hit singles, "Give Me Everything" and "Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor)."
SHOW INFO: Tickets are $55, and the show begins 9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1, at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa's Event Center.
TFOX at Resorts
WHO IS HE: TFOX is a singer, songwriter and producer from Virginia who learned to play drums by the age of 7 and absorbed the music of Stevie Wonder, Prince and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. He began recording with a four-track recorder in 1999, and soon started collaborating with JLaine, forming a group called The Wonderboys. TFOX began recording tracks for what would eventually be his debut album, "The Music." In 2004 he produced K'Alyn's album, "Verse 1, Chapter III." Teaming up with JLaine and Wes Felton, TFOX produced two albums for Antithesis before releasing his own album, "The Great Junction," in 2010.
WHAT TO EXPECT: TFOX possesses a style that incorporates R&B, funk, jazz, hip-hop and soul.
SHOW INFO: Tickets are $25, and the show begins 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1, at Resorts' Superstar Theater.
'Sing Swing Sinatra'
WHO IS HE: Brandon Tomasello is an up-and-coming performer who has been heavily influenced by the music of Frank Sinatra since he began raiding his grandfather's record collection at the age of 8. He built up a reputation following performing at the Whiskey Bar at Resorts.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Fans of old blue eyes won't want to miss Tomasello performing his 75-minute "Sing Swing Sinatra" show. "When I first discovered Brandon singing I was blown away by his talent and knew he was destined to be a star," says Dennis C. Gomes, owner, president and CEO of Resorts. "His performances in The Whiskey Bar at Resorts have grown over the past few months with rave reviews from our guests, and we are thrilled to bring him to the Superstar Theater in 2012." The show brings audience members on a musical journey through Sinatra's career and includes personal stories and anecdotes from Tomasello along the way.
SHOW INFO: Tickets are $20. Showtimes are 3:30 p.m. Thursdays; 8 p.m. Wednesdays; 3:30 p.m. Jan 4, 11 and 25; 3:30 p.m. Jan. 15; 8 p.m. Jan. 16; 8 p.m. Jan. 31. The show runs Wednedsay, Jan. 4, through Feb. 16, at Resorts' Superstar Theater.