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Garden fertile venue for singer Billy Joel

Wed., Dec. 4, 2013

Billy Joel is definitely still rock ’n’ roll to the Madison Square Garden Co. – so much so that the New York live entertainment venue is having him perform a show a month as long as he keeps selling tickets.

That makes the singer-songwriter Madison Square Garden’s first music “franchise,” a designation previously shared only by sports teams. By making the Garden his home base, Joel joins the Knicks (NBA), Rangers (NHL) and Liberty (WNBA).

The deal is off to a good start: The first four shows, starting in January, which were previously announced, are sold out. Becoming a franchise doesn’t mean Joel will be required to return every month – he can still go on tour. However, it does deepen the relationship between Joel and the Garden.

The Garden was already a key venue for Joel, who first played there in 1978 and has done so 46 times, including 12-straight sold-out performances in 2006, earning him a banner raised in his honor.

Lady Gaga prepares for new tour

Lady Gaga is ready to hear applause in arenas across North America this spring. The always provocative pop star is readying a tour in support of her latest album, “Artpop.”

Billed as “artRave: The ARTPOP Ball” Gaga’s upcoming show is set to open on May 4 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The 25-date trek will wrap up July 21 with a stop at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. It will include a May 28 date at Seattle’s KeyArena.

Gaga’s last outing, 2012’s massive Born This Way Ball, was a master class in spectacle with a sprawling, three-story medieval castle and extravagant set pieces such as a mechanical horse, the infamous Grammy egg and a motorcycle that doubled as a costume. But the show’s grueling choreography led to a hip injury that required surgery for Gaga and the cancellation of more than a dozen dates earlier this year. The new tour will include several cities she was forced to skip because of the injury.

The “artRave” could be a tipping point for Gaga, who has taken some hits this year.

The new album’s lead single, “Applause,” didn’t make the sort of noise typical for a Gaga release and critics have been largely split on her new tunes. “Artpop” did open at No. 1 when it was released in November, but its first-week sales paled in comparison to releases from fellow pop divas Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus.

The birthday bunch

Game show host Wink Martindale is 80. Actor-producer Max Baer Jr. is 76. Rock musician Bob Mosley (Moby Grape) is 71. Singer-musician Chris Hillman is 69. Rock singer Southside Johnny Lyon is 65. Actor Jeff Bridges is 64. Rock musician Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd; the Rossington Collins Band) is 62. Actress Patricia Wettig is 62. Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson is 58. Actress Marisa Tomei is 49. Actor-comedian Fred Armisen is 47. Rapper Jay-Z is 44. Actor Kevin Sussman is 43. Actress-model Tyra Banks is 40.


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