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Gallery: Manchester Orchestra presents the 11th annual The Stuffing at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, November 19

Photographer Ken Lackner was on hand to capture the iconic Atlanta event.

Gallery: Manchester Orchestra

Gallery: Andy Shauf

Puddles Pity Party Does His First Holiday Show at the Fox with Guests

Photos by Shaun Krisher. Full Gallery at the end of the review.

With Christmas fast approaching, many people are getting into the holiday spirit. Some are foraging their respective towns for Christmas gifts while others are gathering with family around eggnog and long awaited conversations. As a nice break from the normal buzz of the season, Puddles Pity Party came to the lovely Fox Theater to do Puddles’ first official holiday show titled Puddles Pity Party & Friends Holiday Jubilee.

Exactly a week before Christmas, the show included Puddles in his usual mystique with a slew of special guests ranging from national celebrities to local business owners. Additionally, this show was the first time Puddles headlined at the Fox, which was very deserving after being an Atlanta resident since 1995. The venue was packed out with all sorts of people in attendance, from people with tattoo sleeves to people in their Sunday best, and this diversity was a true testament to the talent behind the clown makeup as his golden voice appeals to all.

The set for the show was designed to look like a clearing in a wintry forest, with two large snow-covered trees towering on either side of the stage. To the right was a single doorway, and to the left was a red, lone couch with various prop instruments placed about it. Above this odd snowy scene was a screen with a looped video of the northern lights, which added a trippy vibe to the atmosphere that seemed naturally appropriate for a Puddles show.

At the start of the show, Puddles appeared from the doorway onstage and was immediately received with a roaring round of applause. He placed his iconic suitcase with the words “Puddles Pity Party” on the stage and went right into his first song “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, a very appropriate choice for the longtime friend of the city. From here, the show had a mix of media, short sketches, and celebrity appearances all centered around the Christmas tunes sung by Puddle. On the screen above there were short home movies of Christmas gatherings, some cartoony bits both made by Puddles and taken from old shows, and even random “video calls” from celebrities including Howie Mandel and Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Between songs there were live guest appearances, including the owners of King of Pops and Dancing Goats Coffee, and there were even some guests that joined in for some songs, including Santa, Krampus, and opera singer Heather Witt who did a duet with Puddles for the song “What Child Is This?” Every guest that came for the show, either via “video calls” or in person, brought Puddles a gift of the DVD of Waterworld featuring Puddles’ favorite actor Kevin Costner. This was a running gag the entire evening, which was well received by the crowd with non stop laughter. On top of this, Puddles had some of the audience involved in his performance, with an invited group that came up to decorate a prop Christmas tree and others that got an intimate seat on Puddles lap for some songs.

At one point when he came out into the crowd, Puddles started grabbing phones from people and giving them to someone else in a comical bit with the message to enjoy the moment without needing a phone camera. This was a treat to see and was well received by the crowd with the phones being exchanged back immediately after Puddles returned to the stage.

Later in the set, there was even a sing-a-long with Puddles, Krampus, and Mighty Mo played by the organist for the Atlanta Braves. For those out of the loop, Might Mo is the organ found at the Fox Theater and is the second largest of its kind in the world. It was awesome experiencing the entire theater joining together singing “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells” along with Mighty Mo.

This was only a glimpse into the first holiday show put on by our very own Puddles. It was a true spectacle to behold, and I hope that this is just the first holiday show and not the one and only one to happen. If you are looking for some Puddles to add to your holiday season, check out his new Christmas CD, Puddles Pity Party Holiday Jubilee, which contains songs from his Christmas show, including his new song “What Will Santa Clause Say?”.

 Gallery – Puddles’ Pity Party at The Fox Theatre, December 18, 2018

Nashville in Concert at Fox Theatre in Atlanta

I, along with approximately twenty-five hundred people, took over The Fox Theatre on Wednesday April 27 to see the artists from the ABC smash-hit TV show, Nashville for the Nashville in Concert tour for an absolutely glorious evening to rejoice in the joys and wonders of the songs from the show.

Clare Bowen performing with her fiance, Brandon Robert Young in Nashville in Concert at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta

Clare Bowen performing with her fiance, Brandon Robert Young in Nashville in Concert at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta

Personally, as a fan from the show from the beginning, it was a great opportunity to witness (for all of us fans) the songs that have played not only a key role in the story line of the four seasons run of Nashville (fingers crossed for a fifth run in the fall), but songs that personally hit each of us as well. Like all great music does, it’s a collective experience, yet personal journey we join along together in. What was so fantastic about Nashville in Concert was getting the chance to see these musicians who are actors, who then play musicians on television perform in a live setting – in one sense it was very meta for me.

Another great thing about getting the chance to see Charles Esten (aka Deacon Claybourne), Clare Bowen (aka Scarlett O’Connor), Chris Carmack (aka Will Lexington) and Aubrey Peeples (aka Layla Grant) perform their own music was that it was so vulnerable, yet inviting at the same time. They were willing to share their personal journeys with all of us. Not to mention we got to hear a new music from the show that hasn’t aired as of yet.

Chris Carmack performing in Nashville in Concert at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta

Chris Carmack performing in Nashville in Concert at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta

In the beginning each artist came out to do one song individually, after that they kind of alternated between one another and did duets for the rest of the evening. Chris Carmack started the night off with his first song, followed by Aubrey Peeples, Clare Bowen and then Charles Esten. For me, Chris Carmack performance was pure showmanship, and can he play a mean blues guitar. The highlight was when he performed “Pieces of You” (which is one of his original songs). His parents drove in four hours to see him perform at The Fox Theatre and you could tell he was so honored to be there. That was the key theme of the night for all the artists up on stage, it was about humility, honor and just being a sense of gratefulness that they were able to connect with their fans in a true and honest way.

Aubrey Peeples performing in Nashville in Concert at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta

Aubrey Peeples was up next and the only words that came out of my mouth were “damn can she sing.” I mean I knew she could sing from the show, but live – it was like a dream, as she performed “The Book” which is a new song that is set to be played on the second to last episode of the season. She also performed “Too Far From You,” “Soul Survivor” and “Break it to Me Gently.” Clare Bowen, along with her fiance, performed together for all of her songs. It was so sweet and endearing seeing them so in love with each other.

For me, the personal favorite moment was “Hand to Hold,” which happens to be the song that reconnects Clare’s character, Scarlett, with her uncle Deacon (Charles Esten) as they performed it together at the Beverly in the show. Clare was raw and exposed as she announced to the audience that she would be returning back home (Australia) in a few weeks to donate as much bone marrow to her brother as she could, because he has always been her rock, the one person she has turned to her whole life and now he needs her. For her to be so unfiltered and honest was tear jerking. And the voice that she has is like angels singing.

Charles Esten performing in Nashville in Concert at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta

When Charles Esten stepped onto stage, he said “being on Nashville is like a fine meal, but being here with you is like dessert.” Which sent everyone into a frenzy. Charles Esten was a lot of fun up on stage, he was really feeling himself and having a blast, part himself and part his character shined through, as he played “Just Like You.” For the final song, the entire cast came back on stage with Esten and as a tribute, for the sake of a tribute only, they performed “Purple Rain” in honor of Prince, as The Fox Theatre was the last series of shows Prince performed prior to his untimely passing.

This was a truly amazing experience to have, not only as a fan of the show, but as a fan of music. If you get the chance to see Nashville in Concert, this would be a ticket worth buying.


Nashville Live in Concert Photography – Photos by Danielle Boise

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘One More Time For The Fans’ at Fox Theatre Nov. 12

Red Carpet for Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'One More For The Fans'

Red Carpet for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘One More For The Fans’

 

Review and Photography by Danielle Boise

 

“We love you guys. God Bless you! Thank you for supporting Lynyrd Skynyrd. Let’s keep it going for another 40 years.”  – Johnny Van Zant

 

The musical influence of Skynyrd ricocheted across genres, from Southern Rock to Country and Rock ‘n’ Roll all came out to honor the godfathers of Southern Rock on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. A day that the city of Atlanta proclaimed as “Lynyrd Skynyrd Day.” A collection of musical greats, heavy hitters in their own right, took the stage at The Fox Theatre to honor and celebrate the magic and wonder of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Acts such as Trace Adkins, Alabama, Gregg Allman, Charlie Daniels, Peter Frampton, Warren Haynes, John Hiatt, Randy Houser, Jason Isbell, Jamey Johnson, Al Kooper, Aaron Lewis, moe., Gov’t Mule, O.A.R., Robert Randolph, Blackberry Smoke, Cheap Trick, Donnie Van Zant and of course, Lynyrd Skynyrd themselves.

The roots of Southern Rock shined at the Fox Theatre as “One More Time For The Fans” paid tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd. County star Randy Houser started the night off with “Whiskey Rock A Roller.” The ever soulful, Robert Randolph was up next as he performed “You Got That Right,” followed by the hard rocking Aaron Lewis putting his own twist on “Saturday Night Special.” Georgia’s own Blackberry Smoke illuminated with “Workin’ for MCA.” O.A.R. infused their own rock roots into “Don’t Ask Me No Questions.” It was perfection to see Cheap Trick perform “Gimme Back My Bullets.” The ever so wonderful American singer, songwriter John Hiatt’s rendition of “Ballad of Curtis Lowe” was a moving moment.  “It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of this tonight,” declared moe.’s Chuck Garvey as they went into “Comin’ Home.”

By far one of my personal favorite moments of the night was when Gov’t Mule performed “Simple Man.” The nature of the song and the raw power in which Gov’t Mule pour their souls into the song left me speechless. “It’s was an honor to be here tonight and play one of my favorite songs” declared Warren Haynes right before he exited the stage before intermission.

The first half of the show, while each song out did the previous one, ran a bit long, as they had to break down and set up between each act. When the intermission was over, the second half flew by in record time; the house band was on stage for most of the remainder of the night.

Warren Haynes returned to the stage after intermission with “That Smell.” Country act Jamey Johnson followed him up with “Tabulaturi.” Jason Isbell joined the stage next for his rendition of “I Know A Little.”  Musical icon Peter Frampton never stopped smiling as he performed “Call Me The Breeze.” The ever so humble country star Trace Adkins graced the stage with “What’s Your Name.” Donnie Van Zant and Charlie Daniels sang “Down South Jukin” as a duo. With mellow grace, Gregg Allman serenaded the venue with “Tuesday’s Gone,” and was proceeded by Alabama, as they came out in all their glory and did “Gimme Me Three Steps.”

“These guys are making history here tonight. 40 years ago, Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded One More From The Road on this very stage” said the President of The Fox Theatre, Allan C. Vella, to the crowd of enthusiastic fans as he presented Lynyrd Skynyrd with the Marquee Award, an award that is given to artists that come to the Fox and make history. The live recording of One More From The Road would ultimately go platinum and helped save the beloved Fox Theatre from being demolished.

 

“What a great, great night in Atlanta, Georgia tonight. We love each and every one of you. We call you our Lynyrd Nation.” – Johnny Van Zant

 

When Lynyrd Skynyrd finally came out at the end of the night, the theatre lit up an array of elation from the crowd of fans who had been singing along all night the numerous acts that preceded them. It was Skynyrd that people were there to see and were ever so happy to see them take the stage. Skynyrd had all the bands and artists come out to join in and turn “Sweet Home Alabama” into the ultimate jam session. Skynyrd followed up the infectious song with an ode to “Travelin’ Man.” With a projection screen running in the background as Ronnie Van Zant sang along with Johnny – it was a heartwarming moment to see. Of course you cannot end the night without “Free Bird,” and that’s exactly what Lynyrd Skynyrd did. They played as they paid tribute to their fallen members in pictures and words displayed on the screen in the background. It was a beautiful, somber moment; the perfect way to end the night.

 

 

Full Photo Gallery of the Red Carpet Event