Wine-colored velvet hangs over the Palace Theatre’s vast proscenium stage, completing a picture of elegance sketched out by the ornate cream walls and balconies. Opened in 1931 as an RKO movie house, the theater has survived the century with much of its original furnishings intact, including the huge brass chandelier, the original murals by Andrew Karoly and Jules Zartol, and the pack of hyenas that provided the prototype laugh track for vaudeville shows.
Still emanating fumes from their drag race to the top of the bluegrass scene, Grammy-nominated group The Grascals inspires infectious toe tapping and hand clapping during impassioned performances. Building on roots that trace back more than two decades, the tightly spun sextet fuses harmonious, twang-packed vocals with the plucks of a banjo, fiddle, and mandolin. Light-hearted, jovial jams peppered among soul-searching ballads and dramatic diary readings work together to weave a wondrous catalog–an effort that has led to collaborations with country legends such as Dolly Parton and Hank Williams Jr. This year, the group continued their blitz on the bluegrass genre with four more award nominations from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Local favorites the Ramblin Jug Stompers lay the groundwork for an evening of two-steps, as they carry on the tradition of American string bands and air-harmonica solos of the 1960s.
Since opening with a Frank Sinatra performance in 1990, the stadium now known as Times Union Center has seen more than 15 million guests pass through its turnstiles. That’s only slightly smaller than the population of the Netherlands and roughly equal to the number of people worldwide who enjoy candy corn. Besides attracting such entertainment titans as the Rolling Stones, U2, Disney’s “On Ice” series, and the Harlem Globetrotters, the multifunction arena is also home to the AHL’s Albany Devils and college basketball’s Siena Saints.
Backed by the 60-piece human melody machine of the Johann Strauss Orchestra, conductor and violinist André Rieu enchants audiences with an evening of swooning in seats and dancing in the aisles. A violinist since the age of 5, André radiates his lifelong love of classical music to the audience with celebratory renditions of beloved pieces. As Rieu interacts with the audience, the air fills with kaleidoscopic balloons, lilting tenors and sopranos, and special surprises, which may include a John Philip Sousa séance or an explosion of confetti fired from tubas.