Touring behind their sixth album Dark Horse, Canada's grizzled guitar slingers, Nickelback, return to California to pummel rock fans with the band's signature melodic fist-pumpers and power ballads. Plop into the Sleep Train Pavilion's snug upper reserved seating and turn your ears toward the stage, where hugely popular hits like "How You Remind Me," "Photograph," and "Rockstar" slowly morph fingers into devil horns and stadium seating into a sea of artificial fireflies. Experienced producer Robert "Mutt" Lange (AC/DC, Def Leppard) lent his successful knob-turners to Dark Horse, which resulted in the band turning out an LP of edgier tunes that has remained in the Billboard Top 200 for 99 weeks. Stop by the pavilion early to prepare your palate with axe-shredding openers Three Days Grace and Buckcherry.
Deemed 2012's Best Dance Troupe in East Bay by Diablo magazine, Diablo Ballet's 10 international dancers have enthralled audiences of all ages with live performances since 1993. During contemporary and classical ballets, the performers call upon their experience pirouetting with prestigious dance companies––including the Bavarian National Ballet, Venezuela’s Ballet de Caracas, and the Colorado Ballet––to execute precise footwork to an array of musical compositions. In its free time, Diablo Ballet exposes youngsters to the arts by switching fast-food toys with Rothko paintings and participating in the PEEK Youth Outreach Program, which brings art education to more than 5,000 elementary-school students in Contra Costa County.
The California Symphony has treated the tunefully inclined to artful performances of both new music and classical classics for nearly a quarter of a century. Audiences for the March 6 concert, "In the Spotlight," will witness the skilled batonery of guest conductor George Cleve as he leads the world-premiere performance of Bay Area composer Cindy Cox's most recent work. With a unique voice noted for its tunings, harmonies, and textural colorations, Cox's piece will showcase regional orchestral musicians, such as flutist Monica Daniel-Barker, clarinetist Jerome Simas, and violist Marcel Gemperli. The evening will also include selections from Chaminade's Flute Concertino, Bruch's Concerto for Clarinet and Viola, and Dvořák's Symphony no. 7, generally considered the luckiest of all Dvořák's symphonies.
The two soccer fields and batting cages housed inside the San Ramon Sports complex grant athletes of all ages ample space to take kicks and whacks at their sphere of choice. The rubber infill turf fields host year-round soccer leagues for adults and juniors and can also be used for lacrosse-team practices. The batting cages hurl both softball lobs and baseballs at 35–80 miles per hour, allowing batters ample space to practice firing off line drives or psychically altering pitch trajectory.
Born in Melbourne in 1978, Circus Oz is an animal-free circus troupe that performs all the death-defying stunts and astounding feats of Cirque de Soleil while undercutting its spectacle with a refreshing dose of irreverent Australian humor. The motley band of tumblers, tightrope-walkers, foot-jugglers, magicians, and acrobats favor leather pants, Viking helmets, and wild facial hair over spangly Lycra unitards—giving the circus a wondrously raw feel, like a steampunk Victorian circus comprised of Mad Max extras. Over the course of two hours, voluptuous ringleader Sarah Ward will unfold a cheeky phantasmagoria of star-crossed trapeze artists, roller discos, bicycles overflowing with 11 riders, two men balanced atop the shoulders of a single woman, and a mysterious event known only as “the senior citizens’ hour of power.” An off-kilter brass band (complete with a tiny tricycle organ) replaces the typical cirque’s New Age mood music with joyous rock and roll.