REO Speedwagon's current tour saddles up a team of new song steeds and classic ballad broncos for a rock rodeo. Expect to get rocked by cuts off their diamond-selling classic Hi Infidelity, recently rereleased with new tracks for its 30th anniversary, alongside underheard gems such as their spoken-word treatise on Keynesian thought. Aussie heart-throb Rick Springfield joins the jamboree for this performance, belting top-40 hits such as "Jessie's Girl" alongside tunes from his 2008 effort Venus In Overdrive. Fans net spots lounging in the terrace section of the epic outdoor Greek Theatre, allowing them direct sightlines to the rock gods onstage as well as the distant stars from which they came. Buy up to four Groupons and exchange them for tickets at the Greek Theatre will-call window no earlier than two hours before the show.
One of California’s largest and most renowned venues, Gibson Amphitheatre lives up to its stellar reputation as a go-to entertainment destination by corralling sought-after acts into its sprawling confines. More than 6,000 seats on two levels angle toward the stage, granting visitors easy, unobstructed views. A state-of-the-art sound system, meanwhile, allows event goers to rock out to dynamic tunes or hear even the softest whispers between an encouraging roadie and a nervous guitar making its debut performance.
For an organization going on 100 years old, the Los Angeles Philharmonic is distinctly unstodgy. The orchestra performs concerts that tunefully blend classical works with new pieces, and continually seeks new ways to engage audiences. Many evenings, for instance, are preceded by an Upbeat Live talk, covering the program's historical and cultural context and opening the floor for Q&As with guest artists. A thriving youth orchestra program, YOLA, shares the joys of classical music with a fresher-faced generation. And the Green Umbrella program invites guests to hear world-premiere compositions. That novel approach to listener engagement seems to have caught on—every year, the Los Angeles Philharmonic shares music with more than two million ears, or three million if you count that secret ear everyone has but no one talks about.
Before guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen marks her historic Pasadena Symphony debut with a program that features Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, Grammy award-winning violinist James Ehnes showers the crowd with pulled and stuttered notes in a virtuosic performance of Korngold’s Violin Concerto. Having performed in more than 30 countries and appeared with some of the world’s most renowned orchestras, Ehnes tugs sonic rainbows from his stringed companion in a solo work that earned him Grammy, Juno, and Western Canadian Music awards. Captive audiences seated in Section B will have precious little time to slingshot their rose bouquets onto the stage before Mei-Ann Chen claims her place as the first woman to conduct the Pasadena Symphony’s assemblage of gifted musicians from the motion-picture industry.
The mission of the California Philharmonic and its founder, renowned conductor Victor Vener, is simple: to increase awareness and appreciation of classical music. Their method, however, is anything but traditional—instead of staging events in formal halls or black-tie stairwells, the ensemble presents their crowd-pleasing concerts at the Santa Anita Race Track and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Combining pop music, Broadway standards, and legendary symphonies, Vener creates dynamic programs that aim to catch the imagination. Along with engaging performances and tuneful collaborations, the Cal Phil also hosts family nights to encourage children’s symphonic education.