LIVE: Slipknot @ SPAC, 7/31/15

August 5th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg


Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

It seems as though top-notch nights of headbangin’ have been pretty few and far between this concert season, but the Saratoga Performing Arts Center cranked up the volume for those masked metalheads Slipknot, as they came roaring into the Spa City on their Summer’s Last Stand Tour on the last day of July.

With Slipknot in the headlining slot, the four-band mini-fest bill also featured pummeling performances from Lamb of God, Bullet for My Valentine and Motionless in White.

Now that’s what we call headbangin’ time…

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SPAC Is the Best…

June 15th, 2015, 12:00 pm by Greg

Saratoga Performing Arts Center

At least according to the readers of USA Today

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs was voted the Best Outdoor Music Venue in the country in a recent online voting poll conducted by USA Today. Surprisingly enough, SPAC beat out the Number Two selection – Red Rocks in Colorado.

Next up on SPAC’s 2015 summer season of performances is the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company at 8pm on Wednesday (June 17), followed by Train with The Fray and Matt Nathanson at 7pm on Friday (June 19).

And here’s how it all shook out for the Top 10 Best Outdoor Music Venues in USA Today’s month-long balloting:

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Sawyer Fredericks to Play SPAC on Saturday

June 1st, 2015, 11:55 am by Greg

He took the nation by storm by winning NBC-TV’s hit show “The Voice” last month, and now 16-year-old Fultonville farmboy Sawyer Fredericks is returning home to play at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs on Saturday (June 6) as part of FLY 92.3’s Summer Jam.

The local singer-songwriter has just been added to the all-star Summer Jam line-up which also features hitmakers Charli XCX, All Time Low, Walk the Moon, B.O.B, Echosmith and Jake Miller.

Saturday’s fest at SPAC startes at 2pm. Reserved amphitheater seats are priced from $20-$75; lawn general admission tickets are $20.

Dave Matthews Band Adds Very Special Guest for SPAC Shows

May 4th, 2015, 12:00 pm by Greg
Bela Fleck

Bela Fleck

Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

The Dave Matthews Band has announced that banjo-man extraordinaire and longtime friend Bela Fleck will join them onstage when they make their annual summer tour stop at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs on Friday & Saturday, July 3 & 4.

Fleck is expected to join the band for a few songs as part of the bands’ two sets each night. The SPAC shows are one of only two DMB tour stops to feature Fleck as a special guest; the other is August 28 & 29 in Englewood, Colorado.

Reserved amphitheater tickets are sold out for both of DMB’s SPAC shows, although general admission lawn tickets are still available.

NYC Ballet Announces SPAC Programs: 17 Ballets from 7 Different Choreographers [Berkshire on Stage]

February 12th, 2015, 1:00 pm by Sara
Justin Peck is bringing his own interpretation of Aaron Copland’s iconic Americana score Rodeo to SPAC this summer.

Justin Peck is bringing his own interpretation of Aaron Copland’s iconic Americana score “Rodeo” to SPAC this summer.

By Larry Murray

For dance lovers, there is lots to look forward to this summer in Saratoga as the New York City Ballet returns for two weeks of glorious ballet with live music at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Highlights include iconic ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and August Bournonville, as well as contemporary work by Christopher Wheeldon. The Balanchine favorites returning to SPAC during the residency include La Valse, Symphony in Three Movements and The Four Temperaments.

The announcement by the New York City Ballet, one of the world’s great dance companies, detailed the summer’s plans. When it returns to SPAC from July 7–18, it will present a diverse repertory of 17 extraordinary ballets, resuming its two-week summer residency in Saratoga. Featured works include the Saratoga premiere of Peter Martin’s La Sylphide, one of the oldest Romantic ballet productions still in existence; iconic ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Danish choreographer August Bournonville; and contemporary works by Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky and Justin Peck. Additional highlights of the programs include the Saratoga premiere of Peck’s newest work, R­ōdēō: Four Dance Episodes, set to Aaron Copland’s symphonic score; a gala tribute to some of the brightest choreographers of the 21st century; and the return of favorites not seen at SPAC in several years, including Bournonville Divertissements, Martins’ Symphonic Dances, and Balanchine’s La Valse.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

SPAC Announces Chamber Music Concert Schedule for 2015

December 8th, 2014, 10:00 am by Greg
Wu Han and David Finckel

Wu Han and David Finckel

Following the successful debut of its residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center earlier this year, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will return to SPAC with a fresh roster of extraordinary musicians during the 2015 summer season. Led by celebrated artistic directors David Finckel and Wu Han, the concert series will take place from August 9 through August 25 with six exciting new programs featuring a variety of the world’s premier chamber musicians performing a diverse repertoire.

Priced at $40 & $45, tickets are available now for SPAC members and will go on sale to the general public at 10am on Wednesday (December 10).

Here’s the schedule of SPAC chamber music performances for 2015:

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LIVE: Steely Dan @ SPAC, 8/31/14

September 23rd, 2014, 3:00 pm by Greg


Review by Kirsten Ferguson
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Steely Dan dubbed their latest tour – which came to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on August 31 after travelling across North America for much of the summer – the “Jamalot Ever After Tour.” No real subtlety there – assuming that by “Jamalot” they meant their big band of wizard-proficient musicians and vocalists would stretch way out on jazzified, solo-filled versions of their songs, which were culled primarily from the group’s ‘70s studio recording heyday.

But “jam” also implies an element of spontaneity and, no, this was a carefully scripted affair, based on a fairly predictable formula and set list honed over the group’s last several tours – heavy on the (admittedly brilliant) tunes from the multi-platinum Aja (“Black Cow,” “Aja,” “Josie,” “Peg”) and FM staples like “Hey Nineteen,” “Reelin’ in the Years,” “My Old School” and “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number.”

Steely Dan masterminds Donald Fagen (keyboards and vocals) and Walter Becker (guitar) now embrace touring in a way they never did in their more studio-focused early days, but given their reputation as control freaks in love with extreme precision and technical proficiency, it’s no real surprise that they would approach their live show the way they do now – with a highly polished band of pros who showcase their jazz-pop prowess by taking solos throughout the night, lit under a rotating spotlight.

Concert-goers were still making their way to their seats as the 11-piece backing band – minus Fagen and Becker – opened with the Latin-flavored instrumental cover of Ray Bryant’s “Cubano Chant.” Then the two somewhat curmudgeonly looking lead guys arrived – Fagen taking his hunched seat behind the keyboard for “Black Cow” and “Aja,” the latter song featuring a Fagen keytar solo, a sax solo by Walt Weiskopf and a drum solo by Keith Carlock.

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LIVE: Florida Georgia Line @ SPAC, 8/30/14

September 11th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg

Florida Georgia Line (photo by Tim Mack)

Photographs by Tim Mack

Florida Georgia Line – the country dude duo of Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard – weren’t the headliners at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s penultimate concert of the summer (that was Jason Aldean), but it sure sounded like they were judging by the volume of the crowd’s response.

The FGL bros are still riding high on the double-platinum success of their debut album, Here’s to the Good Times, and they delivered a high-energy, country-meets-rock-meets-hip-hop, whiskey-swiggin’, keep-the-party-rolling set.

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