It seems as though there ain’t much that Steve Martin can’t do.
He was a writer on the ground-breaking “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.” He became a household name in stand-up comedy as a wild and crazy guy with an arrow stuck through his head. He recorded the hit novelty song, “King Tut.” He wrote and starred in the hit movie “The Jerk.”
Yes, Steve Martin is coming back to Nippertown for another appearance that doesn’t involve wearing an arrow through his head.
The former kingpin of wild & crazy stand-up comedy is headed into the Palace Theatre in Albany at 8pm on Wednesday, March 30, for a program that’s simply titled, “A Conversation with Steve Martin.”
According to the folks at the Palace, “Martin will talk at length, impromptu, before a live audience. The evening’s conversation will be led by a moderator and will include a Q&A segment where audience members will have an opportunity to engage with one of the greatest entertainers of our time in an enjoyable and intimate audience-interactive format.”
Loosely translated, that means sit-down conversation, not stand-up comedy.
The new Yellowbook showed up yesterday and it’s…small. Smaller than last year’s edition. For one thing, they’ve removed all the residential phone numbers, which pretty much accounts for the difference in thickness.
But it’s shrunk in its other dimensions as well – fewer graphic ads, fewer listings. It leaves us wondering: sign of the economic times or sign of a technology shift?
Steve Martin – comedian, actor, author, star of TV and movies – is also a really good 5-string banjo player. For reasons not fully explained, he has recorded a CD, “The Crow,” of original songs and instrumentals, and he’s touring with the established bluegrass quintet the Steep Canyon Rangers as his backup band.
Now let’s give him some credit here: this is not some rich guy hiring gunslingers and trying to play the big shot rock star – this is an acoustic string band. There is no stretch limo, and the M&Ms are only brown.
The Wild & Crazy Guy.
The “Let’s Get Small” Dude.
Yes, Steve Martin is celebrating his 64th birthday today, so let’s all get together, slip the arrow over our heads and give him one gigantic shout-out of “Excuuuuuuuse me!”
And coincidentally, the folks at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall have just announced that Mr. Martin will be gracing their stage on Tuesday, October 20. Of course, he won’t be doing his conceptual, mind-bending stand-up show of old. In fact, don’t expect much comedy at all.
Instead, he’ll be playing five-string banjo and playing bluegrass with the Steep Canyon Rangers backing him up.
And if that’s what he wants to do, there’s certainly nothing wrong with it. He’s a pretty darned good banjo player. (My old band opened for him during a week-long stint at the Exit Inn in Nashville back in the ’70s just before he broke big nationwide.)
And if you won’t take my word for it, how about the endorsement of the International Bluegrass Music Association, who honored Martin six times – including banjo player of the year – when nominations for their upcoming awards were announced yesterday.
But a top ticket price of $110 is thoroughly discouraging. I realize the price of everything is rapidly rising, but, heck, even the cheapest seats in the house are $65 a pop.
My guess is that tickets will probably sell pretty well when they go on sale to the general public at 10am on Monday, August 24, so if you want to see Mr. Martin, I wouldn’t wait too long to buy your tickets.
And Martin’s isn’t the only newly announced Music Hall show, however. Other upcoming concerts just added to the Music Hall calendar are as follows:
Thursday, October 1: Paco Peña presents “A Compás! In The Rhythm”
Saturday, December 5: Josh Ritter
Wednesday, February 3: Marc Cohn & Suzanne Vega
Saturday, February 27: The David Grisman Quintet
Thursday, April 1: Angelique Kidjo
Tickets for these shows are on sale now to Music Hall members. For membership info, call 273-0038.
We’re catching up with some of the upcoming Nippertown concerts that have been announced this week:
New Orleans hip-hop hitmaker Lil’ Wayne cancelled his Times Union Center concert back in December, but area fans may finally get a chance to catch him in concert as he brings his “Young Money Presents: America’s Most Wanted Music Festival” to SPAC in Saratoga Springs on Wednesday, July 29, for the second stop on his tour. Also on the bill are Drake and Young Jeezy. Tix are slated to go on sale on Saturday, June 20. A perfect gift for Fathers Day, right?
Also on sale Saturday are tix for the Airborne Toxic Event – the only band in rockdom to take their name from a Don DeLillo novel? – who will be making their Nippertown debut at Northern Lights in Clifton Park on Saturday, October 17.
Meanwhile, on the hip-hop tip at Northern Lights, Wu-Tang’s Raekwan heads up the Rock the Bells tour stop on Friday, July 10. Sharing the stage will be Reflection Eternal, Slaughterhouse, Slum Village and Supernatural.
Comedian/actor/author/banjo player Steve Martin will be the special guest for the live taping of Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” radio show which is kicking off the season at Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass. on Saturday, June 27. Bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers will also perform. And who else? Oh, yeah actor-activist Martin Sheen.
After bouncing around to a couple of different dates at venues, it looks like the show by roots-rockin’ Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles will finally take place at 4pm Sunday, July 26 at the Horseshoe Inn in Saratoga.
Keyboardist John Medeski teams up with jazz guitar great (and former Schenectadian) Tisziji Munoz for performances at the Colony Cafe in Woodstock on Tuesday, June 30 and Friday, July 31.
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