The SBID & MassMutual Financial Group once again present the 2016 annual outdoor CityBlock Concert Series held in Stearns Square each Thursday night. The series, which last year reverted back to its original moniker, CityBlock, has reestablished itself as the premiere outdoor concert experience in Western MA and a prime showcase for Downtown Springfield.
This year is going to be even bigger… CityBlock presents high-end national touring acts across a wide-array of genres; literally there is something for everyone. The concerts are held on Thursday nights in the heart of downtown Springfield. Main performances begin approximately 7:30pm, but don’t wait until then to come out because there’s so much more to enjoy. You can grab dinner at one of the local restaurants before with friends, network over a beverage before the music gets pumping, and even come down earlier for the local music competition – more about that below.
Show Sponsored by Eastern States Exposition
The definitive tribute to the Original Allman Brothers Band. Live at the Fillmore is the continuation of a devotion to performing the music of the original Allman Brothers Band as it was performed in those early years before the untimely deaths of Duane and Berry Oakley and the departure of Dickey Betts. Those years were the ‘glory days’ of the Allman Brothers Band. Unlike others who believe the band was a jam band, this group shares the view of Gregg Allman, who has been quoted as recently as 2003 by fellow band member Butch Trucks in stating that rather than being a jam band The Allman Brothers are “a band that jams”.
Anyone who had the good fortune to hear the Allman Brothers shows ‘back in the day’ on the same or successive nights will corroborate that though they did leave room for improvisation and personal expression, for the most part the songs remained the same. This has continued to be our approach to performing their music. LIVE AT THE FILLMORE, is an attempt to bring back authentically the performances of the original Allman Brothers Band for those who were there to hear and still remember them along with those who have a similar love of this music and wish they had been there with us.
In addition to this years national acts; Eastern States Exposition will once again sponsor a weekly opening act performance. The acts will be the finalists of the Exposition’s Masters of Music Competition, now in its second year. The overall winner of the competition will be awarded a gig at the Big E, a $1,000 cash prize and a trip to Nashville for two band members.
If you are planning on coming down to enjoy the show here are some convenient options for parking.
Springfield’s own rock band makes an annual appearance at CityBlock. This acclaimed group has sold out the MassMutual Center Ballroom, toured the country, and is still proud to call Springfield home base. This star-studded lineup features James Montgomery and special guests Frank Manzi and Tommy Whalen.
Ricky Nelson Remembered features the live music of Ricky’s hit songs including “Hello Mary Lou”, “Travelin’ Man”, “Garden Party” performed by his twin sons Matthew & Gunnar. Their shows appeal to a wide audience and multiple generations; celebrating the life of America’s original ‘teen idol’. This year marked the 31st anniversary of Ricky Nelson’s passing in a tragic New Year’s Eve plane crash.
Members include Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, the identical twin sons of the Rock ’n Roll Hall of Famer, Ricky, and the grandsons of ‘50s TV icons Ozzie & Harriet Nelson. You may remember the blonds, Matthew & Gunnar, as simply the Nelsons and their #1 mega hit in 1990 “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love & Affection”. That landed the Nelson family in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only family in entertainment history with three generations of #1 hit makers!
Forever Motown is an event experience. Performed by a cast of veteran entertainers, including former members of The Jones, Main Ingredient, The Spinners, & The Marvelettes; peppered with Broadway savvy performers who had leading roles in “Dream Girls”, “Your Arms Too Short to Box With God”, “Porgy & Bess” and “Showboat”. This non-stop, high energy trip down memory lane features the songs we all grew up on.
Sing, dance & celebrate with amazing Americana music including songs like “My Girl”, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, “Reach Out”, “Shop Around”, “Dancin’ In The Street”, “Stop, In The Name Of Love”, “Ain’t Nothin’ Like The Real Thing”, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” & “Uptight” – each song captured visually, vocally and choreographically down to the slightest unique nuanced Motown detail. Due to inclement weather, the Forever Motown Concert was cancelled.
The Machine, America’s top Pink Floyd show, has forged a 25 year reputation of excellence, extending the legacy of Pink Floyd, while creating another legacy all their own. Over the years, The Machine (with bandmates Joe Pascarell, Lead guitar/Lead Vocals; Scott Chasolen, Keys/Vocals; Ryan Ball, Bass/Vocals; and Tahrah Cohen, Drums) has touched the hearts and souls of many, selling out theaters, large clubs and casinos across North and Central America, Europe and Asia. They have also appeared at renowned music festivals such as Bonnaroo, Riverbend, Gathering of the Vibes, Buffalo’s Artpark, and Germany’s Rock of Ages.
Known for performing a diverse mix of The Floyd’s extensive 16-album repertoire (complete with faithful renditions of popular hits as well as obscure gems), The Machine’s stellar musicianship, dramatic lighting and video, and their passionate delivery sets them above and beyond the rest. In the classic tradition, The Machine explores collective improvisation paralleling and even rivaling that of an early 1970’s Pink Floyd mentality. Their use of expanded theatrical elements and elaborate stage displays continues in the spirit of the later Floyd lineups of the 1980’s. The band is also known for recreating entire albums as a part of their show, accepting requests from fans, and for taking an A to Z approach in which one song is played for every letter of the alphabet. Additionally, the quartet has been sharing the stage with full symphony orchestras, including the Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh and San Diego Symphonies.
Natalie Stovall and The Drive are relentless road warriors, amassing over 200 dates each year around the world. Natalie Stovall, a Tennessee native, is a powerhouse vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, who has been playing professionally since she was ten. Natalie is a fiddle phenomenon who made her Grand Old Opry debut at the age of 12, and has performed everywhere from the White House to The Oprah Winfrey Show. A known favorite to warm-up audiences for country stars such as Dierks Bentley, Josh Turner, Gretchen Wilson, Justin Moore, Josh Gracin and many more. Even more impressive, Natalie’s genre-defying live show has put her on stage supporting non-country acts like Switchfoot, the Doobie Brothers, Styx, and Safetysuit.
She is currently on tour with KIX 100.9 morning show host, Bobby Bones, and The Raging Idiots. Natalie Stovall and The Drive’s new single “Heartbreak” is tearing up the charts. Natalie Stovall (lead vocals, fiddle), Miguel Cancino (guitar), Joel Dormer (guitar, vocals), and James Bavendam (drums) make up this phenomenal group. Natalie was named one of CMT’s Next Women of Country, College Activities Magazines Best Female, and Best Music Artist for 2016 Readers Choice Awards.
Terry Sylvester. In December 1968, Graham Nash left the Hollies to form Crosby, Stills, & Nash. The remaining members of the Hollies remembered Terry from Munich; so contact was made & the rest, as they say is history. Terry’s first single with the Hollies “Sorry Suzanne” reached number 3 on the UK charts and established the group once again as a top ten hit making act. Terry’s first album “Hollies Sing Dylan” went all the way to number one. Soon after they recorded “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”, with the then unknown session man Elton John playing piano. The song became a worldwide hit, and remains to this day an anthem for those who choose to help people less fortunate than themselves. More hits followed including the follow up single “I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top”, “Long Cool Woman, In A Black Dress”, “Long Dark Road”, “Gasoline Ally Bred”, and the 1974 universal classic love song, “The Air That I Breathe”.
Max Creek. In those rare instances that a band reaches its fourth decade, it’s usually a result of stardom. It’s easy enough to keep things together when each member has a jet and techs on retainer and the world tour rolls around every few years. But that’s not how Max Creek has done it. In 40+ years Max Creek has been small, big, regionally-huge, medium, and any other size one can think of; they’ve never graced the cover of Rolling Stone, but you’d be hard pressed to find a music fan in the Northeast that hadn’t heard of them.
Max Creek lacks pretense; there is no hip style or genre-title that can define them. From the beginning they’ve mixed anything they liked—rock, country, reggae, soul, jazz, calypso—in with their own great songs and it’s all just come out sounding like Creek.
Creek itself is multigenerational. Though the “front line” of guitarist Scott Murawski, keyboardist Mark Mercier and bassist John Rider has remained intact since the mid-70s, the current drums and percussion team of Bill Carbone and Jamemurrell Stanley weren’t even born when Max Creek was founded.
Blessed Union of Souls. From meteoric rise on the radio throughout the ’90s, through the subsequent decade of thought-provoking songwriting & amassing an extremely dedicated fan base on tour, Blessid Union of Souls has become amongst the most beloved, meaningful & musically consistent acts of this generation. Thanks to the seamless merger of contagious pop, rock and soul, coupled with the ability to continuously write socially conscious and spiritually inspiring songs, it’s no surprise to see gold records, chart-cruising singles & a slew of soundtrack appearances.
Just for the record, Blessid Union of Souls has thus far clocked in a number one smash, a trio of top tens, five top 20 tunes and seven to hit the top 40, spanning the diverse likes of the iconic ballad “I Believe,” the quirky and colorful “Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me For Me),” the acoustically framed “Light In Your Eyes,” plus romantic favorites like “I Wanna Be There” and “Let Me Be the One” (to name a mere handful). Add in the gold selling landmark debut disc Home, being featured on the gold selling Carole King tribute album Tapestry Revisited (Rod Stewart, Faith Hill, Amy Grant, The Bee Gees) and the double platinum soundtrack for “Pokemon: The First Movie,” in addition to appearances on “Contact” (starring Jodie Foster), “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “Cold Case,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Live with Regis” (no less than four times), “Good Morning, America,” “Top of the Pops,” “All My Children” and VH1, and Blessid Union of Souls’ fingerprints have literally encountered every facet of pop culture.