Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Seaside Summer Concerts at Asser Levy Park

Well off the beaten path, the little-publicized Seaside Summer Concerts at Coney Island's Asser Levy Park (as always, sponsored by The Man) are a great way to catch quality oldies-but-goodies acts for free. Last year, I caught Brian Wilson and Liza Minnelli (don't laugh) at the park, which will soon (?) be home to a new ampitheater that -- in the pipe dreams of the city fathers, at least -- may rival Jones Beach and the Westbury Music Festival as a premier destination for long-in-the-tooth cash cows. (And likely render the free shows a dream of the past.)

Before the quality of the programming likely depreciates into the kind of stuff that is the norm at Westbury (two syllables: doo-wop), this year promises to bring an unexpectedly satisfying line-up. On July 16th, Creedence Clearwater Revisited (the cringeworthy rhythm section of Creedence Clearwater Revival) will be headlining, but opening act John Sebastian makes the series' "tribute to Woodstock" a worthwhile pick. Disco and soul is on the menu the following week (July 23rd), when Gladys Knight and The O'Jays play sets that will likely be heavy on standards like "For the Love of Money" and "Midnight Train to Georgia". The Four Seasons (with Frankie Valli) and Connie Francis will make July 31st a quintessentially Brooklyn evening, while Hall & Oates -- in a festival coup -- are bringing their signature blue-eyed soul to the series on August 6th. I'm personally anticipating the Blondie and Donna Summer performances on August 13th and August 27th (respectively, of course); although both artists can't resist the financial allure of the oldies circuit, their recent albums ably demonstrate that they haven't lost sight of innovation in their later years. All in all, a good time is sure to be had by many.

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