Former Vice President Al Gore has announced plans for a series of concerts to bring attention to the threat of climate change. The "Live Earth" concerts will take place on July 7 in Shanghai, China; Johannesburg, South Africa; Sydney, Australia; London, England; and yet-to-be-announced cities in Brazil, Japan and the United States. More than 100 artists will take part in the events. Bon Jovi, Fall Out Boy, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, John Mayer, Melissa Etheridge, the Black Eyed Peas, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many others are already confirmed as performers. In a statement, Gore said, "In order to solve the climate crisis, we have to reach billions of people. The climate crisis will only be stopped by an unprecedented and sustained global movement." Promoters expect the concerts to reach two billion people worldwide via radio, television and Internet broadcasts. Al Gore chairs The Alliance for Climate Protection, which works to find solutions to global warming. The group will use proceeds from "Live Earth" to create a foundation to combat climate change.
The Police held a news conference on February 12 and confirmed recent rumors of a reunion tour by the British rock band. The outing will begin on May 28 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Fourteen shows are currently scheduled through August 3. It's been 23 years since group members Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland last toured together. Sting, in the meantime, begins a solo European tour on February 18 in Paris, France. He'll be supporting his latest album, Songs From the Labryinth.
Several other rock groups are reuniting for 2007 tours. They include Crowded House, Genesis, Black Sabbath, Van Halen and Smashing Pumpkins. The Chicago-based Smashing Pumpkins formed in 1988 and broke up seven years ago. Original group members Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin are currently working on a new album. Smashing Pumpkins' official web site reports that Zeitgeist will be released on July 7.
The Los Angeles mansion belonging to Country stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill was burglarized sometime between February 9 and February 12. An undisclosed amount of cash was taken from the property, which is not the couple's primary residence. In other news, Tim and Faith have announced plans to perform their third "Soul2Soul" tour this summer. Dates will begin in June and continue through August. Their 2006 "Soul2Soul II" outing, which brought in $88.8 million, was the fifth highest-grossing tour of the year.
Blues legend Buddy Guy, 70, hopes to begin work on his next album in the spring. The collection will follow his 2005 release Bring 'Em In. That album featured Guy's covers of pop and rock classics, and included guest appearances by the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, John Mayer and Carlos Santana. Guy told Billboard.com that, this time, he wants to "go into the studio and have a chance at four or five of my own songs with nobody saying a damn thing to me, except for me and my guitar."
NEW ALBUM RELEASES
New albums scheduled for release on February 20 include: Ghetto Pass by Az, The Essential Toni Braxton (double CD) by Toni Braxton, Everlife's self-titled album, Portable Sounds by tobyMac, Duet All Night Long by Reel Big Fish, On the Road To Nashville by Erasure and Best of Bobby Gentry by Bobby Gentry.
The Dixie Chicks swept the 49th annual Grammy Awards, taking home all five of their nominations. The trio won the Album of the Year trophy for Taking the Long Way, and Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "Not Ready To Make Nice." Their wins in the Country Album of the Year and Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals categories surprised many, including lead singer Natalie Maines. In her acceptance speech for Country Album of the Year, she exclaimed, "that's shocking." Country radio has shunned the controversial group since 2003, when Natalie criticized President Bush in front of a London audience. This year's triple winners included the Red Hot Chili Peppers and first-time Grammy winner Mary J. Blige. Among the many artists who picked up two trophies each were Bruce Springsteen, Tony Bennett, Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Bob Dylan, Gnarls Barkley, Ludacris, T.I., George Benson, Al Jarreau, Kirk Franklin, the Flaming Lips and Carrie Underwood, who became the first Country artist to win the all-genre Best New Artist category since LeAnn Rimes in 1997. This year, the Recording Academy gave Lifetime Achievement Grammy Awards to seven music legends, including Bob Wills, Booker T. & the MGs, Maria Callas, Ornette Coleman, The Doors, the Grateful Dead and Joan Baez. (Full list of winners at www.grammy.com )
TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION
Christina Aguilera will kick off her "Back To Basics" arena tour on February 20. Houston, Texas is the first stop on the 41-city trek, which is scheduled to wrap up in early May. The Pussycat Dolls will open all North American shows. Danity Kane will also perform on select dates.
On February 20, Canadian rock group Nickelback begins an 18-city tour in Tacoma, Washington. The band will support its latest album All The Right Reasons, which includes the current single "If Everyone Cared." Nickelback is donating all proceeds from digital download sales of the song to charity. Guitarist Ryan Peake says, "Nickelback's success has thankfully afforded us the opportunity as a band to make a significant contribution to the organization my wife and I have supported for years, International Children's Awareness Canada. Now, with the release of 'If Everyone Cared,' a song and video that carries a message of positive change, we can globalize our efforts with Amnesty International. The idea is simply to do something that moves you and helps others, no matter how small."
Meat Loaf, 59, will kick off a North American tour in Pala, California on February 23. He'll perform songs from his "Bat of Hell" trilogy. Meat Loaf's latest in the series, Bat Out of Hell III - The Monster Is Loose, was released last year. He's currently scheduled to wrap up North American shows on April 12 at New York's Madison Square Garden. On May 10, Meat Loaf will head to the U.K. to begin his 18-city European leg, which runs through June 21.