1997-98 Arts Preview

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Fall Concerts to Launch
New Venues
Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones - From left:Keith Richards, Mick Jaggar, Ron Woods, and Charlie Watts.
Anton Corbijn - Virgin.B

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 7, 1997

The Rolling Stones are coming!

Thirty years ago, the headlines would have screamed "LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS!" This time around, it's more likely to be "LOCK UP YOUR GRANDMOTHERS!" (Just kidding, Mick.)

While the Stones roll on, we'll have other flashbacks, including Fleetwood Mac and John Fogerty, both at Nissan Pavilion in September.

The fall concert season for 1997 is about a changing of the guard in the area's largest venues. And we'll enjoy the expansion of one of the nation's best listening clubs. The season will also give us a test of the touring business's health amid what seems to be the first downturn in the record business in 15 years.

For decades, US Airways Arena (formerly Capital Centre) was the Washington area's largest concert venue, excluding the infrequently used Robert F. Kennedy Stadium. All that's about to change. First, on Oct. 23, the Rolling Stones will inaugurate the new 78,000-seat Jack Kent Cooke Stadium in Raljon, Md. (Warning to touring bands: It's nowhere to be found on your maps.) And on Dec. 10, Barry Manilow does the honors at downtown's new 20,000-seat MCI Center.

RFK Stadium is likely to fall into disuse as a mega-venue; there are only a few acts capable of filling stadiums to begin with. The last big hurrah for RFK may be a planned Nation of Islam "Day of Atonement" rally and concert in November. As for US Airways Arena, it has a sturdy fall lineup. Already on tap: Luther Vandross and Vanessa Williams on Oct. 10 and a (pre-Thanksgiving) Christmas show with Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, CeCe Winans and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra on Nov. 23. Also expect a Brooks & Dunn-Reba McEntire double bill there in early November.

Too bad Julio Iglesias is playing the Patriot Center on Oct. 3, rather than US Airways, where his son Enrique performed last spring. It would have been the first-ever father-son double in Landover. The only other shows scheduled so far at the Fairfax venue are Sarah McLachlan on Oct. 18, Tracy Lawrence and Trace Adkins on Oct. 19 and k.d. lang on Oct. 20, but the Patriot Center and US Airways (and possibly MCI Center) will be splitting some of these major concerts, which are nowhere close to being announced: Jane's Addiction, Phish, Neil Diamond, Genesis and the artist formerly known as Prince. Lisner Auditorium has several strong world music offerings: the Portuguese ensemble Madredeus (Oct. 24), Cape Verdean diva Cesaria Evora (Oct. 31), Brazil's Milton Nascimento (Nov. 16) and Japanese drumming ensemble Ondekoza (Nov. 22).
Barry Manilow
Barry Manilow (AP)

Things are looking up in Northern Virginia, where the Birchmere, long considered one of the best nightclubs in America, has been tooling along in its new 500-seat location (a few blocks down from its 350-seat predecessor). Consider this a tryout. The venue's official opening will come with a pair of Jerry Jeff Walker dates private on Oct. 1, public on Oct. 2. And very late this fall, reopening in Falls Church will be the 800-seat State Theater, the 60-year-old art deco movie house transformed into a performance hall booked by Cellar Door Productions.

For the second straight year, the annual Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition will include a filmed-for-television gala concert. Taking place Oct. 26 at the Kennedy Center's Opera House, it will feature some familiar faces Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Clark Terry, Dave Brubeck, David Sanborn, Arturo Sandoval, Nancy Wilson and Wayne Shorter, as well as hosts Bill Cosby and Sinbad. There's a lot of room for improvement over last year's music-depleted fiasco. As for the actual competition, which this year focuses on trumpet players, the semifinals take place Oct. 23 at the BET studios, the finals a day later at the Museum of Natural History's Baird Auditorium.

The fall of 1996 marked the opening of one grand music-themed exhibit, the Smithsonian's electric guitar retrospective. This fall there will be two. "Seeing Jazz" (at the Smithsonian International Gallery, Oct. 30-Jan. 18, 1998) examines creative responses to jazz in a collection of paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings and written works by Amiri Baraka, E. Ethelbert Miller, Langston Hughes and Toni Morrison, among others. Artists represented include Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Sam Gilliam, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Stuart Davis. "Wade in the Water: African American Sacred Music Traditions" (at the National Museum of American History, Oct. 11-Dec. 7) will explore the legacy of music sung during slavery and the development of worship practices in America's black churches over the last two centuries.

And in conjunction with the recent Smithsonian/Folkways CD release of the seminal Harry Smith "Anthology of American Folk Music," the Barns at Wolf Trap will host "Revelations of Tradition," a two-night festival (Oct. 24 and 25) celebrating the set's legacy. Among those participating will be a number of Smith's first-round progeny Dave Van Ronk, John Sebastian, the New Lost City Ramblers and Peter Stampfel of the Holy Modal Rounders, as well as Steven Taylor of the Fugs (Smith also produced the band's first album).

The club schedule looks to be its usual peripatetic self. As always, it should be noted that the November and December schedules will be much heavier than the current listings suggest. Many dates aren't set yet. And the traditional caveat: All dates are subject to change.

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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