Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Review: Blake Shelton at the Save Mart Center

Blake SheltonI’m a rock girl, but I have to say there’s something about country music. Maybe it’s the story. Or the twang. Or even the good time sentiment found in many songs. In the case of Blake Shelton — arguably the hottest singer in country music right now with hit after hit (and a new album on the way) — it’s all three. And each was on full display Thursday night at the Save Mart Center where he headlined the Ten Times Crazier Tour.

For one hour fifty minutes, Blake Shelton wove his way through his extensive song list that included new single “Neon Lights” and favorites like “Kiss My Country Ass,” “Honey Bee” and “Boys Round Here.” And the fans — who filled nearly every seat all the way to the last row on the upper level — toe-tapped and sang along until the very last note.

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Concert announcement: Brantley Gilbert


There’s no doubt that contemporary country music likes to dabble in rock ‘n’ roll. There’s a reason the Motley Crue tribute “Nashville Outlaws,” got made and that it’s mostly (oddly) on point. The album features a who’s-who of country music stars including Brantley Gilbert, a guy who looks right at home singing “Girls, Girls, Girls,” but who’s album “Just as I Am,” debuted No. 1 on Billboard’s country charts in May. He’s also written any number of hits for guys like Jason Aldean.

Gilbert is currently in the midst of his “Let it Ride Tour,” with Aaron Lewis (who’s no stranger to rock and roll).

Gilbert recently added a second round of dates to the tour (with guests Tyler Farr, Chase Bryant and Brian Davis), which will include a Fresno stop, 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Save Mart Center. Tickets go on sale to the general public 10 a.m. Sept. 12. They are $24.75, $29.75, $37 and available at select Save Mart Supermarkets, the Save Mart Center box office, online at or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Pre-sale tickets are available on his web site.

Check out the video for Gilbert’s latest single, “Bottoms Up,” on the jump.

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Concert Announcement: Ladies Night Out Vol. 3 with Frankie J, Ginuwine


Get ready to live like its the 1990s … for a third time.

The Save Mart Center announced the third installment of the Ladies Night hip-hop and R&B concert will be stopping at the arena Nov. 22.

Ladies Night Out Vol. 2 came to the arena in 2011 and featured ’90s throw-back groups like Bell Biv DeVoe, Color Me Badd, Jagged Edge and H-Town.

This time around the concert features Mexican singer Frankie J (of the Kumbia Kings), R&B icon Ginuwine, “Baby Got Back” rapper Sir-Mix-A-Lot, the R& B duo Next and Silk, the ’90s group discovered by Keith Sweat.

Venue and radio presales for the concert begin 10 a.m. Sept. 8 according to Ticketmaster. They go on sale to the general public 10 a.m. Sept. 15.

Tickets are $29-$69 and available at select Save Mart Supermarkets, the Save Mart Center box office, online at or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Catch a video of Frankie J on the jump.

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You review: Rascal Flatts

Rascal Flatts‘ “Rewind 2014″ tour was arguably the biggest show to hit town this week (and it was a big week for live music).

The Ohio trio stands out as one of most prolific (and popular) country acts of the decade. The group has been recognized by just about any country-music organization that hands out awards, and is one of the nation’s best-selling touring acts (of any genre). The band has sold more than 7 million tickets since debuting in 2000. That includes selling more than 10,000 tickets to each of their previous Fresno shows — in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

Last night’s show had the bonus of featuring Sheryl Crow and country up-and-comers Gloriana.

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Bandgeek: Rascal Flatts, Man Man and D.R.I.


It’s Greek Fest weekend. So you’ll be busy dancing and eating and yelling Opa! There are also dozens of live, musical performances happening at the city’s bars, clubs and theater if that’s more your speed. Here’s you weekly BANDGEEK! list.


  • Ando Ehlers.
    Split 7 ” tour. SS Web and It’ll Grow Back. At Audie’s Olympic. 9 p.m. $5. (Flier link)

  • Fashawn.
    The Ecology listening party. At Strummer’s. 8:30 p.m. This show is sold out. (Flier link)

  • Built to Spill.
    W/Slam Dunk and The Warm Hair. At Cellar Door, Visalia. 8 p.m. $20. (Flier link)

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    Mid-week concerts to get you through to Friday


    To anyone who thinks there is nothing to do in Fresno, I give this quick list of super-ridiculous concerts — one or more every day through Thursday (and then the weekend kicks in).

    Feel free to pass it along. You can add this message: “Quit complaining.”


  • Lynryd Skynyrd
    It’s a Saturday night special … on Monday … See what I did there.
  • Beach Day.
    Free girl-pop garage rock at Peeve’s.

  • Future Islands
    Best frontman in entertainment today? You be the judge.
  • Balance and Composure
    Post hard-core emo band from Pennsylvania. For fans of Sunny Day Real Estate.
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    Concert Announcement: Winter Jam, 2014


    Winter Jam, the world’s best selling concert tour according to Poll Star magazine, will return to the Save Mart Center this year. The tour just announced dates for its West Coast run, including a Nov. 11 stop at the arena.

    For those unfamiliar, the wildly popular annual tour features 10 of Christian music’s top artists for a $10 ticket price. This year, the tour is headlined by Australian worship band Hillsong United. The band has a growing popularity in the U.S. — it was the first Christian artist ever to sell out Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Jeremy Camp, Francesca Battistelli, Colton Dixon, Disciple, Trip Lee, Tony Nolan, Everfound, About A Mile and Veridia round out the bill.

    Normally, this is where we would pass along on-sale ticket information. With Winter Jam there is no need. Tickets are only available on the day of the show at the venue.

    CANCELLED: “Jesus Christ Superstar”

    jesusJesus Christ Superstar” the arena spectacular, the touring version of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s groundbreaking rock musical, which features a cast chock full of rock, pop and R&B heavy weights, including Brandon Boyd and Johnny Rotten, has been canceled.

    The announcement for the Fresno date, which was scheduled for July 19 at the Save Mart Center, came this afternoon. While the release is light on information, is reporting that the whole tour has been canceled, according to social media reports from the cast. The tour’s website has this short note.

    All purchased tickets will be refunded. Online and telephone sales will be refunded automatically. Tickets purchased from the Box Office or ticket outlets must be returned to the point of purchase. The Save Mart Center Box Office will begin refunds 10 a.m. Monday during business hours.

    This is the first show at the Save Mart Center than I can remember ever being canceled. It’s the second canceled show in the last week.

    You Review: Bruno Mars

    When the traffic advisory went out yesterday afternoon for the area of Shaw Avenue around the Save Mart Center, it was like, “duh.” Bruno Mar’s “Moonshine Jungle” tour (which stopped at the arena last night) has been sold-out pretty much since tickets went on sale.

    The show was sure to be packed, but it looks like it filled up early, thanks to the one-two punch of opener Aloe Blacc.

    The whole thing (or the collage I created of it via social media, which was kind of fun) had a next-level King-of-Pop feel (with a good level of Elvis the pelvis for good measure).

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    You review: Tim McGraw/Kip Moore + Cassadee Pope

    mcgrawTim McGraw kicked off his “Sundown Heaven Town” tour last night at the Save Mart Center. The tour, which features country up-and-comer Kip Moore and “The Voice” winner Cassadee Pope as openers, is the kind of big-draw highly-anticipated country show that does so well at the arena.

    We’d love to have your thoughts on the show.

    Did the lineup get the kind of turnout and excitement other country shows have seen (Lady Antebellum and the like)? How were the Moore and Cassadee? Do they have the goods to move to that next level? Can we expect either to be passing through on their own headline tours anytime soon?

    And how about McGraw’s song choices, sound and overall performance level?

    Feel free to share your review, then check out our photo gallery from the show at The Fresnobee.

    Bandgeek!: Punknecks, Millionaires and Circle Takes the Square

    4-25-14Everything is happening this weekend. While that might overwhelm some, the rest of us know it’s pretty par for the course, especially when it comes to the myriad live music options happening each week. We list them all right here in your weekly update BANDGEEEEEK!


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    Tour announcement: Theresa Caputo Live

    caputoTheresa Caputo is your typical Long Island wife and mom, only she can communicate with the dead and has her own reality TV show — TLC’s “Long Island Medium.”

    Caputo, who has been a practicing medium for 10 years, certified by the Forever-Family Foundation, brings her live show “The Experience,” to the Save Mart Center June 4. She will conduct interactive readings with audience members and share stories about her life and her unique gifts.

    Caputo’s first book titled “There’s More to Life Than This” was released in October and debuted at No. 2 on the NY Times Best Seller List. “Long Island Medium” is in its fourth season on TLC.

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    Tour announcement: “Jesus Christ Superstar” arena spectacular

    jesusThere is irony at the center of the “Jesus Christ Superstar” arena spectacular, a touring version of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s groundbreaking rock musical, which makes a 50 + city run this summer. The show stops at the Save Mart Center July 16.

    The cast is chock full of rock, pop and R&B heavy weights, including Brandon Boyd, from the rock band Incubus; NSYNC’ JC Chasez; Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child and (in a totally shocking bit of casting) Sex Pistols Johnny Rotten (aka John Lydon).

    It’s Jesus Christ surrounded by superstars.

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    Concert news: Kip Moore added as Tim McGraw’s special guest

    kipmooreWe already told you about the Fresno date for Tim McGraw’s “Sundown Heaven” tour. It stops at the Save Mart Center May 8. Now comes news that Kip Moore will join the show as McGraw’s special guest, along with the already announced Cassadee Pope.

    Moore is an up-and-comer who helped usher in the next generation of truck-loving country artists (his single “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck” was No. 1 on the Billboard country chart). His debut album, “Up All Night,” was and was the best-selling debut by a male country artist in 2012 and 2013.

    Check out the video for “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck” on the jump.

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    Concert announcement: Rascal Flatts plays Save Mart Center Aug. 21

    Joe Don Rooney, Gary LeVox , Jay DeMarcusCountry trio Rascal Flatts announced the first round of dates for its summer “Rewind” tour. The 36-city tour kicks off in St. Louis in May and will stop in Fresno Aug. 21 at the Save Mart Center.

    To get a sense of Rascal Flatts’ popularity, both with fans and critics, there is this: The band is one of the most awarded country groups of the past decade. It has earned more than 40 awards from the ACAs, ACMs, AMAs, CMAs, People’s Choice Awards and more. It’s also one of the best-selling touring acts, of any genre. They have sold more than 7 million tickets since debuting in 2000. When they stopped at the Save Mart Center in 2006, more than 11,000 showed up. There were 10,000 tickets sold in 2008 and slightly more than that in 2009.

    Pop/country songstress Sheryl Crow and country up-and-comers Gloriana join the tour. Tickets for the Fresno show are $27.25-$58.25, go on sale 10 a.m. Friday and are available at the box office, select Save Mart Supermarkets, online at or on the phone at (800) 745-3000.

    Rascal Flatts just release an EP (a Walmart exclusive), which features “Rewind” and three other songs, including the previously unreleased “Dancing on My Grave.” The full album is slated for release on May 13.

    Watch the official video for the song “Banjo” on the jump.

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    Concert announcement: Blake Shelton at the Save Mart Center Sept. 11

    sheltonCountry superstar and TV singing-competition coach Blake Shelton announced round two of his “Ten Times Crazier” tour, which includes a Sept. 11 date at the Save Mart Center.

    Shelton, who’s been CMA’s best male vocalist for four consecutive years, is touring in support of the platinum-selling “Based on a Truth Story…,” which was released last March. The Band Perry, Neal McCoy, and Dan + Shay will join Shelton for the 20-plus dates, which includes shows at Madison Square Garden, Wrigley Field and the Hollywood Bowl.

    “I cannot wait to get back out on the road,” says Shelton, who has been a judge on NBC’s “The Voice,” since its inception and has produced three of the show’s five winners. “I had so much fun playing songs from ‘Based On A True Story…’ and getting to see the crowd’s reaction to those songs was unforgettable. It is one of the most validating things for an artist like me, to have people sing along to your songs. It means what I’m doing is right and no matter what I’m doing, whether it is ‘The Voice’ or a TV special, absolutely nothing compares to playing live for me,” he says.

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    Once again, Save Mart Center ranks among best venues in US

    EPZ ICON SAVE MART SHEHADEYOne doesn’t need to read the trade publications to know just what a success the Save Mart Center has become since it opened, just over a decade ago. The 16,000-plus seat venue had become a crucial part of the Valley’s entertainment landscape and has landed its share of top-tier performers — The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Justin Bieber (at the height of Bieber fever).

    If you did read the trade pubs, you would know the arena hosted 16 of 2013′s Top 100 tours, including Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, World Wrestling Entertainment, Carrie Underwood, Paramore, Jay Z, Tiesto and Jeff Dunham. Over all, the arena was ranked No. 52 in the U.S. and No. 98 in the world, as reported by Pollstar magazine. That is based on reported worldwide ticket sale.

    The arena has ranked in the Top 100 Arena Venues Worldwide every year since 2004.

    The industry publication Venues Today listed the Save Mart Center as a “Top Stop” for venues of its size last year. It was No. 5 in the U.S. and No. 12 worldwide (one of six SMG-managed venues to rank it the Top 20).

    “Having recently completed our first decade of operating Save Mart Center, we are honored to have achieved consistent success and to be recognized among our industry peers,” said General Manager Steve Tadlock in a press release. “We look forward to the next decade of creating positive entertainment experiences and lasting memories for the community that has supported our efforts and this facility so well.”

    And 2014 is shaping up nicely. The venue already has three big shows under its belt (Nitro Circus Live, Pink’s “Truth About Love” tour and WWE Live). This weekend’s Roadshow tour will surely be filled, as will stops by Lady Antebellum, Bruno Mars and the recently announced Tim McGraw show.

    Concert announcement: Krush Groove featuring Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and more

    krushgrooveThe Krush Groove showcase takes its name from the iconic 1985 movie about the early days of hip-hop. The fifth annual event, started by Los Angeles radio station 93.5 KDAY, announced an April 18 date at the Save Mart Center.

    This will be a celebration of old-school rap and hip-hop, with some of heaviest hitters of the ’90s, including Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Redman and Method Man, DJ Quik, Too $hort, Daz and WC, Tha Eastsidaz, Jayo Felony and 2 II None.

    Bone Thugs-N-Harmony‘s combination of rapid-fire rhymes and smooth harmonies earned the group a Grammy and helped them sell more than 50 million records. The Cleveland, Ohio five-piece are no strangers to Fresno. The group was part of the similarly themed West Coast Fest last summer and lobbied to have the tour kick-off in Fresno.

    Tickets for Krush Groove are $29.50-$69.50 and on sale 10 a.m. Friday. They will be available online at the Save Mart Center box office, select Save Mart Supermarkets, on line at and or by calling (800) 745-3000.

    Videos on the jump.

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    Concert announcement: Tim McGraw’s “Sundown Heaven Town” tour heads to Save Mart Center

    Country to CountryAs could be predicted, the Save Mart Center has lined-up another big-name country act for spring.

    This time it’s Tim McGraw, who brings his “Sundown Heaven Town” tour to Fresno, May 8 at the Save Mart Center. Singer/songwriter Cassadee Pope will open.

    Tickets for the show go on sale Feb. 7 and will range from $39.50-$72.50 and available through ticketmaster at select Save Mart Supermarket or the Save Mart Center box office. 

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    You review: P!NK


    A huge crowd turned out for last night’s P!NK show at the Save Mart Center. It was a fun, energetic and creative show. One part concert, one part performance art and one part Broadway production, the show took fans on a journey through the many aspects of love. I really loved it. P!NK sounded great and looked amazing. She is fierce, sassy and strong. I’d see her again in heartbeat.

    I’d love to hear from others at the show. Share your reviews in the comments.

    I’ve included a few photos I shot on my phone (not the greatest, I admit, but the best I can do since we weren’t able to get permission to have a professional photographer at the show.)

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    Concert announcement: Bruno Mars’ ‘Moonshine Jungle Tour’ at the Save Mart Center

    Music-Songs of the SummerIt’s shaping up to be a good year for fans of pop music down at the Save Mart Center. Pink’s “Truth About Love” tour is already on the book for later this month.

    And just today pop-singer Bruno Mars announced dates for the North American leg of his “Moonshine Jungle tour.” It kicks off May 27 in Fresno.

    Mars is a star on the rise. He was named Billboard magazine’s “2013 Artist of the Year,” and was among the top nominees for the upcoming Grammy Awards, with nods for both record and song of the year. He will also be headlining this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

    Ticket prices for the Fresno show have not been released, but tickets for all announced shows go on sale Feb. 3, to follow up on his half-time performance. You can find more info on his website.

    Watch the official video for “When I was Your Man,” on the jump.

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    7 picks for 7 days: Jan. 10-16

    I’m getting back on track with the 7 picks for 7 days feature, a list of fun things to do over the next week. This week’s version — picks for today through next Thursday — offer a variety of entertainment, from acclaimed movies to new TV shows, theater and music.

    Concert announcement: Pink’s “Truth About Love” tour

    image003Another A-list pop-star is making her way to Fresno in 2014.
    Pink announced today that the Save Mart Center will be included as one of the stops on her just-extended “Truth About Love Tour.”

    She plays the arena Jan. 30. Tickets are $39.75, $69.75 and$ 99.75 and go on sale noon Saturday at

    While Pink rose to fame in the early 2000s, she quickly set herself apart from what she saw as the “cookie cutter pop stars” of the time. In doing so, she has become a mega-star of her generation and has seen continued success. She was just nominated for two Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year, and named as the Woman of the Year by Billboard Magazine. She sold 886,000 albums in 2013.

    7 picks for 7 days

    OK, so after taking off a couple weeks, I’m back with a new round of 7 picks for 7 days – a list of fun thing to do each day Friday, Nov. 15 through Thursday, Nov. 21. This week’s picks include a hot country band live at the Save Mart Center, a touring Broadway musical at Saroyan Theatre and this month’s silent movie at the Warnors Theatre.