U2 and Justin Timberlake Top Spring Lineup


U2: One of the best-selling bands of all time appears at the BOK Center on May 2 for its first-ever concert in Tulsa.

Photo by Sam Jones

Concert entertainment, anywhere, can’t get much better than U2 and Justin Timberlake in the same week. Our Center, which was rated by Pollstar as the seventh most successful arena in the nation based on ticket sales, has delivered on its promise to have a knock-out 10th-anniversary year of headliners. Spring is bustling around our area with music, dance and theatre. Here’s the lineup:

Kudos to the River Spirit Casino Resort for cornering the market by presenting such an assortment of beloved bands from the last five decades. Following Three Dog Night, Apr. 19, the Doobie Brothers take the stage Apr. 21 at Paradise Cove to revive the 70s and more. If you’re a rock music fan, you will know “Taking It to the Streets,” “Minute by Minute” and “What a Fool Believes,” among so many Doobie Brothers hits.

What I’d forgotten from the 70s was the band Foreigner. This one group was responsible for “Feels Like the First Time,” Waiting for a Girl Like You,” “Cold as Ice,” “Hot Blooded,” “I Want to Know What Love Is” and “Double Vision.” Formed by English and American musicians, and still with an original member or two, Foreigner is one of the world’s best-selling rock groups of all time. They perform at River Spirit on Apr. 26.

For a taste of country, River Spirit presents The Eli Young Band, Apr. 28, followed on May 2 by Lyle Lovett and His Large Band. A multi-faceted Grammy winner, Texas-born Lovett sings folk, swing, blues, jazz and gospel. He’s a musician, and person, with depth.

Keeping the action turned up, the power of love rules Paradise Cove when Huey Lewis and the News performs on May 10.

Back to the , the English heavy metal band Judas Priest, formed in 1969 and having sold 50 million records worldwide, appears Apr. 26. Fifty million is impressive but compare that to the accomplishments of the juggernaut Irish band U2 with $170 million sold. Still with the original members from the 1970s, they claim 22 Grammys. Their 2009-2011 360° Tour, which came to Norman, Oklahoma, is the highest grossing concert tour of all time. Led by front man Bono, U2 combines a steadfast and sincere political and social consciousness with great tunes. Their Experience and Innocence tour is part of the Center’s 10th anniversary celebration, May 2.

J.T.’s 20/20 concert tour at the Center might be my favorite concert of all time, and my experiences go back to the Stones’ first U.S. appearance in the 1960s. A multiple Grammy and Emmy-award winner, Timberlake has been a stellar singer, dancer and actor most of his life. A veteran of the Mickey Mouse Club that included Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling and Keri Russell, he later was a star of the greatest boy band ever NSYNC. If you don’t have tickets for his May 5 concert, you can always try the Center website on show date. Sometimes a handful of tickets are released late in the day.

In the area of the performing arts, I’m excited to see Tulsa Ballet’s upcoming presentation of “Green Table,” “Rassemblement” and “Glass Figures.” I recently attended a gathering to watch choreographer Jeanette Vondersaar set “Green Table” on Tulsa Ballet dancers. Three male members of the company were learning the role of Death, which is the centerpiece of this 1932 work by German choreographer Kurt Jooss. He certainly saw what was coming in the years ahead for his country. “Green Table” is living history. For many years, the only person who could train dancers for this ballet was Jooss’ daughter. She then passed that honor and responsibility on to Vondersaar, who set the ballet on the company both in 1999 and currently. I remember well when the work was performed here last. It is riveting and relevant.

Also on the Ballet’s program is Nacho Duato’s “Rassemblement.” Duato continues to be my favorite contemporary choreographer, with strong competition from Tulsa’s Ma Cong. Ma is actually from China and was principal dancer with Tulsa Ballet for many years before finding phenomenal success in choreography. He most recently took on Broadway’s “M. Butterfly,” starring Clive Owen and directed by Julie Taymor. Tulsa Ballet’s Signature Series is hosted at the University of Tulsa’s Lorton Hall May 3-6.

Anyone who has an interest in chamber music will not want to miss the Takács Quartet Apr. 22 at the Tulsa . The Takács is one of the top chamber music groups in the world. Formed 43 years ago, the last of its founding members, second violinist Károly Schranz, will retire on Apr. 30. This is arguably the chamber music event of the year.

Coming to the Apr. 21 and Apr. 29 is Tulsa Opera’s staging of Puccini’s luscious “Turandot,” sung in Italian. The well-known, gorgeous aria “Nessun Dorma” from “Turandot” is music even non-aficionados will know. This is the story of the illusive and quixotic Princess Turandot who is pursued by Prince Calaf with mixed results.

Whether you are savoring J.T. and U2 in a sold-out arena, or the glories of chamber music and contemporary dance in an intimate space, enjoy the selection of entertainment choices available in our area over the weeks ahead.

Updated 04-24-2018

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