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Beyonce, Jimmy Buffett and more highlight major music weekend

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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With two festivals, a stadium show and one of the world's biggest superstars, music fans won't be wasting away what's arguably the biggest music weekend of the summer. Here's a look at who's turning up the mid-July heat in the metro area (and beyond)...


Much has happened in Beyonce's world since the pop/R&B diva last played these parts -- almost to the day -- in 2009.

She had her first child, daughter Blue Ivy Carter, with husband Jay-Z. After her parents divorce she served business ties with her father, Matthew Knowles, who'd run her career since the formation of Destiny's Child during the early 90s. She performed at President Barack Obama's second inauguration in January and at this year's Super Bowl XLVII halftime show in New Orleans.

Beyonce, 31, also won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B performance and premiered the biographical documentary "Life is But a Dream" in February on HBO.

The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, Beyonce told Vogue, represents," who I am...more bold and more fearless than I've ever been." With costumes by several top-line designers, elaborate staging and extensive choreography for Beyonce and her eight dancers, the tour grossed a reported $55.5 million in Europe before starting the North American leg on June 28.

The repertoire, meanwhile, comes from Beyonce's four solo albums as well as Destiny's Child's "Survivor" and a Whitney Houston tribute via "I Will Always Love You." New music? Not yet, but DJ/rapper Diplo has confirmed he's been working with Beyonce on tracks for her fifth album.

Beyonce and Luke James perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at The Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are sold out. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.


The bands call the annual Vans Warped Tour "punk rock summer camp" -- with good reason, according to Black Veil Brides' frontman Andy Biersack.

"It's always...hot and sweaty and kinda miserable, but everyone has a great time," says Biersack "And then when it's over you're, like, crying and don't want to leave your friends."

The Warped Tour rolls back into town on Friday, July 19, for its second stop at The Palace of Auburn Hills after six years in the parking lots surrounding Detroit's Comerica Park. And after a successful 2012, the idea this year seems to be to not fix what isn't broken.

"I think last year we nailed it from a site layout, and everything worked really well," says Palace Senior Vice-President of Events and Booking Adam Schneider. "So we're going to do it again this year, with slight modifications."

The main switch is that the entire Palace concourse will be open for concert goers to come in from the heat, rather than the partial area that was open last year. The Warped Tour, meanwhile, is offering a Reverse Daycare program that provides complimentary admission for a parent accompanying those under 18 as well as a special tent with air-conditioning, movies and cold drinks.

The show will host more than 100 acts -- an eclectic array that includes Sleeping With Sirens, Motion City Soundtrack, Reel Big Fish, Detroit's We Came As Romans and Flint's Chiodos -- on its 10 stages, with a first-year EDM lineup sponsored by Spotify. Other attractions include a chance to check out scenes from the upcoming "Insidious Chapter 2" horror film and a special area for fans of the Magic: The Gathering fantasy game.

The 2013 Vans Warped Tour starts at 11 a.m. Friday, July 19, at The Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $37.50 in advance, $45 day of show. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.


"I've always made my living kinda going about the fact that people like to go to the beach every now and then and escape," Jimmy Buffett says. And as last year's sold-out show at Comerica Park attested, the beach can be anywhere Buffett is willing to serve up "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and any of his other sun-soaked hits.

So the coconut bras, grass skirts, parakeet hats and print shirts will turn the home of the Tigers into Margaritaville this weekend as Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band's Songs From St. Somewhere Tour -- named for the new album he'll be releasing Aug. 20 -- hits town. The party starts at noon in the Margaritaville Park next to the stadium, a free and open to the public affair with games, contests, performances by the local bands 50 Amp Fuse and Toast & Jam, and, of course, plenty of Buffett's Landshark beer.

So by the time Buffett hits the stage, he reckons the Parrotheads will be loose and juiced for the traditional good time.

"The fun part is to go out there and still do the songs people pay money to hear but then find creative things that make the show different for us as a band," explains Buffett, whose new single, "Too Drunk to Karaoke," features a duet with country star Toby Keith. "The idea is to find those other things, so when they see this show they'll go, 'Yeah, we got to hear 'Margaritaville' and 'Cheeseburger,' but the other stuff they did was real cool, too.

"So that's the challenge for us, and we always look forward to it."

Jimmy Buffett & the Coral Reefer Band and Jackson Browne perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at Comerica Park, 2100 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $39-$179. The Margaritaville Park Party begins at noon and is free and open to the public. Call 313-962-4000 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.


Amidst country music's current crop of thoroughbreds, Jason Aldean is indeed one of the faster horses.

Riding the platinum, chart-topping success of 2012's "Night Train," Aldean set a two-night attendance record last weekend at Boston's Fenway Park, selling more than 70,000 tickets in less than an hour. This weekend finds him helping to launch Faster Horses, a new three-day festival taking place at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

"I think it's gonna be a lot of fun," says Aldean, 36, who closes the festival on Sunday, July 21. "They've obviously got some big acts -- everyone from Luke (Bryan) and Dierks (Bentley), Georgia Florida Line...They've put together a great lineup, so that'll be fun to be part of.

"I think any time you get a chance to do something the first time, that's really cool. Some of these festivals we play have been around 20, 30 years. This could very well be one of those, so to be part of the first one and kind of help get it off the ground, it's a cool thing when you get a chance to do that."

Aldean will come to Faster Horses armed with his 17 Top 10 country hits -- eight of them No. 1's -- as well as "Night Train's" title track, which is his current single and fourth from the album. He's also starting to gather material for his next album, but he doesn't think it's time to pull "Night Train" into the station, either.

"It kinda depends on a lot of different things," Aldean explains. "Do I think we have five singles? Yeah. Will we put five singles out? I don't really know yet. I think a lot of things dictate that.

"('Night Train') has done really well, and if we didn't do anything else it's served its purpose already. I feel like you can kind of tell if an album has run its course and if it still has a bit of life left on it, and you make that call then."

Faster Horses takes place Friday through Sunday, July 19-21, at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Tickets are $170 and good for all three days and camping. Children under 10 are free. Call 517-592-6666 or visit www.fasterhorsesfestival.com


They don't know who the judges are going to be yet for next season, but that's not stopping the "American Idol" crew from holding its annual summer auditions around the country -- including in Detroit, on Sunday, July 21, at Ford Field. Registration will be held on Saturday, July 20, where aspiring contestants will receive wristbands and further instructions for the auditions -- which begin bright and early at 5 a.m. the next day.

This year also marks the first time auditioners are allowed to bring a guitar with them for their performance, although you'll have to sing a capella first.

Further instructions about how to become the next Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson...or even Justin Guarini can be found at www.americanidol.com.

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