Feel like ushering in the next decade while basking in the glow of a celebrity or two? From the first time zone to hit midnight to the last, New Year’s Eve is awash in star-filled parties just begging for guests. So whip out those credit cards and gas up the jet (or better yet, let me call up a guy I know who has a time-traveling blue police box) and we’ll hit the road.
Let’s start off our trip Down Under. And look, not only are the folks gearing up for summer here, so the weather is nice and warm, The Falls Music & Arts Festival is in full swing.
If we drop in at the festival’s Lorne, Victoria, location we can catch acts like Rodrigo y Gabriela, Andrew Bird, Xavier Rudd, Jamie T, Moby, KillaQueenz and Dappled Cities. A stop at The Falls’ Marion Bay, Tasmania, site means we’d have the chance to see White Rabbits, Grizzly Bear, Editors, Major Lazer, Chairlift or Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
If we decide to visit more cosmopolitan Sydney instead we find Infected Mushroom at the Virgin Mobile Metro Theatre, as well as Summanights – the prelude to Australia’s biggest electronic music festival, Summdayze – taking place with a roster that includes Josh Wink, Eddie Halliwell, Mark Knight, Tom Novy, The Shapeshifters, Evil Nine and Sharam.
Heading west, we can make a quick stop at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace to get a look at Rihanna’s new show or we can keep going until we come to the British Isles, where there’s quite a party going on at London’s O2 Arena with Calvin Harris, Plump DJs, Dave Spoon, Example, Eric Prydz, Deadmau5 and Justice performing on multiple stages.
Traveling across the Atlantic we come to Massachusetts where we find shows in Boston by Ryan Cabrera (Kings Back Bay), Dane Cook (TD Garden) and Amanda Palmer (Symphony Hall) or, a little to the west, we can catch They Might Be Giants at Northampton’s Calvin Theater.
As we head down the coast, New York City beckons with a surplus of choice events to pick from including Chris Botti at Blue Note, Barbara Cook and Michael Feinstein at Feinstein’s at the Regency, Disco Biscuits at Nokia Theatre Times Square, Paul Van Dyk and Jason Jollins at Roseland Ballroom, Los Lobos at City Winery, Gov’t Mule at the Beacon Theatre, Mariah Carey at Madison Square Garden, Fischerspooner and Dangerous Muse at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza, Patti Smith at Bowery Ballroom, Chuck Berry and The New Deal at B.B. King Blues Club, MSTRKRFT at Webster Hall, Sandra Bernhard at Joe’s Pub and Victor Calderone at Pacha.
Tearing ourselves away from The Big Apple and all its delights, we move on to Atlantic City, N.J., to sit in for a couple hands of blackjack at one of the city’s famous casinos and catch shows including O.A.R. and Danny Chaimson at House of Blues and Roky Erickson at Maxwell’s.
Next it’s on to Baltimore’s Rams Head Live! where Dark Star Orchestra will perform its annual New Year’s Eve show with help from the Donna Jean Godchaux Band with Jeff Mattson.
From there, it’s just a short hop to Washington, D.C., where party is their middle name and scheduled events include Ahmad Jamal at Blues Alley, Third Eye Blind at the Grand Hyatt Washington and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings with Fitz & The Tantrums at the 9:30 Club.
Believe it or not, North Carolina can be a happening place too, so let’s drop in on Asheville for Toubab Krewe and State Radio at The Orange Peel and then visit Charlotte to catch Jeff Dunham and company at Time Warner Cable Arena.
It’s time for some warmer climes again, so it’s on to sunny Miami where we can choose from shows like Phish at AmericanAirlines Arena, Kid Cudi at Wet at the W Hotel and not one, but two Lady Gaga gigs: an early one at the James L. Knight Center with Semi Precious Weapons and Jason Derulo or a midnight show at the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort on Miami Beach.
Heading north again, we’ll drop in on Atlanta, where our choices include Band of Horses and The Dynamites Feat. Charles Walker at The Tabernacle, Widespread Panic at Phillips Arena, Sister Hazel at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and The Black Lips at The EARL.
Next comes another city where they really know how to throw a party, Chicago. The selection here is almost as good as New York’s, with choices that include Umphrey’s McGee and Prefuse 73 at the Aragon Ballroom; Girl Talk, Hearts of Darkness and Grand Buffet at the Congress Theater; The Black Keys and Kurt Vile at the Riviera Theatre; Crystal Castles at Logan Square Auditorium; The Crystal Method at Green Dolphin Street; Uncle Earl at the Old Town School of Folk Music and The Jesus Lizard with The Hood Internet at Metro/Smart Bar.
That’s enough cold for awhile, so let’s head south again and drop in on Oklahoma City’s Cox Business Services Convention Center, where The Flaming Lips are holding their annual New Year’s Eve shindig with an assist from Stardeath and White Dwarfs.
Further south still we come to Austin. As the center of Texas government and a college town, this is another place where the citizens are just looking for an excuse to have a good time. Tonight’s agenda includes shows by Joe Ely with Dale Watson at Antone’s, Flosstradamus at the Seaholm Power Plant, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears with Hard Proof Afrobeat at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q and Ferry Corsten at The Expo Center.
Austin was fun, but it’s time for some real partying so let’s head toward Las Vegas. Before we do though, let’s make a quick detour to Park City, Utah, where there’s a family gathering of sorts going on at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts featuring Loudon Wainwright III and his musical progeny Rufus Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche.
Following the beacon emanating from the Luxor Hotel, we land on Vegas’ strip where we can begin a star-studded pub crawl of sorts and choose from shows like Tiesto at Haze, Bette Midler at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, John Mayer Trio at The Joint, 50 Cent at Pure Nightclub, Maroon 5 at the Pearl Concert Theater, Robin Thicke at Bellagio Hotel & Casino, The Black Eyed Peas at the Luxor Hotel & Casino and Shwayze at Treasure Island Hotel.
It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without a visit to the City of Angeles, so that’s our next destination. And there’s no shortage of entertainment to be had in Los Angeles, with a list that includes Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Chromeo at Club Nokia, Dengue Fever at The Mint, Above & Beyond at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, Adam Lambert headlining Pamela Anderson’s Gridlock party at Paramount Studios and Together As One at Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena (featuring David Guetta, John Digweed, Markus Schulz, Dubfire, Sander Kleinenberg, DJ Reza and Marcus Schossow).
Up the coast in San Francisco, where the citizens are certainly no slouch in the party department, we can groove to the sounds of acts like The Roots at the Warfield Theatre, Squirrel Nut Zippers at Café Du Nord, Taylor Dayne and Thelma Houston at the Castro Theatre, Afrika Bambaataa at Club 6ix or Ghostland Observatory and The Glitch Mob at the Concourse Exhibition Center.
Up in the great Northwest, we’ll stop first in Portland, Ore., and check out shows including Railroad Earth at the Aladdin Theater and Pink Martini at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall or get our ’70s groove on with Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players, Slave, Dazz Band and the Bar-Kays at McMenamins Crystal Ballroom.
A quick stop in Seattle is next, where we can catch sets by Minus the Bear at Showbox at the Market or CAKE at the Moore Theatre, as well as dozens of other acts.
And finally, we’ll say “Aloha!” to 2009 in the westernmost part of the U.S. as we catch the Misfits and Phoenix Rose at the Pipeline Café in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Whew! That was exhausting. Lots and lots of fun, but exhausting. Good thing New Year’s Eve only comes once a year.