Country-Americana music icon Willie Nelson and country-Americana icon Emmylou Harris are booked in two separate concert venues in Tallahassee on the same night?
Don’t they share the same audience demographic? Haven’t they recorded together? Isn’t this a conflict?
Well, yes – and no.
The outdoor Nelson concert at the amphitheater in Cascades Park on March 4 sold out within a day when tickets went on sale in December.
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The tickets for the Harris show on March 4 in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall as part of the Florida State University Opening Nights artist series are nearly gone.
“I believe that Tallahassee is large enough to support two major performances on the same evening,” Opening Nights director Jennifer Wright said. “While it is not ideal, this is a music loving city, and I am confident both shows will be well attended. In fact, Emmylou Harris is nearing capacity and we expect it to sellout in the coming weeks.”
“There is an enormous difference between the venues,” Cascades Park amphitheater concert booker Scott Carswell said. “Ruby Diamond Concert Hall may be the nicest in town and the other is literally boots in grass. … They are two completely different fan experiences.”
The overlap happened when Nelson, 89, rearranged his Florida tour dates.
“It was not intentional,” Carswell said. “It was not meant to be disrespectful (to ON).”
The Moon, a concert stage and nightclub run by Carswell, has hosted Nelson concerts six times in the past. ON, which is celebrating its 25th season, is no stranger to The Moon stage either, using it for numerous events over the years such as singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin, harpist Joanna Newsom and band The Neville Brothers. Nelson has also played a concert for ON in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall.
“At the end of the day, I think Tallahassee has grown up,” Carswell said. “It can host two major stars just a little over a mile apart on the same night.”
The Cascades Park amphitheater can accommodate 3,240 people. Ruby Diamond Concert Hall holds 1,172.
The amphitheater is on a roll with three sell-out shows in a row. Besides Nelson, they include Earth, Wind & Fire last September and Ben Folds with the Tallahassee Symphony in April. ON has brought in numerous big names since its inception. They include singer Mavis Staples, writer Stephen King, humorist David Sedaris, chef-TV star Anthony Bourdain, author Margaret Atwood, violinist Joshua Bell, songwriter Randy Newman, actor Danny Glover and comic Joan Rivers.
ON will kick off 2023 on Jan. 12 with the “50th Anniversary & Final World Tour” starring hitmaking singers of The Manhattan Transfer in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall. Tickets are $45 and $60. Visit openingnights.fsu.edu
Jay Leno is a go
On Nov. 12, 2022, comedy star and car buff Jay Leno, 72, was working on his steam-driven, 1907 White Motor Co. auto in a Los Angeles garage trying to unclog a fuel line.
“So, I was underneath it (working on the engine), and I said, ‘Blow some air through the line’ (to his assistant),” Leno recently told NBC. “Then suddenly, boom, I got a face full of gas. And then the pilot light jumped and my face caught fire.”
After the assistant quickly put out the flames, Leno was admitted to a hospital for treatment of third-degree burns to his head and chest.
The comic has since bounded back. His March 29 appearance in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall as part of ON is still a go.
“His agents tell us that he is expected to make a full recovery and resume his regular performances,” Wright said. “There are still great seats available, but they will go fast.”
Tickets are $100 and $115. Visit openingnights.fsu.edu.
The March 2023 date will be Leno’s first public stand-up gig in Tallahassee since he was the headliner for Florida State University Homecoming Pow Wow in 1989.
Speaking of comics …
Have you ever noticed ….
Observational comic and TV star Jerry Seinfeld, 68, returns to the city and is doing two stand-up shows on Jan. 5 in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall.
The stop is entirely freelance and not done through FSU or ON. Tickets prices range from $92.50 to $180. Visit jerryseinfeld.com
Getting ready for Whitehead …
In anticipation of two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Colson Whitehead, 53, at ON in Rudy Diamond Concert Hall on Feb. 9, a special panel discussion is being held to discuss the civil eights movement. Whitehead’s novels are “The Underground Railroad,” “Harlem Shuffle” and “The Nickel Boys,” which was a fictionalized tale of abuse set in an infamous reform school an hour west of Tallahassee during the Jim Crow era.
The panel discussion, slated for Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in Dodd Hall on the FSU campus, will be led by FSU English professor Maxine Montgomery. The panelists are FSU filmmaker Valerie Scoon, FSU professor and writer Ravi Howard, FAMU dean Reggie Ellis and Derek Steele, whose father was civil eights activist the Rev. C.K. Steele.
The talk is free but requires an RSVP at tickets.openingnights.fsu.edu.
Whitehead’s novel “The Underground Railroad” was adapted for a Peabody Award-winning miniseries by director Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”), who is a graduate of FSU’s film school.
Tickets to Whitehead’s talk in February are $30 and $50.
Mark Hinson is a former senior writer at The Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him at email@example.com.
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