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Ending the year with mind blowing music

December 14, 2018

The Big Sandy Superstore Arena had one of its best back-to-back national act concert nights ever last weekend.

On Friday, they flirted with a sell-out for the newly crowned CMA Vocal Group of the Year and ACM Vocal Group of the Year, Dominion and its Happy Endings Tour which also features Michael Ray and High Valley.

And then on Saturday, it was an official sell-out for a bill topped with back platinum-selling radio rockers, Breaking Benjamin and Five Finger Death Punch on their co-headlining tour.

Back stage, there were some amazing moments as well, reports new Arena director, Cindy Collins.

On Friday night, the Arena staff stunned Old Dominion with a very special gift. The band’s new album has a song, “Written in the Sand,” which has a line about love that asks ... “Are we written in the stars, baby, or are we written in the sand?”

The Arena answered that question — the Tri-State’s love for the band is in the stars as they presented the boys in the band with “a registered star. Old Dominion was so touched they shared a picture of the gift with all their fans through their official Instagram account and chalked up nearly 12,000 likes for a pic of the unique gift.

Collins said in reference to the Five Finger Death Punch show, they got a unique call from a doctor at Cabell Huntington Hospital, that said one of their patients was a veteran who was a huge FFDP fan and wanted to come to the concert but is in too poor of health to do so.

Arena staff relayed the call to the guys in the band who sent over a package of signed merch that was delivered to the hospital by arena marketing director Veronica Ratcliff.

“It just goes to show the power of music and how the arts are important to people’s lives,” Collins said. “The guys in Five Finger really have a heart for veterans and this shows that love.”

Slayer back to rock the Arena

Have a metal head you need to buy Christmas for? Here’s the gift for them.Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14, for Slayer’s final world tour stop at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena will be May 13, 2019.

That tour, which wraps up Slayer’s 37-year career, also features Lamb of God, Amon Amarth and Cannibal Corpse.

Leg Five: North America of the band’s farewell tour kicks off May 2, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona, and sees the band performing 16 shows across the southern states and then up the east coast, culminating in Mansfield, Massachusetts, on May 25.

This is the first time Slayer has played the Arena since June 27, 2001 when they were on Pantera’s Extreme Steel tour with Static-X, Skrape, and Morbid Angel.

The full details of Leg Five: North America, of the band’s final world tour, are available on its site at slayer.net/tour.

Newsboys got next

Christian rock fans get a special pre-Christmas treat as the Newsboys, who have sold more than 8 million units and amassed 33 No.1 radio hits, bring their United Tour to the Big Sandy Superstore Arena on Sunday, Dec. 16.

An extra special gift is that it is the very last night of the tour which has rolled through nearly 100 cities and features the Newsboys members Michael Tait, Duncan Phillips, Jeff Frankenstein and Jody Davis together with former bandmates Peter Fuller and Phil Joel

Sponsored by ChildFund and produced by Premier Productions in partnership with the Newsboys, this leg of the “Newsboys United Tour” features special guest Word recording artist Zealand — which is founded and fronted by Phil Joel — as well as a special appearance by singer/songwriter and frontman of Audio Adrenaline Adam Agee.

Tickets are $48 and $28 to see Newsboys, who just announced Tuesday they will be heading out with Kenova native multi-Platinum-selling artist Michael W. Smith in the spring joining forces for the first time ever for “Surrounded & United: The Tour.” The 10-city outing will be a night of worship, kicking-off April 12 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There are no regional dates on that tour.

For further information visit newsboys.com. Follow Newsboys on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Rocking in the new year

Keeping with the Arena rock theme this week, tickets are now on sale for the first Mayor’s Rockin’ New Years Eve Party with Ronnie McDowell and Amber Hayes that will take place in the Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom.

Doors open at 8 p.m. with performances by Ronnie McDowell and Amber Hayes will take place during the course of the evening with a Champagne toast at midnight to a live stream of the ball drop in New York City with Mayor Steve Williams counting down to the New Year.

There will also be a DJ spinning dance hits as well as appetizers and a cash bar.

Tickets are (through Dec. 16) $50 or $100 for couples. Those go up to $55 and $110 - Dec. 17-Dec. 31 or until sold out.

Get tickets at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena Box Office, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at 1-800-745-3000

A Cold Winter’s Night’s ‘Moonage Daydream’

Of recent concerts I’ve attended few have been as enjoyable and impressive as last Friday for the album release party for “Moonage Daydeam: The Bowie Songbook,” as performed by Huntington stage rocker, Ryan Hardiman, his Charleston collaborator, Mark Scarpelli, and a string quartet.

Although the crowd on a bitter cold night could have been better, those there had their minds blown with what we think is the first string quintet to play the V Club which has hosted thousands of eclectic musical acts since it opened in 2006.

“For the first time in history I saw some head banging over here for a string quartet,” Hardiman said from stage. “How about Molly Lynn Page’s violin solo?

If you didn’t get to check it out live you can still snag the 13-track album on CD and vinyl in local stores (Elk City Records, Taylor Books, Sullivan’s Records and Budget Tapes and Records in Charleston) and also by download on Amazon, iTunes and GooglePlay.

Here’s hoping that if stars align, we can bring this incredibly played and composed locally made project back to Huntington where it would serve up nicely as a Picnic With the Pops concert. I am more than ready for a Midsummer’s Night’s Moonage Daydream.

In the meantime, you can catch Page at the V Club tonight. Miss Molly is back in action on the violin with Colten Settle’s ace jam unit, The Settlement, supporting a couple Carolina bands including Casey and the Comrades featuring Casey Cranford, the mind-blowing sax and horn player with the nationally-touring jam/jazz unit Big Something.

Go online at www.vclublive.com to check out more of the incoming acts.

Dave Lavender writes about music for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at lavender@herald-dispatch.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter @DaveLavenderHD.

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