Bruce Springsteen at Giants Stadium
There are a few things you have to do if you live for at time in the New York area. Spend a weekend at Fire Island. Ride the Coney Island roller coaster. Catch a U.S. Open game. And see Springsteen in Jersey. On Aug. 31 the Boss played his last date at Giants Stadium, and proved what a freak of nature he is, still giving three hours of exuberant, muscular music. The wonder of Springsteen is how his music is better in concert, unlike most popular musicians who depend on studio producers and amplified vocals. Recent songs like City of Ruin and The Rising were stellar, classics like Rosalita, Born to Run and Glory Days rocked, and under-appreciated gems like Lucky Town and Because the Night carried the night. Springsteen turned a stadium into a block party, with gleeful fans exchanging high fives in the aisles and singing along to ever lyric. Appropriately, Bruce finished off with Jersey Girl, and a smile and wave for his hometown fans.
Tracy Chapman at Beacon Theater
Chapman is as subtle as Springsteen is obvious. Outside the limelight and record charts, she continues to turn out moving, melodious music that inspires devoted fans, many of whom turned up for this July concert. Hits like Talking About a Revolution and (of course) Fast Cars were surrounded by a parade of upbeat, soulful songs about the challenge of keeping relationships, and hope, going in a difficult period.
Bend It Like Beckham
This small, independent film hit theaters two months ago and has been a secret pleasure for many ever since. The tale of a teenage girl whose passion for soccer, not to mention British superstar David Beckham, outrages her traditional, Indian family, Bend It is pretty predictable. And some have dismissed it as a cross between Monsoon Wedding and My Fat Greek Wedding. But I kind of liked those movies, and this one is just as genial and uplifting, if unsurprising. The young actors are endearing. The film also gives a nice snapshot of working class U.K. today. Love of soccer won't cure the world's ills but it at least can provide an evening of smiles.
Neil Finn Live at Town Hall
Last month Neil Finn, the former leader of the stellar bands Crowded House and Split Enz, came to New York, playing a rousing two-hour set full of old hits and new gems. Sure, not everyone can get into Finn. A native of New Zealand, Finn doesn't sample other people's hits. And his latest album, full of thoughts about man's mortality and the challenge of keeping a marriage together, isn't exactly burning up MTV's TRL. He used to have nothing but he still doesn't have a lot, let's put it that way. But Finn actually plays an instrument, puts real thought into his lyrics and creates moving music full of soaring melodies. Highlights included "Anytime," about the futility of life and the need to grab of hold of something good, "Something So Strong," and "She will have her way." For an encore Finn covered the Smith's masterpiece "There is a light," and ended with "Don't Dream It's Over." In between was a hilarious give-and-take with an cocky audience member who volunteered to sing backup for "Take the Weather" and ended up bringing a few friends up on stage and did a credible job on the song, with Finn's
THE LEGAL ADVISOR
Dear Advisor: If a man gets engaged, and he gives the girl a ring, and then he changes his mind, can the girl keep the ring? What if she (or her family) already paid out considerable expense in planning the wedding? Wondering
Dear Wondering: No, she can't keep the ring. Gifts in contemplation of a valid marriage must be returned when the engagement falls through for whatever reason. However, if the woman is stuck with substantial bills based on a reasonable belief that a marriage was to occur, there is no reason why she (or her family) can't sue her Ex for contribution to the costs involved.
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