October 14, 1988 was a very pivotal date in my life. If you look it up, you won’t find anything really of note that happened that day, but I remember it vividly. I was a tall and awkward middle school student living near Fort Worth. It was a Friday night, and my mother was driving me and my two best friends to Texas Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, to see my first concert. There was a thunderous feeling of pure joy as 40,000 fans started roaring in anticipation as the lights went out. Then he started singing, and a single spotlight was focused directly on to George Michael. His first song was completely inappropriate and the 13 year-old me loved every lyric. That was the moment I realized how much live music meant to me. It has been a major part of my life, and I am so blessed to be able to participate in an industry that still excites me to my soul. 

After an extended hiatus, I am so pleased to share that live performance is now back at the Bankhead Theater and we are presenting our biggest lineup ever. For this particular blog I was asked to share with you some of the dates that I have marked on my personal calendar, and the shows that I am looking forward to the most.

Chris' Picks

First of all, I am definitely excited about the season-opening gala on September 11 featuring Vanessa Williams, no further explanation is needed. I love the style and music of the Wailin’ Jennys

Tape Face was the runner-up of America’s Got Talent a few years ago, and he is incredibly funny. It’s going to be a show, unlike anything we have ever had so I’m very high on that one. 

Those who know me know that I have an unhealthy obsession with the guitar, and I’ve highlighted a few incredible guitarists coming this year, including Robert Cray, Ottmar Liebert, International Guitar Night, and Walter Trout living legend John Mayall

In regards to something new, I have to give a shout-out to Damien Sneed coming in December for a holiday show that will feature classical, jazz, and gospel music. It will be one you do not want to miss. 

I recall the last time Branford Marsalis was at the Bankhead that I was amazed at his band’s talent level. 

I also am looking forward to Jeremy Stolle in his first visit to the Bankhead. He starred as the Phantom on Broadway, and I got to see a short performance of this show live. It was SO MUCH FUN. As a bonus, he’s from Modesto and will definitely be excited to sing for a home audience. 

Some people have heard me say that since I started working at the Bankhead, I have discovered that I absolutely love live mariachi music, and I am particularly looking forward to Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, an all-female mariachi band that will be here on May 7. There’s so much to look forward to this coming season, and these are just a small snippet. 

Since October 14, 1988, I have had the good fortune to see hundreds of live shows and still get goosebumps. The Bankhead Theater, in particular, is such a wonderfully intimate venue, and I can’t think of a better place to watch a show. Thank you for all your support and patience with us over the last year. I can’t wait to join you this season for all of the great performances.