Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fans Eye Adam Lambert For Forest Hills Stadium

by Michael Perlman, Perlman PR

On October 8, The Theater at Madison Square Garden was filled with fans having an energetic evening with performers Adam Lambert, Duran Duran, Rachel Platten, A Great Big World, and Phases, as part of the third annual Fresh 102.7 Fall Fest.

Back in June at the Barnes & Noble Citigroup Center in Manhattan, Adam Lambert had a CD signing of his new album, “The Original High.” At that time, he was presented with a copy of the book, “Legendary Locals of Forest Hills and Rego Park.” He responded, “I will read it on my return flight. I love history.” While being informed that the book features the iconic Forest Hills Stadium, where legends participated in the annual Forest Hills Music Festival from the 1960s through 1980s, and then learning about its revitalization with names such as Mumford & Sons, Carlos Santana, The Who, and Ed Sheeran since 2013, he expressed interest in joining that lineup. In a backstage encounter at the Fresh 102.7 Fall Fest, his interest in performing at the stadium continued.

In response to that dialogue, Mike Luba, one of Forest Hills Stadium’s concert managers said in an interview, “If Adam Lambert wanted to come play, we can figure out how to make that happen and would love it!”

Adam Lambert became an international singing sensation after he competed on season 8 of American Idol in 2009. As a solo artist, he has sold 5 million singles and over 2.5 million albums, which consist of “For Your Entertainment” (2009), “Trespassing” (2012), and “The Original High” (2015). Back in 2012, he became the lead vocalist for Queen, and they have toured internationally since 2014. 

Perlman PR: Sol Perlman, Linda Perlman, Michael Perlman, & Denise Webster converses with Adam Lambert backstage

Attendees at Madison Square Garden zeroed in on Adam Lambert. Denise Webster, who is staying in Forest Hills, made a special trip from Liverpool to see Adam Lambert perform. For her, not only does he exhibit a multi-octave range and charisma, but finds him to be therapeutic, particularly after undergoing surgery to help remedy her cancer. She attributes part of her healing towards being the devoted fan that kept his photo close by during her crucial moments. Her first encounter with Adam Lambert backstage at Madison Square Garden was a longtime dream come true, which ties into the message that his song and titled album, “The Original High” conveys. Webster said, “The Forest Hills Stadium’s concert promoters seem to have attracted a wide range of artists, and now Adam Lambert must come to Forest Hills. That will be my excuse to return to a great neighborhood, which has made me feel at home.” 


Deborah Sanichara, a Forest Hills-based concertgoer enjoyed the evening as a whole, but expressed a particular emphasis on Adam Lambert. She said, “He seems very accessible as a person, and his vocal range is very wide, where he moves effortlessly through the transitions. As far as him being a legend, just ask anyone from age 6 to 60 who Adam Lambert is, and they will be able to give you an answer; unless they live under a rock.”

Forest Hills resident Gayle Richman attended at least 30 Adam Lambert gigs over the last 6 years. She explained, “You can't take your eyes off of him, since he is just that charismatic. He never performs the same song the same, he's spontaneous and funny, and you always feel like he's singing to you.” Referencing the words of Brian May of Queen, Richman said, “He's a gift from G-D.” She continued, “Madison Square Garden sold out in 2014 when Adam Lambert and Queen performed, and people are very hungry to see this collaboration again.”

Another community resident, Joanne Davis began eyeing Adam Lambert since he appeared on American Idol. Also reminiscing his 2014 show at MSG, she said, “I would love to see Adam in a smaller venue like Forest Hills Stadium, and if he could perform with Queen in Queens that would make perfect sense. However, he has enough hits of his own, that I'd see him even with a less well-known backup band.”

“If he doesn’t come to Queens, my heart is a ghost town,” said Sergey Kadinsky, a fan from Fresh Meadows, who referred to Adam Lambert’s lead single “Ghost Town” from his latest album. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Spotlight on the Fresh 102.7 Fall Fest 2015

by Michael Perlman, Perlman PR

It was an energetic and memorable evening at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on October 8th. The third annual Fresh 102.7 Fall Fest featured Adam Lambert, Duran Duran, Rachel Platten, A Great Big World, and Phases, and fans were barely in their seats throughout the nearly four-hour concert. The station compiled a brilliant lineup which offered a diverse blend of music eliciting memories of the 1980s and 1990s, in addition to showcasing today’s popular tunes. The evening called for a celebration, which was topped off with a ton of confetti falling from above and adding color to the upbeat nature of the fans.

Duran Duran

Duran Duran

Duran Duran is back into the swing of things with their album “Paper Gods,” which was released in September 2015 and achieved a spot on the Top 10 Billboard records. However, the band never lost its spark, as proven at the Fall Fest, which ties into the appeal of being considered legendary. Touring were vocalist Simon LeBon, bassist and vocalist John Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor, Nick Rhodes on keyboard, and guitarist Dom Brown.

Duran Duran
It may be three decades since the band topped the charts, but Duran Duran transcended audience members into the 1980s and the present with their cultured sound. The set included 1990s classics such as “Come Undone” and “Ordinary World,” and 1980s classics such as “Rio,” “A View to a Kill,” and “Hungry Like The Wolf.” Paper Gods consisted of performance numbers including “Pressure Off,” “Last Night in the City,” and the album-titled track.

Adam Lambert
On-their-feet concertgoers, which included many Adam Lambert fans, popularly known as “Glamberts,” cheered and screamed “Adam” as he walked onto the stage. He exhibited a multi-octave range and much charisma throughout his selection of songs from his albums; “For Your Entertainment,” “Trespassing,” and his latest release, “The Original High,” a contemporary album with somewhat dark lyrics with experiences that fans can easily relate to.

Adam Lambert

Adam’s set began with “Shady,” followed by “Underground,” “Ghost Town,” the Chris Isaak cover of “Wicked Game,” and “The Original High.” Leading up to the performance and release of his latest single, he exchanged much dialogue with his audience, thickening the plot. He said, “If you’re paying attention and you’ve been following my stuff on these social media things, you might know that tonight at midnight, I’m dropping my next music video.” Some young fans sitting near the stage belted out “I love you,” and he replied, “I love you too.” Much anticipation resulted in his performance of “Another Lonely Night.” The concert continued with his first Grammy-nominated single, “Whataya Want From Me,” followed by a most recent album number, “Evil in the Night.” His audience called for an encore, and Lambert was ready to deliver a remix of “Trespassing” in collaboration with the Queen cover of “Another One Bites the Dust.” Next in line was a reggae spin of “If I Had You,” a track from his first album.

Adam Lambert

Perlman PR and Denise Webster, a Glambert from the UK was delighted to converse with Adam Lambert backstage

Newcomer Rachel Platten is becoming an American pop sensation, ever since the February 2015 release of her single “Fight Song,” which achieved a #6 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Her performance numbers, characterized by commanding vocals and highly communicative and engaging lyrics were another highlight of the evening for concertgoers, who were equally uplifted by her signature song offering the message “do not give up.” Despite the competitive nature among other obstacles that can arise in the music industry, Rachel was determined to persevere, even if it meant to accept the reality of small successes.

Rachel Platten

Rachel Platten

A Great Big World’s talented indie pop duo Ian Axel and Chad King delivered an emotional performance with their Grammy award-winning powerful ballad “Say Something,” and were joined by Rachel Platten. Other hits were their new single “Hold Each Other,” as well as a great Beatles cover, “Got To Get You Into My Life.”

A Great Big World

Indie pop band Phases, consisting of Alex Greenewald, Jason Boesel, Z Berg, and Michael Runion, opened the show. With their upbeat 1980’s sound found in “I’m In Love With My Life,” their audience was motivated.
Confetti nearing the finale of Duran Duran's act

Some fans are already counting down the days to next year's Fall Fest. It was an evening that won't be forgotten!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Santana Brings Latin Flavor To Forest Hills Stadium

by Michael Perlman, Perlman PR

The legendary Carlos Santana made his way onto the iconic Forest Hills Stadium stage, donning a fedora hat, a black shirt, and white pants, and an approximate 10,000 concertgoers cheered. On August 14, as part of Santana’s Corazón tour, the venue was transformed into a large scale dance party under starlit skies, which was complemented by a multi-colored lighting spectacular which accentuated his audience. With a guitar in hand, he fused rock and Latin American music, and his sophisticated rhythms electrified the audience. His repertoire featured a mix of longtime favorites and new hits, which included “Oye Como Va,” “Smooth,” “Maria, Maria,” “Saideira,” “Black Magic Woman,” “Tequila,” “Jin-go-lo-ba,” and “Corazon Espinado.” 

Carlos Santana accompanied by Santana Band

Back in the 1970s, Santana called Queens home, and now his concert marked his first appearance in the borough. Another first is that “Corazón,” which was released in 2014, is an exclusively Latin album which merges diverse rhythms borrowing from cumbia, mambo, rock, and reggae, and the tracks are predominantly played by Latin artists. Concertgoer Cristina De Leon said, “I love how Santana can blend so many genres into his music, and his playing seems so effortless. I also love how he resonates with today’s artists.” She expressed much pride in introducing quality music to her daughter in an easily accessible and unique setting. “I wanted to give her the experience of seeing a living legend!”

Carlos Santana was born on July 20, 1947 in Autlán de Navarro, Mexico. He achieved 100 million record sales since the 1960s, is the recipient of ten Grammy awards and three Latin Grammy awards, and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. “What is distinguishable is his ability to use his guitar as an extension of his soul, as if he is singing and speaking through it, and there are only a few artists who can master that,” said Forest Hills resident Nick Dell’Anno. He referenced Jimi Hendrix and David Gilmour. “Santana transcends guitar playing into something much more primal and integral,” he continued.

Talent runs in Santana’s family. One of his concert’s many highlights was his 32 year-old son, Grammy winner Salvador Santana’s singing, rapping, and playing the keyboard for a few numbers from his album “Fantasy Reality,” set to be released this month. Santana gracefully referred to his son as “My teacher.” The Santana Band included vocalists Tony Lindsay and Andy Vargas, David K. Mathews on keyboard, Paoli Mejias on conga drum, and Jeff Cressman on trombone.

Pat Lannan displays his Santana collectible
Pat Lannan, an avid concertgoer at Forest Hills Stadium said, “I've never seen such an enthusiastic audience, where the whole audience was dancing throughout.” One of his favorite numbers was” Black Magic Woman,” which was made additionally memorable due to a chorus of concertgoers. Lannan marveled over how this concert was scheduled close to the eve of Woodstock's 46th anniversary, which Santana was a part of. “They sounded as exciting now, as they did back in 1969 at the Woodstock festival,” he said.

“Viva Santana!” said Nidia Menasche, who attended 14 Santana performances, which she views as an opportunity for quality family time. She explained, “His compassion for people, which shows as he plays his guitar is what makes Santana a true artist.” Then she commended him and his family for establishing The Milagro Foundation, which benefits underserved children worldwide by issuing grants to community tax-exempt organizations that assist children with health, education, and the arts. 

Alabama Shakes on September 19 will wrap up the summer of 2015 concert season, which featured notable artists such as The Who, Ed Sheeran, James Taylor, and The New York Pops with Sutton Foster and Pink Martini. Event Manager Brian Vinikoor stated in an interview, “Our goal for the summer of 2016 will be to continue to bring world class talent to Forest Hills and continue to enhance the fan experience.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Forest Hills Stadium Welcomes The New York Pops

by Michael Perlman, Perlman PR

Colin Donnell, Musical director Michael Rafter, Megan McGinnis, Sutton Foster, NY Pops director & conductor Steven Reineke
Sutton Foster with The New York Pops, Aug 6, Photo by Michael Perlman

It was history in the making at Forest Hills Stadium, as The New York Pops graced the stage with Sutton Foster on August 6, followed by their collaboration with Pink Martini on August 7. While the scene transformed from sunny skies to starlit evenings, multi-generational concertgoers were already anticipating The New York Pops’ return to Forest Hills in 2016.

Music director and conductor Steven Reineke said, “The New York Pops has performed in New York City parks quite a bit, but we’ve never had a permanent summer home. We are so excited to establish something lasting in Queens, in such a legendary music venue.”

The New York Pops, which was founded in 1983, is recognized as America’s largest independent pops orchestra and the sole professional symphonic orchestra in New York City which specializes in popular music. The New York Pops’ “Kids in the Balcony” program offered over 1,000 complimentary tickets to underprivileged children, and to further make live music accessible, family packages began at ten dollars. “Our PopsEd programs are designed to engage kids, and make them excited about working together and learning many life skills through singing, playing, and listening to music,” said Reineke.

Michael Perlman with Sutton Foster

Tony Award-winning artist Sutton Foster has performed in 11 Broadway shows including “Anything Goes” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Special guests were television actor and Broadway artist Colin Donnell who appeared in “Violet” and “Jersey Boys” and Megan McGinnis who played Eponine in Les Misérables. In an interview, Donnell explained, “Making my debut with The New York Pops in such an awesome venue is a dream come true!”

Michael Perlman with Colin Donnell

Michael Perlman with Megan McGinnis 

Nearly 20 performance numbers consisted of “Begin the Beguine,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Neverland,” and “On the Streets of Dublin.” Both acts opened with Overtures from “Anything Goes” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” “The History of the TV Overture” was a medley of classic American television theme songs including “I Love Lucy” and “The Addams Family.”

Pink Martini delivered another evening of brilliance, with bandleader and pianist Thomas Lauderdale, co-lead vocalists China Forbes and Storm Large, and special guest Meow Meow. Considered the “little orchestra,” Pink Martini has a huge following with their international tours. Over 20 multi-lingual hits included “Amado Mio,” “Sympathique,” ¿Dónde estás, Yolanda?” “Ne me quitte pas,” “Quizás Quizás Quizás,” and “Let’s Never Stop Falling in Love.”

The audience was actively engaged in both concerts. Rego Park resident Edward Aronowitz said, “Sutton Foster is a show-stopper type of performer, who is warm to her audience and has great control of her vocal chords.”

 Lisa Gwasda, a music teacher, who takes pride in her past experience in singing as part of a chorus with The New York Pops said, “The best thing to do as a New Yorker is to enjoy a concert under the stars, and The New York Pops and Sutton Foster can’t be beat.”

Native Forest Hills residents Ricky Salem and his mother Mary Salem also made plans to enjoy the first night. Glancing at the diverse audience, he said, “This is a great addition to the ambiance of our neighborhood and city, and the turnout shows that the stadium is not just for rock concerts.”

The NY Pops & Pink Martini concert - Pianist & Bandleader Thomas Lauderdale, Vocalists Meow Meow, China Forbes, Storm Large

When the Pink Martini concert featured an open call to dance in front of the stage, Marlene and Jacques Winter of Cold Spring Harbor, NY, who have attended many New York Pops at Carnegie Hall concerts, began swinging.  “We feel like star swing dancers in Forest Hills, and next year we hope to dance on the stadium stage,” said Marlene.

Swing dancing couple Marlene & Jacques Winter at Pink Martini concert

Meow Meow with Tim Brown, left at Pink Martini concert

Tim Brown of Midtown Manhattan, who attended the Pink Martini concert, is a retired FDNY survivor of 9/11. “Music is a healing art, which helps me deal with the murder of so many of my friends on 9/11,” Brown said. He would often sing along, and “Brazil” was one of his favorite numbers. He said, “The entire ensemble was on stage and it got everyone up out of their seats.” That was when audience members formed a Conga line around the aisles.  

Brown also had a moment under the spotlight. He explained, “When Meow Meow pointed to me and said ‘You!,’ my face turned red. When she told me to get on my knees, well, what can you do? After all, how often does a hot cabaret star demand you wrap your arms around her, as she gyrated to the beat?”

The concerts also elicited fond memories. For Magda Katz, a theatrical entertainment correspondent, it marked her return to Forest Hills Stadium, after seeing Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland in the 1960s. In reference to Pink Martini’s “Amado Mio,” she said, “I love its Latin flavor, which reminds me of songs I grew up with.”

The New York Pops with Pink Martini

Michael Perlman with Meow Meow & Storm Large

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ed Sheeran & The Who Opens 2015 Concert Season at Forest Hills Stadium

by Michael Perlman, Perlman PR

Building on the tradition of the hallowed ground at Forest Hills Stadium, where every act from The Beatles to Frank Sinatra to Bob Dylan was witnessed mostly in the 1960s and 1970s, the summer 2015 concert season opened with Grammy-nominated singer Ed Sheeran on May 28 and May 29 and The Who on May 30.

Reflecting on definitive moments, concert promoter Mike Luba pointed out, “Ed Sheeran said the Forest Hills Stadium was one of the coolest places he ever played at. The Who returning for the first time since 1971 was absolutely crushing it. They loved it too.” Luba described the community’s response to the opening weekend’s concerts as positive. “Combined with the amazing time both Ed Sheeran and The Who had at their shows, makes me really encouraged about what the future holds for this adventure.”

On May 29, Sheeran opened the evening with “I’m A Mess,” surprised fans with the new track “Sweet Mary Jane,” performed mash-ups, covered classics such as “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Feeling Good,” and led up to a grand finale of “Sing,” where 14 screens featured fans, clips of Sheeran, and music videos. With only a guitar in hand, a soulful voice, and a hip hop hook, he is a one-man dynamo. Roaring screams from a packed audience, dominated by teenage girls led to shout-outs such as “You have the voice of an angel” and “How could you be so cute and so talented at the same time?”

“The stadium is large but is also intimate,” said Sheeran fan and musician Kevin Revis of East Brunswick, New Jersey. “I want to be famous and play here,” he continued. Another fan, Niky King, said “We’ve come all this way from England, and it was brilliant!”

On May 30, punk/hard rocker Joan Jett and the Blackhearts commanded their audience with much energy, and was the ideal opener for the legendary rock band, The Who. Jett still delivered her classics with much energy, and that included “I Hate Myself For Loving You” and “I Love Rock N’ Roll.” “The Who Hits 50!” tour, which featured two of the original members, Roger Daltrey and Pete Towshend, proved how to rock a packed stadium half a century later. They performed their mid-1960s to 1970s classics, which included “I Can’t Explain,” “I Can See For Miles,”  “Pinball Wizard,” and “See Me, Feel Me.” This concert attracted mostly a middle-aged energetic crowd.

Michael Mastrobuoni of Wantagh, NY had a front row seat and shared some memorable moments. “Roger Daltrey shhhhh'd me since I yelled out to Pete Townshend about how good they still sounded. Also, Pete threw a guitar pick, which I actually caught and was patted on the back by those around me.”

“Some of my favorite bands played here, and being able to see two of those bands at such an iconic site was amazing,” said Forest Hills filmmaker and musician Andrew Akler. He then explained, “Joan Jett’s set really fit the theme of ‘through the years,’ which The Who continued when they came on. Their performance of ‘Love, Reign O'er Me’ was absolutely incredible.”

Forest Hills resident Pat Lannan said, “Rock N’ Roll pioneers Joan Jett and The Who provided concertgoers with the true spirit of what playing live is all about. No computers were needed.” Lannan also addressed a most memorable moment. “Roger Daltrey turned to Pete Townshend and asked for a big round of applause for ‘the man who wrote all of this fantastic music.’ Then I thought, all this brilliant music from one person is a true gift.”

Since the stadium’s restoration and renovation in 2013, season 1 and season 2 have proven to be a great success. Luba said, “We aim for world class artists. We’ve made a bunch of progress with the stadium, and this weekend we saw the magic happen.” Looking ahead, he welcomes a diverse concert program for this third season including The New York Pops. “New York deserves a world class summer venue for orchestral music, with most tickets starting at only $10 and kids are free.”  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Drake vs. Lil' Wayne: A Success Despite Concert Concerns

by Michael Perlman, Perlman PR

Drake, Courtesy of Suzan Causey
Lil Wayne, Courtesy of Suzan Causey

The iconic Forest Hills Tennis Stadium has hosted “Drake vs. Lil’ Wayne” on August 19, which marked its third concert for the summer 2014 season. It proved to be a success, despite hearing a buzz in prior weeks over a scheduled rap concert, increased noise levels, and rowdy crowds in a residential area.    
Sometime between the August 9th Modest Mouse & Brand New concert and the Drake and Lil’ Wayne concert, a vague email from a small local group addressed from “concerned citizens” was circulated to some stadium neighbors in a vicinity that includes the Forest Hills Gardens and 69th Avenue.

An excerpt read: After the last two concerts, we heard complaints about the noise levels inside peoples’ homes. One person on 69th Ave. told us she was forced to leave her house on the night of the last concert because it was so loud. Others have described their homes shaking from the bass levels. We have conveyed these concerns directly to the promoters, our elected officials, and the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, which is responsible for enforcing the city’s noise code.”

The letter then read: “After the last concert (Modest Mouse), we also received complaints about the sound check that went on from 6 PM to 8:30 PM the day before the performance. We spoke to the promoters about that issue during a meeting this past week. They told us that for Drake and Lil’ Wayne, they will test the p.a. system on Monday, but promised us that it will not be an extended rehearsal like last time.”

In an interview with concert promoters Jon McMillan and Mike Luba, they issued a joint statement after the concert: “Drake and Lil' Wayne are world-class performers at the top of their respective games, and they put on an unforgettable performance. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric. We continue to work closely with city agencies, local officials, community groups, and individual neighbors to improve the overall concert experience for our patrons and residents in the areas surrounding the Stadium. We're looking forward to hosting the legendary Replacements on September 19, and Phil Lesh and Friends on September 21.”

Local residents inclusive of concertgoers also praised the concert experience. “The 10 PM concert curfew is more than reasonable, and we're talking only about six shows a year spread out of over the summer months,” said Pat Lannan. “I walked around our neighborhood not long before the Drake vs. Lil’ Wayne concert, and the restaurants and pubs were packed. Our police department has done a wonderful job to make sure these concerts are orderly, so by allowing them to happen, we’re showing support for our businesses and the neighborhood.”

BarbaraAnn Balzaretti Flannery agreed. “There are no safety issues, and the concertgoers and the cops have been great. The concerts not only bring revenue to the neighborhood, but inspire budding young artists to follow their dream.” She added, “Music is food for the soul, so let’s embrace it!”

“I’m sorry that some people are complaining about noise, but the concert ended at 10 PM sharp,” said Matthew Mandell, who has attended the Zac Brown Band and Drake vs. Lil’ Wayne concerts with his family. He explained, “The concert had a young and high energy crowd. The stadium has a historic feel, it's a good size, and it’s awesome to be able to walk to concerts in our neighborhood. There's nothing like an outdoor concert in the summer, and I am looking forward to next year.”

On the contrary to the predictions by a small group of locals, the performers applied their creative vision to an organized and interactive concert experience. On August 9, Drake’s Twitter feed read, “Everybody coming to the show, download the Drake vs. Lil’ Wayne app free and put the power in your own hands! You decide who STARTS the show, who WINS the show, and of course what side you are on! Just choose your city, and from there it’s on YOU.”

Opening the concert in unison, Drake and Lil’ Wayne were ready to energize their fans. “Blunt Blowin” was first performed by Lil’ Wayne, and then a comeback was delivered by Drake with “We Made It” and “Draft Day.” Independent numbers followed, along with a face to face rap battle. A climactic moment was witnessing Drake being hoisted 20 feet above Forest Hills. According to the app, the fans pronounced Drake as the winner, but then the artists proved that the fans made a mid-summer’s night in Forest Hills one to remember.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Zac Brown Band Opens Summer 2014 at Forest Hills Stadium

by Michael Perlman, Perlman PR

Forest Hills knew how to celebrate the first day of summer. On June 21st, the three-time Grammy winner, two-time CMT winner, and Multi-Platinum Zac Brown Band took the Forest Hills Stadium stage, and launched the summer 2014 concert series. The southern country-rock band, known for their albums “Uncaged,” “You Get What You Give,” and “The Foundation,” has sold an excess of six million copies. It was a sunny and mild summer night, and at 5 PM, crowds began filling the venue which accommodates an estimated 16,000 concertgoers.        

America’s first concrete tennis stadium, dating to 1923, has undergone additional restoration work and upgrades which include numbered metal benches on the upper levels, seats with backings on the lower level, improved ADA accommodations, widened aisles, handrails, and easier access to food and beverages. A new stage was transported from a Toronto tennis center, and erected in Forest Hills Stadium in May. To address last summer’s public safety concerns, where concertgoers speculated that the stadium was overbooked, a reserved seating system was implemented and fewer tickets were sold.
In August 2013, the stadium reopened with Mumford & Sons, which became the first major musical act at the stadium since the 1980s. It struck a chord for patrons who recalled the annual Forest Hills Music Festivals of the 1960s through the early 1980s. Memorable summers featured music greats including Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Peter, Paul, & Mary, Donna Summer, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, and the Rolling Stones.

Zac Brown Band specials were offered by local restaurants, and some erected concession stands near the stadium. Among the restaurants which experienced an increase in patronage were Banter, Bareburger, Forest Hills Station House, and Austin Public. Earlier this month, some local organizations played a role in concert promotions, such as the 112th Precinct which raffled front row tickets to their Twitter followers.

Air personality Jesse Addy of Nash FM 94.7 opened the concert and asked, “Has anyone come for a tennis match? Who is here to see the Zac Brown Band?” With much enthusiasm, that was followed by “Country is back in New York City!” A Zac Brown Band documentary was screened around 6:30 PM, and as it approached 7 PM, some patrons chanted “We want Zac!”

The band began performing at 7:30 PM, and then announced, “Everyone who bought a ticket made a donation to help kids with Autism and ADD.” Fans enjoyed a wide range of numbers for two and a half hours. That included “Jump Right In,” “Chicken Fried,” and “As She’s Walking Away.” In between songs, “USA” chants were heard. As the sun set over Forest Hills Stadium on the longest day of the year, fans continued dancing, while laser beams contributed to a dance club feel. The band highly interacted with fans by throwing tennis balls into the audience and stepping off the stage to shake hands.

Concertgoers, some of whom wore country western clothes, mostly commuted from the tri-state area. “I kept thinking, it's really incredible to know some of the big names that performed at the stadium, and how close you feel to the performers,” said Manny Morelli of Jersey City. “I've seen the band before, and they always look like they are having a blast, which the audience feeds off of.”

Amie Valois of Rockland County agreed, and referred to the band as energetic and interactive. She said, “In addition to their own songs, they covered an eclectic range of classics from Billy Joel to Metallica, which I loved. Also, the sound in the stadium was great, as well as the stadium’s history, charm, and size.”

However, she complained about the beer line setup. She said, “It may be the number of taps or the staff, but for $8 a beer, they should be able to offer more and better of both.” Referring to the porta potties, she said, “I am not sure why there are no restrooms.”

“My concert experience was excellent,” said Jeannine Barr of Center Moriches, NY. “Once our train arrived, I was quite taken by the charm of Forest Hills. I could appreciate that this was no modern structure, and I felt safe with the layout. The staff was excellent in showing us our way, and I felt good knowing where the exits were.”

Barr is a huge Zac Brown Band fan, and saw them perform at MetLife Stadium and Mohegan Sun. She explained, “The Forest Hills venue was much smaller and more intimate. One of the highlights was when they covered Billy Joel's “Piano Man” …some way to woo a Long Island crowd!”

Stay tuned for more summer 2014 concerts. Recently announced bookings are Modest Mouse and Brand New on August 9th, Drake vs. Lil Wayne on August 19th, and The Replacements on September 19th. Visit www.foresthillsstadium.com for more information.