A new year means a new lineup of concerts at music venues in and around Wichita.
And even though in January we likely know only a small portion of the acts that will pass through Wichita at venues such as Intrust Bank Arena, the Orpheum, and Salina’s Stiefel Theatre, so far, the 2016 list rocks. (It also occasionally croons.)
Here are five on-the-book shows I’m looking forward to in 2016:
1. Barry Manilow, Intrust Bank Arena, Feb. 19: Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, I was aware of Manilow’s cheesy-yet-peppy song catalog, but I kept it pushed into the back of my consciousness. When I saw Manilow perform at the arena in 2012, though, his stage presence and production quality quickly turned me into a “Fanilow.” He swung his recently reconstructed hips, chatted and joked warmly with the audience and delivered hits like “Can’t Smile Without You,” “The Old Songs” and “Looks Like We Made It.” Three years later, I still tell people about his rendition of “Mandy,” which Manilow performed alongside a video projection of a younger version of himself. Goosebumps!
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I won’t be missing Manilow when he returns next month.
Tickets: $19.75, $59.75, $79.75, $99.75 and $149.75 at www.selectaseat.com, by calling 316-755-7328, at Select-a-Seat outlets and at the Intrust Bank Arena box office.
2. Luke Bryan, Intrust Bank Arena, May 13: Please pardon me while I continue to perspire over here in this corner, where I’ve been since I heard Luke Bryan would be returning to the arena on May 13. Ever since I saw Bryan perform in 2013 – a blur of hip gyrations, man jeggings and the PG-21-rated dance moves – he’s stood out from the twangy, trucker-hat wearing band of catfishin’ crooners. I may have to go see him again, just to make sure he still is as ... entertaining as I remember. Do not tell anyone that I now know all the words to “Country Girl (Shake it for Me.)”
Tickets: Tickets range from $39.75 to $74.75 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Jan. 15, Intrust Bank Arena officials said.
3. Fall Out Boy, Intrust Bank Arena, March 22: My daughter is 10, going on 15, and she loves pop music. Her favorite pop music is performed by girls who wear cat ears, dye their hair pink and have previously starred on some type of Disney series. Mysteriously, my daughter also loves Fall Out Boy, whose music is definitely more rocking than what your average pop princess produces. I approve. I’ve enjoyed many Fall Out Boy hits over the year, my favorite being 2005’s “Sugar, We’re Goin Down.” And even though I most connect the band with the fact that its bassist, Pete Wentz, was once married to Jessica Simpson’s little sister, I’m glad the band is coming to Wichita. It’s a good thing, if for no other reason than that Wichita rarely gets shows that aren’t classic rock or country, and Fall Out Boy is refreshingly neither.
Tickets: $29.50, $39.50, $49.50, $69.50 at www.selectaseat.com, by calling 316-755-7328, at Select-a-Seat outlets and at the Intrust Bank Arena box office.
4. Lisa Lampanelli, the Orpheum, Feb. 27: I’ve done my share of over-the-phone interviews of stars, and by far, my favorites are conducted with comedians. Lewis Black was my favorite, followed by Paula Poundstone and Bill Maher. And Louie Anderson was graciously forgiving of the fact that, for the first three minutes of our interview, I mistakenly thought I was talking to a local restaurant owner named Louie. That’s why I’m intrigued by a listing on the Orpheum’s schedule for Lisa Lampanelli, a foul-mouthed insult comedian who’s also famous for losing lots of weight (100 pounds since her weight loss surgery) and for surviving The Donald on “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2012. You know she has some stories. If I get to interview her, I’ll extract a few.
Tickets: $29.50, $34.50, $39.50, $49.50 at www.selectaseat.com, by calling 316-755-7328, at Select-a-Seat outlets and at the Intrust Bank Arena box office.
5. Gordon Lightfoot, The Stiefel, Salina, June 18: Would I drive all the way to Salina to hear “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”? Well, I might not. But I might drive all the way to Salina to hear “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “If You Could Read My Mind.” Canadian singer Lightfoot and his haunting 77-year-old voice will be at Salina’s Stiefel this summer, and I’d better get there while the getting’s good. Join me?
Tickets: $39, $49, $58, $69 at www.ticketmaster.com, by calling 785-827-1998 or in person at 151 S. Santa Fe Ave. in Salina.