Published October 18, 2007
Mariah Carey has postponed the release of her new album, previously scheduled for Dec. 4, until next February.
At that rate, the album, a follow-up to “The Emancipation of Mimi,” will be bumping right into a new CD from Madonna. At the same time, Janet Jackson — now recording for Island/Def Jam, home of Mariah — may have her new release ready, too.
Get set for Diva Logjam. And to make matters even more interesting, Janet’s boyfriend, Jermaine Dupri, is the producer working with Randy Jackson and others on Mariah’s CD. Dupri brought Jackson over to Island/Def Jam with him from Virgin Records, now lost somewhere in the EMI Music shuffle.
As for Madonna, I have to say I admire the spin going on at Warner Music Group now that the Material Girl is leaving them for a $120 million payday at Live Nation.
WMG, barely in existence, is crowing that they lose nothing by bidding adieu to Madonna. How totally wrong they are. Madonna was very important to them even in a figurative sense. In a real sense, Madonna could easily still have a monster hit.
If she’s smart, Madonna will save her best stuff for her first Live Nation release, and give WMG outtakes and miscellany to fulfill her contract with them. They don’t deserve a new album of material. My guess is Madonna is not the last artist who will exit WMG, but there aren’t so many left: just Eric Clapton, Faith Hill and Linkin Park. They are all left over from the old Warner Music.
Dupri, by the way, has a book out. Yes, he’s old enough to have written a memoir. It’s called "Young, Rich and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul." Dupri dishes on all the dames, and not only that: his dad, Michael Mauldin, discovered Alicia Keys!
Bruce Springsteen’s opening show at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night sure brought out the stars. Bono showed up, but chose to hang backstage. Ethan Hawke was spotted in the audience, as were Broadway’s Patti Lupone, ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas and Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora. Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner was so enthralled by Bruce he brought his wife, Jane. (Yes. They are still husband and wife despite, well, a lot.)
Before the show began, Little Steven van Zandt, Springsteen’s musical leader and guitarist, held a reception backstage for his Sirius Radio show, “The Underground Garage.” Fellow "Sopranos" James Gandolfini and Jerry Adler made the scene, and took pics with Little Steven.
(Our kudos and thanks to Steven: he convinced Bruce to play “Thundercrack,” a 1974 rarity, as one of the night’s encores. This was a thrill for my friend Vicki Fischer, who actually saw Bruce play the song at Max’s Kansas City back in the day.)
Springsteen’s show — sold out, natch — was a jubilant recreation of old hits and new ones from his top selling “Magic” album.
“Magic,” by the way, would seem the obvious choice for Album of the Year at the next Grammys. Songs from “Magic” like the title track, "Devil’s Arcade," "Last to Die" and "Living in the Future" fit very well into the live Springsteen show. The audience actually sang along to a new song, “The Girls in Their Summer Clothes.” Later, Bono was overheard telling Springsteen manager Jon Landau that that was the album’s hit.
But Bruce didn’t disappoint with older songs, too. From “The Rising,” he played the title track and sang “Lonesome Day.” Among the classic classics, “Born to Run,” “Badlands,” “Promised Land” and “Backstreets” were outstanding.
Springsteen threw in “Brilliant Disguise” for the first time on this tour, too, and it became a lovely duet for him and band member/wife Patti Scialfa. He got a carnival effect on “Darlington County” — featuring Soozie Tyrell and Clarence Clemons. “Dancing in the Dark” proved a perfect ending, followed by the Irish jig, “American Land.”
Springsteen remains a marvel. First of all, at 58, he rocks like there’s no tomorrow. He’s incredibly fit and focused. Second, while the show is about dancing and rocking out, it’s also all about politics. Before he sang “Livin’ in the Future,” he reiterated his feelings about the change in the habeas corpus law and in civil rights. He openly supports the New York City Coalition for the Homeless, too.
But mostly, he and the E Street Band are homeboys. I couldn’t help thinking during the show last night: Do they get this in other places? I’ve never seen Springsteen play outside the New York area. It’s hard to imagine other cities appreciating him; he is such a creature of this little metropolis. Just hearing a little of Clarence play his horn — that’s a comforting sound. That and hearing Bruce count off each song, “Ah, one, two, three, four!”
Springsteen finishes his Garden gig Thursday night, but don’t worry. I’m told a whole new leg of the tour is about to be announced, with many more dates coming next year in New York and everywhere. Of course, that would make sense once “Magic” is crowned Album of the Year.
Yes, that was Jimmie “JJ” Walker, he of dyn-o-mite fame and “Good Times” on TV, dining at Elaine’s last night with Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. You couldn’t make it up if you wanted to.
Later, I ran into Jimmie and Ann leaving the restaurant together. “You’re the most unlikely twosome I’ve ever seen,” I said to them. “People keep saying that.” Jimmie responded.
Dominic Chianese — aka Uncle Junior from "The Sopranos" — was at a separate table. Elsewhere, “Knots Landing” creator Michael Filerman had a late Elaine’s dinner with his star, Michele Lee, producer Fred Rappaport and Bobby Zarem.
What I don’t get is why producers of some of these new hour-long network “dramas” that are really soaps — and dying on the vine — don’t call in Filerman for a fix. He also did “Knots Landing” and “Dallas.” No one knows how to do it better.