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6 Tuneful Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Billy Joel performs the first major rock concert at Kauffman Stadium in almost 40 years on Friday.
Jeff Schock
Billy Joel
Billy Joel performs the first major rock concert at Kauffman Stadium in almost 40 years on Friday.

Feel like singing along?

You’ve got plenty of opportunities this weekend with tuneful attractions galore, led by a batch of highly accomplished pop, rock and country artists whose memorable records began successfully spinning decades ago.

Risk the earworm!

1. Billy Joel

It’s like 1979 all over again … but different. For the first time in 39 years, there will be a major rock concert at Kauffman Stadium. Last time, it was REO Speedwagon (yes, they were once a thing) at what was then called Royals Stadium. On Friday, it’s the “Piano Man” himself, Billy Joel, still belting out “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” exploring his “New York State of Mind,” sharing “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant,” acknowledging “You May Be Right” and nostalgically extolling the virtues of “Captain Jack” getting you “high tonight” on his “special island.” No longer on that island? That’s cool, Billy loves you “Just the Way You Are.”

Friday, 8 p.m.; Kauffman Stadium, 1 Royal Way, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $41-$195.

2. Billy Idol

Would punk-rocker Billy Idol, formerly of Generation X, have made it as a gigantic solo act without his music videos playing like a loop on early MTV? Probably not. Would MTV have become an unprecedented cultural phenomenon without Idol? Probably, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. Idol’s pleasantly sneering hits include “Dancing with Myself,” “White Wedding” and, of course, “Rebel Yell” – talk about branding! If you don’t have a ticket yet, take a breath, increasingly wrinkled teenyboppers. Friday’s show may be officially sold out, but that just means tickets are officially available on the secondary market. All you’ll need is a bit more “Mony Mony,” to hear Idol wail it.

Friday, 8 p.m.; Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $45-$125.

3. Todd Rundgren

Here’s your chance to get down (bowing allowed) to the lingering majesty of this super-tuneful singer/songwriter, influential record producer, awesome multi-instrumentalist and more-or-less rock ’n’ roll demigod when he hits the stage for “An Unpredictable Evening with Todd Rundgren.” Who knows what Todd will pull out of his musical bag of tricks? Virtual locks include such 1970s winners as “I Saw the Light,” “Hello, It’s Me” and “Can We Still Be Friends?” Judging from recent set lists, be ready for a load of eclectic covers ranging from stuff by the Strawberry Alarm Clock to Tony Bennett. A wonderful anthem from his progressive-cum-pop band Utopia that I’d love to sing along with is “One World.” Sample lyric: “Politicians and dictators and the guys with the dough/They think they run the world, but they just don’t know/Cause down here on the street, we got it under control/From Berlin to San Francisco, from New York to Tokyo!” Now that you know the words, you can sing along, too!

Saturday, 7 p.m.; CrossroadsKC, 417 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $28-$76.50.

4. Ronnie Milsap

Or you might want to catch the farewell concert tour of one of the greatest country-pop crossover artists of all time. Did I say might? Sorry for the soft sell. Ronnie Milsap will deliver a cascade of mass-appeal tunes that continue to resonate for folks with the ears to appreciate them: “It Was Almost Like a Song,” “There’s No Gettin’ Over Me,” “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For the World,” “Any Day Now,” “Smokey Mountain Rain” and the list goes on. Milsap won’t have time to sing all 40 of his No. 1 country chart hits – but with enough amazing medleys, he might get close.

Saturday, 8:30 p.m.; Knuckleheads Saloon, 2715 Rochester St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $38.50 (standing room).

5. ‘My Fair Lady’

More than 60 years after momentously debuting on Broadway, “My Fair Lady” is still considered to be a perfect musical. Experience the story of a London flower girl transformed into a would-be lady the Musical Theatre Heritage way – that is, without costumes and production numbers but with vocalists joined by an orchestra onstage to dynamically interpret such unforgettable songs as “With a Little Bit of Luck,” “The Rain in Spain” and “I Could Have Danced All Night.”

Thursday, 1 and 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; Musical Theatre Heritage at Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $31-$62.

6. Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers

A symphony of cheers – mayhap the sweetest music of all – will greet our Chiefs on Sunday as they run onto the field for the team’s 2018 home opener. Of course, you can go wild while watching the game on TV, but then Chiefs star QB Patrick Mahomes won’t be able to hear your reaction after he throws a touchdown pass. And I dare say that he will be throwing several. Join the Arrowhead chorus!

Sunday, noon; Arrowhead Stadium, 1 Arrowhead Dr., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $60-$325.

Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at brianmctavish@gmail.com

Copyright 2021 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

Brian McTavish follows popular culture in the belief that the search for significance can lead anywhere. Brian explains, "I've written articles and reviews ... reviewed hundreds of concerts, films and plays. And the thing is, these high arts all sprang from the pop culture of their day. Don't forget: Shakespeare was once Spielberg."