New Year’s Eve is an evening of high expectations. Mention music and that immediately brings to mind Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve and as much lip-synching as you can stand. So rather than put yourself through watching the ball drop, the following are a number of live entertainment options that involve real people performing and not pantomiming.
Sandra Bernhard @ Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater
425 Lafayette St., NYC
212-239-6200 • www.joespub.com
7 and 9:30 p.m. $70; Dec. 31: 9 p.m. ($155) & 11 p.m. ($205)
For the 10th year in a row, Sandra Bernhard will be holding court at Joe’s Pub with a cabaret-flavored show that’ll feature plenty of sharp-tongued skewering of celebrity and pop culture along with heaping musical servings delivered with the help of her Sandyland Squad. Coming off her critically acclaimed role as Nurse Judy Katz in the second season of the FX series Pose, expect plenty of dishing on Bernhard’s part. Dec. 26 through 31.
Phish @ Madison Square Garden
4 Pennsylvania Plaza, NYC
212-707-3131 • www.thegarden.com
8 p.m. $80, $70
Phish returns to resume a multi-date residency tradition that dates back a number of years. Ever since the grand-daddy of the jam-band scene and heir apparent to musical forefathers The Grateful Dead followed up a four-year breakup by releasing 2009’s Steve Lillywhite-produced Joy, Phish has resumed its road warrior ways, stopping long enough to release 2016’s Bob Ezrin-produced Big Boat, having played 64 shows to date at Madison Square Garden dating back to December 1994 once they wrap up this string of dates—Dec. 28 through 31.
Fourth Annual Saturday Night Disco Fever: A Night At Studio 54 @ NYCB Theatre at Westbury
960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury
877-598-8497 • www.livenation.com
7 p.m. $59.50
Bust out the platform shoes and get ready to boogie at this event that commemorates the 40th anniversary of the release of the compilation album A Night at Studio 54. Brooklyn’s own Joe Causi will be hosting with an opening set by Genessa. Artists scheduled to perform are France Joli, Tavares, Evelyn “Champagne” King, The Trammps featuring Earl Young, Alfa, Luci and Norma Jean Wright (formerly of Chic), Peaches & Herb, Carol Douglas, Musique, Delfonics and Crystal Stark with a special live performance by That ’70s Band.
The Original Harlem Globetrotters @ NYCB Live: Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
1255 Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale
866-448-7849 • www.nycblive.co
2 and 7 p.m. $31.50
One of the most beloved touring basketball squads, the Harlem Globetrotters’ origins date back to its founding on the south side of Chicago back in 1926 under the name the Savoy Big Five. (Founder Abe Saperstein promoted Harlem as the team’s home city, since it was considered the center of African-American culture. The Globetrotters would not play in Harlem until 1968, more than four decades after they were formed.) While the Globetrotters’ most famous alumni include Meadowlark Lemon, Goose Tatum and Curly Neal, future NBA and MLB players who suited up for them include Connie “The Hawk” Hawkins, Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain, Ernie Banks, Bob Gibson and Ferguson Jenkins. The one consistent factor for the Globetrotters is the larger-than-life entertainment approach they’ve taken via trick shots, much-loved gags, high-flying dunks and next-level ball handling.
Gov’t Mule @ the Beacon Theatre
74th Street & Broadway, NYC
866-858-0008 • www.beacontheatre.com
8 p.m. $101, $61
It’s no exaggeration to say that Warren Haynes has inherited the mantle of “the hardest working man in show business” from James Brown. In addition to having done double duty with the Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule for 20 years and founded/runs the Evil Teen imprint, he’s carved out some time for a solo career. The man is a true road dog, (the Mule played its 1,000th performance back in ’04!) and has established the tradition of playing an end-of-year set of gigs at the Beacon that’s become a favorite pastime for members of Jam Band Nation. Upping the ante this time around is the fact that this is the fifteenth year in a row that the Mule is playing the Beacon on New Year’s Eve.
The Strokes @ Barclays Center
8 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn
917-618-6700 • www.barclayscenter.com
8:30 p.m. $79.50
When The Strokes emerged from the primordial ooze in the late ’90s, they would be part of a New York City-based post-rock scene alongside the likes of TV On the Radio, The Walkmen, The Hold Steady, The Star Spangles, Interpol, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, The Rapture, Longwave and Stellstarr. It was the last gasp of any semblance of rock scene the Big Apple would see and amid the fracturing of the music industry, these groups flew into different directions amid live music clubs closing and the cost of living skyrocketing. The Strokes have carried on through five studio outings (the last being 2013’s Comedown Machine). Early this year, the band played live for the first time in more than two years and while the quintet debuted a new song called “The Adults Are Talking” at the aforementioned gig, any hint of a forthcoming full-length record is shrouded in mystery. In the meantime, this is a rare shot at seeing a group that was poised to carry forth the mantle of their idols Television and the Velvet Underground.
G.E. Smith @ The Stephen Talkhouse
61 Main St., Amagansett
631-267-3117 • www.stephentalkhouse.com
7 p.m. $50, $40
It’s fair to say you’ve probably heard more of G.E. Smith’s playing than actually recognizing his name. The longtime Saturday Night Live band leader played a major role in Hall & Oates’ backup band, runs the boutique label Green Mirror Music with current spouse Taylor Barton, was in the house band for Live Aid and Farm Aid and has played with the broadest possible spectrum of artists, from Red Buttons to Allen Ginsberg, from Desmond Child to Bob Dylan and Roger Waters. This is a rare chance to experience Smith within the intimate confines of The Stephen Talkhouse.