BY JON CRONIN
Our borough president often states, “Queens is poppin’!” This summer, it will also be rockin’ and rollin’ throughout the borough with concerts for all musical tastes.
In recent years, Forest Hills Stadium has become one of the area’s premier destinations for concerts, and this year is no exception. The stadium boasts a stellar summer lineup that can be viewed at ForestHillsStadium.com, but the top performance this summer will be a combination of The Who’s Tommy with lead singer Roger Daltrey and the New York Pops on June 17 as part of a residency at the stadium. The New York Pops is the largest independent pops orchestra in the United States and the only one that specializes in popular music.
The Who’s rock opera Tommy spent years on Broadway, and Daltrey performed the 1969 album in Forest Hills in 1971. Promoters noted that fans can anticipate hearing album classics, such as “Pinball Wizard” and “See Me, Feel Me.”
Daltrey said in promotional materials, “I’m really looking forward to singing Tommy, not only with my great backing group, but also one of the finest orchestras in the country. Pete Townshend’s rock music is particularly suited to being embellished by the sounds that an orchestra can add to the band.”
To celebrate the longest night of the year, the city’s Parks Department is sponsoring craft making and musical and dance performances at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City with its “Summer Solstice Celebration at Socrates” on June 21.
“Summer solstice is the longest and most light-filled day of the year, and one of our favorite days to celebrate at Socrates,” the city Parks Department stated in its announcement of the event. There will be art-making workshops and activities from The Noguchi Museum, Freestyle Arts Association and The Blue Bus Project.
There will also be artist and storyteller Satya Celeste to transform the grove of trees at the park into a communal art piece. There will be stage performances by youth groups 696 Build Queensbridge and Secret Society Dance Company choreographed by Traequan Middleton representing Astoria Houses’ HANAC Cornerstone.
There will be “powerful sonic layering and vocal improvisations” performed by Queens native and artist/performer STEF* followed by all-women drum ensemble Batalá New York’s, and then, at sunset, the Urban Shaman Mama Donna’s annual waterfront Solstice ritual.
On August 11, back at Forest Hills Stadium, the “Black Summer Night for Social Justice” will be organized by Brooklyn-born and -bred soul star Maxwell. The concert will also feature performances by Fantasia, DVSN and Jazmine Sullivan, with other guest performances and organizations to be announced.
Upon announcing the concert, Maxwell stated, “There has never been a better or more important time to stand up and speak for those whose voices can’t be heard. I am inspired by the lives of Harry Belafonte, Paul Robeson and Nelson Mandela and aim to bring attention to issues such as women’s rights, the disproportionate incarceration of African American men in America, the deplorable situation in Puerto Rico and many others.”
A portion of the proceeds from the concert will go to the #MeToo movement.
Some might think summer ends after Labor Day, but Queens is still bringing the heat with the Meadows Concert Festival in the Citifield parking lot in Flushing. Festival promoters have yet to announce the lineup for the three-day September concert series, but last year’s concert lit up the stage with performances by Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer, Gorillaz, Erykah Badu, M.I.A. and Nas.