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Sizzlers! The Police reunion is the hot ticket this summer.

Byline: Scott McLennan

COLUMN: SCOTT MCLENNAN

The answer is "No."

I do not have tickets, nor do I know where to procure reasonably priced tickets, for The Police concerts in July at Fenway Park in Boston.

The Police reunion is the big news of the summer concert season this year, but certainly not the only story. True to summer trends, every musical taste is being catered to at the various theaters, arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums in the region, with the season kicking off Wednesday at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield as Gwen Stefani brings her Sweet Escape Tour there for a 7:30 p.m. show with Akon and Lady Sovereign.

The Tweeter Center, as usual, dominates the big-name action, pulling in the major festivals such as the Warped Tour (Aug. 9, with Bad Religion, Killswitch Engage, New Found Glory, As I Lay Dying and others), Download Festival (Aug. 18, with Modest Mouse and others) and Ozzfest (Aug. 20, with Ozzy Osbourne, Lamb of God and others) while likewise giving home to perennial road warriors such as Nickelback (July 13) and the Dave Matthews Band (Aug. 1 and 2). The 20,000-seat amphitheater will have old-school bills with Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Doobie Brothers (June 22), Poison and Ratt (June 30) and Def Leppard, Styx and Foreigner (Aug. 11), plus new-school shows with the Fray, OK Go and Mae (June 23) and O.A.R. (Aug. 10). It will also have an infusion of hip-hop on July 26 thanks to the Rock the Bells Tour featuring Wu Tang Clan, Nas, Cypress Hill and others, plus a likely appearance sometime this summer by 50 Cent.

Fans of the heavy progressive stuff can catch Rush on June 27 and a return trip by Tool on July 12. And while Kenny Chesney will have the summer's biggest country music show heading into Gillette Stadium on July 28, the Tweeter calendar is peppered with such country bills as Brad Paisley on June 9, Rascal Flatts on Aug. 25 and Toby Keith on Sept. 22.

Closer to home, the DCU Center in Worcester may not have the quantity of shows that the outdoor venues bring in during the summer, but the quality of summer offerings is high and the appeal is broad. Where else could you see kid faves the Wiggles one night (Aug. 3) and the monstrous metal bill of Slayer and Marilyn Manson the next (Aug. 4)? The DCU enters the summer scene with the Bill Gaither Homecoming on June 2, and has a big show Aug. 11 with country star Keith Urban. The building, which is preparing to celebrate its 25th anniversary in the fall, will once again welcome the American Idols concert tour on Sept. 5.

The Bank of America Pavilion on Northern Avenue in Boston is the more quaint of the larger outdoor venues, and its schedule launches Friday with a concert by Keane. Highlights of the pavilion calendar are shows by Wilco on June 28, Squeeze and Cheap Trick on Aug. 1, two shows by the Allman Brothers band on Aug. 7 and 8, and the Gipsy Kings on Aug. 14. One of the pavilion's more interesting offerings happens June 16 when the True Colors Tour presents Cyndi Lauper, Erasure, Debbie Harry, the Dresden Dolls, the Gossip, Rufus Wainwright, the Misshapes and Margaret Cho.

If you want big and rowdy, then Fenway will be the place to be July 28 and 29 when The Police's first round of concerts in 23 years passes through the ballpark. And Gillette Stadium will be rocking with Jimmy Buffett on Sept. 2 and 8.

Wormtown Trading in Worcester is once again presenting the Strange-Creek campout, happening Saturday and next Sunday at Camp Kee-wanee in Greenfield. The jam-band bonanza features Strangefolk, Max Creek, Ryan Montbleau, Entrain, and about a couple of dozen more acts. The details about tickets and camping are online at www.wormtown.com.

Indian Ranch in Webster, the region's premier country music hot spot, is bringing in such classic performers as Mel Tillis on Aug. 19 and Loretta Lynn on Aug. 26. The Ranch has shows every Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. between Memorial Day weekend and Sept. 30.

The Palladium in Worcester snagged this year's Sounds of the Underground Tour, which will have Shadows Fall, Gwar, Chimaira, Job for a Cowboy, Every Time I Die and others on July 13. That's not the only thrash bash at the Palladium, as the Northeast's home of heavy metal also welcomes the Summer Slaughter Tour with Necrophagist and others on July 6. In comparison to those two extreme bills, the June 6 Palladium appearance by the Deftones looks like a night of easy listening.

The TD Banknorth Garden in Boston is attracting a handful of top-shelf acts, among them Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, who perform there July 5 and 6, and Roger Waters, who brings his Dark Side of the Moon tour back to the area for an encore performance on July 9. And Genesis has one of its reunion shows at the Garden on Sept. 11.

The annual folk and jazz festivals in Newport, R.I., once again offer a bounty of talent. The Dunkin' Donuts Newport Folk Festival happens first, running Aug. 3 to 5 with appearances by the Allman Brothers Band, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. The Web site www.newportfolk.com has lineup and ticket info.

The JVC Jazz Festival-Newport opens Aug. 10 with Dianne Reeves, the Count Basie Orchestra and Nnenna Freelon, and runs to Aug. 12 with Branford Marsalis, Marcus Miller, B.B. King and Al Green among the featured performers. Jazz fest info is online at www.festivalproductions.net.

The Boston Pops will once again offer EdgeFest concerts, which pair conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops with rock acts for shows which have yet to produce fistfights in the balcony since their 2005 inauguration. The Cowboy Junkies will perform with the Pops at Symphony Hall in Boston on June 23 and 24, while iconoclast singer and songwriter M. Ward joins the orchestra June 26 and 27.

No conversation about summer shows is complete without a mention of ticket prices. While there are some eye-poppers out there - such as The Police getting $225 per ticket at the box office and ducats in the "secondary market" marked up to thousands of dollars for field seats - there are also many shows offering bargain prices. The Warped Tour, for example, is asking for $24. Many acts aiming for a younger audience, such as 311, the Fray and O.A.R. are keeping ticket prices around $25 and $35.

But the cheapest ticket this summer is to Ozzfest, as fest founders Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne announced that tickets are free for the metal roadshow's 10th anniversary jaunt. Patrons, though, must visit Ozzfest sponsors' Web sites to obtain codes needed to download the free tickets. All that info is online at www.ozzfest.com.

So not only is every taste covered this summer, but so too is every price range.

Scott McLennan can be reached at tgmusic1@yahoo.com.

ART: PHOTOS

CUTLINE: (1) Sting (2) The Wiggles perform for the kids Aug. 3 at the DCU Center in Worcester. (3) Al Green shares the stage with Branford Marsalis, B.B. King and Marcus Miller at the JVC Jazz Festival in Newport, R.I., scheduled for Aug. 10-12. (4) Ozzy Osbourne (5) Kenney Chesney (6) Loretta Lynn
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:May 20, 2007
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