Another year gone
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em but not inside
By Kevin Elliot Reynolds

What a long, strange trip it’s been. 2004 was full of excitement, drama, scandal, tragedy, triumph, and hope, basically a fully rounded year. Here’s a look, in no particular order. The year in review must kick off with a flash, or wardrobe malfunction, which is what happened at the Super Bowl halftime show as Janet Jackson gave the world an unexpected—peak... peek...uh huh. What a way to start a year. Democrats were shocked, Republicans were satisfied and Nader was, as usual, in the way. The United States were represented at the Summer Olympics in Athens where swimmer Michael Phelps nabbed 7 gold medals, gymnast Paul Hamm bounced back remarkably to win gold, and the one-time dream basketball team was left with a basketball gold medal Jones. Smarty was a Jones of another kind, thrilling horseracing fans as his bid for the Triple Crown and a perfect racing career was cut short at the Belmont Stakes.

Also cut short was L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s rape trial, which gave him more time to shop for enormous diamonds for his wife. Those diamond rings could have came in handy on the fists of fans at a certain Pistons game this year, as Ron Artest and others helped evolve professional basketball into a full contact spectator sport. Lance Armstrong won his record-breaking sixth consecutive Tour De France, and set a fashion trend as his cancer foundation sold more than 20 million yellow rubber bracelets. Although this year’s biggest sports story was the reverse of the curse of the Bambino, the miraculous come-from-behind American League Championship victory and World Series sweep by none other than the Boston Red Socks. Speaking of miracles, it was quite a year for God. Not only did He win the White House, His movie, The Passion of the Christ, despite poor reviews and a February opening, grossed over $370 million domestically alone!

Green Day came back with pissed-off vengeance, Jacko (seemingly) couldn’t resist, and Apple hit paydirt with the iPod revolution. Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne ravaged Florida and the Gulf Coast in one of the worst hurricane seasons in recorded history while an earthquake and following tsunami killed over 25,000 people in Thailand, India, and Indonesia. The death toll of United States soldiers rose to over 1,300 as troops continued to fight the war on terror allowing Americans to keep their liberties and allowing Iraqi citizens an opportunity for the same. Ray Charles passed on to higher grounds where his eyes are wide open to see Jamie Foxx’s smooth interpretation of him on the big screen. But who is smoother than Slick Willie? Former Pres Clinton’s long-awaited autobiography was released and shot straight to the top of the best-seller list, cigar stocks also went up. Martha Stewart’s stocks fell as she fell from grace (on its way up now, mid-sentence), but private astronauts rocketed to the sky winning the $10 million X-Prize.

Michael Moore created a fuss, ancient Troy took three hours to burn, Shrek and Spidey set records their second time around, Friends and Frazier said goodbye and Bill was finally killed, though it took two movies to do so. What a year it’s been.

Lexington saw a few changes this year as well, most notably the smoking ban that was passed with the unofficial tradeoff of longer drinking hours. The longer hours allotted contributed to Lexington’s music scene, which saw quite a revitalization in 2004. As usual, there was plenty of quality local talent, but there seemed to be more national recording artists playing more Lexington venues more often. Some of the top shows Lexington saw this year were: 3 Doors Down w/ Tantric; Linkin Park w/ Hoobastank and Story of the Year; Barenaked Ladies; Incubus; Crossfade; Breaking Benjamin, Norah Jones, Jingle Ball featuring Ryan Cabrera, Chingy, Simple Plan and Coolio, and the Scissor Sisters. But there are still a couple of days left…

This is it, the last chance of ’04 to get out and enjoy the Lexington nightlife. If you don’t have any big parties, galas, or soirees to attend, no worries, there are plenty of New Year’s Eve destinations awaiting your arrival. The Radisson will be throwing a New Year’s Eve extravaganza at its downtown location Friday night. With four ballrooms of music and spirits, this bash will be one to crash. The Dame will send out the old and welcome the new with the funk, the G-Funk. The G-Funk All Stars will perform in all their flamboyant rump shakin’ glory as the ball falls. (By the way, Dick Clark will not be hosting the big Times Square party, REGIS! will take the reins.) Cheapside will be rocking like it’s 2009 with the Santeria sounds of Voo Doo Symphony, although a slightly larger show will be taking place just a few blocks down. Lynryd Skynyrd, Montgomery Gentry, Trace Adkins, and Blue Country will welcome the New Year with southern rock hospitality at Rupp Arena Friday night. This will definitely be quite a hoopla.

It has been a great year full of good times and superb music. Hopefully 2005 can match up. Wherever you spend the last days of the year, be safe, be responsible and as always, Support Local Music!!!! n