Celine Dion will visit Budapest in early June.

Big names new and old, amusing and musical

Aiming for the stars

A galaxy of international entertainers is booked in for Budapest as 2020 unfolds. Carlos Santana, John Cleese, the Pixies, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Kiss, Pearl Jam, Russell Howard, Damon Albarn, Harry Styles, Celine Dion, Judas Priest, Aerosmith and Simply Red are all on their way.

Santana, whose Miraculous 2020 World Tour opens in Bologna in March and will reach Budapest Aréna on March 19, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his “Supernatural” album, which brought him to the attention of a new generation of fans when it was released in June 1999, and the 50th anniversary of his sophomore album “Abraxas”, a hit from September 1970.

In addition to those milestones, a press release announcing the tour notes that the Grammy-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s band — which includes his wife and drummer Cindy Blackman Santana — will also perform what Santana calls “the new hymns and songs of tomorrow” from his 2019 Rick Rubin-produced album “Africa Speaks”.

Russell Howard, one of the best-selling acts in British stand-up and host of the popular BBC TV show “Russell Howard’s Good News” and “The Russell Howard Hour” on Sky, will bring his “Respite Comedy Show” to Budapest’s MoM Cultural Centre, District XII, on April 2.

Following 2017’s successful “Round The World” tour, Howard will be on his biggest globe-spanning stand-up tour to date, trying to make sense of a world that’s spinning out of control. Performing again in the round, the audience can anticipate stories of making TV with his mum, thoughts on “Muggles” ruining comedy via offence-taking, a bit of Boris – and beyond.

Another English funnyman, “Monty Python” and “Fawlty Towers” star John Cleese will present his “Interactive Show” at MoM Sport, District XII, on April 24 and 25. The show is called “Last Time to See Me Before I Die” and a promotional picture of a tombstone is inscribed “John Cleese 1939-202?”

The second show was added after the first quickly sold out in a scramble to see the comedian who began writing and performing in revues at Clifton College in Bristol and was a member of the renowned Footlights Club while a law student at Cambridge University. In 1999 he first appeared in the recurring roles of R the gadget master and Nick the Nearly Headless Ghost in the “James Bond” and “Harry Potter” film series, respectively.

Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz fame is arriving as part of a two-week European tour of his latest endeavour, titled “The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows”.

Inspired by his experiences in his spiritual home of Iceland, the concert at Müpa on May 20 will feature a large band and promises striking visuals. Backed by an ensemble of strings, wind instruments, piano, percussion and electronics, the UK’s most prolific and eclectic musician will be reflecting on the passage of time and the fragility of nature.

The project takes its name from “Love and Memory”, a poem by 19th-century Englishman John Clare, and the event is the Bartok Béla National Concert Hall, renowned for its superb acoustics.

English singer, songwriter, and actor Harry Edward Styles will be at Budapest Aréna on May 31. His musical career began in 2010 when he auditioned for the British singing competition “The X Factor”. He was eliminated early but was brought back to form the boy band One Direction. After the band’s indefinite hiatus in 2016, Styles signed with Columbia as a solo artist.

In 2017 he released his debut solo single, “Sign of the Times”, which topped the UK Singles Chart and peaked at number four in Billboard. It was named “Song of the Year” by Rolling Stone, while its music video earned Styles a Brit Award.

His self-titled debut album was released later in the year, topping the charts in 14 countries and ranking in several music critics’ year-end lists. Styles made his acting debut in Christopher Nolan’s war film “Dunkirk” (2017). His second album, “Fine Line” (2019), broke the record as the biggest sales debut from an English male artist in the US.

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds will undertake a 30-plus date tour of 19 countries this spring in support of their latest album, the ultra-gloomy “Ghosteen”. As of now, the jaunt is scheduled to end in Tel Aviv on June 17, despite criticism of the singer for refusing to boycott the country because of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. The Budapest date is at the Aréna on June 2.

Celine Dion began her “Courage World Tour” in her home province of Quebec last autumn after the finish of a Las Vegas residency, the last show of which debuted “Flying On My Own”, a new upbeat, empowering song from her forthcoming “Courage” album, her first English-language recording for six years.

The eclectic album subsequently included the popular “Imperfections”, “Lying Down” and “Courage”. The tour is continuing through to next autumn and will reach nearly 100 cities around the world, including Budapest Aréna on June 7.

English heavy metal band Judas Priest formed in West Bromwich, England, in 1969 and they have sold over 50 million albums, seeing them frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time. Despite having been on the ballot for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction since 1999, they have never secured enough votes to make the class.

Former singer Tim “Ripper” Owens commented: “Here’s the one thing about Judas Priest. Somebody said one time, ‘Well, they’re trying to look for bands and musicians that are influential’. Well, how can you be any more influential to music than Judas Priest? Dual guitars. Pretty much coined the phrase ‘heavy metal’. The leather and studs and what they wore… It is horrible. Juda Priest isn’t in and gets snubbed again.”

They will be at the Budapest Aréna on July 13.

Kiss have weathered more than their share of personnel changes but the band has continued deep into the new millennium – and the announcement of a(nother) final tour. This particular final one began some 19 years after Kiss staged their first farewell trip, and the End of the Road trek launched on February 1 at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire, and wraps on October 2 in Fort Worth, Texas. They will be in Budapest Aréna on July 16.

Longtime fans may be disappointed with Peter Criss and Ace Frehley’s (presumably permanent) absence from the lineup, with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley being joined by Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer.

Aerosmith will rock the new Budapest stadium, Puskas Arena, on July 24, their first show in Hungary since 1994. Latest news is that Joey Kramer is reportedly suing the rest of the band, claiming he was forced to audition upon his return following disability leave and has not been allowed to rejoin the band since. Kramer, who has drummed for Aerosmith since the band formed in 1970, was forced to take time off for what he called “minor injuries” last year.

According to the lawsuit, he was ready to rejoin for upcoming performances but was asked to audition to a click track to prove he was “able to play at an appropriate level.” Aerosmith allegedly required Kramer to pay his replacement, costing him $20,000 per week for performances and $10,000 per week for rehearsals.

American alternative rock band Pixies formed in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts. The original lineup comprised Black Francis (vocals, rhythm guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), Kim Deal (bass) and David Lovering (drums). The band made four great albums then disbanded acrimoniously in 1993 but reunited in 2004. After Deal left in 2013, the Pixies hired Kim Shattuck as a touring bassist; she was replaced the same year by Paz Lenchantin, who became a permanent member in 2016.

Pixies will play Budapest Park on September 2. They will also be supporting grunge heavyweights Pearl Jam across America and in the UK, with Pearl Jam gigging in Budapest Aréna on July 15, their first time in Budapest since 1996.

Rounding out the year, Simply Red are holding back the years and will be at Budapest Aréna on November 23.

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