Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
8 p.m. Verizon Arena. Sold out.
Back in early January, Verizon Arena was touting a big concert announcement that was "12 Years in the Making." Who might it be? The Facebook commentariat was a-froth with wild speculation. Would it be Van Halen? Bon Jovi? Paul McCartney? U2? Coldplay? Lady GaGa? Elton John and Billy Joel? When the word came down that it was Jimmy Buffett, the Facebook complainaholics set to work, and they were pitiless: "Really??? That's it? What a letdown!" wrote Chris Lejman Ryan, her keyboard no doubt smashed to pieces in a paroxysm of disappointed rage. Jason Henry offered a withering putdown riffing on the presumed elderliness of a Buffett crowd: "Dust off your walkers, put on your LifeAlert bracelet and get ready to sing your dentures out." Perhaps Amberley Young offered the most eloquent and creatively spelled denunciation: "Ewwwwww shld have been sum 1 better." Surely, with all of this online vitriol one could safely assume that the Buffett concert would be a failure of oceanic proportions, right? Nope. See, the Parrotheads are legion and they are loyal. The show sold out in 90 minutes. That's right. In the time it took the haters to watch "Big Mama's House 5," 18,000 tickets had been sold. But the quick sellout shouldn't surprise anyone. After all, do the sallow British noodles in Coldplay inspire margarita-fueled, daylong tailgating parties at their concerts? No. Has Billy Joel been responsible for millions upon millions of sick days? Probably not. Has Bon Jovi inspired an entire subculture spanning decades and demographics, with a lifestyle branding empire rivaled only by Oprah or KISS? No, but the Medicare-eligible Buffett has done all the above and more, so take that, haters.
7:30 p.m. UCA's Reynolds Performance Hall. $23-$40.
I've not seen a stage production of John Patrick Shanley's Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Doubt: A Parable." But I did see the 2008 film adaptation starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and I imagine that the original work is similarly powerful and probably all the more appropriately tense and cloistered-feeling in the intimate setting of a theater. Set in a New York Catholic Church in the 1960s, "Doubt" concerns Father Flynn, who runs afoul of the powerful and controlling church school principal Sister Aloysius, who begins to plot against him. I don't want to give too much away about the ending, but the play's central theme is made apparent by its title, and one of the most striking passages in the film is a parable about the pernicious and uncontrollable power of gossip, delivered by the besieged Father Flynn to his flock. The Montana Repertory Theatre's version of "Doubt" was hailed in The Missoulian as a "darkly simmering production."
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $7.
Several years ago, a buddy of mine — he's a good man, but was also a very thirsty one back then — bought himself a big bottle of economy brand gin and decided to get down to the bottom of it. Keep in mind this was in the era before your plastic liquor bottles that are so prevalent on the bottom shelf nowadays. He went to a party and shared copiously, but somehow there was still a good amount of gin left over as the festivities began to run on fumes, so he skipped out and commenced to drinking with some hobos on the train tracks near White Water Tavern. Anyways, he woke up back in his bed the next afternoon and, when he started to get up he found that his pillow was adhered to the back of his head with dried blood. He hadn't a clue what had happened, but there was a good handful of broken glass enmeshed in the scabby carnage that was the back of his noggin. He still had his wallet and had sustained no lasting injuries, and he got the pillow unstuck without too much fuss. But he never did suss out what had transpired and was thus resolved: No more drinking with hobos. But if his night had had a soundtrack, I imagine it would have sounded like hellbilly wild-man Joe Buck: crazy, blurry, liquor-fueled, touched by mysterious violence and tinged with foreboding evil. Buck's played with Hank Williams III and The Legendary Shack Shakers in previous years and has played WWT several times. The Hooten Hallers hail from Missouri and truck in similarly stripped down rockabilly racket. So go to this show, but stay off the tracks after it's over.
8:30 p.m. Revolution. $10.
Though the band hails from Springfield, Mo., Big Smith has always seemed to have a second home in Arkansas, gigging regularly in Fayetteville, Eureka Springs, Little Rock and other spots around the Natural State over the last 16 years. Unfortunately for fans of the group's bluegrass/country/gospel blend, Big Smith decided to call it a day, and this will be the last time the band plays Little Rock. On another, much more serious and sad note, bassist Bill Thomas suffered a hemorrhagic stroke on Jan. 19 at a venue in West Siloam Springs, Okla. Thomas was transferred to the intensive care unit at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, where he spent five days. He is recuperating, but now faces significant medical bills. The band is soldiering on through its farewell tour dates and they're collecting donations for Thomas and his family. The much-loved Mississippi folk/American act Blue Mountain opens the 18-and-older show.
THIS HOLY HOUSE
9 p.m. Stickyz. $5.
This Holy House is a relatively new act, but the band — then a trio but now a quartet — impressed last year's panel of judges at the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, winning the last semifinal round. This show is an album release party for "Love and Hope in the War Times," the band's debut full-length, recorded last summer at Blue Chair Studios. Opening track "Love and War" starts off gently and builds to an emotional peak, with jabbing electric guitar, crashing drums and soaring vocals from singer and guitarist Elliott Cotten, while a banjo is plucked pastorally in the background. The group plays what could loosely be described as Americana, but they incorporate a lot more distortion and guitar fireworks than your average group of bearded young folkies. They even indulge some welcome bluesy rock 'n' roll swagger, as on "Three Pieces for the Devil's Chess Game" or "Hold On to Me." The countrified Conway hellraisers in Swampbird open the 18-and-older show.
7:30 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $23-$61.
With the success of the Broadway musical adaptation of the Mel Brooks classic "The Producers" in 2001, it was only natural that "Young Frankenstein" would receive similar treatment. Back in 2010, Brooks announced that a musical version of "Blazing Saddles" would be forthcoming, a notion that had been hinted at toward the end of the musical "Young Frankenstein." So will we eventually see "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" or the unjustly maligned "Spaceballs" brought to Broadway? Also, will we see a film version of the musical version of "Young Frankenstein," as we did with "The Producers?" Only time will tell. This production runs through March 8, and concludes the 2011-2012 Celebrity Attractions Broadway Season.
Building a lead so rapidly and holding it in games, even professional football, is difficult…