Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
HOLIDAY CELEBRATION ON ICE
7 p.m., Verizon Arena. $46.75-$61.75.
“First they told me that we were going to have to wear ice skates, but they relented,” Kevin Cronin joked by phone last month. “It's going to be a different type of performance.” No doubt. And not one that demographically screams Arkansas. The gist: World-champion ice skaters — like Brian Boitano and Elvis Stojko — offer a holiday-themed program, while '80s radio champs REO Speedwagon and Rick Springfield provide a live soundtrack, all while NBC films for a special that'll air the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Which means that if Cronin flubs the lyrics to “Winter Wonderland” or Boitano misses on a triple lutz, the audience gets a repeat performance until they get it right enough for producers. But, hey, you might be on national TV on a sleepy Sunday, when everyone else is watching football (3 p.m.-5 p.m.). Look for Springfield and REO Speedwagon to do a mix of hits and seasonal favorites. LM.
9 p.m., Revolution. $15.
All right, folks. This cat can make it rain, shine, snow, hail and gust — all in the same song. Musicians may already have deeper awareness of Kimock's stellar 30-year-plus resume and credentials and should force the unfamiliar out to this show at knifepoint if necessary. Known for impressive work in groups such as Zero, Rhythm Devils and a previous band under his name, Kimock brings his latest project, Crazy Engine, to town. Just because he's among jam bands' original gangsters, don't let the ‘jam' handle sour your curiosity. He's joined by Melvin Seals on B-3 organ; his son, John Morgan Kimock, on drums; and bassist Janis Wallin and two female vocalists, Cheryl Rucker and Shirley Starks. These names may not signify too much now, but they will by this time on Saturday. PP.
ZAC BROWN BAND
7 p.m., Verizon Arena. $30.25.
This one should draw a festive crowd, given Brown's widespread popularity and songs that feel considerably more natural and genuine than the standard Nashville factory product. That a crew such as Brown's killed at this year's Bonnaroo gives testament to his wide appeal. His act is not simply one persona backed by hired ghosts, but rather a six-piece band closing in on nearly a decade together, which may be hardly surprising considering Brown's birth order is 11 out of 12. But aside from wrecking the charts, he's also reportedly begun work as a philanthropist and humanitarian, using income from his current album, “The Foundation,” to assist a non-profit organization described as an “all-inclusive children's camp that will teach diversity, freedom, teamwork, social justice, nutritional awareness, liberty and life skills as well as music and art.” High fives for Zac. PP.
ARKANSAS VS. MISSISSIPPI STATE
11:21 a.m., War Memorial Stadium. $45.
Things are looking up in Hogland. Our quarterback is obliterating school passing records. Our defense isn't terrible. And most importantly, we're bowl-eligible for the first time under Petrino (see a fuller analysis in Sooie, page 34). But contentment is not something that comes easy to Razorback fans. Ryan Mallet needs a 500-yard five-touchdown game (why wait until next season to mount a Heisman campaign?). Our defense needs to go one game without giving up a big play. And lest we end up in the Papajohns.com or whatever-the-hell bowl, we need to win these next two games. You can do your part by tailgating when the sun comes up and hollering louder than a cowbell. The game's sold out, but that never stopped anyone who really wanted to go. After all, the Cotton Bowl's calling. LM.