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Music Fuels New Year's Eve Celebrations

While the winter holidays often signal a break from live performance and touring for many music acts, the festivities surrounding New Year's Eve tend to drag others off of the couch and onto the stage

While the winter holidays often signal a break from live performance and touring for many music acts, the festivities surrounding New Year's Eve tend to drag others off of the couch and onto the stage. Tonight (Dec. 31) in major cities around the U.S., there will be plenty of artists performing for revelers.

In New York, Cyndi Lauper will be on one of the biggest stages, performing in Times Square for as many as 1 million people expected to gather for the world's most famous countdown to the New Year. But there will be plenty of others around town, too.

Fueling the dance crowd, Sasha and Digweed will be performing at Avalon. If it's a more roots rock/jam band experience that is craved, there's Gov't Mule and the Spin Doctors at the Beacon Theatre, the Disco Biscuits at Hammerstein Ballroom or the Radiators and Soulive at B.B. King's Blues Club.

Herbie Hancock and Curtis Stigers will be playing elegantly at the Blue Note, while downtown icon Patti Smith will headline the Bowery Ballroom. Singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw will be performing at Irving Plaza and Ted Leo will leave his band the Pharmacists at home for a solo outing at the Knitting Factory.

In Los Angeles, dance music will be the biggest draw. As previously reported, Paul Oakenfold, the Crystal Method, Sandra Collins and Danny Howells will lead an event at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown L.A., and just a few miles away at the L.A. Sports Arena, Judge Jules, Fergie, Goldie and Lemon D will spin into 2004.

As an alternative, the Polyphonic Spree, Grandaddy and Corn Mo will perform at the Wiltern LG and veteran funk/punk act Fishbone will lead a bill at Fais Do Do.

The neon of Las Vegas will be the perfect setting for artists of all sorts to ring out 2003. Metallica will play a rare small venue show at the Hard Rock Hotel's the Joint, while the Strokes and Kings Of Leon will perform at the Cox Pavilion. The Goo Goo Dolls will be set up at the House Of Blues and Marky Ramone and George Lynch will hold court at Live.

Serving a more classic crowd will be REO Speedwagon and Styx at the Aladdin Hotel & Casino, Blue Oyster Cult and 38 Special at the Castaway Hotel & Casino and War and the Trammps featuring Earl Young at the Fremont Street Experience.

Reining queen of the strip Celine Dion will perform in her steady gig at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. But if it's a taste of vintage Vegas that is sought, one can look no further than Wayne Newton at the Stardust Resort & Casino.

The windy city will also be rocking this New Year's Eve, with the White Stripes, Flaming Lips and Blanche at Aragon Ballroom. Turning back the clock a decade or so, the B-52's will headline Chicago's New Year's Eve Rock & Roll Ball while the Violent Femmes play Metro.

The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin will entertain for her subjects at the Chicago Theatre and Susan Werner and Tom Paxton will join forces at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Jam band fans in Chicago will have the String Cheese Incident to keep them warm at the Auditorium Theatre.

The House of Blues will host a long night of fun with Guster, the Thorns, Cowboy Mouth, Sister Hazel and Bleu, while Poi Dog Pondering will fill the Grand Ballroom at the Navy Pier.

In Atlanta, jam band Widespread Panic is headlining Philips Arena, while R&B star Gerald Levert will host a show at the intimate Fox Theatre. Up and coming country star Joe Nichols will play Cowboy's Concert Hall and old favorites Drive-By Truckers are booked at the Variety Playhouse.

Here are some other New Year's Eve live performance highlights around the U.S.:

Orlando:
George Clinton & Parliament / Funkadelic (Hard Rock Live)
Sawyer Brown (Sea World of Florida)
Cheap Trick and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (Universal Studios)

Boston:
Pernice Brothers and Josh Ritter (First Night - Boston)
Spyro Gyra (Sculler's)

Dallas:
The Beach Boys (Adams Mark Hotel)
Daryl Hall & John Oates (Wyndham Anatole Hotel)
Chris Cagle (Cowboys Red River)
Slobberbone (Barley House)

Seattle:
Pretty Girls Make Graves and the Catheters (Graceland)
Maktub (Sky Church at the Experience Music Project)
Big Sandy & His Fly Rite Boys (Tractor)

Denver:
Big Head Todd & the Monsters (Fillmore Auditorium)
Jay Farrar and the Yonder Mountain String Band (Paramount Theatre)

Austin:
Robert Randolph & the Family Band and Los Lonely Boys (Austin Music Hall)
Bob Schneider (Antone's)
Stanton Moore (La Zona Rosa)
Vallejo (Vibe)