CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On a recent Tuesday night, Spirit Square in uptown filled with people. Think of it as a group of old friends, who mark their calendars to get together three times a year.
The event is called Music with Friends, a private cocktail reception followed by a private concert with some of the biggest names in music. "There is truly nothing like this in the country," Larry Farber said as his crowd grew larger.
That crowd included well-known attorneys like Bill Diehl and David Rudolph, along with Family Dollar founder Leon Levine and his wife Sandra.
"The idea came about because I knew this theatre in Charlotte, which was one of a kind in the country, and I wanted to marry what to me was the most beautiful venue in America with some of the most legendary artists," Farber said. The historic McGlohan Theatre as a backdrop, Larry Farber's "Music with friends" is now in its fourth year and the roster of stars keeps growing.
"From Steely Dan to Sheryl Crow, Hall & Oates, Michael McDonald to Tony Bennett," Farber said. Membership is capped at 600 people and right now, the Charlotte club is entirely sold out with a waiting list. "It's $1,500 a person per year, which includes everything," Farber said. "All the shows, the food, drinks, parking and three concerts that are unequal to what they'll ever hear."
"It's just like they're in your living room," said Dennis Purser, an original member of Music with Friends. Yes, he says, this costs more than your regular concert, but here, he gets a voice. "So, we all make a vote on it and whoever gets the most votes is who we get in here," he said. The winner the night we were invited was legendary group Crosby, Stills & Nash, playing the classics that made them household names. And the crowd loved it, cheering and singing along to every song. Sold out in Charlotte and now expanding elsewhere, Music with Friends is moving into Charleston, S.C.. "Then, after that once we get the two clubs going, we're going to look at some other markets to see if they are suitable for a club like ours," said Farber.
It's a club that draws big name acts and puts them on a smaller, up close and personal stage.
"It's like they're playing just for you," Dennis Purser said.
As if the music of Crosby, Stills & Nash wasn't enough for one night, the show started with a major announcement about next season. It starts in March with none other than Diana Ross.
"How can you beat seeing Diana Ross in this room?" asked Farber.
That announcement and the Crosby, Stills " Nash show was a proud moment for a man who loves music and is beside himself that so many people who've joined his club do as well.
"We're creating memories for a lifetime and that, for me, is so rewarding," he said. If you'd like to see photos from some of the shows, check out www.musicwithfriends.com.