The clock's ticking and there ain't much left for 2006 except a few days to make New Year's Eve plans. If you thought it was already too late to make dinner reservations or buy concert tickets, think again. Our list below will fill you in on your best options for music, food and parties.
Jammin' the night away
New Year's Eve will be quite the homecoming for Jimmy Herring as WIDESPREAD PANIC RETURNS TO PHILIPS ARENA for its traditional New Year's Eve shows. The concerts will mark Herring's Atlanta debut as the new lead guitarist for Widespread. Herring, who rose to "jam band" fame with Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit and has lived in Atlanta since the late '80s, joined Widespread in August. And be on the lookout for Hampton. Herring and Widespread bassist Dave Schools sat in with Hampton and the Quark Alliance a couple of weeks ago at Club 29. Hampton is expected to return the favor New Year's Eve when he joins Widespread for a song or two. $49.50. 9 p.m., Dec. 30 and 31. Philips Arena. 1 Philips Drive. 404-249-6400.
– -- Scott Freeman
Atlanta radio station 95.5 the Beat, purveyor of shoulder-bouncing jams and celebrity prize money, sends Atlantans packing Sun., DEC. 31 with its WORLD TOUR 2007 at the Renaissance Atlanta Hotel Downtown. The New Year's Eve blowout brings New York, Paris, South Beach and Tokyo to the A for a night. Beat favorite DJ Kidd cues it up in New York among the five boroughs, while bikini models stroll aside South Beach's heated pool and a secret Parisian selecta spins the French hip-hop du jour. The exotic and exclusive (only accessible with a VIP ticket) Tokyo can be found on the hotel's 25th floor complete with geisha girls, free massages and a comp bar with free food. $60-$200. 8 p.m. 590 West Peachtree St. 877-725-8849. www.worldtour2007nye.com.
– -- Debbie Michaud
Tonight we're gonna party like it's 999
New Year's Eve is one of the biggest nights in the restaurant industry, and almost every restaurant in town has a celebration going on. For some of the best bets, see the food listings below. But for a night to remember, why not go medieval for the evening? MEDIEVAL TIMES DINNER AND TOURNAMENT in Lawrenceville combines the inseparable activities of jousting, eating, drinking and dancing. The medieval-style tournament starts at 9:30 and includes dinner. Stick around afterward for party favors, a live DJ and dancing. $67.95. 5900 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville. 770-225-0230. www.medievaltimes.com.
– -- Besha Rodell
•Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Conducted by the ASO's Michael Krajewski, this program features light classics and the Atlanta premier of Concerto for Cell Phone. Guest singers Jodi and Ray Benson will entertain attendees during the second half of the performance. $30-$65. 8 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St. NE. 404-733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org.
•Blind Willie's Sandra Hall, Houserocker Johnson and The Shadows play New Year's Eve at Blind Willie's. Party favors and champagne toast provided to guests. $40. 828 N. Highland Ave. 404-873-2583. www.blindwilliesblues.com.
•Churchill Grounds Jazz Café Spend New Year's Eve with dynamic jazz trumpeter Russell Gunn as he brings his unique blend of hip-hop and jazz to Atlanta. 8:30 p.m. 660 Peachtree St. 404-876-3030. www.churchillgrounds.com.
•Eddie's Attic Decatur's own Michelle Malone brings her blend of blues-oriented rock and gentle ballads back home. With opener South 70. $15-$125. 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. 515-B N. McDonough St. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com.
•Fox Theatre It's family night at the fabulous Fox when Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi (husband and wife) team up for an evening of blues-flavored jams. $35-$45. 9 p.m. 660 Peachtree St. 404-881-2100. www.foxtheatre.org.
•The Loft Countdown 2K7 w/ Technical Itch, Dara, Kiko, Mayhem, 180 Crew and more. $30-$40. 8 p.m. 1374 W. Peachtree St. 404-885-1365. www.theloftatl.com.
•Smith's Olde Bar NYE Blowout featuring Dubconscious with Reason: Biodynamics. $15. 1578 Piedmont Avenue. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com.
•The Tabernacle Sound Tribe Sector 9. $65. 9 p.m. 152 Luckie St. 404-659-9022.
•Variety Playhouse Get a taste of Athens with Drive-By Truckers, known to be one of the loudest live bands around. Fortunately, they also have great songs. $40-$45. 9 p.m. 1099 Euclid Ave. NE. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com.
•Vinyl Countdown 2K7 with Randy & Pandora, Cooney & Bossaben, 6'5. Synergy and more. $30-$40. 8 p.m. 1374 W. Peachtree St. 404-885-1365. www.vinylatlanta.com.
•New Orleans New Year's Bash If you can't make it to NOLA for New Year's, then head to Smyrna for the party at Atkins Park Tavern. Hurricanes, beads, music, Creole fun and a complimentary champagne toast will be had for all who attend. 2840 Atlanta Road, Smyrna. 770-435-1887. www.atkinspark.com.
•Downtown Countdown Hosted in the Hyatt Regency Downtown, this party features catered dinner and breakfast buffets, open bars, live bands and DJs in five different party areas. $169-$275. 8 p.m.--2:55 a.m. Formal attire required. 265 Peachtree St. NE. 404-577-1234. www.downtowncountdown.net/atlanta/welcome.htm.
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