Monday, September 7, 2009

The Summer Concert Wrap Up: Part One

With Memorial Day arriving early this year (May 25th) and Labor Day arriving later than normal (September 7th), this was one of the longest summer concert seasons in a while. Those 15 weeks of concert bliss certainly did not disappoint. While I missed out on some great tours this summer (DMB – saw them in April, Blink 182 – work got in the way, and Def Leppard/Poison/Cheap Trick – cost too much), I was able to see my fair share of great shows.

This summer my concert list was short and sweet. I hit Bruce Springsteen on Memorial Day weekend, Nickelback (with Saving Able, Papa Roach, and Hinder) in July, AC/DC in late July, and Incubus in August. Not a bad set for the summer.

This summer provided many excellent tours and some great bands hit the road.

Blink 182 made a surprise announcement earlier in the year that they were reuniting and going on tour. They did their best to keep ticket prices low and took some great bands out with them including Weezer, Panic at the Disco, and Taking Back Sunday.

Staind unleashed their Stimulate This! tour in an effort to give fans great live music for a low price. Taking Shinedown, Cheville, and Haelstorm on the road with them was a move that certainly helped and delighted hard rock fans nationwide.

Nine Inch Nails said goodbye while Jane’s Addiction said hello. The recently re-reunited Jane’s Addiction teamed up with NIN for a double dose of WOW! Unfortunately, I missed this concert due to family obligations, otherwise I would have been there. Nine Inch Nails declared halfway through the tour that this was the end for them, and there were huge bets on whether Jane’s Addiction would make it to the end (they did). That was a great pairing for an excellent summer tour.

Incubus was without a doubt the biggest surprise of the summer for me. I went to see them on a last minute whim and had no real expectations of what they’d be like. I’ve always enjoyed their music, but never went crazy for the band. After seeing them live, that all changed. Their performance was top notch. Brandon Boyd is an incredible showman and he has an amazing voice. As a front man and lead singer, his was amazing in concert.

AC/DC stormed through the Northeast this summer. While I got to witness them at Giants Stadium, I would not have been able to do so if a special ticket offer did not turn up. Their performance was incredible (as always) and I’m glad that I went to see them, but they need to rethink their ticket prices if they want sellout crowds. $100 for nosebleeds is not a bargain in anyone’s book.

Dave Matthews Band was out on tour in support of their latest release Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King. A consummate touring band, DMB is always on the road every year, and even with the passing of one of their leaders (LeRoi Moore) last summer, they still are out on an extended tour this year. Always a great band to watch, DMB is an enjoyable summer experience, and for some fans, it’s not summer without them.

Phish reunited and went on tour to the delight of millions (as obvious by how quick the tickets sold out). While there were issues getting tickets at first, things eventually worked out when Live Nation decided to stagger the on sale dates of their future shows. The Phish-heads rejoiced and from what I’ve heard, the band is in top form. The band even gave away free downloads to their first three reunion shows.

Judas Priest hit the road taking hard rock veterans Whitesnake with them. They also offered the opening slot to a hot new band, Pop Evil. If you haven’t already checked out their debut album, cousin Ryo highly recommends it. While Whitesnake had to leave the tour at the tail end due to David Coverdale’s throat problems, the reports from people who got to see the full act were nothing but raves. Judas Priest played British Steel in its entirety and Whitesnake hauled out all the expected classics with one or two new songs.

Other notable tours this summer included OAR, Green Day, Nickelback (with Saving Able, Papa Roach, and Hinder), Billy Squire, Toad the Wet Sprocket, the newly reunited Creed, Bob Dylan with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp, and Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band.

Some concerts this summer were not so great, or met with a very unfortunate ending.

Aerosmith was forced to cancel a tour that started late, was plagued with issues and injuries from the beginning, and had ticket prices that were way too high. Initially, this tour was supposed to be supporting a new record that Aerosmith never got around to finishing. Fans were disappointed, band members were disappointed, and supposedly Steven Tyler fell off the wagon again. He debates that saying he is still clean and sober, but there’s no debating this, the Aerosmith tour did not happen and they are nowhere close to finishing the new album. If you’re not touring, and you’re not recording, just what the hell are you doing?

Def Leppard/Poison/Cheap Trick went out on tour together to the delight of many. The news of this unlikely band pairing sent a lot of fans searching for tickets, only to find that the prices were out of control. On top of that, Poison played their standard tired setlist and the reports were that Def Leppard just sucked. Supposedly Joe Elliot can’t sing anymore and as mighty as Def Leppard once was, it may be time for them to think about hanging it up.

So, what concerts did you get to take in this summer? What concerts were you shut out of? Which concerts do you think were overpriced? Which concerts gave you the most bang for your buck? The guru would love to hear from everyone and get their thoughts on the 2009 summer concert season. And be sure to check in on Wednesday (9/9) when I recap the summer festivals.

Comments are open. Feel free to post some.

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