Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Best of 2016: The Best Rock Concerts I Attended

There's been considerable caterwauling in certain parts--say, like, upon this blog--about how 2016 has been a rather distressing year for rock music.

Certainly, far too many superlative talents left our midst, and far too few have made themselves newly known, at least to me.

Though I came across a number of decent albums--as ranked in this recent Best Albums of 2016 post--and songs, relatively little in the way of recorded music really excited me.

But in looking back at the concerts I attended, in terms of my own music fandom I have to say that this has been an highly fulfilling, even phenomenal year. (Save for the sad losses of irreplaceable artists like David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Glenn Frey and Merle Haggard, all of whom I'd previously seen and enjoyed live.)

Be dubious if you must, but in 2016 I went to 33 rock concerts and pretty much loved them all.

It's no secret how much I love Bruce Springsteen--who I even got to briefly meet this year--but not only did I find all five shows I saw with him and the E Street Band to be truly sensational, somehow each one seemed even better than the last.

And sure, I saw "good as ever" shows by old favorites like Paul McCartney, Pearl Jam (twice),
AC/DC and Bob Mould, but I was also delighted by highly enjoyable free summer shows by the likes of Michael McDonald, The Wallflowers, Blue Oyster Cult and Living Colour.

There were 16 gigs I gave @@@@@ (out of 5) to on the Seth Saith ratings scale, another 8 merited @@@@1/2 and each of the remaining nine earned @@@@.

Even in allotting just one berth each to Springsteen, Pearl Jam and the reunited Guns N' Roses, who I also saw twice, it's pretty difficult to discern among my top 11 and even all the rest, which I'll also list ostensibly in preference order.

So despite insinuations to the contrary, rock isn't dead, especially with these and other acts still more than delivering the

My Favorite Rock Concerts of 2016
Artists seen multiple times ranked just once; venues in Chicago unless noted. Co-headliners (denoted by "and") both factor into ranking; opening acts (denoted by "w/") do not.

1. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band - January 19, United Center (my review); March 3, Bradley Center, Milwaukee (my review); April 12, Schottenstein Center, Columbus; August 28, United Center (my review); September 1, Nationals Park, Washington

2. David Gilmour - April 4, United Center (my review)

3. Guns N' Roses (w/ Alice in Chains) - July 1 & 3, Soldier Field (my review) 

4. Pearl Jam - August 20 & 22, Wrigley Field (my review)

5. Black Sabbath - January 22, United Center (my review)

6. Paul McCartney - August 13, Busch Stadium,
St. Louis
(my review)

7. AC/DC - February 17, United Center
(my review)

8. Adele - July 10, United Center (my review)

9. Bob Mould - May 6, Metro (my review) 

10. Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire - April 1, United Center (my review)

11. Duran Duran (w/ Chic) - July 8, Ravinia, Highland Park, IL (my review)

Honorable Mention (in preference order)

Sting and Peter Gabriel - July 9, United Center (my review)
The Cure - June 10, UIC Pavilion (my review)
Coldplay - July 24, Soldier Field (my review)
Bryan Ferry - August 6, Ravinia (my review)
John Fogerty - August 25, Ravinia (my review)
Ash - September 28, Lincoln Hall (my review)
Phish - June 26, Wrigley Field (my review)
The Who - March 10, United Center (my review)
Peter Wolf (w/ Ike Reilly) - May 21, Park West
(my review)
The Smashing Pumpkins (w/ Liz Phair) - April 14, Civic Opera House (my review)
Wilco - August 21, Pritzker Pavilion (my review)
Michael McDonald - July 26, Elk Grove Village Green (my review)
The Wallflowers - July 2, Frontier Days, Arlington Heights, IL (my review)
Blue Oyster Cult - August 26, Backlot Bash, Skokie, IL (my review)
Living Colour - August 27, Backlot Bash, Skokie, IL (my review)
Tribute to Curtis Mayfield - October 1, The Promontory (my review)

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