rock nyc’s Concerts 2016 In Order Of Preference
Billy Joel At Madison Square Garden, Friday, May 27th and on Saturday, December 17th – The December concert was a Christmas segued two hours plus of Joel’s biggest and best songs, including “The Longest Time”. The May gig did the same thing for Summer on Memorial Day Weekend.
The Rolling Stones At T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Saturday, October 22nd – Sitting in the best seats I’ve ever had for the bad boys, the adrenaline rush was so intense, like my endorphins were exploding, like sitting down at a craps table for the first time in years, or maybe blackjack: every moment an ace and a face card
Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band At Metlife Stadium, Tuesday, August 30th – Break it down, 4 off Greetings, 5 off Wild, 4 from Run and 7 off USA. Bruce wasn’t here on business; he was only here for fun
Guns N Roses At Metlife, Sunday, July 24th – If the man wasn’t already a superstar, it would’ve been a superstar performance: it validated insanity through art. “I’m not complaining, not at all” Rose said, discussing the weather, but he meant everything at once.
The True Groove Allstars At Bowery Electric, November 12th, 2016 – I knew this stuff, I expected it to be epic and it was epic
Bon Iver At Hammerstein Ballroom, Saturday December 10th and King’s Theatre, Monday, December 12th – it isn’t background, it was front and center with the lights and the large band leading you in. The short sets kept you completely in their grip, kept you bedazzled, yet didn’t quite let you all the way in.
Corinne Bailey Rae At Mercury Lounge, Tuesday, May 25th – Corinne has that cool kid sister vibe, a little sister dontcha sweetness that has a sensual underbelly, she is hot without being obvious and sharing without being needy. Speaking of physical attractiveness, she really is a lovely girl –you can see why all the men were out to protect her FROM THEMSELVES
Pearl Jam At Madison Square Garden, Monday, May 2nd – During an exceptional set that took away the nasty taste from the bands awful Global Citizen performance last year, they covered all the hits, went deep from time to time, did a handful of cover songs, and redeemed Eddie’s overwrought “Imagine” of 2015 with a solo acoustic singalong to “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” .
Drake And Future At Madison Square Garden, Friday, August 5th – “I’m gonna tell you. I do this a lot, this is my job, alright? But I’m like looking at you beautiful people making me feel like this isn’t work. This is like the best night I’ve ever had up here on stage.” Yeah, he says that to all his audiences, but that doesn’t mean I won’t drop my drawers”
Kanye West, Chance The Rapper And More At The Meadows, Citi Field, Sunday, October 2nd – Much like his Coloring Book mixtape, the set was a full on Gospel meets hip hop meets R&B blow out of immense proportions, couched as a piece of psychological analysis, and including one entire song with Chance sleeping on a bed. It was the absolute state of black popular music
Weeklings At The Cutting Room, Wednesday, January 13th – That’s what impresses, the pure hard work it takes to make it look like snapping your fingers. Weeklings appear to be easy peasy Beatle Cuckoo Birds, a sort of “Help”/”Ouch” with a penchant for the good early Beatles and a little bit of territory carved out for themselves covering the obscurer Beatle tracks and throwing in originals
Dixie Chicks At Madison Square Garden, Monday, June 13th – Dixie Chicks opened well and ended well and everything in between was great. Even a short acoustic set after an outfit change was good. Occasionally, the Prince cover, the Beyoncé cover, a rowdy Goodbye Earl” and a rowdier “Sin Wagon” were all highlights, they were absolutely gleeful
Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band’s “The River” Tour At Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, January 27th – Even more to the point, if this was Bruce being Bruce, Bruce must remain our greatest living Russian (or American) pop performer. It is the dread of living freed by the joy of life transformed into community.
The 1975 At Barclay Center, Wednesday, May 18th – The mix of Healy’s energetic dancing, and the songs hooks -often not fleshed out on the recorded version, at least on the eponymous debut, made them much better live on stage
The Monkees At The Town Hall, Thursday, June 1st – They danced through 31 songs with finesse and intelligence, performed them well, covered for their missing friends, and left the audience absolutely with their money’s worth
Radiohead At Madison Square Garden, Tuesday, July 26th – The entire band were under control, 24 songs, two hours and done to a turn. “Thank you, you’ve been very kind to us”. No alarms and no surprises.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds At Beacon Theatre, Tuesday, July 5th, 2016 – the set was mired with songs that’d aren’t all there, and Noel will never be Liam, still, I don’t mean to piss on your chips, but I for one thoroughly enjoyed it.
Olivia Newton John’s “Summer Night” At The Flamingo, Tuesday, October 18th – Olivia was well prepared, beautifully voiced, her band were on the money and while, despite my immense affection for the woman, the songs are a little too mellow for my tastes, it was a blast to see her in person
Paul McCartney At MetLife, Sunday, August 7th – It’s McCartney, he is performing his songs, what’s not to like?
Prophets Of Rage At Barclay Center, Saturday, August 27th – A nostalgia trip that wasn’t one, a sound old fashioned and one of a kind, a cathartic rush past the past… that was a damn good rock concert
Twenty One Pilots EMØTIONAL RØADSHØW WØRLD TØUR At Madison Square Garden, Thursday, August 11th – With friends and family, victory in their grasp, MSG a haven for the joy of shared experience, Twenty One Pilots set themselves free, an ultimate Christian Contemporary Music concept so inclusive, the same way their music is so inclusive, it will make a believer of you because, after all, you only live once but you die forever
Michael Feinstein: A Holiday to Remember at “Feinstein’s/54 Below”, Tuesday, December 27th, – a man who learnt at the feet of Ira Gershwin, he has what Rufus didn’t have and Michael Buble can’t approach, a bone deep feel for the Great American Songbook. Judy got the tribute she deserves.
Britney Spears’ “Piece Of Me” At The Axis, Planet Hollywood Hotel, Las Vegas, October 19th – Britney wants to seduce, she is the sexy pin up of the night, but she is also a girl who wants to have fun while showing to the world she is still in great shape: she was dancing, running and jumping like a ball of fire on stage
AC/DC, Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, September 14th, 2016 – they become as good as the song, so all the hits hit, and all the misses miss, and somewhere in between the relentless energy provides diminishing results
Shinobi Ninja At Gramercy Theatre, Saturday. October 20th – I knew what to expect and I was still blown away on this, just another night for one of the greatest live bands I have ever ever seen
Mumford And Sons At Forest Hills Stadium, Thursday, June 16th – This is the third time I’ve seen them, and I have never not enjoyed them. They’re a pretty good band. Very pleasant
David Gilmour At Madison Square Garden, April 12th – It was a muso performance by a 70 year old man who is used to playing the musician. Gilmour had something of a classical musician’s immersion in the sound, and less a band leader’s bringing to the people
Kristin Chenoweth’s “My Love Letter to Broadway” At the Lunt-Fontanne, Saturday, November 5th – Nothing here wasn’t good, at 48 years of age Kristin is smart, vivacious and lovely, but she isn’t who she is. The Sally Brownness of her is her strongest quality and she is at her worse at her most bathetic
Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ Spectacular At The Beacon Theatre, Friday, December 16th – We got Mimi at 908pm last night and she performed for 90 minutes, a high as the sky set of carols, sometimes given a gospel feel, Christmas pop songs, three oldies, and the big time hit
Van Morrison At Forest Hills Stadium, Sunday, October 9th – It didn’t feel like he was changing the world, not even his world, just a strong, self controlled, wonderful performance that won’t have you remember it all your life, like shows of his from 1993 and 2009 did, but you won’t regret it. Van did his job.
Justin Bieber At Prudential Center, Saturday, July 9th – The hits, the “Boyfriend” and “Baby”, the “What Is It You Wanted”, “Love Yourself”, and “Sorry”, were exactly what the fans wanted. Absolutely on the money. . Great art? No. Great pop art? Yeah, I have to say that it did its job and then some
Adele At Madison Square Garden, Monday, September 26th, 2016 – Adele performed a career spanning two hour concert, with a live orchestra behind her, belted out every song with power and precision, kidded us, kidded herself, made us her friend and left us
Paul Simon At Forest Hills, Friday, July 1st – it was subtle without being boring and it was a touch wasted because between being more drenched than wet and the threat of rain, sprinkles all night long, the audience kept getting distracted.
Tidal X At Barclay Center, Saturday, October 15th – A black jingle ball
Z-100’s IHEARTRADIO Jingle Ball 2016 At Madison Square Garden, Friday, December 9th – A white Jingle Ball.
Panorama Days One And Two – Friday, Saturday, July 22nd and 23rd – Way too hot and Friday fell apart but Saturday was exceptional, especially the entire evening from Anderson Paak to Kendrick Lamar.
Bryan Ferry At the Beacon Theatre, Friday, July 29th – t was a weird set, neither resting on Avonmore, nor a Greatest Hits package, it was more like a fan fave that wasn’t one. He could’ve done better but I don’t mind.
Santigold At Hammerstein Ballroom, April 16th, 2016 – If Santigold is modern pop’s utilitarian, why does everything sound like rap circa 1986?
Beyoncé At Citi Field, Wednesday, June 8th – The set itself was terrific, an epic dive into infidelity, feminism, black power, pop power, rap, hip hop, more rock, dancing (or something like that) and all topped by the Queen Bey
Mary J Blige At Madison Square Garden, Thursday, November 10th – Mary J, reeling from Trump’s win and a divorce from her husband and manager, could have gone either moribund or angry and she went angry: the sense of betrayal that was always part of her 411 came out not as mourning but a charged up r&b flavored party
A Cat’s Attic: 50 Year Anniversary Acoustic Tour 2016, the Beacon Theatre, Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 – This was a fine performance which, in these politically abhorrent times, is all the more clearly decent than ever
Disclosure At Forest Hills Stadium, Saturday, June 18th – The beats kept on morphing and segueing, from trip hop depth charges to malleable tom toms, for 25 minutes they ignored their Harris-Avicii moves to concentrate on dance pure and simple and they were magnificent
Kanye West, Madison Square Garden, Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 – Pop art is fine… pop music is better
Barbra Streisand’s “Barbra: The Music… the Mem’ries… the Magic!” At Barclay Center, August 13th – But who can you turn to, when there is nobody left who can do this?
THE BEATLES LOVE by Cirque du Soleil at The Mirage in Las Vegas, October 20th, 2016 – The Beatles always needed more than just love, and will always need more than Cirque De Soleil
Stevie Nicks “24 Carat Tour” With The Pretenders At Madison Square Garden, Thursday, December 1st – Stevie is Snow White and the Queen Grimhilde at the same time. Loving her would be like loving “Fried Green Tomatoes” -I can’t do it, I’m not secure enough in my masculinity. But at 68 years of age, she is still swirling, however creakily, and she can still put on a show
Bob Dylan At Forest Hills Stadium, Friday, July 8th – If they had come for the hits, they weren’t there for the most part. An early “She Belongs To Me”, a first set closing “Tangled Up In Blue”, and a first song of the encore “Blowin’ In The Wind” and on your bike.
The Cure At Madison Square Garden, Monday, June 20th – It was a true concert achievement, a real study of what Smith does, if I don’t like what he did I shouldn’t have gone. As for Robert? The boulder just rolled down to the bottom again
Richard Thompson “By Request Only” At City Winery, Wednesday, November 16th – As parlor tricks go it was cute, as Richard Thompson shows go… not so much.
Dolly Parton’s “Pure And Simple” At Forest Hills Stadium, Saturday, June 25th – Towards the end she performed some of her biggest hits, one after another (or, well, you get the picture), with “Islands In The Stream”, “9 To 5” and “I Will Always Love You”.
Blink 182 At Barclay Center, Wednesday, August 17th – Blink 182 were disappointing, but not the songs and not the sound, they were fine if a little dated in places, the singing was hit and miss, and the strained attempts to capture what couldn’t be caught, were too sad
Conor Oberst At Carnegie Hall, Wednesday, November 23rd – Conor is a gloomy gus, though he really has everything going for him, he isn’t much fun. Serious to the place where self-indulgence meets self-importance, self-pitying beyond belief. But there is an excitement to his performances, a gravitas to go along with his dark pretty boyishness.
Anne Sofie von Otter And Brooklyn Rider At Carnegie Hall, Thursday, October 13th – For a rock audience, the problem with classical isn’t the sound, it is the stodginess, Anne and BR found a middle ground and you will enjoy it as much as I did
Global Citizen, The Great Lawn, Central Park, Saturday, September 26th, 2016 – A buncha one percenters talking down to us.
Tedeschi Trucks Band At Beacon Theatre, Wednesday, October 5th – Tedeschi Trucks may not quite be the Allman Brothers, but they’re certainly the next best thing
King Sunny Ade At Central Park Summerstage, Sunday, July 3rd – I lasted an hour and left, much like taking my medicine and now going off to play
The Stone Roses At Madison Square Garden, Thursday, June 30th – On stage at Madison Square Garden, they are squared with their skills, they have the ease of the certain. But they can’t dance and they can’t find a groove to save their lives
Regina Spektor At the Town Hall, Monday, October 17th, 2016 – You are so polite…” she teased early on but her meaning was clear: MAKE SOME NOISE… so we made some noise for this unique woman who win or lose, is always a fascinating, person and performer: after all, us immigrants have to stick together.
Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet To Come, Radio City Music Hall, Thursday, September 15th, 2016 – Bennett sang circles round these cats and the title of the show is accurate., as long as he is alive, the best will indeed be yet to come
Meghan Trainor, Radio City Music Hall, Thursday, September 8th, 2016 – With friends, family, even her Grandparents from Nantucket, in the audience, it was a straight reflection of the girls in her audience a rotation later
MTV’s VMA Awards, August, 28th, 2016, At Madison Square Garden – All that was left was the music, oh, and the awards
Sia’s “Nostalgic For The Present” At Barclay Center, Tuesday, October 25th – . I had no reaction to the dance, except to say, it wasn’t very dancey at all, the stage production was none existent, and the prices were too expensive to watch some people flay about while Sia hid.
Steely Dan Perform Their Greatest Hits At Beacon Theatre, Saturday, October 29th – This was one of the worst shows by a major band I’ve ever seen. Donald drove us right over a cliff.
Sheena Easton – BB Kings, Thursday, July 14th – She looked pretty good in a form fitting dress even if the set was wanting in all directions.
Earth, Wind and Fire and Chicago, Madison Square Garden, Monday, April 18th – From the moment the EWF and Chicago mash up hit the stage for the first three songs, it sounded like crap, The vocals seriously under mic’d and the horns, all eight of them, with so much treble it was painful
Bad Boys Reunion Day Two, Barclay Center, Saturday, May 21st – I would have enjoyed the show if I could have heard the songs, I was listening to the set list earlier and it is so sad that an evening filled with so much fine material should have been so completely ruined
Governors Ball At Randall’s Island, June 3rd And 4th -The only day that mattered, the one with Kanye West, was rained out.
The David Bowie Tribute At Carnegie Hall, Thursday, March 31st – Fuck your idols,this sucked. I wouldn’t go tonight if you paid me