Features — 03 July 2019
Heat wave: A summer concert forecast

By Greg Carannante

City & Shore Magazine

The Miami Pop Festival may not make its South Beach debut until November, and we’ll have to wait ’till almost Christmas for the five nights of Madonna. In the meantime, South Florida’s summer concert season is proving to be a scorcher. Here’s a forecast of some of the hottest tickets.

Got Soul

Mary J. Blige & Nas, July 11, Coral Sky Amphitheatre

She’s the queen of hip-hop soul, one of contemporary music’s defining voices. He’s a hip-hop heavyweight, one of the most influential MCs to ever drop a mic. They both emerged on the scene 25 years ago, crossing creative paths on more than one occasion. Now they’re taking their collaboration to new heights with the single Thriving and their first tour together, which kicks off here.

Lionel Richie: Hello Tour, July 27, Hard Rock Event Center

The R&B balladeer extraordinaire and American Idol judge drops by to say, well, you know — and unlike his AmeriTrade commercials — play All Night Long.

 New Adults on the Backstreet

 New Kids On The Block: The Mixtape Tour, July 14; Backstreet Boys, DNA World Tour, Aug. 23; both BB&T Center

This summer, this venue’s BB stands for “Boy Band.” Riding their new DNA album after a two-year Vegas residency, the Boys are selling out almost all shows from across Europe to Sunrise with a 32-song setlist and a state-of-the-art production.

The New Kids show also stars Salt-N-Pepa, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany and Naughty By Nature, who in turn take the stage during the Kids’ costume changes. Putting the phenomenon in perspective, Donnie Wahlberg tells the show’s mostly female audience: “All the so-called experts said it couldn’t last. They were wrong. See, the critics didn’t underestimate us all those years. They underestimated you! They thought you were crazy little girls. They didn’t know them little girls would grow up to rule the world.”

It was 1988 when those little girls started screaming for New Kids. Wonder where BTS will be in 30 years.

Coral Sky Country

Dierks Bentley, July 19; Luke Bryan, Aug. 3; Brad Paisley, Aug. 17; Florida Georgia Line, Aug. 29; all Coral Sky Amphitheatre

“Can’t Say I Ain’t Country” is the title of Florida Georgia Line’s tour, but it could just as easily be the slogan for the venue that remains South Florida’s country music headquarters, with four whoop-worthy shows at the West Palm Beach fairgrounds — each with a big helping of special guests. Paisley, the West Virginia guitar-whiz who’s plausibly hitting the road to shake fellow Nationwide commercial pitchman Peyton Manning, is big dog of the summer twangfest. But bet your boots that American Idol judge Bryan, the Fla.-Ga. bro-country bros and Burning Man Bentley will also be kicking up some …. um … dirt.

Hello Again

Dave Matthews Band, July 26-27, Coral Sky Amphitheatre

You’d have to be pretty tuned-out to be listening to a Dave Matthews song and not realize it’s a Dave Matthews song. One of rock’s most distinctive voices and dynamic performers, the jam band maestro returns to West Palm for what’s become a two-night summer ritual.

Actually, though it technically falls within the genre, calling DMB a jam band doesn’t really do it justice. Driven by intricate song structures, a brassiness that blares beyond a tight horn section and a drummer regarded as one of the best in the business, the syncopated precision of DMB’s improvisations puts them in a category of their own. Jam Band Plus?

What truly sets DMB apart, of course, is the DM part. Matthews, a hyper-dynamic performer and singular song stylist, is as adept with the falsetto flourishes of an acoustic ballad as he is with the growling ravings of an epic rocker. And his seven-piece band is a two-headed monster, as monstrously successful in the studio as it is in concert. With legions of devotees drawn by the band’s reputation for never playing the same song the same way, DMB’s shows have sold over 100 million tickets and become the stuff of Gen-X rock mythology.

 The Jonas Brothers: Happiness Begins, Aug. 7, American Airlines Arena; Nov. 15, BB&T Center

Sure, they skew on the young side, but we gotta give the Bros. some props when their comeback blitz extends all the way to a recent spot on older-guard CBS Sunday Morning — quite a far cry from their Disney Channel roots. Plus, South Florida gets a double dose of their monster world tour, which lifts off stateside in Miami next month with a fall layover in Sunrise and doesn’t touch down for good until February in Paris. After six years apart, Kevin, Joe and Nick are sure to be buzz bait all summer long with a new album, documentary and book — and their first-ever No. 1 record, Sucker, and more singles to come.

 Queen and Adam Lambert: Rhapsody Tour, Aug. 17, BB&T Center

Mercury’s rising again as Queen gets the entire country to accompany them on Bohemian Rhapsody. The movie version being the highest-grossing music biopic of all time, it’s no shocker that the Sunrise show is already sold out. Frontman Lambert promises “a brand new visual spectacle that will reframe these iconic songs.” Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening me!

 The B-52s, OMD and Berlin, Aug. 29, Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Sure, they were just here a couple of months ago dishing out their harmonic eccentricities at Sunfest, but how much fun will it be to see the B-52s turn the refined Au-Rene Theater into a love shack? Bang bang on the door, baby!

 Goodbye for Good

 KISS: End of the Road World Tour, Aug. 6, BB&T Center

It sounds like KISS really mean it this time. Just to be sure you don’t miss the subtle innuendo in their tour’s title, the first words you see on their website are “The Final Tour Ever.” The last fire-breathing ever? The last blood-spitting ever? The last tongue-wagging ever? Apparently.

While some may entertain the thought, “good riddance, already,” KISS remains one of the best-selling rock bands ever. And Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are still putting on the comic-book costumes and greasepaint just like they did for the first time in 1973.

 Peter Frampton FINALE – The Farewell Tour, Sept. 6, Coral Sky Amphitheatre

Frampton comes alive for the last time with a rock-while-you-still-can bittersweetness. The rocker who became a ’70s sensation for making his guitar talk — literally — is hitting the road before symptoms of his progressive muscle disorder degrade his ability to play the instrument he’s played for 60 years.

“The reason I’m calling it the ‘farewell tour’ is because I know that I will be at the top of my game for this tour and I will make it through this and people won’t be saying, ‘Oh, you know, he can’t play as good.’ I can. But we just don’t know for how long.”

Frampton leads a five-piece band, with Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening as the opening act.

Still Stoned

 The Rolling Stones: No Filter Tour, Aug. 31, Hard Rock Stadium

LBJ was still conducting commode diplomacy when the Stones first toured America — 55 summers ago! Do we really need to say anything more about The World’s Greatest Energizer-Bunny Rock ’n’ Roll Band and their rescheduled heart surgery tour? Other than: You go, Mick! (And, good luck in the August heat.)

Electric Heavy Orchestra

The Who: Moving On!, Sept. 20, BB&T Center

Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra will warm up the hockey rink with their synth-phonic rhapsodies on July 9, but the Who will be closing out the summer with a real orchestral crescendo. The band that made pop history by marrying rock with opera is playing each date with an orchestra — and this time, that will include Pete Townshend and his guitar windmills. He was MIA for last year’s symphonically accompanied performances of Tommy by singer Roger Daltrey and other band members, captured on the just-released Tommy Orchestral album. Ringo’s son, Zak Starkey, and Pete’s younger brother, Simon, will join the band.

The tour could be the finale for Daltrey, which would give its “Moving On!” title quite another connotation. But if it is, the septuagenarian who once famously sang, “Hope I die before I get old,” will not be going quietly.

“Be aware, Who fans!” Daltrey has said. “Just because [the tour is] The Who with an orchestra … this will be full-throttle Who with horns and bells on.”

Honorable Mention

Peace of Woodstock, July 19, Mizner Park Amphitheater

With the Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival having just lost its venue, producer and permits as of this writing, it looks like this anniversary-themed concert may be the next best thing for South Florida flower children … or flower seniors, as the case may be. Obviously, a 90-minute show in Boca Raton is not going to come close to the three days of peace, love and music at Yasgur’s farm. But it might be possible to get a contact high from the tribute show that reprises festival performances from Havens to Hendrix and memorable ones in between by CSN, Joe Cocker and Santana, among others.

PHOTO: Peter Frampton FINALE – The Farewell Tour, Sept. 6 at Coral Sky Amphitheatre

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