Here Are the Concerts You Can’t Miss in Philly This Summer
Well, the City of Philadelphia has officially announced our 4th of July concert festivities, and what a lame lineup it is. But never fear. There are still plenty of other shows worth checking out this summer. These are our favorites. Note: Click on a performer’s name for direct link to the official ticket site.
1. Taylor Swift
When she dropped her earworm 1989 last fall, Taylor Swift effectively made the crossover from country-pop to pop-pop, shedding some of her down-home Berks County roots along the way. These days, Tay-Tay, as her fans call her, is all about New York City, where she rubs elbows with famous pals Beyoncé and Jay Z and lives it up in a $20 million penthouse. But to us, the 25-year-old Wyomissing gal will always be a Pennsylvanian, and we’ll come from far and wide this month when she plays a two-night homecoming at Lincoln Financial Field.
Like beloved quasi-local crooner Bruce Springsteen, Swift is among a handful of artists who have sold out the Linc—something she’s done three times. Better get your tickets fast. Lincoln Financial Field, June 12th and 13th. —Josh Middleton
2. Robert Plant
More about his new music, less about “Stairway to Heaven.”
But don’t worry, he’ll probably play some Led Zeppelin covers as well, like this new version of “Black Dog.”
Mann Center, June 17th.
3. Barry Manilow
After four decades in the biz, the man born Barry Alan Pincus says this is his last big tour. “It’s 40 years—more than that, really—of packing and waiting for room service,” he told Billboard. “People think it’s glamorous, but ‘glamorous’ is the last word I would use for this job.”
Less than a week after his Philly show, he closes the “One Last Time!” tour in his hometown of Brooklyn, the same day he turns 72. Wells Fargo Center, June 13th.
4. Idina Menzel
Don’t hold the whole “Let It Go” thing against her. Mann Center, July 16th.
5. The Hooters
We’re always enthused to see this hometown band in action (be sure to read our interview with front man Eric Bazilian in this month’s issue of Philadelphia magazine).
But what we’re really excited about is checking out the Borgata’s new music venue, the outdoor Festival Park, which the Hooters are debuting along with another local favorite, G. Love & Special Sauce. Borgata, June 13th.
6. Bette Midler
But we are so hitting the bathroom if/when she breaks into “The Rose.” Wells Fargo Center, June 16th.
7. Weird Al Yankovic
He came from nowhere to pick up his fourth Grammy in February, for his 2014 album Mandatory Fun. We’re still cracking up at the video for “Tacky,” his parody of the ubiquitous Pharrell song “Happy.” Mann Center, July 31st.
8. Van Halen
Better in an arena, but if an outdoor show with Diamond Dave and the (literal) Van Halen family is all we can get, we’ll take it.
Susquehanna Bank Center, August 27th.
Their first visit since marijuana was more or less legalized here. Should be fun. Mann Center, August 11th and 12th.
10. Courtney Barnett
But you’ll have to check StubHub or Craigslist, because tickets to see the WXPN-favored Australian singer sold out months ago. Union Transfer, June 15th.
11. Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
A bizarre combo? Yes. But it works. Borgata, July 24th.
12. D’Angelo and the Vanguard
Touring in support of their massively critically acclaimed December album, Black Messiah, released following D’Angelo’s 14-year hiatus from the industry. Keswick Theatre, June 23rd.
13. Hall & Oates
The second-best songwriting duo to come out of Philadelphia. (The first? Gamble & Huff, of course.) Borgata, June 27th.
14. Billy Joel
At last year’s show at the ballpark, he surprised the sold-out crowd with the Rocky theme and a cameo from Boyz II Men, so we wonder what the old man has in store this time. Citizens Bank Park, August 13th.
15. Paul McCartney
If you just can’t let it be. Wells Fargo Center, June 21st.
16. Foo Fighters
Led by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, who has become one of the most respected and successful musicians in the rock genre—sans all that Kurt Cobain drama. Susquehanna Bank Center, July 6th.
17. Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell
The Folk-rock royal (pictured) has joined forces with the Band of Horses lead singer for Sing Into My Mouth, a new album of covers of acts like the Talking Heads, Bonnie Raitt and Sade. Union Transfer, July 28th.
18. Nicki Minaj
We’re still a little salty that she turned our 2014 Fourth of July festivities into something more appropriate for MTV late- night than a family holiday, but I guess we can’t hold it against her forever. Susquehanna Bank Center, August 6th.
19. Mötley Crüe
Their show last year at the Borgata was a train wreck, but an enjoyable train wreck, with copious amounts of pyrotechnics and other ridiculous production elements. And since this is their farewell tour (no, seriously, they signed a contract saying they’d never tour again), this is a must for any Crüe fan. Insider tip: Alice Cooper is the opener, and he puts on a wildly fun show, so don’t be late. Godspeed. Wells Fargo Center, August 14th.
20. Neil Young + Promise of the Real
The Canadian rock legend has teamed up with this California band for a new album, The Monsanto Years, due out June 16th. Susquehanna Bank Center, July 16th.
21-24. Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia Orchestra maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin gets his summers off (must be nice!), but the symphony moves from the Kimmel to the Mann Center for a series of crowd-pleasing under-the-stars concerts that are one of the best parts of being stuck in Philly for the summer. The annual all-Tchaikovsky night on June 23rd, complete with fireworks, is always a favorite, and a great way to get kids interested in classical music. If you’re a Godfather devotee, see the film with live orchestral accompaniment on June 26th; if you’re more a Lord of the Rings type, they’re playing along to the first movie in the trilogy on July 23rd. And Diana Krall fans won’t want to miss the chance to see her backed by our world-class symphony on July 24th.
You probably don’t think about the Philadelphia region as a country-music stronghold, but the genre has bazillions of fiercely loyal fans in these parts—so much so that country music station 92.5 WXTU is one of the largest radio stations (not country stations—stations) in the 50 states. Here are three shows y’all need to know about.
25. Shania Twain
Subgenre: Country pop
Song you probably know: “From This Moment”
It’s true: The best-selling woman in country music has sold more albums than Lady Gaga, Van Halen or the Police. Wells Fargo Center, July 22nd.
26. Kenny Chesney
Subgenre: Laid-back good-ol’-boy music
Song you probably know: “Beer In Mexico”
It’s true: It was at his 2013 Philly show that Eagle Riley Cooper infamously dropped the N-word. On video. Lincoln Financial Field, July 11th.
27. Zac Brown Band
Subgenre: Southern rock
Song you probably know: “Chicken Fried”
It’s true: Foo Fighter Dave Grohl is a big fan, having produced a four-song EP for the band last year. Citizens Bank Park, August 15th.
28. Mayhem Festival
Where: Susquehanna Bank Center
When: July 17th
In exactly five words: Don’t forget to bring earplugs.
Predicted highlight: Hopefully, the incomparable King Diamond will join his co-headliner Slayer on a tune.
29. Mad Decent Block Party
Where: Penn’s Landing
When: August 6th-7th
In exactly five words: E.D.M. (That’s Electronic Dance Music!)
Predicted highlight: Major Lazer’s set.
30. Philadelphia Folk Festival
Where: Montco’s Old Pool Farm
When: August 14th to 16th
In exactly five words: Lots of Birkenstocks. And tents.
Predicted highlight: Arlo Guthrie performing “Alice’s Restaurant” for the 50th anniversary of that album.
31. XPonential Music Festival
Where: Wiggins Park and Susquehanna Bank Center
When: July 24th to 26th
In exactly five words: Best reason to visit Camden.
Predicted highlight: Toss-up between Grace Potter and St. Vincent. Nah, Grace Potter.
32. Made In America
Where: Ben Franklin Parkway
When: Labor Day weekend
In exactly five words: Megacrowds! Jay Z! Beaucoup Budweiser!
Predicted highlight: Listening to all our Fairmount friends bitch about it. Again.